Scott Daniels | May 10, 2010

Claims 14-20 of U.S. Patent No. 5,787,449, belonging to i4i, have emerged from reexamination intact.[1] The ‘449 patent claims a software method for storing and processing content and metacodes separately and distinctly.

The ‘449 patent was the subject of an infringement action in the Eastern District of Texas, i4i v. Microsoft (CA No. 6:07CV113, E.D. Tex.), at the end of which the jury awarded i4i $200 million.  Judge Leonard Davis added $37 million in pre-judgment interest and also permanently enjoined Microsoft’s future infringement of the ‘449 patent, though the CAFC stayed the injunction pending appeal.

Prior to the trial in Texas, Microsoft requested the present reexamination, asserting that claims of the ‘449 patent were invalid over an earlier patent and article. The PTO granted the reexamination and issued an Office Action, rejecting all pending claims on June 15, 2009. The ‘449 patentee traversed the rejection, and late last month, the PTO withdrew the rejection.

In a lengthy analysis of the prior art, the examiner concluded that the prior art references, cited by Microsoft and relied upon in the rejection, did render the claims obvious.  Neither reference disclosed the step of “compiling a map of the metacodes in the distinct storage means by locating, detecting, and addressing the metacodes” of claim 14 or the step of “noting in the map the found metacode and its position in the content” of claim 20.

This successful resolution of the reexamination should be a major help to i4i in the appeal at the CAFC and in its negotiation with Microsoft.

[1] Claims 1-13 were not included in the reexamination.

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