Microsoft to appeal Word patent ruling

August 12, 2009
The logo for Microsoft at their office in Herndon, Virginia, USA. Microsoft said Wednesday it plans to appeal a ruling by a Texas judge that would ban the US software giant from selling its popular Word program in the United States.

Microsoft said Wednesday it plans to appeal a ruling by a Texas judge that would ban the US software giant from selling its popular Word program in the United States.

US District Court judge Leonard Davis ruled on Tuesday that Word violates an XML patent held by a Canadian company, Toronto-based i4i, and ordered to pay more than 290 million dollars in damages and interest.

He also issued an injunction, which takes effect in 60 days, that would bar Microsoft from selling Word products that include the patented technology.

A Microsoft spokesperson, Kevin Kutz, said the Redmond, Washington-based company planned to appeal.

"We are disappointed by the court?s ruling," Kutz said in a statement. "We believe the evidence clearly demonstrated that we do not infringe and that the i4i patent is invalid.

"We will appeal the verdict."

Microsoft was accused by i4i of infringing on a 1998 XML in its Word 2003 and Word 2007 programs.

Word uses the XML language to open .XML, .DOCX, and .DOCM files.

(c) 2009 AFP

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3.7 / 5 (3) Aug 12, 2009
I don't know the typical experience working at Microsoft, but where I was they were the laziest, least professional, incompetent engineers I'd ever worked with. The one weekly meeting was to discuss movies we'd seen and where to go to lunch. The idea that a boss who passed her day Internet shopping would ever come up with an innovative technical idea is laughable.

But, the new Microsoft products have to come from somewhere. So they buy them from other companies -- as they have from the very start. And apparently, they steal them.
5 / 5 (1) Aug 12, 2009
I wonder what the actual details of this patent are. I hope that people don't jump to conclusions about this based on their preconceptions about microsoft.

But seriously, encoding documents in XML, like the new version of word does, is a fundamental concept of computer science, is not very innovative, and would be classed as "industry knowledge" in patent law. Patents shouldn't be issued for that in the first place.
not rated yet Aug 13, 2009
And who cares if some stolen code from Digital Research ends up in Microsoft DOS (OK, it was a long time ago, but they have been stealing for a long time!)
not rated yet Aug 18, 2009
And who cares if some stolen code from Digital Research ends up in Microsoft DOS

The code was created by looking at a DR manual. Supposedly the guy couldn't afford CPM, it was very expensive, and decided to create his own by writing an OS that matched the specs of CPM. If there had been real DR code I strongly suspect that MS would have been sued. IBM as well.

not rated yet Aug 25, 2009
i4i's patent (5,787,449) is entitled "Method and system for manipulating the architecture and the content of a document separately from each other"

Microsoft Word infringes on this patent using its "Custom XML" feature that allows you to embed a file of any type within the XML of an Office document. However, it has nothing to do with XML -- typical shoddy reporting. The infringement has to do with how Office can relate and store the "other" document within its own XML format, even though that "other" document does not have to be text or XML (it can be binary.)

Microsoft no longer does patent research on its new technologies. Its people simply innovate and if they like it, they use it. If it happens to infringe then they just buy the company they infringed upon. It's actually a lot cheaper because willful and knowledgeable infringement loses a lot more money in court than willful ignorant infringement.

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