Microsoft Wants The Last Word: Appeal Set For Sept. 23


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Despite the animosity between i4i and Microsoft, both companies want a speedy trial in the Word patent infringement case. The U.S. Court of Appeals Friday granted their wish and has agreed to expedite a hearing that will be held Sept. 23.

The latest news follows an emergency motion Microsoft filed last week in response to an Aug. 12 ruling by Judge Leonard Davis of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas.

"These filings are not unusual in patent cases," a Microsoft spokesperson told Ars Technica. "As we've maintained throughout this process, we believe the evidence clearly demonstrates that we do not infringe and that the i4i patent is invalid. We look forward to filing our appeal and to Court of Appeals review."

For its part, i4i agreed that it wants to see the case wrapped up as soon as possible.

"We firmly believe that the U.S. District Court made the right decision on the merits of the case," Loudon Owen, chairman of i4i, said in a statement. "This is a vital case for inventors and entrepreneurial companies who, like i4i, are damaged by the willful infringement of their patents by competitors, particularly competitors as large and powerful as Microsoft."

On Aug. 12, the judge issued a permanent injunction prohibiting Microsoft from selling or importing to the U.S. any Microsoft Word products that can open .XML, .DOCX or DOCM files containing custom XML. The court ordered Microsoft to comply with the injunction within 60 days.

That ruling stemmed from a case in May in which Toronto-based software firm i4i won a verdict of $200 million after jurors found that Microsoft "willfully infringed an i4i patent covering a document system that relies on the XML custom formatting function."

In arguments in the case, Microsoft lawyers argued that i4i was a "non-practicing patent owner" and that it was "improper" for it to sue for monetary damages," according to WindowsITPro.com. Obviously, Judge Davis did not agree and also took Microsoft to task for "equating i4i's infringement case with the current national banking crisis and implying that i4i was a banker seeking a '"bailout.""

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