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Judge orders Microsoft to stop selling Word

post #1 of 65
Thread Starter 
A judge has ruled that Microsoft cannot sell its flagship document processing application, Word, to customers, in a ruling stemming from a U.S. patent infringement lawsuit.

The decision rests on the program's ability to open .XML, .DOCX or .DOCM files, based on custom XML included in the filetypes. In the ruling, Judge Leonard Davis in the U.S. District Court in Eastern Texas -- where patent suits are often filed for favorable rulings -- sided with the plaintiff, i4i Inc., of Toronto, Ontario.

i4i has alleged that Microsoft violated a patent the company owns regarding the reading of XML files. Judge Davis's ruling, issued Tuesday, takes effect 60 days after the signing. Microsoft plans to appeal the decision.

The ruling applies to all versions of Word that can read XML. That includes Word 2003, Word 2007, and any future releases Microsoft may create that fall into the same category.

The ruling made no mention of Office 2008 for Mac or Word 2008 for Mac. Office 2010 for Windows is planned for release in the first half of next year.

"In accordance with the Court's contemporaneously issued memorandum opinion and order in this case," the ruling reads, "Microsoft Corporation is hereby permanently enjoined from the following actions with Microsoft Word 2003, Microsoft Word 2007, and Microsoft Word products not more than colorably different from Microsoft Word 2003 or Microsoft Word 2007 (collectively "Infringing and Future Word Products") during the term of U.S. Patent No. 5,787,449."

Earlier this year, i4i was awarded $200 million in damages in the same case by a jury. Microsoft has also appealed that decision.

On a separate -- but perhaps related -- note, Mac BU, Microsoft's Mac software development house responsible for Office for Mac (which includes Word), had previously scheduled a conference call with members of the press for Thursday afternoon. Prior to scheduling the event, Mac BU did not reveal what the announcement would be.
post #2 of 65
Please merge other thread. Not that there was THAT much commentary in it...
post #3 of 65
A lot could be affected by this.....after all, a LOT of people use Microsoft Office.
post #4 of 65
It'll be appealed...

Something needs to be done about the BS lawsuits stemming from that legal toilet.
The true measure of a man is how he treats someone that can do him absolutely no good.
  Samuel Johnson
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The true measure of a man is how he treats someone that can do him absolutely no good.
  Samuel Johnson
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post #5 of 65
looks like NUMBER will be next.
whats in a name ? 
beatles
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whats in a name ? 
beatles
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post #6 of 65
According to Reuters, the verdict is $290 million. Copycat Microsoft is finally paying for no innovation of its own.

Microsoft grew by buying other companies, and giving away products to eliminate others it couldn't compete with their products. Just earlier this year, Microsoft lost its appeal to the EU trade minister and was ordered to pay over $800 million for anti-competitive practices.

Greed does not pay. I hope they will learn from this.
post #7 of 65
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As Stephen Colbert might say:

Today's Word is - Non!
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post #8 of 65
The jury found willful infringement, so presumably there is evidence Microsoft knew of the patent.

That might change things.

i4i appear to be a legitimate business with a product base since 93. Apparently i4i is using the patent, and appears they have MS internal emails confirming that MS knew about the patent.

The company also appears to be privately held which means it will be hard for M$ to buy them.

Seems like M$ got caught trying to steal the technology and now have to pay up.

M$ has 60 days to comply. Chances are, they'll find a way out of this before they have to remove product from the shelves.
post #9 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by OC4Theo View Post

According to Reuters, the verdict is $290 million. Copycat Microsoft is finally paying for no innovation of its own.

Microsoft grew by buying other companies, and giving away products to eliminate others it couldn't compete with their products. Just earlier this year, Microsoft lost its appeal to the EU trade minister and was ordered to pay over $800 million for anti-competitive practices.

Greed does not pay. I hope they will learn from this.

This is just a frivolous lawsuit. Apple gets hit with patent suits all the time.

BTW, Greed DOES pay actually, and handsomely. I too would like to believe it doesn't, and that we live in a fair world, but that's not the case.
post #10 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by OC4Theo View Post

According to Reuters, the verdict is $290 million. Copycat Microsoft is finally paying for no innovation of its own.

Microsoft grew by buying other companies, and giving away products to eliminate others it couldn't compete with their products. Just earlier this year, Microsoft lost its appeal to the EU trade minister and was ordered to pay over $800 million for anti-competitive practices.

