Microsoft loses second appeal in Word patent case

By on March 12, 2010, 11:34 AM
Microsoft has lost its second appeal against i4i, the Canadian company that sued them for willfully infringing one of its patents in Word 2003 and 2007. The dispute centers on some custom XML tagging features used by these applications, which are used for encoding and displaying information, and has already cost the software giant a sales injunction plus a potential $290 million in fines.

Back in August the company was ordered to stop selling Microsoft Word -- the cornerstone of its Office suite -- and pay millions in damages. Soon after losing the initial case Microsoft filed an appeal asking the court to re-think its decision. Nevertheless, a panel of judges upheld the initial ruling last December, and having failed to modify its software in time, one month later Microsoft was forced to remove all versions of Office from its online store.

Downloadable copies of Office 2007 are still available, though, so the company might have gotten around removing the infringing code from those versions after all -- Office 2010 also won’t have the offending code and should debut in June.

In any case, yesterday the court re-affirmed the original ruling claiming Microsoft knew i4i had a patent on the technology, but implemented it anyway, making no good faith effort to avoid infringement. The current decision will be passed around to other appeals court judges, who will then decide whether or not Microsoft has grounds for a wider review of the case. If not, then Redmond can go to the US Supreme Court for a final appeal or pay the $290 million award to i4i.




User Comments: 28

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TomSEA TomSEA, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

Wish I could write 100 lines of code that MS would steal and then end up having to cut me a check for 290 million for.

Archean Archean, TechSpot Paladin, said:

I guess it is heading towards a big pay day for i4i in near future.

I was thinking of saying something similar but Tom beat me to it lol.

princeton princeton said:

Except I can imagine the M$ guys writing the check then going to get lunch for the same amount of money.

fwilliams said:

Microsoft is laughing at the Judges the whole time. Oh yeah, we took the software off our main page, but you can still download it from other sites. Ha! Ha! Judges. We did it to you again!

compdata compdata, TechSpot Paladin, said:

The award isn't that big of a deal for MS, but the injunction is. Anyone know if this affected retail sales of Office? I didn't see anything about them recalling boxes or anything.

DryIce said:

I just hope this doesn't affect the copy of MS Office I already own.

elroacho72 said:

Microsoft was built on infringing and pilfering of other people's stuff. Did they think no one would check there code? Crazy Stuff....Man

Richy2k9 said:

hello...

humm, i own the 2003 version .. but also have alternative solutions ..

how did MS get into such trouble, someone forgot to pay another small developer!

cheers!

rajmond said:

It's good to sue someone who deserves it...

levar said:

things like this has me wondering, I mean its $290 million and then there's the millions they make when they sell these products I'd like to know if they're either losing or are they profiting from this, serves them right to get stepped on nothing positive I have to say about this, thats a lot of money.

tonylukac said:

I think Microsoft thinks like this. Of all the people bootlegging windows, they figure they can ignore the injunction and still sell office.

techsp10 said:

It's good to fight for the betterment of the company as long the company is at the right side. I wish their would be no infringement of the other products of microsoft.

GACrabill said:

Sounds like the same old story to me .... Microsoft steals whatever they want if they really want it but they don't want anyone stealing software from them.

Very typical hypocracy at Microsoft ... it really seems to be their SOP.

mrtraver said:

What was wrong with Word 6? It did everything I needed.

flukeh said:

mrtraver said:

What was wrong with Word 6? It did everything I needed.

Word 6 doesn't continue to rake in the cash monies for Microsoft =P

rskapadia2294 said:

seems like MS is gonna loose some pockets of its own!

anyways i think patent should go to the person who created it!

zyodei said:

I guess when you are as big as Microsoft, you don't have to worry about pesky little things like "injunctions".

MS has built their whole business on ripping people off, I wonder if this will embolden any others who have been infringed against?

ravisunny2 ravisunny2, TS Ambassador, said:

Microsoft readies free upgrade program for Office buyers.

http://blogs.zdnet.com/microsoft/?p=5159

Archean Archean, TechSpot Paladin, said:

MS has built their whole business on ripping people off, I wonder if this will embolden any others who have been infringed against?

Thats pretty sweeping yet arguably inconsiderate assertion; but then again I am no longer surprised at incomplete knowledge of many of the commentators.

ravisunny2 ravisunny2, TS Ambassador, said:

Right on, brother!

techsp10 said:

I trust Microsoft and I know for sure that they could overcome their loss right away...

Guest said:

Microsoft can handle it..

bigclick said:

A few million out of billions? Microsoft will survive, but they keep shooting themselves in the foot with the way they handle problems. Ignore the small developer? They should open up to them in the beginning and own these brainy little guys.

captaincranky captaincranky, TechSpot Addict, said:

Whoops double post, (forth coming).

captaincranky captaincranky, TechSpot Addict, said:

A few million out of billions? Microsoft will survive, but they keep shooting themselves in the foot with the way they handle problems. Ignore the small developer? They should open up to them in the beginning and own these brainy little guys.
In one instance I can think of, they've (M$) have actually done this. Mark Rossinoivich, wrote a program called "Rootkit Revealer", in response to Sony's deployment of rootkits in CDs as part of a DRM strategy. This was available as freeware, along with several other diagnostic programs. A few months later after the Sony incident, "Rootkit Revealer" became available at M$ downloads! I don't know the backstory, or if this is the exception that proves the rule. But, Mark's site was linked to directly M$, so both parties had to know what's going. on. Or maybe they now do in fact, now "own" Mark.

Note 1; I'm not going to attermpt typing "Rossinovich twice. (Whoops I just did).

Serag said:

lol @ TomSEA

And I reckon this is nothing for Microsoft, such loss is merely nothing to them

Yoda8232 said:

i4i must be a really happy company to get $290 million dollars, wow.

Neojt said:

There that will teach them to steal stuff.. but then again isint that how Microsoft got started..

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