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Thursday, August 13, 2009

Federal judge rules Microsoft Word infringes patent
Devin Montgomery at 9:19 AM ET

[JURIST] A judge for the US District Court for the Eastern District of Texas [official website] on Wednesday held [order, PDF] that Microsoft has infringed on a patent of Canadian company i4i [corporate websites] with portions of its Word 2007 and 2003 word-processing software. Judge Leonard Davis enjoined the company from selling the infringing programs and upheld a jury award [i4i press releas, PDF] against the company of more than $200 million for the infringement. Davis held that Microsoft had infringed on a patent [materials] i4i held for the use of certain XML encoding, ordering the company to eliminate the software's ability to display the code. The judge gave Microsoft 60 days to comply with the injunction, but Microsoft has said it plans to appeal [PC Magazine report] the ruling.

Aside from the patent issues, Microsoft has faced numerous legal challenges based on antitrust and unfair competition allegations. In July, the company announced [materials; JURIST report] that it would offer European consumers an option to select from a list of several Web browsers "in an effort to address competition law issues related to Internet Explorer and interoperability." In June, a South Korean court ruled [JURIST report] that the corporation violated antitrust laws by packaging software with the Windows operating system, but dismissed requests for damages from two Korean software firms on the grounds that the damages were not sufficiently linked to Microsoft's conduct. In February, Google [corporate website] sought to join a European Commission lawsuit [JURIST reports] against Microsoft, alleging that the bundling of software violated an EC Treaty provision [Article 82 text] that prohibits the abuse of a dominant market position.

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