The US supreme court has rejected an appeal by Microsoft to overturn a ruling that they have infringed a small Canadian companies patent – meaning the company will have to pay out $290million (£177million).
The company, i4i, sued Microsoft back in 2007 saying that they owned the technology behind a text manipulation tool which was used in Microsoft Word 2003 and 2007 and gave users ‘an improved way of using a documents contents’.
Microsoft have argued against the infringement, and also tried to get the amount of evidence required to overturn a patent changed. As it stands currently 70%-80% of the ‘clear and convincing’ evidence must be in your favour, a standard which President Obama’s administration said should be upheld prior to the decision.
Whilst $290million will have little effect on a company which recently spent $8billion on Skype, a disappointed Microsoft have since released a statement saying “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.”
They have also begun to sell versions of ‘Word’ without the disputed technology.