Office 2007 with Word : Prohibition on US sales confirmed
December 23rd, 2009 - 09:10 am ET by J. G.
In the case against i4i, Microsoft’s request for an appeal has been rejected. It is therefore now illegal for Microsoft to sell litigious copies of their Office 2007 and Word 2007 programs in the United States after the 11th of January 2010. The software giant has already started taking the steps required to adhere to this judgment.
It is perhaps the epilogue to an affair which pitted the Canadian i4i against the American software giant Microsoft in court. Last summer, a district court in Texas found in favour of i4i, accusing Microsoft of having violated patented technology, with the patent relating to the way the Word 2003 and Word 2007 word processors handle XML documents (XML customisation) being held by i4i since 1998.
Yesterday, the federal Court of Appeals in Washington confirmed the judgement in favour of i4i by rejecting Microsoft’s appeal. They have been condemned to pay 290 million dollars in damages and interest to i4i, along with an injunction preventing them from selling any further copies of the software in question. Versions of Office which have already been sold are not affected by this judgement.
From the 11th of January 2010, Microsoft will no longer be able to sell copies of Word or Office which integrate the XML function patented by i4i. Microsoft has apparently understood that the decision is final by stoically announcing that they have accepted the Court of Appeals decision.
Microsoft is taking the necessary action Microsoft has indicated that the injunction is only related to copies of Word 2007 and Office 2007 sold in the USA after the 11th of January 2010. Office 2010 isn’t impacted by the decision surrounding this XML function presented as being "hardly used", as it was not implemented into the new version. For the impacted products, the clean up has started, with a patch released in October for OEM partners to remove the XML technology. Everything should therefore be in order for the 11th of January, although this doesn’t prevent Microsoft from looking at taking their case to the Supreme Court.
Microsoft has nevertheless lost some face in this affair, with the founder of i4i rejoicing in the news that the injunction stands: "this is an important step in protecting the intellectual property rights of small inventors".