Greed does not pay. I hope they will learn from this.

and this will affect Apple as well because the patent in question is a very broad and BS XML patent
post #11 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by OC4Theo View Post

According to Reuters, the verdict is $290 million. Copycat Microsoft is finally paying for no innovation of its own.

Microsoft grew by buying other companies, and giving away products to eliminate others it couldn't compete with their products. Just earlier this year, Microsoft lost its appeal to the EU trade minister and was ordered to pay over $800 million for anti-competitive practices.

Greed does not pay. I hope they will learn from this.

You may 'enjoy' this: Microsoft - A History of Anticompetitive Behavior and Consumer Harm http://www.ecis.eu/documents/Finalve...hoicepaper.pdf - NB pdf, I am not aware of a html version.
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post #12 of 65
My understanding is that i4i markets specifically to the MS word using crowd, and that halting sales of Word hurts them too -- this will be taken care of in a straightforward way, with a large check going from one hand to another.

anyone else find the name i4i particularly funny for a plaintiff in a patent infringement case?
post #13 of 65
That's all I have to say...Microsoft better get that appealed. That's just crazy.
iPhone 4 32GB (black), iPod touch 32GB, iPad Wi-Fi + 3G 64GB, iPod classic 80 GB (white) 160GB (black), 2x 5th gen iPod 30GB (black + white), iMac 27", MacBook Pro 17", Time Capsule 1TB, Apple TV
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iPhone 4 32GB (black), iPod touch 32GB, iPad Wi-Fi + 3G 64GB, iPod classic 80 GB (white) 160GB (black), 2x 5th gen iPod 30GB (black + white), iMac 27", MacBook Pro 17", Time Capsule 1TB, Apple TV
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post #14 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by Quadra 610 View Post

The jury found willful infringement, so presumably there is evidence Microsoft knew of the patent.

the bigger question is the nature of the patent. see the current tread is to drop patent protection for two particular situations

1. a company obtains and patent and does nothing with it in a practical sense but simply uses it to file lawsuits
2. the patent is on an idea and not on an actual method to implement ie if the patent is merely the idea to 'separate content and appearance into two separate but related sets of codes thus that one can be changed without affecting the other' then that could fall into the idea realm and be deemed too broad to be patent worthy.

which is a good thing because much of website design is still using CSS and XHTML (which is a 'dialect' of XML). so a win could shut down that as well.

something else to add is that XML is an open standard. so it is possible this whole thing will be tossed because i4i can't have patent protection over anything that uses XML cause they don't 'own' it
post #15 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by OC4Theo View Post

According to Reuters, the verdict is $290 million. Copycat Microsoft is finally paying for no innovation of its own.

Microsoft grew by buying other companies, and giving away products to eliminate others it couldn't compete with their products. Just earlier this year, Microsoft lost its appeal to the EU trade minister and was ordered to pay over $800 million for anti-competitive practices.

Greed does not pay. I hope they will learn from this.

Utter nonsense. Microsoft has definitely been guilty of vicious and greedy business practices, but *this* lawsuit has absolutely nothing to do with that. This is the same sort of nonsense Lawsuit that we see pretty regularly filed on Apple. You need to be able to tell the difference between the two. Promoting these frivolous lawsuits against another company is the same as promoting them against Apple.
The true measure of a man is how he treats someone that can do him absolutely no good.
  Samuel Johnson
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The true measure of a man is how he treats someone that can do him absolutely no good.
  Samuel Johnson
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post #16 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by iCarbon View Post

anyone else find the name i4i particularly funny for a plaintiff in a patent infringement case?

Microsoft should go 2th42th against these guys.
post #17 of 65
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May I suggest:

http://www.groklaw.net/article.php?s...90812144154814

Indeed Groklaw in general for a better perspective on legal issues vis a vis software patents and the like.

Quote:
I hate software patents. And this is precisely why. It is karmic that this happened to Microsoft, who just got an XML patent of its own on August 4th that could, presumably, be used against the entire market.

Microsoft are teh sux
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post #18 of 65
I'll bet the judge is used to Word Perfect.
post #19 of 65
Patents are out of control. I think it all started with Amazon patenting "one-click" buying online.
post #20 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by Xian Zhu Xuande View Post

It'll be appealed...

Something needs to be done about the BS lawsuits stemming from that legal toilet.

