It looks like Microsoft has the advantage -- at least for now -- in its David vs. Goliath legal skirmish with Canadian software developer i4i, which recently won a patent infringement suit against the software giant.
A quick recap: Last month, U.S. District Court Judge Leonard Davis halted the sale of Microsoft’s ubiquitous word processors -- Word 2003 and Word 2007 -- in their current form after October 10. But a federal appeals court yesterday granted Redmond’s request to suspend the injunction. The ongoing battle centers on Word’s capability to create custom XML documents, a capability that i4i says infringes on its patent.
It’s extremely unlikely that Word will cease to exist. If i41 prevails, Microsoft will likely disable the offending feature, some patent experts predict. But what if it didn’t? Microsoft has warned of computer Armageddon if it’s not allowed to sell Word in its current form.
Computerworld’s Gregg Keizer, quoting from Microsoft’s emergency motion filed with the U.S. Court of Appeals, summarizes this dire scenario:
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