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Microsoft starts patent appeal with strong words

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Microsoft began its appeal of a $290 million fine and a pending injunction against the sale of Microsoft Word with a strongly worded appeal today.

"In patent cases, even more than most, the trial judge's role as a gatekeeper is crucial. . . This case stands as a stark example of what can happen in a patent case when a judge abdicates those gatekeeping functions," Microsoft said in its filing.

"This is not justice," Microsoft added. "If district courts are free to admit theories of infringement that nullify a patent's claim terms, specification, prosecution history, and title; if they will allow an inventor to validate his patent by testifying without corroboration that he lied about the date of conception; if they will not intercede to preclude manifestly unreliable -- indeed, concededly manipulated -- surveys of infringing use ... then patent litigation will be reduced to a free-for-all, unbounded by the requirements of the substantive law or the rules of evidence or trial procedure."

Microsoft said that patent law has a goal that is defined in the Constitution. "While that mode of dispute resolution might enrich some plaintiffs and their investors, it hardly can be said to 'promote the Progress of Science and the useful Arts.' U.S. Const. article I, section 8," Microsoft said.

"The appeal brief filed by Microsoft is an extraordinary document. It captures the hostile attitude of Microsoft toward inventors who dare to enforce patents against them. It is also blatantly derogatory about the Court system," said Loudon Owen, i4i Chairman.

Let the battle begin.

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