In its 102-page appeal of the recent i4i patent ruling that would require Microsoft to take Word off the market in October, the software giant's lawyers railed against the judge in the case, citing various failures and missteps. And Microsoft has some weighty friends on its side: Both Dell and HP have joined the company in calling for the overturning of the injunction against Word.

"The trial judge's role as a gatekeeper is crucial," the Microsoft appeal begins. "This case stands as a stark example of what can happen in a patent case when a judge abdicates those gatekeeping functions."

Microsoft's lawyers go on to accuse Judge Leonard Davis of allowing unreliable evidence, contradictory patent specification theory, and even the lies of the patent inventor. But their most damning comments address the $40 million in fines that Davis levied the software giant for for its lawyer's alleged trial misconduct. "The Court's enhancement \[of fees\] is premised on errors of law and accordingly must be vacated," the appeal notes.

On Monday, both Dell and HP asked to file "friend of the court" briefs in support of Microsoft's motion to stay the injunction. Should the Word injunction go through as scheduled in October, both companies would be forced to stop bundling Microsoft Office products with their PCs. Even changing Word to accommodate the i4i patent would require each company to change the software images they develop for their PCs, a process they refer to as time consuming.

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