Microsoft planned to bury XML developer, says federal judge
Internal e-mail shows Microsoft worked to make i4i's software 'obsolete'
Computerworld - Microsoft knew of the patent held by i4i as early as 2001 but nevertheless set out to make the Canadian developer's software "obsolete" by adding a feature to Word, according to court documents.
The patent infringement case brought by Toronto-based i4i resulted in a $290 million judgment against Microsoft and an injunction that bars Microsoft from selling Word 2003, Word 2007 and Word for Mac 2008 in their current forms.
In a 65-page summary opinion dated Aug. 11, U.S. District Court Judge Leonard Davis said that evidence presented during the May 2009 jury trial showed Microsoft had met with i4i executives as far back as 2001, knew of the firm's patent for XML editing, and yet did nothing to guarantee that its implementation of "custom" XML would not infringe the i4i patent.
Davis highlighted an internal Microsoft e-mail that was presented by i4i during the trial as "particularly damaging." The e-mail was sent by Martin Sawicki, a member of the XML for Word development team, as a reply to another Microsoft employee who forwarded a message from i4i that described both its software and patent.
"We saw [i4i's products] some time ago, and met its creators," said Sawicki in the Jan. 23, 2003, e-mail. "Word 11 will make it obsolete. It looks great for XP though." Word 11 was the in-development code name for what was eventually dubbed Word 2003.
"The trial evidence revealed that Microsoft's intention to move competitors' XML products to obsolescence was quite bold," Davis said in his opinion. During the trial, i4i's expert testified that 80% of the market for the company's products was made moot when Microsoft added custom XML capabilities to Word 2003.
"My main concern with i4i is that if we do the work properly, there won't be a need for their product," stated another internal Microsoft e-mail submitted into evidence.
Last May, a Texas jury awarded i4i $200 million in damages for Microsoft's patent infringement. Davis added another $40 million in "enhanced damages" for Microsoft's "willful infringement," and additional damages and interest that brought the total to $290.6 million.
Davis slapped an injunction on Microsoft that blocks it from selling Word 2003, Word 2007, Word 2008 for Mac and, when it's released, Word 2010, unless the company changes or removes the word processing programs' custom XML feature. Microsoft has until Oct. 20 to comply.
One patent attorney said last week that Microsoft should be able to work around the injunction with an "easy technical" fix. "All Microsoft has to do is disable the custom XML feature, which should be pretty easy to do, then give that a different SKU number from what's been sold so it's easy to distinguish the two versions," said Barry Negrin, a partner with the New York firm Pryor Cashman LLP who has practiced patent and trademark law for 17 years.
- 5 Customers Deliver Virtual Desktops and Apps to Empower a Modern Workforce Learn how Citrix solutions helped 5 companies realize the full value of desktop virtualization through a project-by-project approach based on key business priorities.
- Top 10 Reasons to Strengthen Information Security with Desktop Virtualization Regain control and reduce risk without sacrificing business productivity and growth
- IDC MarketScape: Worldwide Client Virtualization Software 2013 Vendor Assessment IDC has placed Citrix in the 2013 IDC MarketScape Leaders Category once again noting that, "Citrix's position reflects the company's market leadership and...
- Infographic: Top Use Cases for Desktop Virtualization A wide range of business issues is driving IT toward desktop virtualization. One solution-Citrix XenDesktop with FlexCast technology-helps IT teams empower their entire...
- What Does it Take to Deliver a Superior Customer Experience? The Two Top-Rated Online Retailers, B&H Photo and Crutchfield Electronics, Share Their Secrets Discuss practical CX tools and service methods such as contact center agents and the use of realtime speech analytics to help contact center...
- Keep Servers Up and Running and Attackers in the Dark An SSL/TLS handshake requires at least 10 times more processing power on a server than on the client. SSL renegotiation attacks can readily... All Legal White Papers | Webcasts