Microsoft Handed $200 Million Patent Defeat

A jury in a US District Court in Tyler, Texas, has ordered Microsoft to pay $200 million to Canadian software firm i4i LP for willfully infringing on i4i's electronic document processing patent. The award is the fourth-largest jury verdict so far this year, but it could actually be increased by the judge overseeing the case.

"We feel quite vindicated," said i4i President Karen Heater. Her company claims that Microsoft knew about i4i's patent and willfully infringed it in Word 2007 and 2003. Those products use XML technology to encode and customize documents, and Microsoft's customization of XML, i4i says, violates its patent.

Microsoft says it will appeal the verdict.

"We believe the evidence clearly demonstrated that we do not infringe and that the i4i patent is invalid," a Microsoft spokesperson said. "We believe this award of damages is legally and factually unsupported, so we will ask the court to overturn the verdict."

This is the second patent-related award against Microsoft this year, and it's not even the most expensive. In April, the software giant was ordered to pay $388 million for infringing a Uniloc patent. Microsoft is also appealing that verdict. Not coincidentally, perhaps, Microsoft also announced last month that it supports the patent-reform legislation that is currently under consideration by the US Senate.

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