Texas Judge Orders Microsoft to Stop Selling Word

Wordpad, anyone?

By Holly LaFon
|  Wednesday, Aug 12, 2009  |  Updated 3:15 PM CDT
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Texas Judge Orders Microsoft to Stop Selling Word

Microsoft

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A Texas judge was not just feeling especially pugnacious this morning when he ordered Microsoft to stop selling one of its most profitable and ubiquitous products: Word.

A jury found that the company violated an XML patent owned by Toronto-based i4i who brought suit against it. Judge Leonard Davis of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas, Tyler Division, has ordered Microsoft to pay more than $290 million in damages and interest.

XML is a formatting language that makes text readable across different programs. The Toronto company has owned a patent to manipulate the language in a particular way since 1998, though Microsoft decided to use the innovation in its Word program anyway.

Davis ruled the company violated the 449 patent “willfully.”

"We are very pleased with the terms of the Final Judgment. The financial award due to i4i is now over $290 million and a Permanent Injunction has also been issued against Microsoft,” said Michel Vulpe, founder of i4i and an inventor of the '449 patent. "We feel vindicated with this result. i4i will do its utmost to support custom XML users, which is particularly important to implement the ISO 29500 OOXML standard. "

It’s a not-so-good year for Microsoft, who lost the second-largest patent award this year to a Singapore company for $388 million. However, $200 million equals roughly four days of profit for the company, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Microsoft plans to appeal the ruling.

Holly LaFon has written and worked for various local publications including D Magazine and Examiner.

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