Microsoft challenges US patent law

Several big-name US companies are backing a Microsoft bid to change the way the country’s courts judge patent infringement cases.
 
Tech firms Apple and Google, auto-maker General Motors and retailer Wal-Mart are among several firms supporting Microsoft’s challenge to the methods used to establish patent validity – a move it has taken after a Federal Court issued an injunction on distribution of some versions of its Word software.
 
A decision by the US Supreme Court to review the decision could ultimately make it easier to challenge patent ownership, by removing the need for “clear and convincing” evidence of validity WSJ.com reported.
 
The move is opposed by Canadian-firm i4i, which argues any change in the ruling procedures would devastate the US patent market, and that changes to the law should be considered by the US government, the newspaper said.
 
i4i last year won an injunction on distribution of Microsoft Word 2003 and 2007, which it claimed infringed its patents covering changes to the design of documents, after Microsoft lost an appeal against the decision, which could cost it $300 million (€230 million).
 
Microsoft now argues that the bar on establishing patent validity is set too high, Bloomberg said.

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