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MicroSoft gets a taste of their own medicine: MSWord sales prohibited, MS to pay $290m in damages!

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This is too awesome for words.

LA Texas judge ruled Tuesday that Microsoft cannot sell one of its flagship products, Word, in the United States because of patent infringement.
You read that right: Microsoft cannot sell Word, the judge ruled.
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.
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.

Judge: Microsoft can’t sell Word anymore

It seems that MicroSoft’s appeal has been denied, and the original verdict upheld, as well.
Court upholds judgement against Microsoft in i4i case.
According to the judge’s decision:

A reasonable jury could have concluded that Microsoft ‘willfully’ infringed the ‘449’ patent based on the evidence presented at trial.

Here’s another relevant article: Court Reaffirms I4i’s Patent Win Against Microsoft.

The verdict, which the appeals court first affirmed in December, required Microsoft to pay more than US$240 million in damages and forced it to remove a feature in versions of Microsoft Word 2007 starting in January. Microsoft had been charged with infringing a patent owned by i4i with a feature in Word 2003 and 2007 that lets people create custom XML documents.

Microsoft asked the appeals court to reconsider its decision, and on Wednesday the appeals court upheld its previous affirmation of the district court ruling. Much of the latest decision is identical to the December document, except for an expanded explanation of the three-judge panel’s decision to uphold the “willfulness” issue.

“(…) there is no evidence Microsoft ever made a good faith effort to avoid infringement; internal emails show Microsoft intended to render i4i’s product ‘obsolete’ and assure ‘there won’t be a need for [i4i’s] product.”

In other relevant news Microsoft has been convicted of willfully infringing on two patents for automatic and secure Virtual Private Network (VPN) technology. A Texas jury recommended an award of $105.75 million, to VirnetX, the holder of said patents.

So, M$ is taking their lumps over software patent infringement suits.
Perhaps it wil make them realize just how stupid and useless software patents really are.
I doubt it, though.
Software patents create a legal nightmare for all software developers and pose particular problems for the free software movement. [2]
Relevant link: End Software Patents


Written by tonybaldwin

March 17, 2010 at 8:20 pm

Posted in business, free software, news

Tagged with , ,

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