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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BS is Right
8/12/2009 11:09:28 AM
If you pay close attention, all these junk IP infringement suits are more often than not filed in Texas. No offense to any Texans - half my family lives there, but companies will file in remote districts in order to get juries and judges that don't completely understand the technology, and then steamroll their way through the suit. It's complete BS and it's about time it got stopped.
RE: BS is Right
8/12/2009 2:29:15 PM
Thats very simple minded of you. They're filed in a
federal districts known for being easy to get these type of judgements in. These are federal judges, and at that level you're talking about judges who've probably lived and worked all over the US, not just Texas. Those arent entry-level jobs filled by placing a classified ad in the local newspaper.
What I think they should do is, when its a suit that isnt centered around a specific location, randomly assign the suit to a federal district to prevent this sort of shopping around.
"The whole principle [of censorship] is wrong. It's like demanding that grown men live on skim milk because the baby can't have steak." -- Robert Heinlein
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