Microsoft ordered to stop selling Word

A federal court in Texas has ordered Microsoft to stop selling Microsoft Word.

READ THE UPDATE! Verdict puts brakes on sales of Word; Microsoft ordered to pay $290 million in damages

Judge Leonard Davis of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas, Tyler Division, ruled yesterday in favor of Toronto-based i4i, stating that Microsoft unlawfully infringed the Canadian company’s patent.

At a jury trial that began on May 11, representatives for i4i said that Microsoft’s use of Word 2007 for processing XML documents with custom XML elements “willfully” infringed i4i’s Patent 449.

The ruling prohibits Microsoft from selling or importing to the U.S. any Word products that have the capability of opening XML, .DOCX or DOCM files that contain custom XML.

The ruling is set to go into effect in 60 days. The judge has also granted an award and damages of $290 million to i4i.

“We are disappointed by the court’s ruling,” said Kevin Kutz, a Microsoft spokesman. “We believe the evidence clearly demonstrated that we do not infringe and that the i4i patent is invalid. We will appeal the verdict.”

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Trudy Walsh is a senior writer for GCN.

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Reader Comments

Tue, Aug 18, 2009 lm

Microsoft has been supporting authoring capabilities of SGML and HTML since the mid 1980's. Now someone takes them to court on how to . ISO 8879:1986 SGML was often leveraged by multiple authoring systems. XML is a derivitive of SGML. It is easy to research most of this history. SGML --> HTML --> XML. As an early developer of Flight Line Tech manuals written in SGML, we were excited to see Microsoft embrace SGML, so we could stop writting Authoring systems and get on with the real work of building presentation systems that could be used by the masses and various use cases. Suggesting in this court case that Microsoft does not do their share of contributing to ISO standards like SGML, HTML and now XML ( with DOCM ), is just holding back our progress with Presenting new XML type content. Instead they can go back and create a PROPRIETARY PDF type format that you have to have some $600 authoring system to modify.

Mon, Aug 17, 2009

Is US a land of law or not? If it is then MS has to respect it as well. What a customer may buy it is customer's choice.

Fri, Aug 14, 2009 IndustryWatcher Greater NYC

It won't be the first or last time that MS has grabbed someone else's idea and called it their own! They are however the first to cry foul when someone does it to them and because of their deep pockets, they virtually always win in court. Congrats to Judge Davis for his decision.

Thu, Aug 13, 2009 JC

I'm not a big fan of MS and Word in particular (OpenOffice is far more usable), but something here doesn't make sense. One of the primary purposes of XML is to be able to create and use custom tags. That someone should have a patent on this doesn't sound right at all.

Thu, Aug 13, 2009 john north vancouver bc

LBrad has it rather wrong. Microsoft routinely does hiring sweeps at the major campuses for the big 3 universities here across the border from their Redmond Wa headquarters. Is it any wonder EA has a HUGE campus here? Or that Pixar is putting together a second studio here. The Balckberry is made by RIM here in Canada.

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