Feeds

Microsoft loses Supreme patent fight over Word

Have-it-both-ways defense fails

SANS - Survey on application security programs

America's top court has rejected Microsoft's appeal against a ruling that Microsoft Word infringed on patents owned by a tiny Canadian software maker..

The US Supreme Court unanimously upheld an earlier court's ruling that said Microsoft willfully infringed on i4i's XML patents in Word 2003 and 2007.

Microsoft was ordered to pay i4i almost $300m in damages and told in the ruling that it could no longer ship Word 2003 and 2007 with the offending code. Microsoft issued a patch to sidestep the XML code and continue selling its software.

With nowhere left to go in this four-year case, Microsoft said on Thursday that it would now concentrate on trying reform US law to prevent abuses of the patent system. "This case raised an important issue of law which the Supreme Court itself had questioned in an earlier decision and which we believed needed resolution," a Microsoft spokesperson said, "While the outcome is not what we had hoped for, we will continue to advocate for changes to the law that will prevent abuse of the patent system and protect inventors who hold patents representing true innovation."

“While the outcome is not what we had hoped for, we will continue to advocate for changes to the law that will prevent abuse of the patent system and protect inventors who hold patents representing true innovation.”

i4i brought its case in 2007 in the patent holder friendly US District Court of Eastern Texas, with the original verdict delivered in May 2009. i4i chairman Loudon Owen told The Register that the fact that the Supreme Court had sided unanimously with the Texas-court's decision proved it had been well written.

In its defense against i4i, Microsoft tried change the rules for awarding patents and for ruling on patent litigation cases. It had argued that defendants need only persuade a court that a patent was invalid using a "preponderance of evidence" and that a "preponderance standard" should also apply when evidence is presented that had not been available to the USPTO when it had granted the patent.

The Supreme Court judges didn't buy it. The court decided that the burden of establishing whether a patent is invalid rests on the party asserting it's not valid. i4i lauded the Supreme Court's decision to uphold the existing standard, saying Microsoft had tried to "gut the value of patents" by introducing a lower standard for validation.

Owen, in a statement, called it one of the most significant business cases the Court has decided in decades. "Affirmation of the Federal Circuit on a ruling in favor of patent holders is virtually unprecedented. While this ruling maintains the prevailing standard, the innovation community must be ever-vigilant to defend its property rights," he said.

On that note, Microsoft is actively using the existing system that it feels is unfair and ripe for abuse to lodge claims against others. Microsoft has lodged patent infringement claims against Nook makers Barns & Noble, Foxconn and Inventec, and Android phone maker Motorola. It has also rattled its saber at others who have settled without going to court. These include Android phone maker HTC and Linux sat nav specialist TomTom.

Talking to The Reg, Owen called this habit of attacking others while trying to switch the argument against i4i “cognitive dissonance”. “We can’t get inside their head, but we know in this case [i4i] they took the opposite view to us,” he said.®

3 Big data security analytics techniques

More from The Register

next story
Ubuntu 14.04 LTS: Great changes, but sssh don't mention the...
Why HELLO Amazon! You weren't here last time
This time it's 'Personal': new Office 365 sub covers just two devices
Redmond also brings Office into Google's back yard
Got Windows 8.1 Update yet? Get ready for YET ANOTHER ONE – rumor
Leaker claims big release due this fall as Microsoft herds us into the CLOUD
Next Windows obsolescence panic is 450 days from … NOW!
The clock is ticking louder for Windows Server 2003 R2 users
OpenBSD founder wants to bin buggy OpenSSL library, launches fork
One Heartbleed vuln was too many for Theo de Raadt
Batten down the hatches, Ubuntu 14.04 LTS due in TWO DAYS
Admins dab straining server brows in advance of Trusty Tahr's long-term support landing
Red Hat to ship RHEL 7 release candidate with a taste of container tech
Grab 'near-final' version of next Enterprise Linux next week
Apple inaugurates free OS X beta program for world+dog
Prerelease software now open to anyone, not just developers – as long as you keep quiet
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
prev story

Whitepapers

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.
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.
Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.