I4i Chairman Loudon Owen quips, "Microsoft is too big for us to buy at this point." He says however, that the goal of his company's lawsuit against Microsoft is not to kill Microsoft Word.  (Source: McLean Watson)
The move is pure legal maneuvering, says firm

Early this week, a Texas judge handed down a painful injunction to Microsoft, banning the U.S. sales of copies of Word that can open .docx files, Microsoft's primary format used in the software.  Microsoft has 60 days to comply with the injunction and cease sales.

The injunction stemmed from a case against Microsoft over its use of XML in its Office Open XML document standard.  The use reportedly violated a patent by Toronto-based i4i, granted in 1998.  I4I pursued the case in Texas federal court, a state known for its aggressive protection of patents.  Indeed, a Texas judge had found that Microsoft had infringed upon the patent and order it to pay $200M USD, prior to the new injunction.

Now i4i's Chairman Loudon Owen is speaking up and says he isn't looking to kill Word with the injunction or start a legal war with Microsoft.  He says the injunction is all about his company getting its fair share of the profits on a technology it developed.  He states, "We're not seeking to stop Microsoft's business and we're not seeking to interfere with all the users of Word out there.  The injunction is not saying there is no more Word for the world.  That is not our intention and that would not be a sensible remedy."

Mr. Owen says that the $200M USD settlement is a big deal for the small company.  He states, "It's obviously a material verdict by US patent verdict (standards), but we think it is fair."

He says that his company's focus is not on the lawsuit, but rather on products.  He says that his company's mission is to bring structure and standardization to global data storage.  He estimates that currently only 10 percent of the world's digital data is structured, something he sees as a big problem. 

The company has only 30 employees, but has been around since 1993.  They have worked with major pharmaceutical companies -- Amgen, Bayer and Biogen -- on software products over the years.  Ironically, the company's biggest contract to date had been overhauling the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office's own website for patent submissions.

Asked whether his company could partner with Microsoft for the right price, Mr. Owen showed a bit of humor, quipping, "Microsoft is too big for us to buy at this point...  We are always ready willing and able to partner with any good partner, whoever that is."

Mr. Owen, who co-founded the Mclean Watson venture capital firm, has already brokered one major sale to Microsoft -- a 1994 purchase of 3D animation firm Softimage.

"I'd be pissed too, but you didn't have to go all Minority Report on his ass!" -- Jon Stewart on police raiding Gizmodo editor Jason Chen's home

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