Things took a surprising turn for Redmond crew as Microsoft Word, the core component of the Microsoft Office productivity suit got banned in the United States for a patent infringement. Sounds crazy? there’s more. Microsoft has also been ordered to pay up an initial $200 million dollars to the Toronto based i4i Technologies, who claim that Microsoft have infringed on their XML parsing technology.
The affected products include any Microsoft Office product which can open (and display) .xml, .docx and .docm files (all XML based content by structure). This includes all versions of Microsoft Office Word 2003, Word 2007 and the upcoming Word 2010. The Texas judge has given Microsoft 60 days to clean up the streets from all the products that use the said technology, and pay up a total of a whooping $290 million. Looks like i4i Inc just made it big time.
Microsoft maintains that the ruling is unjust and that they would appeal against the injunction. In their own words, they said:
We are disappointed by the court’s ruling, We believe the evidence clearly demonstrated that we do not infringe and that the i4i patent is invalid. We will appeal the verdict.
It also seems that they have no intention of stopping sales of Word from their Office suite (which is impossible anyways) because it is one of their most valuable assets. What results the appeal would bring is hard to tell. No one even expected that the Redmond black suits would loose to such a company in the first place. I guess they need some coaching from our Pakistani Lawyers, no?