A U.S, District Court judge has ordered Microsoft to stop
selling its popular Word program in 60 days, due to patent infringement
Judge Leonard Davis, based in the Eastern District of Texas, issued a
permanent injunction prohibiting the company 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 a
statement released by attorneys for plantiff, i4i. (That would be Microsoft Word 2003 and Word 2007.)
The company was also ordered to pay $200 million in damages
and another $40 million for “willful infringement” of the patent.
Microsoft says it plans to appeal the decision.
The case, which never really pinged anyone in the media’s
radar before today, stretches back to March 2007, when i4i accused Microsoft of
violating its patent for a system saving users from having to embed command
codes in their documents to control the formatting of text.
Despite the order, don’t look for Word (and, presumably,
Microsoft Office) to disappear from store shelves. MSOffice is a $20 billion business
for Microsoft and a key driver of profits.
The company announced plans last month to offer a free
version of Word (and other Office tools) online beginning in the first half of