OK, I’ll admit that I just about drowned as a mouthful of Starbucks Pike Place Roast went down the wrong hatch as I read this:
A Toronto-based company called i4i, Inc. prevailed in the US Dist. Ct for the E.D. of TX.
Here’s what’s been reported so far: “The U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas, ordered a permanent injunction that “prohibits Microsoft from selling or importing to the United States any Microsoft Word products that have the capability of opening .XML, .DOCX or DOCM files (XML files) containing custom XML.” In other words, the file format that is the basis for Word 2007 and the forthcoming Word 2010 that use the .docX extension. Here’s the PDF of the permanent injunction that was issued by Judge Leonard Davis: http://blog.seattlepi.com/microsoft/library/20090811i4iinjunction.pdf.
More from the article from the SeattlePI: “The injunction, which becomes effective in 60 days, prohibits Microsoft from selling future Word products that allegedly use the patented technology. It also enjoins Microsoft from testing, demonstrating, marketing or offering support for those future products. Davis also ordered Microsoft to pay i4i more than $290 million in damages . . . . We are disappointed by the court’s ruling,” Microsoft spokesman Kevin Kutz said in a statement. “We believe the evidence clearly demonstrated that we do not infringe and that the i4i patent is invalid. We will appeal the verdict.”
Bet they’re at least temporarily breaking out the bubbly at little i4i, Inc. in Toronto! David at least for the near term, has soundly kicked Goliath’s mega-butt. And I sure as heck would NOT want to be one of Microsoft’s inhouse or outside counsel having to explain this to ever-a-picture-of-serenity a/k/a Monkey Boy Steve Ballmer . . .
I would expect that Microsoft will likely prevail on this from sheer force of resources and willingness to quietly settle (hmm . . . time to buy i4i, Inc. stock???) but it still makes for fascinating contemplation, doesn’t it? It’s not as if anyone would be seriously bummed out if MS had to kill the less-than-beloved .___x file formats that have driven so many people crazy over the last few years.
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