Microsoft can't sell Word anymore in the US

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Microsoft can't sell Word anymore in the US

Postby stoperror » Wed 12 Aug, 2009 8:10 am

A judge in a Texas court has given Microsoft 60 days to comply with an order to stop selling Word products in their existing state as the result of a patent infringement suit filed by i4i. According to the injunction, Microsoft is forbidden from selling Word products that let people create XML documents, which both the 2003 and 2007 versions let you do. Michael Cherry, an analyst quoted in the article, said, 'It's going to take a long time for this kind of thing to get sorted out.' Few believe the injunction will actually stop Word from being sold because there are ways of working around it. In early 2009, a jury in the Texas court ordered Microsoft to pay i4i $200 million for infringing on the patent. ZDNet has a look at the patent itself, saying it 'sounds a bit generic.


More available here, here, here, and here.

Don't you think software patents are getting out of hand?
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Postby Don_HH2K » Wed 12 Aug, 2009 2:16 pm

I'm personally more concerned about the further-reaching aspects of the case. If i4i can successfully claim patent infringement on XML-based templating in Word, there's nothing saying they couldn't turn around and apply the same logic to the XML-based formats used in OpenOffice and iWork, or possibly even go after companies using Web standards like XSL.

As for Microsoft, it looks like i4i is a privately-held company, which would make it relatively easy for Microsoft to simply acquire both the company and its intellectual property.
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Postby stoperror » Wed 12 Aug, 2009 4:40 pm

Yeah, I thought it'd be easier for Microsoft to just purchase i4i (which may have been i4i's goal from the get-go). Plus, from now on Microsoft may actually work to abolish software patents. Wait, who am I kidding? They wouldn't.
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Postby richard mitnick » Wed 12 Aug, 2009 7:07 pm

What I do not understand is why these things take so long to happen. Did someone at the wounded party just wake up? Or do they just take this long to go through legal due diligence before coming to court?

>>RSM
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Postby Don_HH2K » Thu 13 Aug, 2009 12:13 pm

I4i applied for the patent in question in 1994 and had it granted in 1998. The earliest mention of the legal case I can find is from May, but what's more interesting is that i4i sells a product called x4o, which provides for XML authoring in Word. As far as I can tell, the x4o product was launched after Word 2003 with XML authoring built in.
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Postby Antony » Sat 22 Aug, 2009 6:16 pm

Microsoft has filed an appeal on Tuesday requesting a stay in the injunction that will block the company from selling Word in the States.

Microsoft's filing claims that if a stay isn't granted it will suffer irreparable harm and that it's in the best interest of the public to let Word stay on the market. Those claims, it turns out, are the same ones that were rejected when the injunction was issued.

Whether or not the Appeals Judge agrees with Microsoft's arguments remains to be seen since he has not yet issued a ruling.


(source)
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Postby Antony » Fri 04 Sep, 2009 5:31 am

According to Cnet news.com,

[i]Microsoft has been granted a stay of a landmark injunction in a patent infringement case that would have required the software giant to stop selling its popular Word in its current form by next month.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit on Thursday granted Microsoft's motion for a stay, pending appeal, of an injunction issued in August by a federal judge that bars sales of Word that include a custom XML code found to infringe on patents held by i4i--the plaintiff.[/ig]
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