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?