AfterDawn: Tech news

Microsoft files appeal on Word injunction

Written by Andre Yoskowitz (Google+) @ 19 Aug 2009 23:29 User comments (24)

Microsoft files appeal on Word injunction Last week, Microsoft was handed the stunning decision that they had violated a patent pertaining to Extensible Markup Language (XML) and would be forced to stop selling Word, its flagship word processor, available as part of the Office suit that brings the company $3 billion in revenue every year.
The software giant has filed an appeal however, trying to stay the injunction claiming that if upheld, the injunction would cause "irreparable harm" to the company.

If the appeal does not work, Microsoft will have to cease sales of Word 2003 and 2007 within 60 days and pay $290 million USD to i4i who controls the patent.

"If left undisturbed, the district court's injunction will inflict irreparable harm on Microsoft by potentially keeping the centerpiece of its product line out of the market for months,"
added Microsoft.

Microsoft also added that the injunction would hurt much more than the company's bottom line, stating it would disrupt most retailer and hardware partners, such as Best Buy, HP, Dell and others.

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24 user comments

120.8.2009 2:00

i4i How quaint!
Looks like someone was angry enough at MS to name their company that, just so they could look good in court. Courtroom Fashion, the new chic!

220.8.2009 5:19

Quote:
"If left undisturbed, the district court's injunction will inflict irreparable harm on Microsoft by potentially keeping the centerpiece of its product line out of the market for months," added Microsoft.

I guess Windows is just a little side project they're working on during their free time.

320.8.2009 6:18

Will this affect my updates? LOL

420.8.2009 7:24

Tisk, Tisk this couldn't have happend to a better company.

520.8.2009 9:02
varnull
Inactive

As before.. US patents are always enforced by the big boys worldwide.. This infringement should be final and unless the offending software is removed by (typical backdoor forced) update from EVERY system running it then all products from this company which infringe should be taken off the shelves worldwide at the end of the 60 days...

So it hurts them a little.. so what? .. How many small companies have this giant monopoly infringed before and killed by pointless and expensive litigation. Now we see hem in their true colours... crying when they get caught and whining about a penalty they can easily afford.

620.8.2009 9:36

varnull, that are probably the biggest contributor in the anti-piracy league that gave Obama lots of money early on. They want to stall so their lackys can get them a better judge. By the time this is over, the little company will owe M$. We call that justice?

720.8.2009 10:13

@ Mez

Isn't that the American way though?

820.8.2009 10:23

After the whole controversy about MS trying to ram it's own proprietary XML standard down the world's throat, it's about time they got their head handed to them. I really hope their appeal fails and that more companies try open-source options like OpenOffice.

Quote:
...hurt much more than the company's bottom line, stating it would disrupt most retailer and hardware partners, such as Best Buy, HP, Dell and others
...meaning people won't have to buy faster hardware to accommodate MS bloatware?? Give me a break! Why doesn't MS focus on making an OS that doesn't make up the majority of zombie-bots for SPAM and DOS attacks? LOL

920.8.2009 11:54
andrew62x
Inactive

tut tut what a naughty boy's they've been

1020.8.2009 12:01

the ironic thing in this whole matter is that Microsoft, through internal e-mails, acknowledged the existence of I4i XML patent, and willfully chose to ignore its existence and develop their own capability in MS Word to literally crush the competitor's software out of the business market.

That willful infringement alone is reason enough for the judge to ignore MS's pleas about how 'difficult' it would be for them not to sell Word, or remove the infringing capability from the newer versions of Word.

Sadly this is a typical example of how MS does business in the software world. Very questionable practices all around. Were the shoe on the other foot, MS's wolf-pack of lawyers would have I4i grovelling in the dust, pleading for release.

It's high time that Microsoft be made to acknowledge and be held accountable for their lack of professional ethics in such matters!

1120.8.2009 12:11

Quote:
"If left undisturbed, the district court's injunction will inflict irreparable harm on Microsoft by potentially keeping the centerpiece of its product line out of the market for months," added Microsoft.

Microsoft also added that the injunction would hurt much more than the company's bottom line, stating it would disrupt most retailer and hardware partners, such as Best Buy, HP, Dell and others.
Their point being???

It didn't matter that the penalty on Jamie Thomas would destroy her for the rest of her life. Maybe the MS "blunder" will "disrupt" other businesses. At least there is a light at the end of the tunnel for them.

On one hand you have a stupid woman who may or may not have known what she was doing, and did not have the intent to destroy the music industry. On the other hand you have a major corporation that willfully infringed with the intent to wipe out a small company (or at least had the knowledge of the effect of their actions - based on an internal email).

You help make the Copywrite rules, you've got to play by them. Software, music, art....whatever.
This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 20 Aug 2009 @ 14:36

1220.8.2009 13:39

Hopefully the appeal will fall flat on its face as MS should be spanked hard however that still wont mean that they will learn their lesson unfortunately. They have lost battles before like unfair gouging for Office and they pay the fines then continuing their poor practices as if nothing ever happened.

