Microsoft granted stay of Word injunction

Microsoft granted stay of Word injunction

Summary: Microsoft has been granted a stay of an injunction in a patent-infringement case that would have required the software giant to stop selling Word in its current form by next month.

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Microsoft has been granted a stay of a landmark injunction in a patent-infringement case that would have required the software giant to stop selling Word in its current form by next month.

The US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit on Thursday granted Microsoft's motion for a stay, pending appeal, of an injunction issued in August by a federal judge that bars sales of Word that include a custom XML code found to infringe on patents held by the plaintiff, i4i.

"We are happy with the result and look forward to presenting our arguments on the main issues on 23 September," Microsoft spokesman Kevin Kutz said in a statement.

In response to the court's decision, i4i expressed confidence in its position and accused Microsoft of using "scare tactics".

"Microsoft's scare tactics about the consequences of the injunction cannot shield it from the imminent review of the case by the Federal Circuit Court of Appeal on the 23 September appeal," i4i chairman Loudon Owen said in a statement.

"i4i is confident that the final judgement in favour of i4i, which included a finding of willful patent infringement by Microsoft and an injunction against Microsoft Word, was the correct decision and that i4i will prevail on the appeal."

Toronto-based i4i sued Microsoft in March 2007 alleging that the software giant violated its 1998 patent (No 5,787,449) for a document system that eliminated the need for manually embedded formatting codes.

In May, a jury ordered Microsoft to pay $200m (£120m) for infringing on a patent held by i4i.

In filing its formal appeal last week, Microsoft made a number of arguments for overturning the infringement finding, saying the judge made several procedural errors and failed to live up to his role as "gatekeeper".

In addition to pursuing its appeal, Microsoft has other options, including creating a technical workaround, removing the XML function or reaching a settlement with i4i.

i4i has said it is not seeking to torpedo Word, but does want the infringing custom XML code removed.

This article was originally posted on CNET News.

Topics: Microsoft, Collaboration, Security, Software

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62 comments
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  • failed to live up to his role as "gatekeeper"...

    In English, that translates to "We lost, therefore somebody must have cheated." Microsoft as a company clearly believes that it simply can do no wrong. They must have attended the Richard Nixon school of business and learned that rules only apply to the little people. If someone with enough influence and power does something, that makes it legal.
    jasonp@...
    • Do no wrong

      [i]Microsoft as a company clearly believes that it simply can do no wrong.[/i]

      Well isn't that true?
      Loverock Davidson
      • That confirms it

        Wow Loverock.

        I suspected it before but now I know it. You are satirical.

        Best to you and I consider myself one of the many punk'd.
        Viva la crank dodo
    • The other side of the coin

      We really don't know if i4i is really just another "patent troll" seeking to extort money out of a big multinational corporation for a technology only vaguely resembling XML which i4i has never successfully put to it's own use.

      If it looks like Microsoft will lose on appeal, they will offer i4i a big check to just go away and we will still never know if Microsoft really infringed on the i4i patent or not. Maybe they did and maybe they didn't.

      Patent law has never quite formulated how to properly protect software as intellectual property. Until it does, telling the frivolous lawsuit from the legitimate one will continue to be impossible.
      M Wagner
      • i4i Is Clearly Not a Patent Troll

        I've read enough articles on this subject to know that i4i creates software, for the hospital industry if I remember correctly. It was for that software that they applied for and got the patent. It's been awhile since I read the articles, but I believe that Microsoft has now attempted to compete against their software in their environment, prompting i4i to go after them on the patent infringement. The details escape me because this isn't my neck of the woods, but i4i was definitely defending their own patent.
        No one special
        • Thanks for the update

          I know nothing about i4i but your note suggests they have legitimate concerns - and if they stick to their guns and force Microsoft to remove the infringing code, that might be a good lesson for us all.

          But I'd bet that should MS finds itself losing on appeal that i4i will buckle under and accept MS dollars in exchange for their acquiesence.

          Frankly, I don't like it when any corporation in a lawsuit is allowed to "settle out of court" under undisclosed terms for undisclosed amounts of money. The public has a right to know the details.
          M Wagner
          • Open Records would be nice

            I agree, that those undisclosed terms don't serve the public well. As for the legitimacy of i4i's claim, I cannot say. People who know and understand this stuff better than I do have questioned whether the patent should have been granted in the first place. So that's what I think the courts need to consider. We all know that the patent system is broken, with patents awarded for ridiculous things and vapor-ideas. Whether this falls into that category should be the issue.
            No one special
          • Right? What right?

