Microsoft appeals Word patent case once more

LAS VEGAS (Reuters) - Microsoft Corp on Friday asked for a full panel of judges to review an appeals court decision upholding a $290 million jury verdict against it for infringing a patent held by a small Canadian company.

The world’s largest software company wants all 11 judges of the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, which handles many patent and trademark cases, to review the long-running case against Toronto-based i4i Ltd, in the hope of overturning the original judgment.

Microsoft appealed the case last year, but in December a panel of three appeals court judges rejected its arguments, and upheld the federal jury decision.

That jury, in U.S. district court in Texas, ruled last August that Microsoft had infringed a patent belonging to i4i relating to text manipulation software in the 2003 and 2007 versions of Word, Microsoft’s word processing application.

The jury imposed more than $290 million in damages on Microsoft and the court granted i4i’s motion for an injunction preventing Microsoft from selling versions of Word containing the disputed technology.

That injunction was stayed while Microsoft appealed the case with the Court of Appeals, but it is now due to take effect on January 11.

Microsoft said last month that it was working to adjust current versions of Word to comply with the injunction, and said on Friday it would continue that work despite its new appeal.

“Our position is unchanged. We expected them (Microsoft) to do this,” said Loudon Owen, Chairman of i4i. “We are confident we will prevail.”

Microsoft shares closed up 0.7 percent at $30.66 on Nasdaq.

The case is: i4i Limited Partnership and Infrastructures for Information Inc v. Microsoft Corp, an appeal from the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas in case no. 07-CV-113.

Reporting by Bill Rigby