A further development came today in the long-running legal battle between Toronto’s i4i and Microsoft. The courtroom battle is over a patent violation; i4i claims that versions of Microsoft Word from 2003 onwards violate their patent on custom processing of XML.
About 18 months ago, a Texas court awarded i4i $240 million in damages from Microsoft over the violation. Microsoft appealed, and lost, in December of last year. Last week, the American Patent and Trademark Office denied Microsoft’s request to review i4i’s patent on XML technology.
But today, the U.S. Supreme Court granted Microsoft a review of the case — the Supreme Court is Microsoft’s last avenue for appeal.
“The attack on patent holders and the adverse implications from the standard Microsoft is proposing is unprecedented and would deal a devastating blow to any U.S. patent holder, large or small,” said Loudon Owen, i4i chairman. “In light of both the importance of this case, and the facts that have already been tried, i4i is confident we will continue to prevail before the courts.”
Hopefully this can all be resolved by the time Microsoft releases their 2056 version of Word — but don’t count on it.