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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 2:59:45 PM , Rating: -1
For the last god damn time, XML and Schemas are not in violation of this patent.
The “Custom XML” term used in Microsoft literature does not mean a customized XML element tag which marks-up a block of text. For Microsoft, “Custom XML” is just another name for what Jones calls “XML Data Store” — a file added to a MS Office document.
The i4i patent describes a document format and method of encoding where the document content — stored in the “raw content area” — “is totally unstructured and has no embedded metacodes in the data stream.” The i4i patent further states that the document structure’s definition is described in a separate “metacode map” where “for each metacode applied to the content, an entry in the metacode map is created which describes the metacode and gives its position.”
Do some god damn research.
A lot of misleading information about i4i v. Microsoft has recently appeared in the news. Many self-proclaimed experts have merely skimmed the original i4i patent claims and concluded that the patent covers both Extensible Markup Language (XML) and Standard Generalized Markup Language (SGML), and that the patent should never have been approved because it covers prior arts. Well, those “experts” are not quite right. The i4i patent application clearly describes the differences between SGML and the i4i solution; in fact, the i4i patent contains a focused description of a specific method which has nothing to do with XML. This i4i patented method is actually used in one specific part of the MS Office 2007 data format. Microsoft misleadingly uses the term “Custom XML” for a document part — as we can see in this MSDN reference article — even though it is not XML at all. It is just a file — any raw file — that can be stored within the XML-based MS Office 2007 file format in addition to the main document parts. A detailed analysis of the root cause of this confusion follows.
The XML specification produced by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) describes a method for marking up structured documents using markup tags that specify the content’s purpose rather than its formatting. While the (optional) XML content formatting description may be present, it does not actually have to exist at all. If present, the content formatting description is stored separately from the structured content. Otherwise, the document interpretation is based solely on the XML markup tags which mark the content’s purpose. Therefore, the XML document content is structured and mixed-up with purpose-descriptive markup tags, while — on the other hand — the i4i patented method explicitly keeps document content in a “totally unstructured” raw form. This characteristic clearly differentiates the i4i patented method from the XML method. The only similarity between XML and the i4i patented method is that both separate the formatting description from the document content.

Yet another self proclaimed expert who has no idea what they are talking about.

I swear to god Mick, write another one of these articles with misleading information and I am going to find where you live and write 'CUSTOM XML IS NOT XML' on your forehead so that next time you won't forget.

RE: Interesting...
By deegee on 8/21/2009 1:56:04 AM , Rating: 2
I've been reading a number of the articles on this case.
It would appear that MS did actually nick i4i's tech and infringe on their patent knowingly, so they are getting what they deserve legally.
However, imho i4i's patent is really stretching the boundaries of what is or should be "patent-able".
To me this just looks like MS challenging the patent by flexing its muscles and crying fowl after-the-fact instead of doing it quietly and legally before-hand like they should have, but this does give them extra free press.
What I hope happens is that MS ponies up the fines, learns themselves the hard way that most software patents shouldn't be allowed (doubtful tho'), and that the patent is finally removed.

"You can bet that Sony built a long-term business plan about being successful in Japan and that business plan is crumbling." -- Peter Moore, 24 hours before his Microsoft resignation

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