Microsoft appeals in XML patent row

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Redmond (WA) - As expected, Microsoft has filed a motion to block an injunction that threatens to stop the company from shipping its flagship word processor, Word, saying that an earlier court ruling in favor of Canadian company i4i would cause 'irreparable harm'.

Last week, a district court in Texas issued a permanent injunction which forbids Microsoft from selling Word 2003 and Word 2007, because it violates an XML patent held by Toronto-based i4i. It would also impact the upcoming Word 2010, currently undergoing development and testing.

The permanent injunction 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 containing custom XML.

Ruling threatens 'irreparable harm'

"If left undisturbed, the district court's injunction will inflict irreparable harm on Microsoft by potentially keeping the centerpiece of its product line out of the market for months," says Microsoft in the motion filed in Washington DC, adding that the injunction would also have a serious impact on distributors, retailers and computer makers such as HP and Dell.

After last week's ruling, i4i Chairman Loudon Owen told TG Daily that his company has 'no interest' in bringing Microsoft to its knees and that i4i 'remained focused on enforcing its custom XML patent and ensuring that Microsoft complies with a court order to halt sales of Word 2003 and 2007 within 60 days'.

"i4i contended that Microsoft's use of certain Word 2003 and all of Word 2007 products for processing XML documents with custom XML elements infringed claims [within] patent 5,787,449," said Owen. "i4i further argued that Microsoft's infringement of the patent was willful. [However], Microsoft claimed that its Word products did not infringe the patent and that [it] was invalid."

The Texas court also ordered Microsoft to pay i4i $240 million in damages.

See also:
i4i 'not interested' in bringing Microsoft to its knees
Judge's injunction hammer comes down on Microsoft Word's head
Microsoft forced to cough up $200 million