Canadian Company Wins $290 Million Lawsuit Against Microsoft

Aug 14, 2009


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i4i, Inc., a Toronto-based software firm, which won a copyright infringement lawsuit against software giant Microsoft in May, saw that judgment upheld in a U.S. District Court ruling. The final judgment, rendered Tuesday, awards $290 million in damages to i4i, as well as a permanent injunction against Microsoft that forbids it from using the disputed XML editing capabilities.

According to CNW Group, the lawsuit stems from a form of electronic document structure called metacodes. Electronic documents are split into two parts: the content, which the user sees, and the structure, which the computer reads. Some forms of structural information comes in the form of metacodes, and it was a metacode reader that i4i claimed was stolen by Microsoft.

The suit came about after the 2003 and 2007 versions of Microsoft Word contained XML processing and editing products that i4i claimed violated its U.S. patent. i4i sued Microsoft in March 2007 and a jury trial commenced in May 2009, leading to a $200 million verdict for i4i, which the appeals court increased to $290 million.

The Final Judgment includes a Permanent Injunction against Microsoft Corporation for custom XML in Word 2003 and Word 2007. Microsoft is permanently enjoined from performing the following actions with Microsoft Word 2003, Microsoft Word 2007, and Microsoft Word products not more than "colorably different" from Microsoft Word 2003 or Microsoft Word 2007:
• Selling, offering to sell, and/or importing in or into the United States any Infringing and Future Word Products that have the capability of opening a .XML, .DOCX, or .DOCM file ("an XML file") containing custom XML;
• Using any Infringing and Future Word Products to open an XML file containing custom XML;
• Instructing or encouraging anyone to use any Infringing and Future Word Products to open an XML file containing custom XML;
• Providing support or assistance to anyone that describes how to use any infringing and Future Word Products to open an file containing XML; and
• Testing, demonstrating, or marketing the ability of the Infringing and Future Word Products to open an XML file containing custom XML.

This injunction takes effect 60 days from the dates of the court order, which was made on August 11, 2009.

(www.i4i.com; www.microsoft.com)