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Microsoft Appeals Word XML Patent Ruling

By - Source: Tom's Hardware US | B 15 comments

One of the big headlines last week was the court ruling that said Microsoft was no longer allowed to sell Word in the U.S. because it infringed on a patent belonging to i4i.

Aside from the injunction against selling Microsoft Word in the U.S., the Redmond-based company was also told to pay i4i $290 million in damages. Microsoft said it would appeal the ruling and this week we learn that the company has done just that.

Microsoft has filed an emergency motion to block the injunction saying it causes irreparable harm to the company.

 "Even if Microsoft ultimately succeeds on appeal, it will never be able to recoup the funds expended in redesigning and redistributing Word, the sales lost during the period when Word and Office are barred from the market, and the diminished goodwill from Microsoft's many retail and industrial customers."

However, while it all sounds very desperate, a Microsoft spokesperson spoke to PC Pro and said that it was all par for the course. "These filings are not unusual in patent cases," the spokesperson said. "We believe the evidence clearly demonstrates that we do not infringe and that the i4i patent is invalid."

As it stands, Microsoft is not allowed to sell or import any Microsoft Word products that have the capability of opening .XML, .DOCX or .DOCM files containing custom XML, in the United States.

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  • 1 Hide
    ubernoobie , August 19, 2009 4:10 PM
    Wow microsoft is getting fined so much this year
  • 6 Hide
    wujonesj2 , August 19, 2009 4:19 PM
    I think Microsoft has done a fine enough job of "diminishing goodwill" on their own. Although I'll agree that the patent system, as it applies to the software industry, is flawed - Bad business tactics are bad business tactics. Whether the patent is legitimate or not, meeting with the product creators and sending corporate emails dismissing their claims by stating that they would make them "obsolete" is a clear indication that they are aware of the problem and are willing to play dirty. Behavior like this is not in the best interests of the market and, as such, Microsoft should be fiscally reprimanded for acting so unethically. Maybe they would give second thought to this activity if they seriously feared injunctions like this.
  • 1 Hide
    hellwig , August 19, 2009 4:33 PM
    Unfortunately, Word is too bloated and slow, err..., I mean big to fail. The freakin U.S. government standardized on it for christ sakes. Yes, the government recently moved to accepting only open standards (for documents), but guess what, those open standards (utilizing XML) are at the basis of this patent dispute, and the government STILL uses Word (thanks to Microsofts crappy OOXML). While I would love to see Microsoft and Word knocked off their perch, sadly the government itself can't afford to let that happen.
  • 2 Hide
    scuba dave , August 19, 2009 4:39 PM
    "We believe the evidence clearly demonstrates that we do not infringe and that the i4i patent is invalid."

    Interesting. Not, "No, our product doesn't violate the patent" or "No, the patent says (A) and our product does (B). But instead.. just.. "Invalid" Are they gonna try to take the patent out from under i4i or something? It's gonna be fun watching MSFT squirm their way out of this one.(which they will unfortunately)

    Sure does pay to have a legal monopoly AND the best lawyers money can buy. >.>
  • 1 Hide
    IzzyCraft , August 19, 2009 4:42 PM
    Word is bloated? Well frankly i like spell/grammar/dictionary etc in my word system maybe not on my netbook, but my workstation has plenty of power to run simple word program.
  • 1 Hide
    falconqc , August 19, 2009 4:54 PM
    Hey microsoft, I have an idea for you. Sell good old fashionned word with standard .docs, and just give out FREE patches to read .docx, .docm and .xml. Not allowed to sell, but you can still give it away ;) 
  • -1 Hide
    AMDnoob , August 19, 2009 4:59 PM
    Microsoft Word 2003 FTW! I like using '03 it doesnt have tht ribbon UI (which i can see it's promise, but personally I just dont like the ribbon a whole lot) and it's relatively streamlined and does what I want it to do.
  • 2 Hide
    SAL-e , August 19, 2009 5:20 PM
    falconqcHey microsoft, I have an idea for you. Sell good old fashionned word with standard .docs, and just give out FREE patches to read .docx, .docm and .xml. Not allowed to sell, but you can still give it away

    Haha... tanks to the RIAA's lawyers giving it for free is treated as "sell" for $0. There is high court ruling for that.
  • 0 Hide
    ethanolson , August 19, 2009 7:31 PM
    Correction to the article. They have 60-days from when the judge threw down the gavel to stop selling or importing Word that supports those particular file formats. What about Windows 7 at large, which includes Wordpad? Wordpad can now work with those files.
  • -1 Hide
    ethanolson , August 19, 2009 7:34 PM
    SAL-eHaha... tanks to the RIAA's lawyers giving it for free is treated as "sell" for $0. There is high court ruling for that.


    I'd be more included to think that giving something away for free on the internet would be considered a mechanism for theft. If I put something on display and somebody takes it, isn't that theft? I guess if I intended them to have it, it might be considered a gift on will call. This sales for $0.00 is garbage.
  • 1 Hide
    uh_no , August 19, 2009 8:03 PM
    falconqcHey microsoft, I have an idea for you. Sell good old fashionned word with standard .docs, and just give out FREE patches to read .docx, .docm and .xml. Not allowed to sell, but you can still give it away



    you mean like their compatibility pack that you can download for free to be able to open docx files in 2003 and wordview?
  • 1 Hide
    Anonymous , August 19, 2009 11:32 PM
    ^^^Who voted "uh_no" down? That is easily one of the most factual posts I've ever seen on here... I can't remember the number of times I've saved a college friends ass by directing them to the compatibility packs...

    Of course, Microsoft is allowed a monopoly because they are in bed with the NSA, and pretty much facilitate any kind of spying they are ever asked for(all Windows versions, not just "evil-doer edition"). Go read detectives/forensics internet forums, they have all of their tried and true techniques for Windows/NTFS/Bitlocker stuff, but Linux, EXT3/4, Truecrypt, etc... have them in a panic, generally most of their Linux techniques rely on user oversight and luck, not "gifts" from Microsoft.
  • 1 Hide
    r_manic , August 20, 2009 1:59 AM
    I agree super_sleuth, which is why I voted his post up! ;) 
  • -1 Hide
    Anonymous , August 20, 2009 7:05 AM
    I really hope this stay of the injunction is thrown aside and MS is not allowed to sell Word. I believe that this is what MS needs (as well as the consumer). MS will realize that there can be grave consequences to their anti competitive behavior. I think it could also set a precedent that the government is not scared to slap even the largest corporations with severe penalties. It will discourage larger corporations from steamrolling the little guy. Where the EU fine related to IE/Netscape was a slap on the wrist, this action is a kick in the groin to MS that they should remember a long time. This will serious cripple one of Microsoft's core revenue streams.
  • 0 Hide
    uh_no , August 20, 2009 7:11 AM
    except that the original patent was pretty ridiculous...