Microsoft and I4i

August 12, 2009

On 11 August a permanent injunction was granted and total damages and interest of more than $290 million were awarded against software giant Microsoft in a Texas patent infringement lawsuit won by Toronto-based technology provider i4i Inc.

The order and permanent injunction were granted by Judge Leonard Davis of the US District Court for the Eastern District of Texas, Tyler Division. The ruling follows a jury verdict in May to the effect that Microsoft had wilfully infringed an i4i patent covering a document system that relies on the XML custom formatting function.

During the trial, attorneys for I4i successfully argued that Microsoft infringed the i4i patent issued in 1998, U.S. Patent No. 5,787,499, which covers software designed to manipulate ‘document architecture and content.’ The software covered by the patent removed the need for individual, manually embedded command codes to control text formatting in electronic documents. 

The latest development saw Judge Davis rule that Microsoft should pay i4i an additional $40 million for its wilful infringement of the i4i patent. Microsoft also was ordered to pay slightly more than $37 million in prejudgment interest, including an additional $21,102 per day until a final judgment is reached in the case. The court also ordered Microsoft to pay $144,060 per day until the date of final judgment for post-verdict damages. The permanent injunction prohibits Microsoft from selling or importing to the United States any Microsoft Word products that have the capability of opening .XML, .DOCX or DOCM files (XML files) containing custom XML. The court is requiring Microsoft to comply with the injunction within 60 days. 

Microsoft issued a short statement:

‘We are disappointed by the court’s ruling. We believe the evidence clearly demonstrated that we do not infringe and that the i4i patent is invalid. We will appeal the verdict.’