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Thursday, May 21, 2009
Microsoft Loses $200 Million In Patent Trial

Microsoft was ordered by a federal jury to pay $200 million to a Canadian company over a patented way to process electronic documents in Microsoft?s Word products.

Microsoft infringed a patent owned by the Canadian i4i LP, according to the court. The award is the amount sought by i4i, which claimed that Microsoft willfully used the patent. The judge can increase the damage award based on the willfulness finding, and i4i can seek a court order blocking further use of its invention. Microsoft said it would fight the verdict.

The i4i dispute is over a method of processing electronic documents using embedded codes that provide instructions on how information appears. Word 2003 and 2007 use ?extensible markup language,? or XML, for encoding, and customize the XML in a way that closely held i4i contends infringes its patent. Both sides agree that many people use Word without ever using custom XML.

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