In August 2009, a U.S. court ruled that Microsoft Corporation, the Washington-based multinational computer technology company, had infringed certain patents of i4i Inc., an Ontario-based design and content development solutions company. Specifically, i4i’s 1998 patents outline a method of “manipulating the architecture and the content of a document separately from each other” with the use of Extensible Mark-up Language (or XML), a set of rules for encoding documents electronically which helps preserve data formats across different software programs.
The court ruling required Microsoft to pay $240 million in damages, remove infringing technology from its software programs, namely, Microsoft Word 2003 and 2007, and stop selling such programs beginning January, 2010. Although Microsoft appealed the decision, a panel of judges denied the appeal in December, 2009, citing evidence that Microsoft had foreknowledge that it was using i4i’s patented technology. Microsoft is now appealing for a wider review of the case which, if refused, may result in an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.
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