Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Companies Takes Sides in Microsoft (Nasdaq:MSFT), i4i Patent Lawsuit

Microsoft (Nasdaq:MSFT) views its legal battle with i4i as one related to the stifling of innovation, while i4i views it as presumption of validity concerning patents.

Consequently, both companies have supporters, with Microsoft receiving backing from Wal-Mart (NYSE:WMT), Apple (Nasdaq:AAPL) and Google (Nasdaq:GOOG), while i4i has has backing from patent-reliant companies such as Monsanto (NYSE:MON), Amgen (Nasdaq:AMGN), Genentech (NYSE:DNA), DuPont (NYSE:DD).

Obviously all the companies above deal in patents, but it's more the companies choosing between innovation versus patents as far as the highest importance that's at issue, which is determining who they're backing.

The group of companies backing i4i sent a letter to the Department of Justice saying this, "We are greatly concerned that a reversal of the lower court's decision in this case could seriously weaken the presumption of validity that attaches to millions of patents in force in the United States today, thereby undermining long-standing investment-backed reliance interests that are critical for domestic job creation and economic growth, and for U.S. technological leadership internationally."

Microsoft spokesman Kevin Kutz responded to the above letter, saying, "This case is certainly about protecting innovation. Innovation is harmed by bad patents. When bad patents can't be challenged effectively, that's when innovation is significantly at risk."

Microsoft has appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court, which will hear the case in the early part of 2011.

Microsoft closed Tuesday at $28.01, down $0.06, or 0.21 percent.

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