Microsoft Ordered to Pay Over $200 Million and to Stop Selling Word

A judge has now found Microsoft guilty of infringing on a patent owned by i4i. The patent in question refers to Microsoft Word and it’s use of XML, the method of which i4i apparently patented back in 1994 (and had the patent awarded to them in 1998), whereas Microsoft received their patent just last week.

The amount awarded to i4i was the amount sought by the company; however, the amount can be increased based on whether or not investigations state that Microsoft had a willingness to use the software, even though the software giant had previous knowledge of the patent (an i4i lawyer claims that Microsoft emails prove this theory). Not only that, but a judge can award i4i a court order that would block any further violations of their patent.

Although Microsoft will never actually cease to sell Word, i4i can be a real hellion in the process. Microsoft could process the XML as plain text, or just remove XML entirely; however, i4i claims that it does not want to keep Word off of the shelves, rather, i4i just wants to make money force Microsoft to remove or edit products that infringe on their technology.

Microsoft says that it will now appeal the ruling that awards i4i damages, and Redmond also has a choice to apply for a stay on the ruling.

It will be interesting to see how Microsoft Word fares in Office 2010, one of the flagship products of Microsoft, along with Windows 7. What do you think?

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4 Responses to Microsoft Ordered to Pay Over $200 Million and to Stop Selling Word

  1. g1lmour August 15, 2009 at 8:56 am #

    one of the best selling office systems, microsoft office, will not stop being sold due to a company’s 11 year late accusation. i have never heard of i4i and in the long run, this will just be something we all look back at and laugh.

  2. Jon889 August 15, 2009 at 10:09 am #

    and I4i are???
    Is this specifaclly the docx format or just opening .xml files? (what about notepad and the countless other xml editors?)
    the reason the whole docx format was brought was because MS were pressured to open their office file formats now they are being pushed the other way.

    There should be some law where if a company has a patent but doesn’t do anything with it, and then another compnay comes along sets a whole system whihc uses this patent then gets told to stop the tiny company is deemed irrelevant, and for the greater good the compnay which has bothered to do anything and make itself known gets to continue.

  3. Anonymous August 15, 2009 at 11:03 pm #

    Why should you buy Microsoft Office just for basics such as word processing and spreadsheets. Unless you’re a professional and need the more advanced aspects, free, open source versions exist, such as the openoffice.org suite (reputable, reliable, compatible). Sun’s Java even sponsors it.

  4. Luke August 19, 2009 at 10:04 pm #

    Not really in the public interest.

    This just encourages them to go back to proprietary binary data formats that waste time for third party developers backwards-engineering word compatibility into their products.

    Mind you, MS really does like to avoid paying license fees. Eg. the famous “Arial” monstrosity to avoid paying Helvetica licenses.

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