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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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RE: BS
By BansheeX on 8/13/2009 5:34:24 AM , Rating: 2
Actually, I think he was more correct. It's not the law itself that's supposed to be interpreted by judges, it's whether it was broken and to what degree. That's what may vary from judge to judge, but each judge's understanding of the rule should not. Same logic applies to referees in sports. Every umpire in baseball is trying to call a home run a home run, it's a well defined rule. What they actually see is not always correct, but it's not because they're all expected to have their own opinion of what a home run is. The problem arises when the legislators fail to make the law perfectly clear for all circumstances. Imagine what would transpire if there was nothing in the rulebook about what to do when a ball bounces over the fence. Some umps would call it a homer and others wouldn't. That's not what we want, we don't want different interpretations due to ambiguity in laws.


RE: BS
By JackQW on 8/13/2009 12:35:53 PM , Rating: 2
You basically just said "It's not the law itself that's supposed to be interpreted by judges, it's [the law itself that's supposed to be interpreted by judges]."

Interpret is synonymous with judge here.

It is the judge's job to judge the law itself.


RE: BS
By BansheeX on 8/21/2009 12:35:35 PM , Rating: 2
No, you are confused as hell. Understanding what the law says is a simple objective matter. Deciding whether the defendant, beyond reasonable doubt, broke it is a completely different subjective determination. The whole purpose of a freaking written rule to make differences in interpretation of it impossible.

"Killing another person for money is illegal."

So if I'm a judge and I read that as "Killing another person for money is illegal unless they felt they needed it to survive," you're cool with that? That's not the way it's supposed to work. I should not have the capacity to insert exceptions that aren't there because I personally, emotionally feel for some reason that the legislator meant for them to be there and just forgot to include it.

There is a process for amending laws and the constitution when times change or words change or the original law fails to define things like "cruel and unusual."


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