The U.S. Supreme Court has unanimously ruled against Microsoft in its appeal of a record $290 million jury verdict in software giant Microsoft’s patent case against the tiny Canadian software company.
In their decision (pdf, 27 pages), the justices rejected Microsoft’s argument for a ruling to lower a long-held standard protecting a plaintiff’s patent in an infringement case.
Microsoft argued that a jury should determine a patent’s validity by a “preponderance” of the evidence instead of the more heightened “clear and convincing” evidence.
The Supreme Court upheld the more stringent “clear and convincing” standard.
In writing the court’s opinion, Justice Sonia Maria Sotomayor called into question Microsoft’s interpretation that Congress had not adopted a heightened standard of proof in patent cases.
“Microsoft contends that those cases applied a clear and-convincing standard of proof only in two limited circumstances, not in every case involving an invalidity,” Sotomayer wrote in one passage.
“Squint as we may, we fail to see the qualifications that Microsoft purports to identify …”
Here is a statement from Microsoft:
This case raised an important issue of law which the Supreme Court itself had questioned in an earlier decision and which we believed needed resolution. While the outcome is not what we had hoped for, we will continue to advocate for changes to the law that will prevent abuse of the patent system and protect inventors who hold patents representing true innovation.
The court ruling is embedded below: