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Microsoft loses appeal, Office banned without update

updated 02:40 pm EST, Tue December 22, 2009

MS must pay i4i and take Office off shelves

Microsoft on Tuesday lost its appeal against a $290 million infringement verdict that threatens to remove Word and the Office suite from the market. The US Court of Appeals has upheld a verdict that claims XML code in Word 2003 and 2007 violates patents developed by Toronto, Canada-based i4i for XML plugins. It also removes a temporary stay and would ban all sales of infringing copies of Word as of January 11th unless changes are made by Microsoft.

It's not certain if Microsoft can make simple alterations as the DOCX and DOCM formats are integral to Microsoft's Office bundle. It would also require pulling support for regular XML from the software. Software that supports the formats but doesn't use a similar implementation, such as iWork's Pages, OpenOffice and TextEdit, are exempt from the i4i-related ban.

Patent holder i4i has said it's "especially pleased" as it protects the relatively small company's development work.

Microsoft has tried to downplay the verdict and says it will comply with the injunction by pulling the "little-used feature" in a new version released ahead of January 11th. It also claims that betas of Office 2010 and Word 2010 don't include technology made by i4i but contradicts its claims of unimportance by saying it may demand an en banc rehearing in the Court of Appeals or a writ of certiorari, or a judicial review, from the Supreme Court.

By Electronista Staff
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  1. Foe Hammer

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Feb 2005


    An i 4 an i indeed

    MS infringing on patents? If this were Apple, testu-stu-studio would be all over this already.

  1. dliup

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Jan 2006



    Well, recently versions of windows, such as XP was banned from China, so this is not too far out.

  1. testudo

    Forum Regular

    Joined: Aug 2001


    Re: An i 4 an i

    And exactly how would I be 'all over this'? That it was unfair? That it was fair?

    What is for sure is if i4i won this suit against Apple and iWork, everyone else would be all over this talking up how software patents are bad, or i4i was just on a money-grab.

    And if you look at previous items on this lawsuit, you'd see that I previously defended them, and also mentioned that i4i is an actual company that actually produces products (as opposed to many of these claimants).

  1. gor3don

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Nov 2005


    Re: An i 4 an i

    He's right

  1. aristotles

    Grizzled Veteran

    Joined: Jul 2004


    This does set a bad precedent. These patents are b

    The patent in this case should never have been granted. They patented a specific application of a technology that they did not invent. It is like patenting a specific sentence in the English language.

    The patent office should be closed down permanently until an alternative system can be created that provides temporary protection of actual "inventions" so that inventors have a chance to first exploit their invention before the competitors do.

  1. cal6n

    Junior Member

    Joined: Nov 2003


    Hang on...

    Is this the same XML format that Microsoft were desperately pushing as an ISO standard instead of the opendocument XML format?

    And it's not even their IP?

    Words fail me...

  1. jarod

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Apr 2005


    This is great!

    I don't see why this is a bad thing. The more Microsh*t gets put in place the better it is for everyone. I just want to see it completely fragged :D

  1. testudo

    Forum Regular

    Joined: Aug 2001



    but contradicts its claims of unimportance by saying it may demand an en banc rehearing in the Court of Appeals or a writ of certiorari, or a judicial review, from the Supreme Court.

    That isn't a contradiction. They're saying the feature isn't that big of a deal, but they want it overturned, if, for no other reason, so they don't have to pay them $200 million.

  1. ggirton

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Nov 1999


    whats wrong with paying?

    It's not like Microsoft doesn't have the dough.

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