Court hears arguments in Microsoft patent case

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The Supreme Court on Monday heard arguments from Microsoft Corp. asking it to overturn a $290 million patent infringement judgment against the world's largest software maker, a ruling that could have a profound effect on how corporations protect and profit from their future inventions.

An eight-justice court on Monday heard arguments from the Redmond, Washington-based Microsoft, which wants the multimillion dollar judgment against it erased because it claims a judge used the wrong standard.

Business groups are closely watching this case. The U.S. government made more than $64 billion off of international licensing and royalties from patents in 2009, with an expected growth rate of 15 percent a year. A ruling for Microsoft could make companies less likely to invest in new inventions, but a ruling for i4i, the company which brought the lawsuit against Microsoft, could make it harder for large corporations to fight off such challenges.

The cost of fighting off a patent lawsuit could be as much as $4 million per defendant, companies say.

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