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Microsoft Files "Emergency Motion" To Ship Word 221

Posted by kdawson
from the my-word dept.
adeelarshad82 writes "Several days after a judge ordered Microsoft to halt sales of Word and handed down $290M in fines, the software giant has moved to stop the ban. On Friday Microsoft filed an emergency motion to stop the judgment and waive the bond requirement, according to court filings. The actual document was filed under seal, so the full contents of the request have not yet been made public."
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Microsoft Files "Emergency Motion" To Ship Word

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  • by ls671 (1122017) *

    While reading, I kept hearing the song "For the love of money" from the '70s in my head. The one from the O'Jays that goes "money,money,money,money, mooo...neeey" ;-)

    Well; "waive the bond requirement, according to court filings. The actual document was filed under seal, so the full contents of the request have not yet been made public."

    It sure helps having money to settle court cases in your favor, doesn't it ?

    • by Winckle (870180) <[ku.oc.elkcniw] [ta] [kram]> on Monday August 17, 2009 @07:46PM (#29099149) Homepage

      the sealed bond is just the publicly available document and the rest is just stuffed with $100 bills.

      • by DrLang21 (900992) on Monday August 17, 2009 @07:50PM (#29099173)
        and cocaine [slashdot.org]
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Of course, because if there is one thing I have learned from Slashdot in the past few months, it is that any judgment that I disagree with must automatically have come about because the judge is corrupt and has been showered with money by evildoers.

        It is, of course, impossible that the law could favour my enemies. I mean that is just ridiculous. I'm right and therefore I should win every time. Hell, it works that way in comic books.

        • Re:I figure that (Score:4, Insightful)

          by Gerzel (240421) * <brollyferret@NoSPaM.gmail.com> on Monday August 17, 2009 @09:13PM (#29099809) Journal

          Oh no. Very few judges are bribed or corrupt these days. Politicians go so much cheaper and are more effective.

          • by maharb (1534501)

            Duh! We have an established bribery system (campaign contributions) that ensures all contributors get their share of the winnings.

          • by jandersen (462034)

            Oh no. Very few judges are bribed or corrupt these days. Politicians go so much cheaper and are more effective.

            This is popular point of view, but not entirely accurate. Corruption is so much more than taking money under the table; in a political system where the views of all participants are polarized in the extreme, as is the case in America, politicians, judges and everybody ese in a position of power will tend to abandon the common good in favour of those that share their own view. Isn't that a form of corruption? I think it is.

            Believe it or not, but in many places, such as Northern Europe, it is not uncommon tha

      • Re:I figure that (Score:5, Insightful)

        by MightyMartian (840721) on Monday August 17, 2009 @08:53PM (#29099687) Journal

        I'm sure it's a detailed synopsis as to how the US patent system is utterly broken, how it allows the most obvious ideas, and even ideas with a long history of prior art, to be patented. It probably goes into great detail as to how this is severely damaging both the US and global software industries, and how it burdens large companies with having to maintain vast portfolios to defend against just such attacks, and raises prices and creates uncertainty due to licensing costs.

        Of course, it's sealed, because while Microsoft doesn't want to be the victim of this moronic and corrupt system, it also doesn't want to preclude being a potential beneficiary either.

      • by InsertWittyNameHere (1438813) on Monday August 17, 2009 @09:03PM (#29099737)
        From the filing:

        "Okay, maybe my we did steal XML, but so what? Computer software is built on plagiarism! If it weren't for someone plagiarizing Xerox, we wouldn't have Windows 3.1! If someone hadn't ripped off Apple, there'd be no Vista! iPod, Zune, XBOX? Google, Bing, MSN Live. Your honor, if you take away our right to steal ideas, where are they gonna come from?"
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  • seems reasonable (Score:5, Informative)

    by Trepidity (597) <delirium-slashdot@@@hackish...org> on Monday August 17, 2009 @07:50PM (#29099175)

    Even if this is unquestionably a patent violation, the Supreme Court has already held, in eBay Inc. v. MercExchange, L.L.C. (2006), that an injunction prohibiting sale of the infringing product is not necessarily the appropriate remedy in all cases. Rather, the traditional four factors for issuing an injunction must be balanced: 1) that the injury is irreparable; 2) that there are inadequate alternate remedies to compensate for the injury; 3) that the balance of hardships favors the plaintiff; and 4) that an injunction does not harm the public interest. Microsoft has an least a plausible argument that they are not satisfied in this case, and that alternate remedies (perhaps money damages) would be better than an injunction against sale, even if indeed Word is infringing.

