Jun 10 2011
A legal battle initiated by Canadian software companies i4i Limited Partnership and Infrastructures for Information Inc. (collectively referred to as i4i) in 2007 against Microsoft Corporation ended on June 9, 2011 with i4i as the victor. The United States Supreme Court (USSC), the highest court in that country, affirmed the decisions of the lower courts that ruled that Microsoft Corporation must pay i4i $290M for infringing i4i’s patent for an improved method of editing computer documents by storing a documents contents separately from the metacodes associated with the document’s structure.
In response to the allegation that it infringed i4i’s patent in some versions of it MS Word™ product, Microsoft alleged that i4i’s patent was invalid. The jury at the initial trial disagreed. The jury had been instructed by the trial judge that “Microsoft has the burden of proving invalidity by clear and convincing evidence”. The presumption that a granted patent is valid and that the burden of establishing invalidity rests with the party asserting invalidity is codified in §282 of the United States Patent Act of 1952. What was at issue before the USSC was whether the party asserting invalidity must persuade the fact finder (in this case the jury) of the invalidity by clear and convincing evidence. Microsoft had argued, that because some of the evidence upon which it was relying had not been considered by the Patent Office, the standard of proof should be “a preponderance of evidence”. After assessing Microsoft’s arguments, the USSC affirmed that the standard is “clear and convincing” evidence without exception.
Read the full text of the decision.
This article is provided for information purposes only and should not be considered legal advice.
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