Hungar disputed that, noting that Microsoft has a broad patent portfolio, and so has no interest in seeing the law weakened. Instead, he argued, a lowering of the burden of proof bar would bolster, not diminish, the value of patents.
"If the Court rules in Microsoft's favor, it would be a significant improvement to the patent system," said Hungar in a post-hearing interview. "Many, many patents would continue to be validated. Only illegitimate patents would not be enforced."
Microsoft's contention is that i4i's patent is among the latter.
"The current 'clear and convincing evidence' standard is actually harmful to innovation," said Hungar, because companies are unable to use technology that has been improperly awarded patents, resulting in laying out licensing fees that should instead be spent on research and development.
"All [a ruling in favor of Microsoft] would do is lead to the invalidation of some patents that shouldn't have been awarded in the first place," Hungar said.
The Supreme Court is expected to hand down its ruling by June, when its current session ends.
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