    • Re:seems reasonable (Score:5, Interesting)

      by TemporalBeing (803363) <bm_witness@yahooWELTY.com minus author> on Monday August 17, 2009 @07:58PM (#29099241) Homepage Journal
      From what little I've read on this, it seems that Microsoft basically incorporated the plaintiff's product into Word. So essentially it would put the plaintiff out of business, and could result in irreparable damages to the plaintiff. So it is likely to withstand that test...IANAL, but from what little I know it seems reasonable.

      Also, it's about time this happened, given how many times Microsoft has done this to others.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Desler (1608317)
        Who's to say that anyone en masse would have bought their software even if Microsoft hadn't done this?
        • Re:seems reasonable (Score:5, Informative)

          by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 17, 2009 @09:52PM (#29100031)

          I4i had 200 employees and was a growing, thriving business when MS came calling after 9/ll to learn how to do what I4i was doing. That's right. MS visited I4i to learn just how to do what I4i was doing. That's just how obvious and non-novel I4i's patent was at the time. It also proves MS knew the technology was covered by a patent.

          MS blatently ripped off I4i and now they are crying because they got caught with their hand in the cookie jar. They stole both I4i's technology and customer base. How? After incorporating I4i's technology into their own products they began to aggressively attack I4i's customer base. At the time I4i had 200 employees. Now they are approximately 1/7th of the size they were.

          I'd say that it's pretty clear that I4i has been irreparably harmed by MS's unethical actions.

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by Anpheus (908711)

            Have you read the patent?

            It seems like it would cover Adobe Dreamweaver, or any GUI editor that edits an XML-based data and styling application, where the data and the metacode defining the styles are separately stored but selected through some procedure.

            For example, Notepad++, an open source notepad implementation, stores style information in a document separate from the storage of the text, which always remains plaintext and without any markup except that which is defined in a separate metadata file. In f

            • Re:seems reasonable (Score:5, Informative)

              by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 17, 2009 @11:56PM (#29101019)

              I'm the AC you're replying to.

              What does any of that have to do with the facts of the case?

              MS didn't understand the technology. They went to I4i to understand it. I4i cooperated because MS came in concert with US intelligence and US intelligence was wanting to understand how they could search documents quickly after 9/11. That makes the technology, at that time, both non-obvious and novel to MS, the US government, and most likely the rest of the commercial software world, as they hadn't been able to find anyone who did what I4i was capable of doing. Just because, years later, you think you understand the patent and claim you can think of may applications that violate the patent doesn't invalidate the patent. It had to be innovative/novel/non-obvious then, not now.

              Here's a link to give more background.

              http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/the-biblical-vengeance-of-i4i/article1253054/

            • Re:seems reasonable (Score:4, Informative)

              by TemporalBeing (803363) <bm_witness@yahooWELTY.com minus author> on Tuesday August 18, 2009 @09:13AM (#29104477) Homepage Journal
              i4i uses a very unique approach to the method, and from what you describe it sounds like you've only read the summary. I strongly suggest you read Rob Weir's article (available on Groklaw [groklaw.net] as well as other sources) and go back and read the patent, particularly the claims section.

              There has already been a fair amount of discussion and not everything that uses XML and meta-data violates the patent. For example, ODF uses a very different method than this patent for the same kind of task - and from the various commentaries they do not violate it; namely b/c they saw the method proposed by i4i and MS as the wrong way to do it.

              They went after MS exactly b/c MS did their normal predatory behavior and they have a legitimate case against MS.

