Nathan Strang

Judge orders Microsoft Word banned in the US [Gay Geeks]

Filed By Nathan Strang | August 15, 2009 1:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Gay Geeks, Living
Tags: Injunction, Microsoft, Patent infringement, technology, Texas

On August 11th, 2009, a Texas judged ruled that Microsoft can NOT sell Microsoft Word in the US, due to patent infringement. msword.jpgToronto based i4i apparently has patents on custom tags in XML and claims Microsoft went on with intentional infringement. The injunction prevents the sale of any Microsoft Word product that can open XML files (like .DOCX, the standard format for Word files, .XML of course, and .DOCM). Microsoft doesn't plan on pulling the product, nor will they stop selling it, instead they intend to appeal and/or settle within the 60 days they have to comply.

The injunction follows after the break...

PERMANENT INJUNCTION
In accordance with the Court's contemporaneously issued memorandum opinion and order in this case, Microsoft Corporation is hereby permanently enjoined from performing the following actions with Microsoft Word 2003, Microsoft Word 2007, and Microsoft Word products not more than colorably different from Microsoft Word 2003 or Microsoft Word 2007 (collectively "Infringing and Future Word Products") during the term of U.S. Patent No. 5,787,449:


  1. selling, offering to sell, and/or importing in or into the United States any Infringing and Future Word Products that have the capability of opening a .XML, .DOCX, or .DOCM file ("an XML file") containing custom XML;

  2. using any Infringing and Future Word Products to open an XML file containing custom XML;

  3. instructing or encouraging anyone to use any Infringing and Future Word Products to open an XML file containing custom XML;

  4. providing support or assistance to anyone that describes how to use any infringing and Future Word Products to open an XML file containing custom XML; and

  5. testing, demonstrating, or marketing the ability of the Infringing and Future Word Products to open an XML file containing custom XML.


This injunction does not apply to any of the above actions wherein the Infringing and Future Word Products open an XML file as plain text. This injunction also does not apply to any of the above actions wherein any of the Infringing and Future Word Products, upon opening an XML file, applies a custom tranform that removes all custom XML elements. This injunction further does not apply to Microsoft providing support or assistance to anyone that describes how to use any of the infringing products to open an XML file containing custom XML if that product was licensed or sold before the date this injunction takes effect. This injunction becomes effective 60 days from the date of this order.
__________________________________

LEONARD DAVIS
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
So ORDERED and SIGNED this 11th day of August, 2009.

Judge Leonard Davis, of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas, also ordered Microsoft to pay i4i more than $290 Million in damages. Right. This is becoming a bigger trend eh? Claim patent infringement, get some judge who knows very little about technology to go down, and cash in. Only when you meddle with Microsoft, it might not always work in your favor. The next 60 days are gonna suck for i4i. Who knows... sometimes the easier thing to do is to sign a check, but I seriously doubt the validity of this claim.

Via (everyone, sourced from Seattle pi)


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Why do you doubt the validity of this claim? Microsoft isn't quite squeaky clean in its reputation...

Unfortunately it is my understanding that US Patent law allows a software firm to patent an outcome not just the method.

This leads to a situation akin to patenting the number 4 as a result and thus anybody who develops a calculation that yield number 4 as an outcome has infringed your patent. This is patently absurd and is not permitted within the EU. So whilst you have legislators with limited understanding or interest you will continue to get daft laws.