August 12, 2009

Microsoft fined $290M over patent abuse

Software giant Microsoft Corp. was fined $290 million in a Texas court for infringing on a Canadian company's XML programming patent rights.

The conclusion of the seven-day trial in Tyler, Texas, saw Judge Leonard Davis rule in favor of i4i, an international software developer based in Toronto.

The ruling effectively bars Microsoft from marketing its popular Word 2003 or Word 2007 word processing software that's part of the Microsoft Office package.

The ruling 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.

Microsoft spokesman Kevin Kutz expressed disappointment with the ruling 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, the statement said.

Extensible Markup Language, or XML, was patented by i4i founder Michel Vulpe. The language created a method of processing and storing content and programmable metacodes in a document separately and distinctly.