Court bans sale of Word; Microsoft promises fix

Dec 22, 2009 By JESSICA MINTZ , AP Technology Writer
Microsoft Word

(AP) -- A federal appeals court ordered Microsoft Corp. to stop selling its Word program in January and pay a Canadian software company $290 million for violating a patent, upholding the judgment of a lower court.

But people looking to buy Word or Microsoft's Office package in the U.S. won't have to go without the software. Microsoft said Tuesday it expects that new versions of the product, with the in question removed, will be ready for sale when the injunction begins on Jan. 11.

Toronto-based i4i Inc. sued Microsoft in 2007, saying it owned the technology behind a tool in the popular . The technology in question gives Word users an improved way to edit XML, or code that tells the program how to interpret and display a document's contents.

A Texas jury found that willfully infringed on the patent. Microsoft appealed that decision, but the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit on Tuesday upheld the lower court's damage award and the injunction against future sales of infringing copies of Word.

Michel Vulpe, founder and co-inventor of i4i, said in a statement that the company is pleased with the decision, calling it "an important step in protecting the property rights of small inventors."

Microsoft said it has been preparing for such a judgment since August. Copies of Word and Office sold before Jan. 11 aren't affected by the court's decision. And Microsoft said it has "put the wheels in motion to remove this little-used feature" from versions of Word 2007 and Office 2007 that would be sold after that date.

"Beta" or test versions of Word 2010 and Office 2010, expected to be finalized next year, do not contain the offending code, the software maker said.

Redmond, Wash.-based said it may appeal further, asking for either a rehearing in front of the appeals court's full panel of judges or in front of the U.S. Supreme Court.

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User comments : 8

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TLO
not rated yet Dec 22, 2009
So what is the feature that will be removed?
El_Nose
3.5 / 5 (2) Dec 22, 2009
The technology in question gives Word users an improved way to edit XML, or code that tells the program how to interpret and display a document's contents.


basically it will be harder to edit web pages or XML doc in word -- but those who know use better tools than word for that anyway.

This is no big deal. Its not killing any major functionalitly of the software. Personally I like Word.
Yes
1 / 5 (3) Dec 22, 2009
If they pay the 290 million, they should give this program to Microsoft.
To whom are you going to sell your little program now?
flaredone
not rated yet Dec 22, 2009
Judges in Microsoft-i4i case query damages

http://techgeist....-appeal/
winthrom
5 / 5 (4) Dec 22, 2009
I used to work for Honeywell Computer company' "Federal Division". The "Federal" division was bought by Wang Computer company after Microsoft settled out of court for $194 M. MS had used the OLE (Object Linked Embedding) patented by Wang because Wang had just declared Bankruptcy and MS just might have figured they could get away with it. For the uninitiated, OLE is the property that lets you double-click on a link inside a document (or a piece of a spreadsheet) that brings the spreadsheet program into execution to work on that snippet of spreadsheet inside the word processor. This OLE is key to MS products and removal would bankrupt MS. There was a similar case brought by "Stacker" a company that compressed entire disks to conserve disk space. I assume MS will plead "I never act like that" to the court. "Who me????"
croghan26
not rated yet Dec 23, 2009
Not being an accountant (if that matters) but would it not be cheaper, if not more appropriate, to pay a licencing fee rather than admit to deceit?

Not that I am familiar with this particular case, but in those I have some direct knowledge thejudge awarded whatever s/he thought the injured party would have made if the process had not been stolen.
danman5000
not rated yet Dec 23, 2009
And Microsoft said it has "put the wheels in motion to remove this little-used feature" from versions of Word 2007 and Office 2007 that would be sold after that date.

If it's so little-used, why did they fight this lawsuit for so long? Sounds like an upset comment by a big company that was mad it lost to a little one. "Well, we never wanted your stupid code anyway! *sob*"
stealthc
not rated yet Dec 24, 2009
This is what big corporations do to inventors nowadays, they steal their ideas for profit. There is an inadequate structure for patents, handled by WIPO. Last time I checked WIPO was part of the UN, and the UN was last reported to pander to big business, such as big oil, and big pharma. This pandering is proven by the swine flu debacle of the WHO and is proven by climategate. The UN is totally corrupt and must be purged before we are turned into it's slaves.

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