Print 86 comment(s) - last by BansheeX.. on Aug 21 at 12:35 PM

A Texas court has banned sales of Microsoft Word and copies of Microsoft Office containing word until a final decision is reached in a copyright infringement trial. Microsoft has 60 days to cease sales.  (Source: Microsoft)
Microsoft also faces more damages over willful infringement

Microsoft's Office 2003 and 2007 wove XML into Word, with the introduction of .docx, otherwise known as Office Open XML, as the format of choice.  The new format brought an open standard and better storage to the application.  Unfortunately, it also turned into one of the company's biggest legal headaches.

In making Office, Microsoft implemented technology seeming covered under a 1998 patent (No. 5,787,449) by a developer of collaborative-based content solutions, Toronto-based i4i.  The patent covered "manipulating a document's content and architecture separately." 

A Texas federal court ruled in May that Microsoft had infringed on the i4i's patents and ordered Microsoft to pay $200M USD in unpaid royalties.  Microsoft was reportedly hurt in the proceedings by a published trail of emails that indicated that the company knew that it was infringing on i4i's work.  Microsoft disagreed strongly with the verdict and promised to fight it in appeals court.

Now a US District Court of Eastern Texas judge, Judge Leonard Davis, has ordered sales of Microsoft Word in the U.S. banned until a final judgement is reached.  The injunction also came with an order for Microsoft to pay an additional $40M USD for willful infringement, $37M USD in prejudgement interest, and $21,102 per day in additional fines.  The court also is asking that Microsoft hand over $144,060 a day, until the final judgement and damages are paid (though it may get some of this money back).

Until the final decision is reached, Microsoft is banned from selling any version of Microsoft Office containing copies of Word that can open .XML, .DOCX, or DOCM files containing custom XML.  Microsoft has a mere 60 days to comply with the injunction.

With Office being one of Microsoft's staple products, and with the .docx format being the current default format, an appeal seems inevitable.  Microsoft has not issued a formal response yet to ban on Word sales.

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The Internet is Infringing!
By nafhan on 8/12/2009 8:52:14 AM , Rating: 5
...or at least it's prior art.
system and method for the separate manipulation of the architecture and content of a document
Seriously, doesn't this sound like CSS?
From Wikipedia on history of CSS:
Style sheets have existed in one form or another since the beginnings of SGML in the 1970s. Cascading Style Sheets were developed as a means for creating a consistent approach to providing style information for web documents.

RE: The Internet is Infringing!
By Spivonious on 8/12/2009 9:30:18 AM , Rating: 2
It does sound like a lot of things would violate this patent. Anything that defines the structure of the document using metacodes and stores it separately from the contents of the document would violate this patent.

I fail to see how OOXML violates this, as the contents and structure are defined in the same place, similar to all markup languages.

RE: The Internet is Infringing!
By 67STANG on 8/12/2009 10:37:30 AM , Rating: 2
You forgot all your Javascript, PHP, ASP/ASP.Net and every other language used in conjunction with HTML.

RE: The Internet is Infringing!
By nafhan on 8/12/2009 11:07:08 AM , Rating: 2
Yep, I really have no idea how this even got patented. Anyway, it only takes one example for prior art...

RE: The Internet is Infringing!
By wempa on 8/12/2009 12:36:59 PM , Rating: 2
I still think XML is a much better example. CSS separates the 2 concepts, but XML is used in so many more ways to only get at the data. CSS is always just combined with the HTML to display the page.

"I want people to see my movies in the best formats possible. For [Paramount] to deny people who have Blu-ray sucks!" -- Movie Director Michael Bay
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