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Judge bans Microsoft Word sales following patent suit

updated 07:40 am EDT, Wed August 12, 2009

Judge bans Word sales

As part of the final order in a patent infringement suit, Judge Leonard Davis in the U.S. District Court of Eastern Texas has issued a permanent injunction against Microsoft. The company has been effectively banned from selling Word 2003, Word 2007 and similar products.

The case was initially filed by the Canadian company i4i, which holds patents relating to XML files. A court document prohibits Microsoft from selling any Word products "that have the capability of opening a .XML, .DOCX, or .DOCM file ('an XML file') containing custom XML."

Along with the injuntion, Davis added another $77 million in enhanced damages and pre-judgment interest, on top of the $200 million that was previously disclosed. Microsoft is also required to pay approximately $165,000 per day, from May 21sto to August 11th, for pre-judgment interest and post-verdict damages.

Although Microsoft is barred from selling current software with custom XML, the injunction permits Word to be modified in a way that opens XML as plain text or removes all custom XML elements. The company is also permitted to continue offering support to customers that already own a copy of the infringing products.

Despite the verdict and judgment terms, Microsoft has claimed innocence in the suit. The case was filed in a particular district court that is well known for patent infringement suits, as many plaintiffs expect a favorable outcome there.

By Electronista Staff
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  1. beb

    Mac Elite

    Joined: Jan 2002



    Does this affect Word Sales everywhere or just Texas? How does this affect third party vendors?

  1. snork

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Feb 2008


    RE: Question

    Yeah, I dunno. Just checked over at Dell and you can still configure a PC with MS Office? Maybe it hasn't gone into affect yet? Or it could be that if 3rd party vendors already have copies (of which there are probably millions of copies already in OEM hands), they can sell them since they've already been "bought" from MS?

  1. JulesLt

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Jul 2005



    While I'm sure some Mac people delight in anything bad that happens to MS, this is one dumb case, because there is a whole load of prior art on this patent.

  1. lockhartt

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Apr 2000


    Re: just texas

    The United States District courts are the trial courts of the Federal court system... their judgments are binding throughout the U.S.

  1. IxOsX

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Feb 2009



    I remember tomtom and lot of other companies and I smile for Microsoft taste is own poison.

    For MSOffice World depents recomend use OpenOffice is free, is standard, and is as good as MSOffice.

  1. climacs

    Mac Enthusiast

    Joined: Sep 2001



    the case will be appealed and overturned by a higher court which is not run by a bunch of east Texas hicks.

  1. Eldernorm

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Sep 2007


    Bad thought

    While I am not a fan of MS, this kind of ruling is going too far. When cases go to a specific city cause they know the people there almost always go with with the complainer.

    Even if your an Apple fan, software uses all kinds of formats to open and read files. This affects everyone.

    Just a thought.

  1. pairof9s

    Senior User

    Joined: Jan 2008



    I'm not aware of the intricacies of this case, but I would say that such a judgement may be necessary to get Microsoft to comply.

    One only has to look at the foot-dragging and endless appeals MS made in both the US and EU monopoly trials to see how ineffective any lesser ruling can have with their compliance.


  1. aristotles

    Grizzled Veteran

    Joined: Jul 2004


    Venue shopping...

    These patent trolls should not be allowed to shop for a favourable venue and should have to file in the jurisdiction where the offending company is located. While a company is not really a person in a real sense, they are a person in the legal sense and every person is expected to have to opportunity to be tried by their own peers. Since MSFT is located in Washington, they should be judged my their own peers rather than by some backward hicks living in eastern Texas.

  1. Koda

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Jul 2003


    Maybe it's me

    but the way I read this, MS got sued for their proprietary version of XML. The patent holder seems to be allowing MS to use XML if MS "opens XML as plain text or removes all custom XML elements" as the article states.

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