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MS Dubs Word Injunction "Miscarriage of Justice"

By - Source: Tom's Hardware US | B 30 comments

Microsoft Wednesday appealed a judge's decision to impose an injunction on the sale of Word in the United States.

Microsoft's lawyers have appealed the ruling that granted Toronto-based i4i $290 million in damages and placed a permanent injunction on the sale of Word in the U.S. The company was granted a fast track appeal for the injunction, which it last week said would cause irreparable damage to the company. Microsoft Wednesday appealed to a panel of three judges, calling the ruling a "miscarriage of injustice."

ComputerWorld cites Microsoft's appeal brief as criticizing Judge Leonard Davis' handling of the case. The Redmond-based company went on to say that the court should have recognized "a trial run amok."

This case stands as a stark example of what can happen in a patent case when a judge abdicates [his] gatekeeping functions," Microsoft said. "If the district court had been more faithful to its role as gatekeeper, it should have recognized a trial run amok and interceded to prevent a miscarriage of justice."

ComputerWord reported earlier this week that following the filing of Microsoft's appeal brief, a response from i4i is due in two weeks time, on September 8, while Microsoft's reply to that must reach the court by noon on September 14. The oral hearing is set for September 23.

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  • 14 Hide
    falconqc , August 28, 2009 3:50 PM
    I wonder, why is i4i not suing the creators of Open Office? As I recall, Open Office has XML support and the ability to read/write .docx files.
  • 13 Hide
    puddleglum , August 28, 2009 3:40 PM
    Wouldn't be such a big deal if everyone weren't dependent on a product from one vendor.
  • 10 Hide
    Anonymous , August 28, 2009 3:51 PM
    There used to be quality control for issuing patents 100 years ago. Now they give one to anybody who's willing to pay.
Other Comments
  • 13 Hide
    puddleglum , August 28, 2009 3:40 PM
    Wouldn't be such a big deal if everyone weren't dependent on a product from one vendor.
  • 14 Hide
    falconqc , August 28, 2009 3:50 PM
    I wonder, why is i4i not suing the creators of Open Office? As I recall, Open Office has XML support and the ability to read/write .docx files.
  • 10 Hide
    Anonymous , August 28, 2009 3:51 PM
    There used to be quality control for issuing patents 100 years ago. Now they give one to anybody who's willing to pay.
  • 6 Hide
    geoffs , August 28, 2009 4:22 PM
    falconqcI wonder, why is i4i not suing the creators of Open Office? As I recall, Open Office has XML support and the ability to read/write .docx files.
    Maybe because there is no money to be made from doing so? Go ahead, get an injunction forcing them to stop giving away Open Office for free. If they prevail over MS, and if OO infringes the same patents, then the probably will sue, but in IP suits, you always pick one of two groups for your initial suit(s):

    1. Go after someone with money and a lot to lose. Pro, big potential settlement, chance that they will simply pay a license fee rather than risk a court battle. Con, they've got a lot to lose, they're likely to fight if they think the licensing fee will cost more than the court battle.

    2. Go after a small company who can't afford a big court battle and is likely to sign a license agreement. Pro, getting someone to license your patent implies the patent is valid, and may provide some additional working cash. If the alleged infringer fights you in court and loses, you have precedent indicating the patent is enforceable. Con, there isn't much chance of getting much money. The only reasons to pursue this first is to strengthen the apparent validity of a patent. That may help lower costs and/or speed up later cases against larger infringers.
  • -1 Hide
    Hanin33 , August 28, 2009 4:30 PM
    this is only an injustice for microsoft in that they're finally be held as an infringer and are unable to pay their way out... if it were them on the other side they would do everything possible to sink the opposing company...

    in this case, we've heard evidence that microsoft knew in advance of this 'patent' and tried to sneak around it. case closed, pay up or stop making your infringing product.
  • 2 Hide
    hemelskonijn , August 28, 2009 4:31 PM
    falconqc :
    I wonder, why is i4i not suing the creators of Open Office? As I recall, Open Office has XML support and the ability to read/write .docx files.

    Because microsoft was interested in the past in buying a license and chose to go rouge.According to i4i the patent has no hold on the implementation used in OOo but might possible be violated by lotus however they stated that they see no point in hunting them down.

    This is a healthy attitude since the reason for suing microsoft is based on both using patented stuff and because microsoft pulled back out of a deal to be able to use it years ago. (twice the screw)
  • 4 Hide
    Major7up , August 28, 2009 4:32 PM
    falconqcI wonder, why is i4i not suing the creators of Open Office? As I recall, Open Office has XML support and the ability to read/write .docx files.

    They won't get much from such an action seeing how Open Office is not sold.
  • 3 Hide
    agentjon , August 28, 2009 5:04 PM
    I hope they get this resolved soon. I need Word for 20 new employees.
  • -4 Hide
    Yoder54 , August 28, 2009 5:14 PM
    There is always WordPerfect.

