Judge Leonard Davis of the US District Court of East Texas has ruled that Microsoft can’t sell Microsoft Word in the US because of a patent infringement. The patent issue is about XML. The plaintiff is the company i4i, Inc that has a patent issued in 1998 on a method of reading XML. i4i was awarded $200 million in damages for the suit back in May.
Here’s a link to the injunction which takes effect in 60 days. (PDF) And here’s what it says.
Microsoft Corporation is hereby permanently enjoined from performing 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 ProductsÃ¢â‚¬Â) during the term of U.S. Patent No. 5,787,449:
1. selling, offering to sell, and/or importing in or into the United States any
Infringing and Future Word Products that have the capability of opening a .XML,
.DOCX, or .DOCM file (““an XML fileÃ¢â‚¬Â) containing custom XML;
2. using any Infringing and Future Word Products to open an XML file
containing custom XML;
3. instructing or encouraging anyone to use any Infringing and Future Word
Products to open an XML file containing custom XML;
4. providing support or assistance to anyone that describes how to use any infringing and Future Word Products to open an XML file containing custom XML;
5. testing, demonstrating, or marketing the ability of the Infringing and Future
Word Products to open an XML file containing custom XML.
This injunction does not apply to any of the above actions wherein the Infringing and Future Word Products open an XML file as plain text.
Certainly Microsoft is going to appeal, (and I doubt it will stick) but this has to rock a few boats.What is interesting about this is that i4i sells XML products that use Microsoft Word.