back to article Microsoft's Word patent case to hit appeal court next month

A US federal court will hear Microsoft’s Word injunction appeal on 23 September. i4i, the company that secured a major victory against MS earlier this month, confirmed the hearing late last week. On 11 August a judge for the US District Court of Eastern Texas ordered Microsoft to stop shipments of Word in 60 days time, after …


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  1. not.known@this.address Bronze badge

    (an)i4 (an)i?

    Will Microsoft be fighting this tooth and nail? Or will they turn the other cheek?

    What next, i4i suing anybody else who dares infringe their loosely-worded "patent"? Guess that'll be bye-bye Apple, Linux and anything else that allows data to be used in multiple applications...

    I don't normally support Micro$haft in legal matters, but I actually hope they win this one...

  2. Anonymous Coward

    That's it lets pack up shop...

    And close the doors on the entire patent system. Having nothing at all would be more productive than this.

  3. Anonymous Coward

    Call time on software patents FULL STOP

    It really is time that the Obama administration reviews the whole IP protection system in the US. Software is not an inventive step neither is an algorithm implementation.

    How much money is wasted/lost in the US economy each year through pathetic punitive law suits, injunctions and lost trade? Not to mention the money wasted on law firms who have a vested interest in prolonging proceedings and pushing through knowingly invalid patents.

    It must be in Apple/Google/Microsoft's best interests to use their combined lobbying power to kill all software patents - but again the legal departments in these companies have a vested interest in maintaining the status quo.

    Come on America... stop litigating and innovate.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    And the sanctions?

    While MS continue to lobby for software patents, and to enforce patents every bit as dubious as this one against much smaller competitors, it is hard to have any sympathy for them when on the receiving end.

    If they win the appeal will they still have to pay the $40m or so that was a sanction for their lawyer continuing to misrepresent the law to the jury after the judge directed him not to?

  5. Gary Turner

    Siding with the devil

    Gawd! It's so hard to come down on the Evil Empire's side.

    I cannot imagine the thought process that allowed for the first software patent. I can support copyrighted software, in the same way that an author has copyright on his work. He still can't 'own' the words he uses, nor the plot; only the particular way he put it together in the whole.

  6. Doug
    Gates Horns

    the end of the world as we know it

    Won't the entire worlds economy grind to a halt if they ban msWord in sixty days?

  7. Doug

    i4i suing Linux ?

    "What next, i4i suing anybody else who dares infringe their loosely-worded "patent"? Guess that'll be bye-bye Apple, Linux and anything else that allows data to be used in multiple applications...", not.known@this.address

    According to Groklaw ..

    "No need for analysts' opinions and such. is clean, according to the i4i folks, and it's their patent. As for ODF, it doesn't use CustomXML, and it had no plans to do so, despite what you've been reading in the fuddy papers"

  8. Daniel 1

    It's not like this is a new case

    This isn't about i4i asserting ownership of some genric idea. They're not about to come after any other software producer about this. It's entirely an i4i versus Microsoft case. Read.

    Microsoft was clearly made aware of the patent in question before the Office team even began completing the functionality in contention. Microsoft chose to ignore it. It's not quite on a 'knife the baby' level of crassness, but if Sawicki's comments, in particular, were taken at their most damaging, they could be read as "Microsoft met with i4i, spoke about custom XML, then chose to continue with the work they were doing, on the basis that doing so would render i4i's products obsolete". i4i is a Microsoft partner. They sell Word plugins. It's not in their interest to drive Word off the market, but it could be argued that it's not in their interest to see Microsoft copy the functionality of their products either, if that can be shown to be the case.

  9. Michael C


    Thank you for putting the FUD straight :)

  10. John Smith 19 Gold badge

    "We spend millions of dollars on scum bag lawyers"

    "Because of scum bag lawyers like you."

    I have repeatedly been staggered by the number of rubbish US software patents issued which opening up a copy of a standard CS software (Either one of the Principles of Interactive Computer Graphics for example) would put them in the bin as a result of prior art.

    You can guess what is the DVD in my side pocket.

  11. Goat Jam

    Why 60 days?

    Seems that they should be stopping right away, or at least in a bit less time.


    "I don't normally support Micro$haft in legal matters, but I actually hope they win this one..."

    I can't imagine why you would hope for that. Microsoft have merely been hoisted on their own petard. Not only do they wholeheartedly endorse the idea of software patents, but they knowingly infringed on this one from the very start. Their attitude seems to be that software patents are great when Microsoft can use them to attack smaller companies (TomTom) but otherwise be ignored when MS want to copy someone elses product because MS can afford more lawyers than almost everyone else. I find this incredibly cynical attitude to be entirely despicable.

    Personally, I hope they get burnt and burnt bad. Maybe then they might start considering changing their stance on the validity of software patents (although I doubt it)

    @Gary Turner

    "Gawd! It's so hard to come down on the Evil Empire's side."

    Well don't then. Microsoft were a driving force behind software patenting. Just sit back and enjoy the schadenfreude!

  12. Scott 55

    A Straight-forward Solution

    I have heard (but not seen) reports that Microsoft knew it was violating this company's patent and simply took what it saw as a calculated risk: If they sue, and they win, then we will settle out of court.

    If that is true, and, as reported, the judge has an email from MS laying out this strategy, the solution is to invalidate 100% of Microsoft's own patents. They have to pay others who hold valid patents. They cannot make a cent from their own ever again.

    I don't think anything less will put an end to calculated risk taking, and attempts to stall and delay until the other side goes broke.

    If one is going to allow software patents, the cost of willfully violating them needs to be very high.

  13. Lingo24

    Should software be subject to patents at all?

    The real issue here is whether XML should be subjected to patents at all, indeed, whether any software should be subjected to patents. Since the US Patent and Trademark Office (US PTO) usurped the right to issue software patents after the divisive verdict by the Supreme Court in Diamond v. Diehr (1981), without approval from the US Senate, this has served to hinder software development.

    Unlike inventions with a physical dimension that require the protection of patents, patenting software is wholly unnecessary since copyright provides sufficient protection for the publishers.



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