Department of Justice (DoJ) lawyers and the 18 state attorneys opposing Microsoft in its antitrust case filed a brief with the Court of Appeals yesterday, asking it to deny the software maker's request for a rehearing.

The government claimed Microsoft went beyond the scope of what is allowed in this stage of the legal process, and covered areas not germane to the appellate court. The government also believes that many of the issues raised in Microsoft's filing for a rehearing have already been addressed by the court, and rejected.

Last week, Microsoft asked the court to rehear part of the case that had to do with the "co-mingling" of its Internet Explorer Web-browser code with its Windows operating system. Microsoft claimed that critical evidence regarding this was overlooked at appeal.

The government responded: "Microsoft's argument is clearly erroneous and provides no sound reason for the court to revisit its contrary conclusion."

The appeals court is preparing to act on the next step of the landmark antitrust case. The DoJ has already asked the court to speed the case to a trial court rather than waiting the regulation 52 days. It argues that moving the case as quickly as possible is in the best interest of competition and the public.

Microsoft has told the court that it opposes a speedy trial.