            Please explain precisely on what rational or moral basis "the public"?that vast, amorphous phantom in whose name all manner of meddlesome acts occur?has any right to know anything about the resolution of a dispute over property "it" does not own.
            slingzenarrowzuvowtrayjissforchin
          • Well if they are

            a corp. in the U.S. then they are benefiting
            from our tax dollars.
            I remember reading that a corporation was a gift
            from the people to allow the corp. to form in
            the U.S. That initially only things like
            railroads could be corporations because they benefit the people.
            I disagree. We have a right to know, and if they
            want to hold a corporation in our country they
            should make the info public
            davidhite
          • Who

            Public company not private. Investors want to know that's who. duh
            Altotus
          • One reason they settle

            Since the Boycott eBay campaign started last year I have learned that one reason companies settle is then there is no judgment against them, so, they can continue doing what they were doing. In the ebay/paypal case, they settled cases, so they could continue holding funds and earn interest. Apparently holding money earns more interest than the 10 million they paid, and all the legal funds they paid.

            I suppose the reason companies are allowed to not disclose the details publically, is because they were not "convicted" of any wrongdoing. I say, however, "you settle, you accept responsibility and admit guilt, automatically".
            LegendsOfBatman
      • Fair and balanced.

        Great comment. We need more like this. If MS is practicing unethical, monopolistic, predatory behaviors, nail them to the wall. If not, nail the defendant to the wall. But let's at least get to the facts of the case before entering into this "bash-mode" and forgoing intelligent, truth-seeking critical thinking. We already have enough brain-washing going on in our government-run schools. Let's finally grow up and learn to think for ourselves like big boys and girls and tell the "Nanny State" to go evaporate.
        lalogos
        • Strange...

          but isn't one of the pertinent facts "In May, a jury ordered Microsoft to pay $200m (?120m) for infringing on a patent held by i4i."?
          jasonp@...
          • Where this reply belongs...

            The problem with that fact is that juries in cases like this tend to be populated by people with no clue about whatever it is that they're presiding over.

            A trial of jury by your peers doesn't mean people exactly like you, if it did, then nobody would ever be found guilty of anything.

            Think about it for a second: If you did something, and had a jury of people exactly like you (your true peers), they'd think exactly like you, act exactly like you, and so find no fault with what you did.

            In this case there really are no peers of Microsoft, only competitors, and competitors will always find their competition guilty simply to get them out of the way.

            So the law has to settle for second best, a jury of so called "average people" who *appear* to present no bias against the defendent.

            Give that we don't have all the courtroom facts from both sides, we are all unqualified to make any kind of determination of guilt, because, after all, in America it's "innocent until proven guilty", or at least, that's the way it's supposed to be.
            PollyProteus
          • Way Wrong About this! :(

            So I suppose you believe a jury should either be made of artificial intelligent bots or all your enemies? Trial by Jury made up of peers has worked for centuries. It's not perfect, but if instructed properly by the judge, the system works!

            ...And peers aren't necessarily friends and cohorts in crime. In this case, we are talking about a non-entity, MICROSOFT. Not really a warm body I think (or a warm heart even working amongst them). They are REPEAT OFFENDERS and if you study law, you'll know, repeat offenders rarely fail to repeat their wrong doing and never learn the errors of their ways.

            Microsoft has always been known as STONE COLD THIEVES. Ever since they ripped off Word in the first place. Then Bill Gates Waltzed into IBM with his good buddy's disguised & renamed CPM code ripped from Seattle Computers Products for pennies. That became MS-DOS and other sundered OS's in name only (originally Quick-and-Dirty Operating System)!

            Now these days, with a doctrine like "Embrace, Extend, Extinguish, do you really think that's changed? Sounds to me like that jury was more aware than YOU! ....all you repeat offenders and defenders of criminals need to grow some moral fiber. Instead of criticizing a decision, just because it's not what you want in order to make you look exactly innocent on this matter! :D
            i2fun@...
          • Don't be mad

            that you did not steal it first.
            Think we have all seen pirates of silicon valley.
            davidhite
      • Of course, one could...

        resort to telling the frivolous lawsuit from the legitimate one by looking at who actually won. If the plaintiff won then it clearly wasn't frivolous even if the ruling is overturned at a higher level.
        jasonp@...
        • That becomes a matter of perspective

          When selecting a jury, attorneys avoid jurors who are well educated (especially regarding the subject at hand). This makes it difficult for a jury to make an informed decision and very easy for the jury to take sides against the party with the deep pockets.

          Juries are allowed to award unrealistic damages without regard to the impact of such damages. This drives the cost of litigation in general up to the point that small entities cannot afford to file suit and large entities are encouraged to "pay-off" the plaintiff rather than go to court.

          In the end, MS will "pay-off" i4i whether or not they are guilty of anything.
          M Wagner
    • Partisan comments?

      Oh, you mean just because Richard Nixon was a Republican then any comments about him must be applied to all Republicans? Is that where we're at now?
      jasonp@...
    • Spot the muppet !

      Nowhere does it mention the rubbish you seem to have found and I for one await the outcome. If indeed MS have violated then of course they must abide... and that will no doubt cost the end user.

      As for you, it will probably let them claim for some trivial xml code you're using and we await your bleating.

      Nobody wins through these trivial claims, except the scum who portend to own some life changing script, and the lawyers. One way or another we all pay, whether we use MS or not. It's called global economics; no reason for anyone to be smug as far as I can see.
      johnmckay