The Federal Circuit yesterday upheld almost all of a $240 judgment against Microsoft Corporation for willful patent infringement. 

U.S. District Judge Leonard A. Davis presided over a jury trial on i4i's claims.  He accepted findings of infringement and willfulness and the jury's verdict of $200 million in damages.  He also enhanced the award by $40 million, in part due to Microsoft's misbehavior during the lawsuit. 

The Federal Circuit agreed with all that and adjusted only the start date of the permanent injunction against future use of the XML editor feature in Microsoft's popular Word application program.  The only evidence of when Microsoft could achieve the switch said it could happen at the earliest after five months.  The panel gave Microsoft exactly that much time.  i4i Ltd. Partnership v. Microsoft Corp., No. 09-1504 (Fed. Cir. Dec. 22, 2009).

The decision drew Blawgletter's curiosity in part because it likewise attracted an amicus curiae brief from the Washington Legal Foundation, which styles itself "a public interest law and policy center that devotes substantial resources to defending and promoting free enterprise, individual rights, and a limited and accountable government."  Anxious to see what Issue of Great Moment and Wide Public Interest grabbed WLF's attention, we scanned its brief.  But imagine our disappointment at what we saw:  "WLF believes that the excessive damages award and ill-conceived injunction in this case reflect disturbing trends in patent infringement cases more generally."

The Disturbing Trends problem!  Woo-hoo!