Microsoft loses Word patent appeal

By Bloomberg News
June 10, 2011

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WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court upheld a patent infringement verdict that will cost Microsoft Corp. $300 million and already has forced changes in its Word software.

The justices yesterday unanimously rejected calls from Microsoft and its allies, including Apple Inc. and Google Inc., to overturn the award and make some patents more vulnerable to legal challenge.

The ruling is a victory for closely held I4i LP, which claimed in its 2007 lawsuit that its patented technology had been incorporated into Word, the word processing program used by 500 million people. The award is the largest ever upheld on appeal in a patent case.

I4i chairman Loudon Owen said Microsoft will have to pay about $300 million.

“While the outcome is not what we had hoped for, we will continue to advocate for changes to the law that will prevent abuse of the patent system and protect inventors who hold patents representing true innovation,’’ said Kevin Kutz, a Microsoft spokesman, in an e-mail.