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(23-Dec-09) For a tiny Toronto software manufacturer nestled in the city's grimy garment district, winning a $290 million court judgment against Microsoft is more than simply a long-awaited victory.
"It's a battle cry for the entrepreneur and every small company," trumpets Loudon Owen, i4i's chairman, just hours after learning of the U.S. federal appeals court's decision.
That cry was closer to a whimper two years ago when i4i, a 30-person document collaboration firm, sued Microsoft (MSFT, Fortune 500), claiming it violated a patent with features found in Word 2003 and Word 2007. The offending technology lets users edit XML, a computer programming language that customizes the way a document's contents are interpreted and displayed.
In August 2009, a Texas jury agreed with i4i, ordering Microsoft to pay $290 million in damages and stop selling Word in the U.S. Although Microsoft appealed that decision, a federal appeals court upheld the judgment on Tuesday, issuing an injunction that bars Microsoft from selling versions of Word that contain the offending patent technology. The court's ruling takes effect on Jan. 11, 2010.