Texas Judge Bans Microsoft From Selling Word in the U.S.
August 12, 2009 8:10 AM
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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.
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 (
) 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 $144,060 a day, until the final judgement and damages are paid (though it may get some of this money back).
Until the final decision is reached, Microsoft is banned from selling any version of Microsoft Office containing copies of Word that can open .XML, .DOCX, or DOCM files containing custom XML. Microsoft has a mere 60 days to comply with the injunction.
With Office being one of Microsoft's staple products, and with the .docx format being the current default format, an appeal seems inevitable. Microsoft has not issued a formal response yet to ban on Word sales.
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The judge is brilliant.
8/12/2009 10:02:31 AM
The judge did exactly what he should of done, both within the scope of the law, and for a better patent world.
Judges do not invalidate patents, the patent office does.
Judges can declare a type of patent to not be consistent with the patent law.
First of all when M$ got sued they should have challenged the patent. No patent, no law suit. Why didn't they do this? Maybe because it would undermine their patent(s).
Secondly they could have argued that the patent type is inconsistent with patent law, but that would invalidate a LOT of their patents.
So now M$ can pay a lot of money; Or they can undermine their own patents. I think that is a good spot for them to be in.
RE: The judge is brilliant.
8/12/2009 10:48:44 AM
I see this as a type of ploy by M$... let it go into a lawsuit... then in the settlement, they buy out or license the patent forever... then MS goes after Open Office and every other "office" suite out there, free or not, to try to corner the office software market.
RE: The judge is brilliant.
8/12/2009 11:10:44 AM
Yes because I am sure Microsoft wants to put their industry leading word processor on the line in the hopes that they can buy out the rights to XML..
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