Feeds

Microsoft's Word fight opens in US Supreme Court

Argues for lowered burden of proof

High performance access to file storage

Microsoft has tried to persuade judges in America's top court that those defending against patent litigation cases should be held to a lower burden of proof than at present.

A lawyer representing Microsoft at the Supreme Court told judges on Monday they should reject the long-held need for a defendant in patent-infringement cases to prove by clear and convincing evidence that a plaintiff's patent is invalid, according to reports here.

The court is hearing the dispute between Microsoft and tiny i4i which claimed – and has won in lower courts – that Word 2003 and 2007 violate an XML patent that it holds.

The initial court that heard i4i's case awarded $240m against Microsoft and ordered sales of these editions of Word be halted. Microsoft issued a patch to sidestep the XML code in question.

Microsoft attorney Thomas Hunger is reported to have told judges on Monday that it makes no sense to have a heightened standard of proof, and that a lower standard should apply in cases in which the defendant offers new evidence against the patent, evidence that was not considered when the US Patent and Trademark Office initially granted the patent.

i4i's lawyer defended the status quo, arguing that it's based on long-settled law supported by the US Congress. The US lawmaking body has been well aware of the clear and convincing standard, and "had done nothing whatsoever to change it," attorney Seth Waxman told the Supreme Court.

Representing the US government, attorney Malcolm Stewart from the Department of Justice taking i4i's side is reported to have said the software giant it trying to overturn the decisions of an expert agency: the US Patent Office.

The court normally consists of nine judges, but the case is being heard by just eight. Chief Justice John Roberts is a Microsoft stockholder and has recused himself from the case. If the justices split by a 4-4 vote, then it is reported that the ruling against Microsoft would be upheld. ®

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
Windows 8.1, which you probably haven't upgraded to yet, ALREADY OBSOLETE
Pre-Update versions of new Windows version will no longer support patches
Android engineer: We DIDN'T copy Apple OR follow Samsung's orders
Veep testifies for Samsung during Apple patent trial
OpenSSL Heartbleed: Bloody nose for open-source bleeding hearts
Bloke behind the cockup says not enough people are helping crucial crypto project
Microsoft lobs pre-release Windows Phone 8.1 at devs who dare
App makers can load it before anyone else, but if they do they're stuck with it
Half of Twitter's 'active users' are SILENT STALKERS
Nearly 50% have NEVER tweeted a word
Windows XP still has 27 per cent market share on its deathbed
Windows 7 making some gains on XP Death Day
Internet-of-stuff startup dumps NoSQL for ... SQL?
NoSQL taste great at first but lacks proper nutrients, says startup cloud whiz
US taxman blows Win XP deadline, must now spend millions on custom support
Gov't IT likened to 'a Model T with a lot of things on top of it'
prev story

Whitepapers

Mainstay ROI - Does application security pay?
In this whitepaper learn how you and your enterprise might benefit from better software security.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Mobile application security study
Download this report to see the alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, as well as the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.