Microsoft, who has become a strongly pro-software patent company
(despite Bill Gates' old claim that patents would have harmed
the software industry in the early days), is finding out (yet again) that such a stance can come back to bite you. We've already covered the somewhat ridiculous lawsuit that Microsoft faced from a small Canadian company, i4i, who claimed a patent (5,787,449
) on an XML editing feature. Microsoft lost the lawsuit, and the court issued an injunction
against Microsoft and claimed that the feature was worth an astounding $98 per copy where the feature was used. Microsoft appealed the case to CAFC who upheld
the lower court ruling. Microsoft then appealed to have the entire CAFC rehear the case, and that got rejected
. The only move left is to appeal to the Supreme Court that's exactly what Microsoft has now done
To be honest, I can't see the Supreme Court actually taking this case. Unlike some of the other patent cases that the Supremes have taken recently, there doesn't seem to be any big constitutional questions here. It's just a silly patent that Microsoft is on the hook for infringing. Perhaps rather than fighting this individual battle, Microsoft will finally realize that it's stance on patents is only going to do it more harm in the long run.