Vanarie, this really has nothing to do with open source or your hatred to paying for something. Open source needs to succeed with competition and if it isnt MS it is Corel or someone else, this will always be unless we signup for Socialism & Communism.

1320.8.2009 14:50

First off, a patent on XML and Customized XML is like applying and actually being given a patent for handwriting. Do any of you fools really know how many companies and products use XML and XML derivitives? Millions! Everyone who just posted is in violation. This is clearly a case of a small no-name company whom is probably at rock bottom due to the economy, and is looking for an easy way to stay afloat....attack a larger company. This whole case is ridiculous and a waste of tax payers money! Who do you think fronts the bill for the judge and jury? Certainly not M$ or I4I. You and me. Then on top of that, a resulting guilty verdict only forces higher product prices and space wasting patches. Allowing these types of suits to continue only hurts the consumers. Not to mention.....wouldn't it be concidered a monopoly for I4I to be the only company to control XML? Thats a real hefty line up of products. Maybe I'l go apply for a patent on "PC"...then sue the whole world! What a joke!

This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 20 Aug 2009 @ 14:55

1420.8.2009 15:47

Originally posted by DanandJen:
First off, a patent on XML and Customized XML is like applying and actually being given a patent for handwriting. Do any of you fools really know how many companies and products use XML and XML derivitives? Millions! Everyone who just posted is in violation. This is clearly a case of a small no-name company whom is probably at rock bottom due to the economy, and is looking for an easy way to stay afloat....attack a larger company. This whole case is ridiculous and a waste of tax payers money! Who do you think fronts the bill for the judge and jury? Certainly not M$ or I4I. You and me. Then on top of that, a resulting guilty verdict only forces higher product prices and space wasting patches. Allowing these types of suits to continue only hurts the consumers. Not to mention.....wouldn't it be concidered a monopoly for I4I to be the only company to control XML? Thats a real hefty line up of products. Maybe I'l go apply for a patent on "PC"...then sue the whole world! What a joke!
Your right we should have anarchy and a company that has spent tons of money for R&D should have their product stolen from them so that they cant recuperate from their design/labor costs or better yet profits they need, great idea.

Id like to see you get a patent for PCs then youll see where the joke is.

1520.8.2009 17:45

Looks like Microsoft is going the "I'm too big to fail" route. This is sort of ironic if one thinks about it. Microsoft has claimed that Linux violated software patents, and now software patent violations have bitten Microsoft BIG time. What goes around.... comes around!

1620.8.2009 22:08

Seriously? Should there even be an argument over this? MS clearly and utterly violated a smaller companies patent KNOWINGLY in an apparent attempt to destroy the smaller software company (i4i). The fine is barely a slap on the wrist for these giants so they should shut up and pay up!

Looks like I'm going home today, deleting office and downloading open office. . . Anyone keen to play frisby with my office disc??

1721.8.2009 0:55

Originally posted by DanandJen:
This is clearly a case of a small no-name company whom is probably at rock bottom due to the economy, and is looking for an easy way to stay afloat....attack a larger company. This whole case is ridiculous and a waste of tax payers money! Who do you think fronts the bill for the judge and jury? Certainly not M$ or I4I. You and me. Then on top of that, a resulting guilty verdict only forces higher product prices and space wasting patches. Allowing these types of suits to continue only hurts the consumers. Not to mention.....wouldn't it be concidered a monopoly for I4I to be the only company to control XML? Thats a real hefty line up of products. Maybe I'l go apply for a patent on "PC"...then sue the whole world! What a joke!
Maybe you should do more fact checking than spouting off about things you obviously don't understand.
I4i had the technology patented and its not 'XML' but the way its handled. Microsoft willfuly stole it.
And the key point to the whole case was made quite clear by the judge that the stealing of the technology willfully and did irreparable harm to the company.
The company, by the way, is Canadian based and before MS got involved employed over 200 people and had 2 stories of an office building. Currently, they have about 30 people, so yes, I'd say they were harmed.
oh by the way, facts usually should be backed up so here you go:
I4i in the GLobe and Mail
Don't spout if you aren't going to take the time to be accurate.
This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 21 Aug 2009 @ 0:56

1821.8.2009 7:29

fWillie, you mean the court ruling was actually reasonable! That is hard to believe. Thanks for the input.

1923.8.2009 22:29

For those of you who seem intent on making this out to be just another case of some obscure company using the legal system to exact a big payday from a bigger, well-established company - you need to check the facts before you open your mouths, lest your foot becomes firmly lodged in it ...

I41 has a patent not for XML, but for methods of handling and customising XML code. The developers of Microsoft Office were aware of this, by their own admissions through their own internal e-mail, when they were in the process of designing the newer features on Microsoft Word in Office 2003 (all the way back in late 2001 and early 2002).

