Judge Rules Microsoft Word Can No Longer Be Sold - HotHardware
Judge Rules Microsoft Word Can No Longer Be Sold

Judge Rules Microsoft Word Can No Longer Be Sold

Judge Leonard Davis, of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas, ruled Tuesday that Microsoft can no longer sell Microsoft Word in the United States due to patent infringement.

One can imagine Bill Gates having to pick himself off the floor after reading that ruling. Indeed, the ubiquitous software that you probably use every day infringes a patent, according to Davis.

To be perfectly honest, Davis' ruling simply upheld a $200M verdict issued in May of this year, when jurors found that Microsoft willfully infringed an i4i patent, (No. 5,787,449) on a method for reading XML.

According to the press release announcing the judgment, the injunction 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. Microsoft has 60 days to comply.

The injunction reads:
Microsoft Corporation is hereby permanently enjoined from performing the following actions with Microsoft Word 2003, Microsoft Word 2007, and Microsoft Word products not more than colorably different from Microsoft Word 2003 or Microsoft Word 2007 (collectively “Infringing and Future Word Products”) during the term of U.S. Patent No. 5,787,449:

1. selling, offering to sell, and/or importing in or into the United States any Infringing and Future Word Products that have the capability of opening a .XML, .DOCX, or .DOCM file (“an XML file”) containing custom XML;

2. using any Infringing and Future Word Products to open an XML file containing custom XML;

3. instructing or encouraging anyone to use any Infringing and Future Word Products to open an XML file containing custom XML;

4. providing support or assistance to anyone that describes how to use any infringing and Future Word Products to open an XML file containing custom XML;

and

5. testing, demonstrating, or marketing the ability of the Infringing and Future Word Products to open an XML file containing custom XML.

This injunction does not apply to any of the above actions wherein the Infringing and Future Word Products open an XML file as plain text.

This injunction also does not apply to any of the above actions wherein any of the Infringing and Future Word Products, upon opening an XML file, applies a custom tranform that removes all custom XML elements.

This injunction further does not apply to Microsoft providing support or assistance to anyone that describes how to use any of the infringing products to open an XML file containing custom XML if that product was licensed or sold before the date this injunction takes effect.
Naturally, since Microsoft has 60 days to comply, you can expect that during those 60 days, some sort of appeal will be filed to allow Microsoft to continue selling the product. Either that, or Microsoft and i4i will come to some sort of an agreement (or will in the future).
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Anyone want to bet me that the Injunction was written out in something other than Word?

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Buzz out loud had one of the guys from i4i on the show today. It's episode 1040 and it is at the very beginning if anyone cares to here there take.

http://www.cnet.com/8301-19709_1-10308457-10.html?tag=mncol;title

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I've got to ask: What the hell is up with this decision? Either something fishy's going on, or there's a lot more to this than the tech sites are revealing.

I see from his biography that he used to be a computer programmer/systems analyst. That doesn't sound like someone that would be confused by tech matters.

Thanks for the link Bob. Listening to it now to try to figure out what piece of the puzzle is missing.

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Listened to it, and read the patent.

My opinion is:  i4i's patent is nothing more than an XML implementation of the document/view architecture that everyone's been using since GUIs were invented.  It's just been written in a format that makes that nearly unintelligible.  It's an obvious invention, but they may actually have a case as far as the implementation goes.

The good news is, it looks like Microsoft can just make some internal changes to make Word non-infringing.  I hope Microsoft does that rather than give in to these trolls.

Funny thing is that MS would have avoided this whole thing if they had just used ODF instead of trying to make their own "open" standard.

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3vi1:
The good news is, it looks like Microsoft can just make some internal changes to make Word non-infringing.  I hope Microsoft does that rather than give in to these trolls.

That's what I took from this. The whole word can't be sold thing seems kinda overstated. It's most likely going to be either a check going out to i4i or a change in the XML format inside of word that no one will notice. I would rather not see MS pay out to these guys, but either way end users will never notice anything happened if they missed the headlines. That's my guess at least.

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Man, it's cases like this that make me want to get jury duty, in the hopes that I could get on a case that involves stupid trolls like this. Burn them, MS!

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My persona this year is 1834 scientist and pharmacist John Price Wetherill, and I had to study up on the history of several period inventions, among which was the sewing machine. (Don't worry, this IS going somewhere.)

Isaac Merritt Singer made popular the design in America and Britain, but Elias Howe sued, saying that Singer infringed on his patents. Singer disagreed. A lengthy court case ensued, and at the end, Singer had to reimburse Howe for the units sold thus far.

Well, in those days the sewing machine was a license to print money. Singer decided that he could get by on a few less millions of dollars, and though he continued to insist that the device was all his design, licensed the Howe technology for future machines.

In short, I believe the phrases "hefty check to i4i" and "quietly settled out of court" are going to crop up soon.

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so this is just the us then?

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Riks:

so this is just the us then?

Correct!

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