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Company also says that the ban will cause it "irreparable" harm

I4i's victory in its patent infringement case against Microsoft was a slap in the face for the Redmond juggernaut.  Not only did a judge order $290M USD in damages be awarded to i4i for Microsoft's violation of its XML patents, but it also ordered Microsoft to stop selling Word, in its current form, until a final verdict is reached.  Word currently uses the Office Open XML (OOXML) format, which infringes on i4i's patent.

As the days roll by and Microsoft's 60-day compliance windows closes, the company is pleading with courts to lift the injunction.  It says that if the injunction is not lifted it will likely be forced to stop selling Microsoft Office for several months. 

Writes Microsoft's defense team, "Microsoft and its distributors face the imminent possibility of a massive disruption in their sales. If left undisturbed, the district court’s injunction will inflict irreparable harm on Microsoft by potentially keeping the centerpiece of its product line out of the market for months. The injunction would block not only the distribution of Word, but also of the entire Office suite, which contains Word and other popular programs."

Some are puzzled, though, as to why Microsoft would stop selling Office, rather than simply changes it file format and distinguishing between the current and XML-less editions.  States Barry Negrin, a partner with the New York firm Pryor Cashman LLP who has practiced patent and trademark law for 17 years, "All Microsoft has to do is disable the custom XML feature, which should be pretty easy to do, then give that a different SKU number from what’s been sold so it’s easy to distinguish the two versions."

In the unlikely event that Microsoft does indeed carry through on its claim to stop selling Office, it could prove a headache for consumers and businesses, who rely on the software's functionality.  However, light-weight alternatives such as Open Office 3 (which nears Office 2007 in functionality) and Google Docs could get a brief boost if Microsoft Office disappeared for several months -- a prospect that has some excited.



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RE: Interesting...
By omnicronx on 8/20/2009 12:56:31 PM , Rating: 5
According to internal emails they knew, and this was one of the main reasons why the Judge sided with i4i. If Microsoft knew about the patent and thought it was invalid, they should have either payed licensing fees or done the leg work to invalidate the patent BEFORE they released a product they knew was infringing..

Its pretty hard to make the argument that a patent is invalid when your own internal emails acknowledge infringement, regardless if it is true or not.

MS is a giant company, they should have known better and I don't feel one bit sorry. I agree that the only solution is to pay the fine, license the technology, or settle in a similar manor.

I would also like to point out that although your most of your first post is true, the infringing technology is only used by a small portion of word users. It is not merely everything and everything XML, but a small portion based on Microsoft's proprietary custom XML. I've heard through the grapevine that MS is already working on a patch to remove custom XML if needed.


RE: Interesting...
By MrBlastman on 8/20/2009 1:02:42 PM , Rating: 2
If they did know it, it would not suprise me. Microsoft has been pretty heavy handed in the past with their tactics (and, to be fair, they've been very smart with a lot of decisions they have made--they are quite business savvy), so to me, if proven guilty, wouldn't be shocked. It would look like they simply figured: "Okay, there's a patent. These guys aren't dolts like IBM was so we'll just release it anyways and if they catch us, boo hoo we'll pour some peroxide on the boo boo and pay the little fine and move on."

Either way, they win in the end by having the format they wanted all along available. When you are large and have lots of money, you can muscle people around like that.


RE: Interesting...
By omnicronx on 8/20/2009 1:05:54 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Either way, they win in the end by having the format they wanted all along available. When you are large and have lots of money, you can muscle people around like that.
Exactly, but many people still think MS is the victim, when in reality this probably not the case.

MS had their options, they just chose not to exercise them.


RE: Interesting...
By Motoman on 8/20/2009 10:38:11 PM , Rating: 3
...I have to admit to not having read the patent to make up my mind whether or not it's enforceable, but you are right - MS clearly determined that they were just going to bulldoze through this issue, and got caught with their pants down.

The patent may be crap, that will come out in the wash...but MS has got no ground to complain about this at all. They willfully decided to circumvent a patent rather than either license it or challenge the validity of the patent in court - so they deserve no one's pity.


RE: Interesting...
By sxr7171 on 8/21/2009 3:38:44 PM , Rating: 2
Well if it was basically intentional they deserve every penny of the $290 million fine. This kind of behavior needs to be discouraged.

BTW, the word you were looking for is: paid.


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