Microsoft to pay $290M fine for patent infringement

The U.S. Supreme court has upheld a 2009 verdict that ordered Microsoft to pay out $290 million in fines for infringing on a patent owned by Toronto-based company i4i.

The high court agreed in January to hear Microsoft’s appeal of the lawsuit, which ruled that the software giant’s Word application infringed on an i4i-owned patent letting users manipulate the architecture and content of a document. The company altered its application in 2010 while filing for the appeal.

Microsoft argued that the courts should adopt a lower burden of proof for patent violations, which would make it easier for larger companies like Google, Apple, and Microsoft to defend against infringement claims.

“This case raised an important issue of law which the Supreme Court itself had questioned in an earlier decision and which we believed needed resolution, 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,” Microsoft said in an official statement.

The case has been closely watched by legal analysts because of its potential to effect future patent infringement verdicts.

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