updated 07:40 am EDT, Wed August 12, 2009
Judge bans Word sales
As part of the final order in a patent infringement suit, Judge Leonard Davis in the U.S. District Court of Eastern Texas has issued a permanent injunction against Microsoft. The company has been effectively banned from selling Word 2003, Word 2007 and similar products.
The case was initially filed by the Canadian company i4i, which holds patents relating to XML files. A court document prohibits Microsoft from selling any Word products "that have the capability of opening a .XML, .DOCX, or .DOCM file ('an XML file') containing custom XML."
Along with the injuntion, Davis added another $77 million in enhanced damages and pre-judgment interest, on top of the $200 million that was previously disclosed. Microsoft is also required to pay approximately $165,000 per day, from May 21sto to August 11th, for pre-judgment interest and post-verdict damages.
Although Microsoft is barred from selling current software with custom XML, the injunction permits Word to be modified in a way that opens XML as plain text or removes all custom XML elements. The company is also permitted to continue offering support to customers that already own a copy of the infringing products.
Despite the verdict and judgment terms, Microsoft has claimed innocence in the suit. The case was filed in a particular district court that is well known for patent infringement suits, as many plaintiffs expect a favorable outcome there.