Microsoft Loses Injunction Appeal, Must Stop Selling Current Word, Office January 11th

| News

Microsoft has lost an appeal in a patent infringement lawsuit, and must therefore stop selling current versions of Microsoft Office 2007 and Microsoft Word 2007, as well as the 2003 versions of the software, on January 11th, 2010. Microsoft announced Tuesday that it had been preparing versions of the 2007 versions of its products that did not use the infringing algorithms, and that the current betas for Office and Word 2010 were likewise free.

The case had been brought by i4i, a Toronto-based firm that develops and markets plugins for Microsoft Office to make the suite XML-friendly. When Microsoft integrated similar capabilities in Office 2003 and 2007, i4i sued, claiming Big Redmond was infringing on a patented algorithm.

A Texas jury agreed, and Microsoft was ordered to pay US$240 million in damages, and i4i received an injunction preventing Microsoft from selling the infringing software in the U.S.

Microsoft appealed the injunction and award in August of 2009, and it was on this appeal the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit ruled, upholding the damages and the injunction. According to the injunction, Microsoft must cease selling the infringing software on January 11th, 2010.

The Wall Street Journal reported that Microsoft has said that it has been developing versions of its software that were free of the infringing algorithms, and that sales of Office and Word in the U.S. shouldn't be interrupted. It has also been developing the next major version of Office without the code.

Mac versions of Office and Word were not named in the suit.

Sign Up for the Newsletter

Join the TMO Express Daily Newsletter to get the latest Mac headlines in your e-mail every weekday.

Comments

Nemo

Poor Microsoft.  It might have to either abandon XML or use the open-source XML that OpenOffice uses, which would probably mean that Microsoft Office would be compatible with OpenOffice at the level the documents’ files.  Indeed, if Microsoft opted to use open-source XML, Apple could make a version of iWorks that would be compatible with Microsoft Office’s document files.  Therefore, I imagine that Microsoft will adopt a solution to its infringement problem other than open-source XML.

gslusher

iWorks

iWork—not plural.

As it is, the latest iWork is compatible with Office files. I also have no trouble opening & saving Office 2007 files in Open Office or NeoOffice. (I have Office 2004 and can’t use Microsoft’s translator, as I use 10.3.9, so OpenOffice or NeoOffice is the way I do open those files.)

Also, does this affect Office 2008? Office 2007 is for Windows, only. The latest Mac version is Office 2008.

zewazir

It affects all version using .xml, including 2008, and their .xml plugin that allows 2003/2004 versions to read .xml files.

Too bad, so sad.

ctopher

So how does Sun/OpenOffice get away with using .xml?

gslusher

So how does Sun/OpenOffice get away with using .xml?

XML isn’t a “thing.” It’s a set of rules. There are (according to the Wikipedia article) hundreds of languages that use the XML standard.

Given that the articles mention “algorithm,” it’s possible that the suit referred to a particular implementation of the XML rules, perhaps a parser.

computerbandgeek

This seems a bit extreme to me. This software powers most of the world and it seems absurd that they are forcing Microsoft to just plain stop selling it, instead of giving them some time to fix the problem and find a diplomatic solution…

Intruder

Well, they could have been trying to fix the problem during the timeframe of the litigation. Which it appears they were.

Nookster

Apple could make a version of iWorks that would be compatible with Microsoft Office?s document files.

As it is, the latest iWork is compatible with Office files.

TextEdit can open and create Word 2007 docs, I thought this was common knowledge.

Nookster

Oh, and happy holdays, lol (runs to check oven).

xmattingly

This software powers most of the world and it seems absurd that they are forcing Microsoft to just plain stop selling it

Hahahaha, so the entire world will just shut down because M$ can’t sell this version of Word? What’s equally ridiculous is the number of people who really believe that you can’t do anything productive without Office products, even though there are dozens of competing products that can work with Word, Excel, etc. files just fine.

Microsoft has a well-documented history of stepping on vendors’ and developer/competitors’ throats; in this case they got busted cold and the suit is well deserved.

http://blog.seattlepi.com/microsoft/archives/176685.asp

xmattingly

Given that the articles mention ?algorithm,? it?s possible that the suit referred to a particular implementation of the XML rules, perhaps a parser.

I believe that’s right. As I understand it, M$ is not barred from offering a way for Word to work with XML and produce XML code; they just can’t do it with whatever plugin or code is being used that violates i4i’s patent.

Log-in to comment