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Microsoft Files Federal Appeal on Word Patent Judgment

Microsoft has formally appealed a judgment issued last week that would require the company to stop selling Microsoft Word within the United States.

The judgment came following a jury trial that found aspects of Microsoft Word violate the patent of the Canadian software firm i4i as it relates to what's being called "custom XML."

In the ruling, East Texas District Court Judge Leonard Davis ordered Microsoft to stop selling versions of Word "that have the capability of opening a .XML, .DOCX, or .DOCM file ('an XML file') containing custom XML" within 60 days. He also ordered Microsoft to pay i4i $240 million in damages, $40 million of which was granted because the jury found the patent violation to be "willful."

Late last week, Microsoft filed for an emergency stay with the district court. In its filing Tuesday with the U.S. Court of Appeals, Federal Circuit, Microsoft has also asked for an emergency stay while the appeal is being heard.

According to the case docket, the first oral arguments in the appeal will be held Sept. 23.

About the Author

Becky Nagel is the executive editor of the 1105 Redmond Media Group's Web sites, including,, and, among others.

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Reader Comments:

Mon, Aug 24, 2009 80's Rocker

Yup, we all better hope MS wins because if they don't this could open up the door for this company with the patent to sue any company that uses XML documents for specific purposes. An XML doc is and XM doc, what is there to custom except how it is used.

Fri, Aug 21, 2009 Craig S. Pennsylvania

Good. I hope they win the appeal. Though the internal e-mails seem damaging at first look, I think there is much more to this story than Microsoft trying to squash a competitor (which, no doubt they have tried to do in the past, I just don't think that's necessarily the case here). XML is an open standard and there are only so many ways to work with XML. Admittedly, I haven't read the patent (which I should go do), but it seems to me that the patent does not hold up under the "non-obvious" invention rule. I mean, that's what XML is for, to let programs be able to open it up for manipulation in whatever way one sees fit. This ruling could have broader implications for the technology community.

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