We should just give Texas back to Mexico. Too much baggage from that state.
post #21 of 65
Reading the patent I would say this one may have legs. First, it is a specific implementation method for document/formatting separation. Second, the priority data - 1994 - is early enough that I couldn't dispute it as being original at the time.

The patent is quite well written and reasonable to read.
post #22 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by Beauty of Bath View Post

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May I suggest:

http://www.groklaw.net/article.php?s...90812144154814

Indeed Groklaw in general for a better perspective on legal issues vis a vis software patents and the like.

If you want a biased freetard POV, yes.

What's really funny is she ignores the probable impact on ODF. As i said on the other thread, MS probably doesn't care that much to lose if it kills ODF in the US.
post #23 of 65
ROFLMAO! Bout freggin time!

iWork is safe (I think). Apple uses the OpenDocument code (sans Sun MicroSystems) or similar to read these files... Albiet not 100% correctly (you'll probably never notice).

I'm only assuming it's the OD reader because NeoOffice and OpenOffice open this particular Word doc the exact same way. MS Word on PC or Mac open it correctly. It's a quad table embedded Table... That's a table inside a table inside a table.... Wierd, neat, different, I wouldn't do it that way...
post #24 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by physguy View Post

Reading the patent I would say this one may have legs. First, it is a specific implementation method for document/formatting separation. Second, the priority data - 1994 - is early enough that I couldn't dispute it as being original at the time.

The patent is quite well written and reasonable to read.

Can you imagine if Office is pulled rom the shelves? It seems a fairly remote possibility, but just consider that for a moment, and the resulting fallout.
post #25 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by Quadra 610 View Post

Can you imagine if Office is pulled rom the shelves? It seems a fairly remote possibility, but just consider that for a moment, and the resulting fallout.

I use OpenOffice.org at home, anyway. It's cheaper. Businesses might be hit hard, though. Unless they're still running XP Pro and Office 2003 like mine.

Malo periculosam, libertatem quam quietam servitutem.

(I prefer the tumult of liberty to the quiet of servitude.)

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Malo periculosam, libertatem quam quietam servitutem.

(I prefer the tumult of liberty to the quiet of servitude.)

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post #26 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by chronster View Post

... BTW, Greed DOES pay actually, and handsomely. I too would like to believe it doesn't, and that we live in a fair world, but that's not the case.

Just to be picky ...

Greed only pays in the SHORT term. It's an established fact that in the LONG term greed *doesn't* pay.

Greed is a individual strategy for the short term only. That's why they call it "greed" in the first place (one of the deadly sins etc.).
In Windows, a window can be a document, it can be an application, or it can be a window that contains other documents or applications. Theres just no consistency. Its just a big grab bag of monkey...
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In Windows, a window can be a document, it can be an application, or it can be a window that contains other documents or applications. Theres just no consistency. Its just a big grab bag of monkey...
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post #27 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by vinea View Post

If you want a biased freetard POV, yes. ...

Anyone who would portray groklaw as a "biased freetard" has no credibility at all and isn't worth listening to.

Sane people can disagree, but this kind of moniker is on the same level as calling Obama a "socialist." It paints you as an exaggerator at best, and more likely someone with a very big bias of their own.
In Windows, a window can be a document, it can be an application, or it can be a window that contains other documents or applications. Theres just no consistency. Its just a big grab bag of monkey...
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In Windows, a window can be a document, it can be an application, or it can be a window that contains other documents or applications. Theres just no consistency. Its just a big grab bag of monkey...
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post #28 of 65
Holy crap it's that East Texas court again. Isn't there some sort of special fence that could be built around that damned town? Really tall, enclosed over the top, and air-tight? It wouldn't have to stay up long. Just long enough for the people inside to use up all the air.

On a more serious note, what I'd like to see from someone is some sort of statistic on how often these kinds of rulings are overturned in higher courts. As loony as this East Texas court is, I bet most of their rulings are overturned. At least I hope that's the case.
post #29 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by physguy View Post

Reading the patent I would say this one may have legs. First, it is a specific implementation method for document/formatting separation. Second, the priority data - 1994 - is early enough that I couldn't dispute it as being original at the time.

The patent is quite well written and reasonable to read.

Indeed, the patent predates xml itself http://www.w3.org/XML/hist2002

sgml predates this patent but is not an implementation of itself http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Standar...arkup_Language

I wonder why this was not apparent at the time the xml was developed. I didn't read the full patent but everything reads like a xml with a stylesheet - content and presentation. If I've missed some nuance perhaps this could be pointed out?
post #30 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by al_bundy View Post

and this will affect Apple as well because the patent in question is a very broad and BS XML patent

You think this patent is BS? Have you seen the patent Microsoft just received with XML for documents?

