Microsoft Corporation [corporate website; JURIST news archive] on Friday asked the US Supreme Court [official website] to reconsider a ruling [cert. petition, PDF] of the US District Court for the Eastern District of Texas [official website] finding that the company committed patent infringement [JURIST report] and awarding Canadian-based software company i4i [corporate website] $290 million dollars in damages. i4i alleged that Microsoft willfully infringed on patents it held on XML technology [i4i litigation database], which Microsoft used extensively in Microsoft Word 2007 and 2003 [Reuters report]. In addition to paying $290 million in damages, Microsoft was enjoined from selling the Microsoft Word 2007 software that included the patent infringing code. The US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit [official website] affirmed the district court decision [JURIST report] in December and denied Microsoft's petition for rehearing in March. Microsoft has removed the contested code from its software, but alleges that the i4i patent is invalid and that the lower courts' rulings depart from Supreme Court precedent [WSJ report].
Microsoft has been a party to many legal proceedings regarding its software in recent years. In April, a Shanghai court ruled that a Chinese insurance company was liable to the software company [JURIST report] for using illegal copies of its products and ordered the insurance company to pay USD $318,000 in damages. In November, another Chinese court ruled against Microsoft in a patent infringement case [JURIST report], finding the company infringed upon the patent rights of Zhongyi Electronic by using Chinese fonts created by the company in programs such as Windows 1998, 2000, 2003 and XP when they were only authorized for use in its Windows 1995 program. In December, the European Commission (EC) [official website] dropped antitrust charges against Microsoft [JURIST report] after the company agreed to offer consumers a choice of web browsers [JURIST report]. The EC accused Microsoft of violating fair competition rules by bundling its Internet Explorer browser with its Windows operating system.