US government sides against Microsoft in Supreme Court patent case

The U.S. government itself has come out against in a Supreme Court case that may decide the way patents are protected.

The U.S. solicitor general, which represents the federal government in the highest court, on Friday filed an amicus brief in support of i4i, saying that the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office should not be second-guessed by a jury.

Indeed, i4i, which won a $290 million patent judgment against Microsoft, has now accrued 22 amicus briefs in its corner, which represent more than 100 companies, organizations and individuals, including the U.S. government, individuals from the military, and venture capitalists. Compare that to 20 amicus briefs, which represent about 60 companies and individuals, including Google, , , Intel, , the Electronic Frontier Foundation and 37 law and economics professors.


Additionally, IBM and five others have weighed in with opinions on the case via amicus briefs but have not offered support for either party in this case, offering opinions for the Supreme Court to consider before it rules. That ruling is expected in June, with oral arguments slated to begin on April 18.

The Microsoft vs. i4i patent case has become the new rallying point among those that want to see software patent reform, including advocates. The technology industry is generally lining up in favor of Microsoft (making for some strange bedfellows defending Microsoft, such as ). In i4i's corner are representatives from an particularly from science, university research, military and the government -- even the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office itself.