Both should be thrown out.
post #31 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by vinea View Post

If you want a biased freetard POV, yes.

What's really funny is she ignores the probable impact on ODF. As i said on the other thread, MS probably doesn't care that much to lose if it kills ODF in the US.

This won't 'kill' anything. This is about money, not killing a given format/approach. MS makes tons of money from using this patent. If it continues to go against them they will be forced to license the patent for $$$.

The body controlling ODF would also then have to consider a license. The $$ for that license need not be (nor would likely be) the same cost as MS as the controlling body doesn't make (much) money from the invention. This would be up to i4i. They could decide to release it under GPLx or other license as well. Lots of choices which don't kill anything.
post #32 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by djsherly View Post

Indeed, the patent predates xml itself http://www.w3.org/XML/hist2002

sgml predates this patent but is not an implementation of itself http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Standar...arkup_Language

I wonder why this was not apparent at the time the xml was developed. I didn't read the full patent but everything reads like a xml with a stylesheet - content and presentation. If I've missed some nuance perhaps this could be pointed out?

XML is just a standard or tool without method or application (a hammer not a house) which can be used to implement the methods of this patent. As such I can't see XML itself as a violation.
post #33 of 65
Obviously the Mac version is included in the ruling due to having the functionality at issue. I wouldn't worry about it going off the market anytime soon. The ruling does not apply to resellers and resellers are very well stocked.
post #34 of 65
It's kind of funny when you hear the name i4i. It reminds me of an 'eye for and eye'
post #35 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by Quadra 610 View Post

Chances are, they'll find a way out of this before they have to remove product from the shelves.


Yep there goes 1/2 the stock off the shelves of their new store.
OMG here we go again...
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OMG here we go again...
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post #36 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by vinea View Post

If you want a biased freetard POV, yes.

What's really funny is she ignores the probable impact on ODF. As i said on the other thread, MS probably doesn't care that much to lose if it kills ODF in the US.


Any POV genuinely held by an intelligent individual or well informed group of individuals is worthy of consideration. Any POV that is not biased is to say the least most extraordinary.

You paid how much to post on this board? And your opinion/comment is worth how much? Freetard? - methinks that describes you more than PJ.

MS would love to kill ODF, MS would love to kill any other agreed standard. Why - because it would help them with their de facto 'Office' et al standards.
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post #37 of 65
ROFL. The US patent system is such a joke. I love America as much as I hate its patents sewer.
post #38 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by physguy View Post

Reading the patent I would say this one may have legs. First, it is a specific implementation method for document/formatting separation. Second, the priority data - 1994 - is early enough that I couldn't dispute it as being original at the time.

The patent is quite well written and reasonable to read.

SGML dates back to '86 as a standard, and XML is a subset of SGML. Since SGML is used for publishing, I find it hard to believe that it did not have sufficient functionality to warrant the innovation as "obvious".

If this one is upheld, it will also impact OpenOffice.org and just about any project that writes files to XML.
post #39 of 65
Excel is the only MS Office program I use and feel there is no equal.

Good thing I use Nisus Writer Pro I guess.
Hard-Core.
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Hard-Core.
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post #40 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by djsherly View Post

I wonder why this was not apparent at the time the xml was developed. I didn't read the full patent but everything reads like a xml with a stylesheet - content and presentation. If I've missed some nuance perhaps this could be pointed out?

Skimming the patent, it seems remarkably different from XML. In fact the patent refers to SGML as prior art, and points out this differentiation.

In XML, the content is marked-up inline, identifying the type of content bracketed in tags. The tags may rely on external style sheets or processing to determine how the contained content should appear, but the tag itself is inline to identify what content it applies to.

This seems pretty typical in my knowledge and the prior art mentioned in the patent.

With i4i's patent, the document content data is basically a stream of plain text, with no markup for formatting information at all. A separate data set contains all formatting information. (chars 0 through 23 are the "Title", with defined formatting, etc).

Any software historians aware of prior art on this approach?

Without digging into the details of Office's XML format, it seems they do something similar - Some nodes contain the raw text, while other nodes contain formatting information with indexes to the text. The fact that it is implemented using XML seems immaterial, and typical uses of XML/HTML do not infringe.

It will be interesting to see how this goes forward.
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