Microsoft Corp. V. I4i Ltd

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In Microsoft Corp. Ltd. v. i4i Ltd. Partn., the Supreme Court announced that “clear and convincing evidence” is the proper standard of proof for launching patent invalidity defense under 35 U.S.C.§282. The decision resolved the split among federal circuits as to the appropriate standard of proof required for a patent invalidity defense.
Procedural Background i4i Ltd. Partnership, is a software consulting firm that creates, markets and sells software products. In 1994, it applied to patent its “improved method for editing computer documents, which stores a document's content separately from the metacodes associated with the document's structure”. After approximately 4 years, the USPTO granted its application and issued U.S. Patent No. 5,787,449 (“‘449 patent”). In 2007, i4i sued Microsoft for willful patent infringement, alleging that certain Microsoft products infringed upon its patent. Microsoft counterclaimed and sought judgement stating that i4i’s patent was invalid and unenforceable.
The District Court
Despite Microsoft’s objections, the District Court instructed the jury that “Microsoft has the burden of proving invalidity by clear and convincing evidence”. The jury found Microsoft liable for willful infringement and awarded i4i $200 million in damages.
The Federal Court
Microsoft appealed the
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The Court also noted, that it is assumed that Congress’s legislative purpose is expressed by the ordinary meaning of the language” chosen, however, where Congress, “Congress uses a common-law term in a statute, we assume the “term ... comes with a common law meaning, absent anything pointing another way”. The term “presumed valid” the Court stated had a settled common law meaning that was read into

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