i4i vs. Microsoft appeal heard; Trash talk ensues

I4i, the company that was awarded $290 million and an injunction in a patent infringement suit against Microsoft, talked a little trash as three judges heard the software giant's appeal. Microsoft fired back.

I4i, the company that was awarded $290 million and an injunction in a patent infringement suit against Microsoft, talked a little trash as three judges heard the software giant's appeal. Microsoft fired back. Not-so-surprisingly both sides think the case will go their way.

If you recall, i4i in August won a trial that found that Microsoft willfully infringed on the company's patents. A judge issued an injunction against Microsoft. Microsoft appealed and won a stay of the injunction pending the appeal in September. At issue is the use of custom XML in Microsoft Word. Microsoft is allowed to sell Microsoft Word and develop Office 2010 with custom XML until the appeal is decided.

Needless to say i4i is confident it will prevail (what else would it say?). Loudon Owen, chairman of i4i, said in a statement:

As we expected, Microsoft repeated the same line of argument that was unsuccessful at trial. We are confident i4i will prevail. This case is critical not just for i4i but also so all entrepreneurs and inventors can enforce their property rights created by patents. Intellectual property is the lifeblood of invention.

Microsoft spokesman Kevin Kutz said in a statement:

At today's hearing we emphasized three points for why a reverse judgment or retrial is warranted: Courts need to construct claims properly, the patent is not valid and we do not infringe it, and common sense can't be abandoned when it comes to damages calculation. We are pleased with how the hearing proceeded and we look forward to the Court's ruling.

Sources familiar with the case said they are expecting the federal court to take 2 to 6 months to issue a ruling. The ruling will be either a reversal of the decision or scheduling a new trial without saying who won or lost.

Mary Jo Foley contributed to this post.

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