On August 11, 2009, a United States District Court Judge in the Eastern District of Texas ordered Microsoft to stop selling Microsoft Word. Judge Leonard Davis ordered the permanent injunction because Microsoft Word is infringing a patent to I4I or Infrastructures for Information Inc., namely,U.S. Patent No. 5,787,449, which is titled “Method and system for manipulating the architecture and the content of a document separately from each other.” The permanent injunction goes into effect sixty days from the decision. Microsoft will no longer be able to use, market, advertise, or sell Word 2003, 2007, or any other similar word processing program.
In May 2009, a Texas jury also ordered Microsoft to pay $200 million in damages to I4I for infringing the patent. Other news sources have stated that Microsoft plans on appealing. A Microsoft spokeswoman stated that Microsoft alleges they are not infringing I4I’s patent and, in addition, the patent is invalid.
I4I is a Canadian company, and the ’449 patent issued on July 28, 1998. The patent discloses “[a] system and method for the separate manipulation of the architecture and content of a document, particularly for data representation and transformations. The system, for use by computer software developers, removes dependency on document encoding technology. A map of metacodes found in the document is produced and provided and stored separately from the document. The map indicates the location and addresses of metacodes in the document. The system allows of multiple views of the same content, the ability to work solely on structure and solely on content, storage efficiency of multiple versions and efficiency of operation.”
View the patent at: http://www.google.com/patents/about?id=y8UkAAAAEBAJ&dq=5,787,449
Image from: http://www.aqsa.org.uk/Portals/0/Misc/Microsoft%20Word.png