By Mircosoft's own admission, they plunged ahead with their XML compatability knowing fully well that another company had a legitmate patent on the process, literally in the hope that the big Microsoft juggernaut would a) more than effectivley monopolise the market, and b) somehow stomp the existing company out of existence, and its annoying little patent along with it.

In essence, I think that without the damning proof shown via these internal Microsoft e-mails, I4i's case might not have been so compelling. I am glad that they have stuck it to MS, and demonstrably so. For far too long Microsoft's predatory and advantageous behaviour has been left largely unchecked, and now they reaping the bitter fruit of the seeds they've sowed.

As for trying to use the "we're too big and important to fail" defense, the'yll really have to be quite convincing to pull that off - they don't make that much more money from sales of MS Word as opposed to other products in their range ... good luck! For my part, they should also be fined between 5-10% of the purchase cost for every individual copy of Word 2003 and Word 2007, as well as every copy of Microsoft Office 2003 and 2007 sold with the offending code in it!

And as for the ripple effect affectinng retailers, perhaps they should have considered that long before now, when they embarked on this clearly illegal path of copyright infringement. If the shoe were on the other foot, MS would (rightly) show I4i no mercy, and expect the judge to do the same. How do they expect us, as consumers, to respect the provisions of copyright and obtainiuing a valid license, when as a corporation thedy do the exct opposite? In retrospect, I'm sure paying I4i a license fee of, say, $5 per copy of Word sold for the XML handler seems much more reasonable now than when they rejected it all those years ago and forged ahead knowingly, willingly and illegally.

This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 23 Aug 2009 @ 22:41

Rise up fallen fighters! Rise and take your stance again!
He who fights and runs away, will live to fight another day!
With de heathen back dey pon de wall!
De heathen back yeah pon de wall!

Scotty Ranking says so!

2024.8.2009 3:31

If I was the judge and had the authority I would award total revenue earned by M$ from the products which included the infringing software + "Cease and Desist" in 6 days, not 60 with no recourse to appeal.

In my view if any judgment is reversed under appeal (on non technical grounds) the judge passing the original award should be dis-banned for INCOMPETENCY. Technically both courts are supposedly reading the same law books!!!!!

2124.8.2009 6:55

I think they ought to use Jammie Thomas style pricing like 20K for every copy sold.

2227.8.2009 16:07

Originally posted by DanandJen:
First off, a patent on XML and Customized XML is like applying and actually being given a patent for handwriting. Do any of you fools really know how many companies and products use XML and XML derivatives? Millions! Everyone who just posted is in violation.
<SNIP><SNIP>

No, this fool didn't know that; but, I'm sorry to read those companies aren't paying their due. At least one of the fools, I suspect, isn't familiar with Microsoft's many innovations to computing. These suits not only hurt consumers, they hurt innovation. Here are only three.

1. While other companies (well, the other company) used object-oriented languages to reduce the writing of code, Microsoft introduced 'theft'. ('Give us your source code, Mom & Pop company, and we shall insure your enhancement runs on our next release.') English is such an ambiguous language.

2. Microsoft stands apart as the only large company to protest open standards of every kind, even hardware, by improving them. ('You'll have to abandon ISO standards, if you want to use our OS--Oh, which you're contractually obliged to solely use or sell.')

Even the W3C's HTML was improved by Microsoft, so most people's letters to me are 'teeny weeny' (-2) and thus take less space on my 8 GB hard disk! (Mail is displayed using the Thunderbird mailing agent under Debian Linux on my 1995 laptop from a dumpster.) To support Microsoft, I continue to violate open standards' patents by slavishly adhering to a character set sneakily copied from the Unicode Consortium, structured in stolen XML.

3. It is the only company to merge spyware into its OSes, at no cost to you. (I'll bet you didn't know that.) The last MS OS I examined used three different techniques (not counting the NSA's backdoor).

Apropos the court case, one company had already found a way of converting XML into many proprietary formats (not being flexible enough, I guess). Microsoft merely adopted this method, using a previous innovation to reduce code writing. It didn't violate the open-standard patent on XML--wisely, for Greeks bearing gifts could offer Trojan Horses, something MS is very familiar with.

Courts don't seem to appreciate Microsoft for what it is: a free-spirited Yankee trader, a reed in the winds of socialism.

~ gneiss1

2328.8.2009 11:30

Gneiss1, I think you needed to have read more of the posts. DanandJen's post was unimformed and pretty much flat wrong. Your post demonstrated you didn't even take time to read the thread.

The parent was specific and Microsoft opted to steal the idea out right instead of paying them because they thought they could get away with it. The infringemnt was as clear and a blatent as it can get. Read the posts!

2428.8.2009 21:04

Originally posted by Mez:
Gneiss1, I think you needed to have read more of the posts. <SNIP><SNIP>
I did, really. Just thought they needed both an historical perspective & little more humor. :-)

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