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Judge: Microsoft Can't Sell Word in the U.S.

By - Source: Tom's Hardware US | B 85 comments

A judge has ruled that Microsoft is no longer allowed to sell Microsoft Word in the United States because of a patent infringement.

The verdict comes a few months after Microsoft was ordered to pay Toronto-based i4i $200 million for infringing upon a patent awarded to the company in 1998. U.S. Patent No. 5,787,499 covers software designed to manipulate "document architecture and content." Attorneys at McKool Smith, the firm representing i4i, explained that the software covered by the patent removed the need for individual, manually embedded command codes to control text formatting in electronic documents.

McKool Smith yesterday announced that Judge Leonard Davis, of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas, had ordered a permanent injunction that "prohibits Microsoft from selling or importing to the United States any Microsoft Word products that have the capability of opening .XML, .DOCX or DOCM files (XML files) containing custom XML."

Judge Davis also enhanced the damages awarded in May, tacking on an additional $40 million for willful infringement, $37 million in prejudgment interest, including an additional $21,102 per day until a final judgment is reached in the case and $144,060 per day until the date of final judgment for post-verdict damages.

Microsoft has 60 days to comply with the ruling, and the Redmond-based company has already said it will appeal the verdict.

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Top Comments
  • 45 Hide
    jsloan , August 12, 2009 4:33 PM
    wow, we have one f*cked up patent system...
  • 21 Hide
    TidalWaveOne , August 12, 2009 4:45 PM
    DOWN WITH ALL SOFTWARE PATENTS! What a waste.
  • 20 Hide
    hellwig , August 12, 2009 5:32 PM
    Jerky_sanI dunno about that.. I've read Microsoft and Linux distros infringe on each other and Unix.. But its like the cold war.. 1 fires their missiles everyone on every side will launch theirs so they have a stand still and just infringe their marry ways..

    The only problem here is i4i is probably a patent black-hole. Meaning all they do is collect patents without creating a meaningful product. Therefore, they fired their missiles, but Microsoft has nothing to fire back at. Patents should be invalidated if the owner makes no attempt to market or license the patent. Waiting till someone infringes and suing them is a total B.S. way of running a business.
Other Comments
  • 2 Hide
    thejerk , August 12, 2009 4:26 PM
    LOL
  • -4 Hide
    jediagh , August 12, 2009 4:31 PM
    So the priates of Xerox finally get caught?
  • 1 Hide
    scook9 , August 12, 2009 4:33 PM
    Suckage. Glad I already own a couple copies...

    this is why you have to do your homework MS.....
  • 45 Hide
    jsloan , August 12, 2009 4:33 PM
    wow, we have one f*cked up patent system...
  • 8 Hide
    Jerky_san , August 12, 2009 4:34 PM
    so if i'm reading this right having XML tags in a doc is patent infringement? Also looks like MS will be giving away another piece of software..
  • 12 Hide
    Shadow703793 , August 12, 2009 4:35 PM
    jsloanwow, we have one f*cked up patent system...

    +1. Well said.
  • 3 Hide
    HolyCrusader , August 12, 2009 4:37 PM
    O.k. I'm not a legal expert by any stretch of the imagination, and these questions come to mind: What does this do for people that need to buy Word - I have a customer that was about to buy Word (her newspaper requires the newest version)... will she still be able to buy it now?

    Also, what does this mean to those 3rd-party applications that offers Word compatibility, like Open Office, or some Palm applications?
  • 15 Hide
    jerther , August 12, 2009 4:37 PM
    HAHAHA!! Now i'm starting to really understand why the nu/Linux community don't believe in patents :D 

    Do you think open office will benifit from this?
  • 1 Hide
    Anonymous , August 12, 2009 4:38 PM
    "the software covered by the patent removed the need for individual, manually embedded command codes to control text formatting in electronic documents."
    what?? and the patent is in 1998? when was the last time we use ctrl+K+D to modify text?
  • 2 Hide
    Anonymous , August 12, 2009 4:39 PM
    LOL MS just got bitched
  • -6 Hide
    hunter315 , August 12, 2009 4:41 PM
    Awesome! No more docx compatibility issues! Office 2007 just got hurt bad, i wonder if this applies to pptx and their other weird formats.
  • 10 Hide
    DarkMantle , August 12, 2009 4:42 PM
    Quote:
    wow, we have one f*cked up patent system...


    Wait a second, isn't microsoft business model mostly based on that f*ucked up patent system?. If it was the other way around and i4i was infringing a Microsoft patent, Microsoft would be all over them in court too.
  • -1 Hide
    deltatux , August 12, 2009 4:43 PM
    ouch this will hurt Microsoft a lot.
  • -1 Hide
    rooket , August 12, 2009 4:43 PM
    I doubt it, the article only mentions a few document types.
  • 21 Hide
    TidalWaveOne , August 12, 2009 4:45 PM
    DOWN WITH ALL SOFTWARE PATENTS! What a waste.
  • 3 Hide
    Jerky_san , August 12, 2009 4:48 PM
    DarkMantleWait a second, isn't microsoft business model mostly based on that f*ucked up patent system?. If it was the other way around and i4i was infringing a Microsoft patent, Microsoft would be all over them in court too.


    I dunno about that.. I've read Microsoft and Linux distros infringe on each other and Unix.. But its like the cold war.. 1 fires their missiles everyone on every side will launch theirs so they have a stand still and just infringe their marry ways..
  • -3 Hide
    mlopinto2k1 , August 12, 2009 4:51 PM
    LOL is RIGHT! Maybe it is Karma that is causing the uncontrollable rage to pirate copies of windows. Kind of like the Native American Indian curse of the Tobacco plant. Sounds reasonable to me!
  • 7 Hide
    sailfish , August 12, 2009 4:55 PM
    jediaghSo the priates of Xerox finally get caught?

    That'd be Apple who also stole *nix and called it Mac OS.
  • 2 Hide
    hennnry , August 12, 2009 4:58 PM
    All big companies file thousands of patents so that when company A sues B, B counter sues A. And that made the big companies stand still on patent war.

    The small companies however, wants to sue big companies for quick cash. And it almost always worked because of how screwed up the Patent law really is.

    US Patent law has not changed since pre-consumer-software time. It really isn't suited for the high speed of software development.
  • 1 Hide
    ossie , August 12, 2009 4:59 PM
    Patents are good only if m$ is owning them... if m$ don't own them, they must be invalidated.
    Anyway, lawyers win.
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