Skip to comments.Microsoft loses Supreme Court case on Canadian patent ($290M)
Posted on 06/09/2011 12:42:12 PM PDT by markomalley
Microsoft Corp suffered a defeat on Thursday when the Supreme Court upheld a record $290 million jury verdict against the software giant for infringing a small Canadian company's patent.
The justices unanimously agreed with a U.S. appeals court ruling that went against the world's largest software company in its legal battle with Toronto-based i4i.
The high court refused to adopt Microsoft's lower standard to replace the long-standing requirement that a defendant in a patent infringement case prove by clear and convincing evidence that a plaintiff's patent is invalid.
Redmond, Washington-based Microsoft had argued that a lower standard of proof involving a "preponderance of the evidence" would make some "bad" patents easier to invalidate while promoting innovation and competition.
(Excerpt) Read more at reuters.com ...
So sorry Bill, Canadian courts interpret our laws according to Canadian law, not US law. Bummer, eh?
IIRC, it was that founder of MS who once remarked:
“Good ideas are meant to be borrowed. Great ideas are meant to be stolen.”
Thanks for the ping, Squawk 8888
This was a U.S. court decision, interpreting the U.S. patent laws, involving a U.S. patent (albeit held by a Canadian company).
Software patents... Absolute rubbish. Patents were always intended for protection of physical creations or the arts. I wonder how much of the economy is drained each year continuing this horrible system that stifles innovation and creation. I’d guess at least tens of billions, if not a lot more.
“Redmond, Washington-based Microsoft had argued that a lower standard of proof involving a “preponderance of the evidence” would make some “bad” patents easier to invalidate while promoting innovation and competition.”
Hmmm? Patents stifle innovation?
I agree, but at this point it is something that will take courageous lawmakers to change. Know any courageous lawmakers?
Method and system patents stifle innovation. When you can make up an idea, not apply it to any actual system, and get a patent for it, even after it’s already out there, the system is broken.
Further, I take great issue with the idea that ‘a limited time’ is virtually for all intents and purposes reinterpreted to mean forever. There is an exchange - in exchange for you getting exclusive government protected use of your creation, you give up rights to that creation after a certain number of years. The trade has been broken through poor congressional action and courts that won’t outright declare the laws unconstitutional for breaking the provisions of limited time.
Sorry, my bad- I didn’t realize that it was a US source, so I assumed that it was referring to the Supreme Court of Canada.
I know of none who'd risk the ire of the RIAA or Hollywood to fix a broken system.
Fortunately, $290M is less than Microsoft spends on coffee filters each week.
Yes, most patents are requested in order to keep someone else’s innovation off the market.
A patent can encourage innovation, and it can discourage it too. You are aware of the one thing—that the protection of one’s creative invention allows one to market it, as marketing it generally makes it’s secrets public.
On the other hand, a patent more often is used to quash similar inventions. Often when an invention is made, it is that the time is ripe for it—general social innovation or other discoveries make something obvious or needed in ways that did not previously exits. Many people discover the same innovation, all independently. That is, let me be very clear here, MANY people working in the same field would naturally be expected to come up with the same or similar innovations on their own.
Microsoft: the law firm that thinks it’s a software company.
First case fails the requirement of novelty. A just court would rule that a patent that fails any one of the tests: novel, inobvious, and useful is null and void.
The problem is not with the patent, but with the court.
Second case, currently patents last 20 from date of filing. Period. There are no extensions. A company or inventor can continue to file patents on any improvements or derivative works/technologies, but the underlying technology becomes public domain after the initial creator has his first bite at the apple.
Without the protection of patents an individual would have absolutely no hope of deriving any benefit from his own efforts. Lack of such protection absolutely stifles any creative effort.
Compare the net creativity of all civilizations before Franklin proposed patents, to after it became possible to “own”, no matter how temporarily, an idea.
In an era where patents are used as rent entitlements, like the huge estates granted the grandees of England, for a class of people whose only innovation and expertise is in litigation and lobbying; then yes, a the only way company can become huge is to become a law firm.