Intellectual Property Law

Judge's Order Could Force Microsoft to Stop Selling Some Word Products

After Microsoft lost two big jury verdicts in patent infringement cases this spring, many observers expressed doubt that the computer goliath would ever have to ante up.

However, the potential cost to Microsoft got a lot bigger this week. A federal judge in Texas not only added an additional $90 million in willful infringement damages and post-judgment interest to a $200 million May judgment won by i4i Limited Partnership but said Microsoft will have to stop selling some versions of its Word products in 60 days, according to the American Lawyer.

This may not be the final answer, though: Articles in Information Week and PC Magazine about Tuesday’s ruling by U.S. District Judge Leonard Davis say the company can probably develop a viable workaround that will permit Microsoft to keep selling Word products without violating the sales ban.

The infringement issue is Word’s ability to read documents containing custom XML, a form of Extensible Markup Language. So, according to the judge’s opinion, “any version of Word that opens documents in plain text only, or which strips a document of custom XML through a process known as a transform, would be free from his order,” explains Information Week.

Microsoft says its intends to appeal the Eastern District of Texas ruling by Davis. The Am Law Daily provides a copy of the injunction (PDF).

Additional and related coverage:

Am Law Litigation Daily (April 2009): “Mintz Levin Wins $388 Million Patent Infringement Verdict Against Microsoft–on Contingency”

Am Law Litigation Daily (May 2009): “McKool Smith Wins $200 Million Patent Verdict Against Microsoft”

Bloomberg: “Microsoft Fails to Quash $200 Million Patent Verdict”

Tech Inciter (PC World): “Court Ban on Microsoft Word Won’t Hurt Users”

Wall Street Journal Law Blog: “Microsoft Word-less?”

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