    Funny how MS almost drove WP into extinction, and now they will be the first to profit from MS's dubious business practices.
  • 1 Hide
    E7130 , August 28, 2009 5:18 PM
    Hanin33this is only an injustice for microsoft in that they're finally be held as an infringer and are unable to pay their way out... if it were them on the other side they would do everything possible to sink the opposing company...in this case, we've heard evidence that microsoft knew in advance of this 'patent' and tried to sneak around it. case closed, pay up or stop making your infringing product.


    I've read their patent, its very vague and doesn't resemble the method in which is used in docx. It shouldn't have even been made a patent.

    If your going to challenge a giant with patent infringement, better make sure your shit makes since and isn't just a bunch of flow charts and actually describe a unique technology that you can produce. I think MS stomp the shit out of them and bankrupt their company.
  • 5 Hide
    jhansonxi , August 28, 2009 5:56 PM
    Microsoft was penalized with an injunction - they EARNED an injunction just like their lawyers earned a nice fine as well. If it wasn't for an internal email that showed their intent to make i4i's obsolete after meeting with them, the injunction wouldn't have occurred. WILLFUL INFRINGEMENT on this scale has its rewards.
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , August 28, 2009 6:03 PM
    Easiest way to get the judges and the rest of the government to recognize their error would be to comply with the judgement and to issue an update disabling all copies of MS Word.

    All Documents which are in said formats and which require MS word to read or edit will be unavailable to most parties and it would be too costly to update all the affected systems with compatible programs which users would be comfortable using.

    This would force them to re-examine the issue, how patents are issued and the abuse of the patent system.

    With a little bit of luck, the patent system would go back to the way it used to be which is to say, you could NOT be vague about the design of an object or system. You would have to be precise in your designs.
  • -1 Hide
    megamanx00 , August 28, 2009 6:44 PM
    falconqcI wonder, why is i4i not suing the creators of Open Office? As I recall, Open Office has XML support and the ability to read/write .docx files.


    Well the ability to read and write docx files is based on a plugin so that could be easily removed. Even so ODF is very similar in nature and technically they would be able to use the same patent to sue Sun and supporters of the ODF format. Since it's open source the offending XML support would simply be removed by programmers who need to get work done and it would be removed quickly. Also there are numerous groups who support the standard and whom collectively hold a large number of patents and might be inclined to litigate i4i into oblivion. From there you get the EFF involved and every effort will be made to invalidate the i4i patent. If that happens i4i will be sued for suing people in the first place.

    Yeah it wouldn't go to well.
  • 1 Hide
    freiheitner , August 28, 2009 6:54 PM
    I'm afraid that if the patent is valid, then the law was carried out. Microsoft's real complaint would seem to be that they don't have a patent suit they can slap back with.
  • 0 Hide
    ahnilated , August 28, 2009 7:19 PM
    You guys really need to read the patent and what i4i said. They said that ODF does NOT infringe on their patent. MS will fully infringed on their patent and tried to bury them. I think what the judge did is correct and MS has a history of doing this type of stuff.
  • 1 Hide
    manjyomethunder , August 28, 2009 7:36 PM
    Another company trying to make a quick buck with a bullshit patent and a lawsuit.
  • -1 Hide
    Anonymous , August 28, 2009 8:55 PM
    There's a nice article here
    http://www.groklaw.net/article.php?story=20090812144154814
    So yes patents suck, but it's "legitimate" with an actual product to back it up. And Open offices ODF isn't at risk due to a lack of 'custom' XML.
    I guess there Word interpreter could be, but it's probably not a big deal.
  • -3 Hide
    pullmyfinger123 , August 28, 2009 9:08 PM
    Using the phrase "miscarriage of justice", Microsoft implied there was some kind of abortion (natural or artificial) performed on mama-justice. So Microsoft not only just irked anti-trust officials, it just pissed off the Pope. Good luck Microsoft, you just made another powerful enemy.
  • -1 Hide
    jecht , August 28, 2009 9:38 PM
    jhansonxiMicrosoft was penalized with an injunction - they EARNED an injunction just like their lawyers earned a nice fine as well. If it wasn't for an internal email that showed their intent to make i4i's obsolete after meeting with them, the injunction wouldn't have occurred. WILLFUL INFRINGEMENT on this scale has its rewards.


    I agree. If it hadn't been willful infringement on Microsoft's part, I think Microsoft would have been fully within their rights in this case. A vague patent, with no real products implementing it, should not be valid in pursuing lawsuits against "infringing" companies years after the fact. However, in this case, with proof of willful infringement, I have to side with i4i.

    It's been said many times before, but the US seriously needs to rework its patent system. I'm sick of hearing of cases like this.
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