Microsoft Can’t Sell Word in US, Judge Rules

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Yesterday, a judge in Texas ruled against Microsoft in a patent infringement case. Seattlepi’s Nick Eaton has more:

A Texas judge ruled Tuesday that Microsoft cannot sell one of its flagship products, Word, in the United States because of patent infringement.

Judge Leonard Davis, of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas, ordered a permanent injunction that “prohibits Microsoft from selling or importing to the United States any Microsoft Word products that have the capability of opening .XML, .DOCX or DOCM files (XML files) containing custom XML,” according to an announcement by the plaintiff, Toronto-based i4i Inc.

In its complaint (PDF), i4i alleges Microsoft willingly violated its 1998 patent (No. 5,787,449) on a method for reading XML. The company, whose Web site advertises that users can “Create and edit XML content in Microsoft Word,” helps clients work with XML.

The injunction (PDF), which becomes effective in 60 days, prohibits Microsoft from selling future Word products that allegedly use the patented technology. It also enjoins Microsoft from testing, demonstrating, marketing or offering support for those future products. Davis also ordered Microsoft to pay i4i more than $290 million in damages.

Eaton concludes by saying that Microsoft will “likely do everything in its power to overturn Tuesday’s ruling. And indeed, Microsoft will likely prevail.” I agree. But the Word case makes for a surprising read, at least for the time being.

  • Anonymous

    There is no way that Microsoft is going to follow that order. It’s ridiculous. Does that judge understand how many people use word. He better not force us to stop using, too.