Microsoft Loses Appeal For Word Patent Infringement Case

December 23rd, 2009 at 12:00 am

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It seems that even giants in the industry may not always get their way. Microsoft has recently lost its appeal in a patent infringement case involving a feature used in its Word application. The Federal Circuit Court of Appeals is not overturning a patent infringement verdict concerning XML features in Word owned by another company. The Court is awarding Toronto based i4i, the owner of the Custom XML patent, more than $290 million aside from $40 million for intentional infringement.

The case stemmed from Microsoft using a Custom XML feature in Word 2007 without the knowledge the patent owner of the technology, l4i. The case covered software sold in the US prior to the January 11, 2010 injunction date. Aside from the monetary damages, Microsoft is also ordered to remove or disable the said feature on its next versions of Office Word for next year or face a further halt in sales due to the injunction which it has already experienced for Word 2007 prior to the appeal verdict.

Microsoft is addressing the injunction by having a means to disable the Custom XML feature on Word 2007 through a patch. It may be enough to help avoid further violations on the patent infringement case verdict. The software giant also has said that the beta version of its Microsoft Word 2010 would no longer contain the technology that is covered by the said injunction. This time, it’s a victory for the small guys.