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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.  (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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RE: BS
By jonup on 8/12/2009 12:18:49 PM , Rating: -1
Dude, first, how much did MS made out of the Office 2007? I am sure that the Office Open XML was one of the major selling points of the suite (aside from marketing, obviously). Second, the fact that they knew about the patent infringement led to punitive damages.
The first argument is probably worth judgment of $200M.
BTW, MS GP margin is in the high 60%. Net income margin is well into the 20s%. Just for comparison (different industry), Costco witch is a very well ran company has a NI margin is the low single digits. How exactly did you see MS "not even going to turn a profit because of all these fines and injunctions"?


RE: BS
By rcc on 8/12/2009 6:32:45 PM , Rating: 2
This is a case of damned if you do, damned if you don't.

If they don't have open standards, etc., people bitch. If they do, people bitch. Interestingly enough, it's often the same people.

In this case, a patent for saving file content and formatting separately? Are they kidding? I don't know what the right answer is for software patents, but this kind of thing is getting absurd.

So, if they come out with a Word version that doesn't support the .docx format, will the EU fine them for restricting the rights of consumers? You have to wonder...


RE: BS
By Regs on 8/13/2009 8:54:33 AM , Rating: 2
Wtf is wrong with people and their hysteria against organizations that make profit? Profit makes a corporation grow, feed more families, give more job opportunities, promote careers, give raises, give stock holders dividends, and pay for health care. The bigger the fire the more it takes to feed it to sustain it. Like our economy, it was only a matter of time before some one screamed, fire!

SERIOUSLY WTF IS UP WITH PEOPLES WARPED SENSE OF REALITY LATELY? Profit weights heavier than costs now and it just does not make any sense to me.

And for the people who pick on the greedy pharma industry....blow me. Yes, they want to poison you with pills just so you can keep coming back to them as a paying customer. Meanwhile you can get a generic drug that was originally created by the larger pharmaceutical company for much less and about 10 times as less regulated. That's right, that generic drug is much more likely to kill you than any of the brand named drugs. But no, lets create more barriers to entry for pharmaceuticals and health care...that will fix the freaking problem.

This country is quickly going down the shitter. If people don't grow brains fast or keep an open mind to both sides of the problem, then we're headed for another disaster.Stop blaming everyone else but yourself is a good place to start.

And yes, the legal system is a freaking mess.


RE: BS
By lightfoot on 8/13/2009 7:13:00 PM , Rating: 3
Stupid capitalist.

In Communist Amerika you do not own company. Company owns you.


RE: BS
By plowak on 8/16/2009 5:07:45 PM , Rating: 1
That's close, better would be:

Stupid capitalist.

In Obamalist Amerika you do not own company. Obama owns you.


RE: BS
By fotoguy on 8/19/2009 8:50:43 AM , Rating: 1
You've got to be joking. People don't care about the file format. They just want everyone to be able to open the documents they send to others. The Office .doc format can be opened by basically any word processing program out there. Changing the default format just makes everyone else have to update their apps, so in the mean time, people figure they have to upgrade their current copy of MS Word. Cha-ching!


"What would I do? I'd shut it down and give the money back to the shareholders." -- Michael Dell, after being asked what to do with Apple Computer in 1997

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