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i4i Rebuts Microsoft's Appeal in Patent Case

Toronto-based i4i LP filed legal papers on Tuesday rebutting Microsoft's appeal in a patent infringement case involving Microsoft Word.

Microsoft lost the case, which involves so-called "custom XML" technology used in Word and Microsoft Office. However, Redmond appealed the final judgment issued by a U.S. district court and was granted a stay, with a hearing scheduled to take place on Sept. 23.

"i4i's brief refutes each and every one of the same weak defences Microsoft repackaged from the trial and raised on appeal," said Loudon Owen, chairman of i4i, in a prepared statement.

Based on i4i's appeal, the two companies still appear to be contesting how the patent applies. For instance, a bone of contention is whether the patent specifies that the metacode mapping system is stored as a separate file from the document file it describes. i4i claims that the patent doesn't make such specification.

Microsoft has also contested the judge's conduct during the trial and has questioned a survey used by the plaintiffs used to calculate damages. Microsoft has been ordered by the U.S. District Court for East Texas to pay i4i more than $240 million in damages and penalties. Microsoft was also enjoined from selling Word in the future using i4i's technology.

i4i's Tuesday filing before the U.S. Federal Circuit Court of Appeals in Washington, D.C. suggests that Microsoft reviewed i4i's patented technology and then later decided to squeeze the company out by building similar technology into Word.

"When it suited its purposes, Microsoft touted i4i as a 'Microsoft Partner' able to provide software that Microsoft could not," states i4i's Sept. 8 appeals court filing. "But behind i4i's back, Microsoft usurped i4i's invention, destroying i4i's ability to compete in the market that it had created. [p. 4]"

Once Microsoft had built the custom XML capability into Word, i4i was deprived of that market, the i4i appeals court filing claims.

"As the district court found, once customers have Microsoft's XML features in Word, they are reluctant to purchase i4i's products. [p. 80]"

i4i's 84-page appeals court finding can be accessed here.

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for the 1105 Enterprise Computing Group.

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