Microsoft Can Keep Selling Word While Appealing Patent Ruling

Microsoft WordLast month, a Texas judge handed down some $290 million in fines against Microsoft Corporation for infringing on patents held by Canadian company i4i related to custom XML documents—and in addition to the financial penalty, the judge ordered Microsoft stop selling infringing products—in this case Microsoft Word 2004 and 2007—and gave Microsoft 60 days to comply.

Microsoft immediately appealed the ruling and, surprising almost nobody, U.s. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit has found Microsoft has met the requirements to be granted a stay on the injunction—in other words, the company can continue selling Microsoft Word while its appeal on the patent infringement case wends its way through the courts. The appeals court also granted an expedited review of the case, and will hear arguments on September 23.

The initial infringement ruling against Microsoft was unexpectedly harsh, with east Texas judge Leonard Davis ordering Microsoft to pay $40 million for willful infringement, $37 million in pre-judgement interest, $21,102 for every day until a final judgement was reached, and some $144,060 per day until a final judgement on damages was reached.

For its part, i4i isn’t some patent troll with no other business than trying to milk money off Microsoft: the company has been in business since 1993 and develops collaborate content management systems, with clients in the pharmaceutical industry.