Patent office upholds i4i claims against Microsoft

Summary:In the patent-infringement case that seems to never end, i4i announced on May 11 that the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office rejected claims on an Office-related patent that Microsoft had requested be reexamined. Is Microsoft throwing in the towel on i4i? It's not, according to Director of Public Affairs Kevin Kutz.

In the patent-infringement case that seems to never end, i4i announced on May 11 that the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office rejected claims on an Office-related patent that Microsoft had requested be reexamined.

Is Microsoft throwing in the towel on i4i? It's not, according to Director of Public Affairs Kevin Kutz.

“We are disappointed, but there still remain important matters of patent law at stake, and we are considering our options to get them addressed, including a petition to the Supreme Court," said Kutz, via an e-mailed statement.

i4i executives, in a new statement, said "i4i's '449 patented invention infuses life into the use of Extensible Mark Up Language (XML) and dramatically enhances the ability to structure what was previously unstructured data. As the magnitude of data grows exponentially, this is a critical technological bridge to controlling and managing this sprawling octopus of data and converting it into useful information."

Microsoft lost its appeal in the i4i case in December 2009. The Federal Circuit Court of Appeals advocated awarding i4i close to $300 million, including $40 million for intentional patent infringement by Microsoft. In January 2010, Microsoft requested another hearing in the case, which was denied.

At the heart of the case is the Custom XML technology that was part of older versions of Microsoft Word. Since the verdict late last year, Microsoft issued a patch to remove Custom XML from Word 2003, Word 2007, Office 2003 and Office 2007. Microsoft did not include Custom XML in the beta builds of Office 2010, company officials said.

Custom XML is not related to Open XML; instead, it is technology for adding support for custom-designed schemas that is designed to integrate business data and processes with documents.

Topics: Microsoft, Collaboration, Software

About

Mary Jo Foley has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications, including ZDNet, eWeek and Baseline. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008). She also is the cohost of the "Windows Weekly" podcast on the TWiT network. Got a tip? Se... Full Bio

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