Microsoft Pays $290M For Patent Infringement
The U.S. Supreme court upheld a 2009 verdict that had ordered Microsoft to pay $290 million in fines because the computer giant infringed on a patent that was owned by Toronto-based company i4i. The U.S. Supreme court found that Microsoft stole the concept of an i4i-owned patent that allowed users to manipulate the architecture and content of a document.
Microsoft altered its application in 2010 when it filed for an appeal. After the ruling, Microsoft argued that the courts should not require such a high burden of proof for patent violations because it made it hard for the larger companies to defend themselves in such cases.
Microsoft claims that people are abusing the patent system to take advantage of large corporations, but to me, that logic sounds a little backwards. I’m also afraid that if the legal system were changed, requiring a lower burden of proof for the big companies, then nobody would ever be able to win a case, and to me, that doesn’t sound like true justice.
Hopefully Microsoft will instead take this as a lesson learned and will ensure that their programmers are more careful when using or modifying pre-existing content before stamping their own label on it.
You can see the case, here.