Monday, August 17, 2009

No More Word?

Microsoft just lost a trial for an XML patent violation in Word by what appears to be a patent troll. The company, i4i, has no products, so is presumably uninterested in the usual patent cross-licensing deals that major corporations engage in.

Damages are about $200M, which is laughable for a company with as big a bank account as MSFT, but the requirement to stop selling Word within 60 days has a bit more teeth in it. Then again, it apparently only applies to Word 2003 and 2007, so maybe they won't complain too much. After all, it just forces people to upgrade to the new version.

Since Microsoft is one of the worst abusers of the patent system, hopefully this gives them some incentive to work on patent reform. Hoping for too much?

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