Microsoft appeals against Word ban

Microsoft appeals against Word ban
19th August 2009 | | Technology

Microsoft has filed a motion to suspend an injunction imposed by a US court that banned the company from selling copies of Word in the United States.
The ban was imposed after a Texan court ruled that Microsoft had breached patents owned by a software company, i4i Ltd, pertaining to the way Word handles XML, a type of programming language.

The court ordered Microsoft to pay more than $290 million (£176 million) in damages to i4i Ltd, and also issued an injunction banning the company from selling versions of Word that contained the disputed patent technology, giving Microsoft 60 days to comply with the ruling.

But Microsoft has asked for that deadline to be suspended while it prepares an appeal against the decision, and also called for the appeal to be heard quickly.

“Today, Microsoft filed a motion with the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit to seek an expedited review of its appeal and to stay the permanent injunction while the appeal is pending,” said Kevin Kuntz, a spokesman for Microsoft. “These filings are not unusual in patent cases. As we’ve maintained throughout this process, we believe the evidence clearly demonstrates that we do not infringe and that the i4i patent is invalid.”

In papers filed with the court, Microsoft said the ruling could inflict “irreparable harm” on the company by keeping “the centrepiece of its product line out of the market for months”.

“The injunction would block not only the distribution of Word, but also of the entire Office suite, which contains Word and other popular programs,” read the motion. “Already, Microsoft is expending enormous human and financial capital to make its best effort to comply with the district court’s 60-day deadline.

“Unless Microsoft is able to redesign Word and push that redesigned version through its entire distribution network by October 10… Microsoft and its distributors (which include retailers such as Best Buy and Other Equipment Manufacturers such as HP and Dell) face the imminent possibility of a massive disruption in their sales.”

Loudon Owen, chairman of i4i Ltd, said that his company was not seeking to “crush” Word, but rather to protect its patents. He said he had “fully expected” Microsoft to appeal the decision “given the significance of the case and the flagship status of Microsoft Word to the defendant”.

“i4i will continue to vigorously enforce its patent,” he said. “We firmly believe the jury verdict and judgment were both fair and correct and we have been vindicated through this process.”

Content courtesy of The Telegraph

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