              FYI - this doesn't mean that I support software patents (I don't!); but this case is exactly why MS was charged with using its monopoly in an illegal way, and really shows what they do. So it's nice to see them bitten by it like this.
      • by MightyMartian (840721) on Monday August 17, 2009 @09:00PM (#29099721) Journal

        It's a fucking XML-encapsulated document structure. The entire point of SGML and SGML derivatives like XML is to encapsulate data into documents and other file structures. If this use of markups can be patented, then I'm heading down to the patent office to patent CSS.

        • Re:seems reasonable (Score:4, Informative)

          by AmyRose1024 (1160863) on Monday August 17, 2009 @09:26PM (#29099871)

          Too late. Microsoft beat you to it. http://www.w3.org/Style/CSS/Disclosures [w3.org]

          • by Dahamma (304068)

            Though it's pretty clear it was a defensive patent to HELP promote the CSS standard (and prevent bullshit like this patent on embedding XML data in a document):

            any W3C member or other party will be able to obtain a license under Microsoft's US Patent No. 5,860,073 to implement and use the technology described in W3C Recommendations for Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) and the EXtensible Style Language (XSL) for the purpose of supporting such standards, on a royalty-free basis. One condition of this license shal

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      Even if this is unquestionably a patent violation, the Supreme Court has already held, in eBay Inc. v. MercExchange, L.L.C. (2006), that an injunction prohibiting sale of the infringing product is not necessarily the appropriate remedy in all cases. Rather, the traditional four factors for issuing an injunction must be balanced: 1) that the injury is irreparable; 2) that there are inadequate alternate remedies to compensate for the injury; 3) that the balance of hardships favors the plaintiff; and 4) that an injunction does not harm the public interest. Microsoft has an least a plausible argument that they are not satisfied in this case, and that alternate remedies (perhaps money damages) would be better than an injunction against sale, even if indeed Word is infringing.

      If Microsoft can't post a $290 million bond without suffering irreparable harm, then what chance to they have to pay even larger money damages for future infringement?

      • by gravesb (967413)
        The injury is to the plaintiff, not Microsoft. MS is probably arguing that any harm to the plaintiff is not irreparable, and that later monetary damages will cure any harm.
        • The injury is to the plaintiff, not Microsoft. MS is probably arguing that any harm to the plaintiff is not irreparable, and that later monetary damages will cure any harm.

          So they're going to argue that they'll not only pay the 290 million, but also pay the later monetary damages, and therefore shouldn't have to actually put the 290 million they owe aside?
          Somehow, I doubt that will be their argument.

    • In this case there is negligible impact against Microsoft as a result of the injunction, as MS Office already has proprietary file formats owned by Microsoft that can be used.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Runaway1956 (1322357)

      4) that an injunction does not harm the public interest

      One does NOT NEED to be an opensource fanboi to make a decent argument that it would be in the public interest to strip MS of Office completely. There is a long list of word processors that have been exterminated, thanks to MS. Without a megalopoly pushing their version of an office suite, not only would Open Office have a shot at taking the lead, but some of the older competition MIGHT have a chance of making a comeback. Not to mention, a new startu

  • by Reason58 (775044) on Monday August 17, 2009 @07:53PM (#29099193)
    In this case it appears that the courts will not have the last word.
  • by Jahava (946858) on Monday August 17, 2009 @07:53PM (#29099199)
    I wonder if the request was delivered as a Word document.
    • What if the judge can't open .docx files and he can't buy a new copy of Word? My head A-SPLODE
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Dausha (546002)

      While you're being funny, if it was filed in Federal Court, the choices are Word Perfect or PDF...last I checked.

    • by JamesP (688957)

      Kinda like the guy that shows up wasted to a DUI hearing.

  • Perhaps in the sealed document they'll point to Amazon's handling of the 1984 e-book, and offer to put a remote kill switch into any shipped copies of Word. If they ultimately lose the i4i infringement case, then - POOF - no problem!

    • "and offer to put a remote kill switch into any shipped copies of Word. "

      they all ready have a remote kill switch this is a feature of everything from MS since Vista.

  • by Nom du Keyboard (633989) on Monday August 17, 2009 @08:01PM (#29099281)
    What was filed under seal:

    Dear Judge, The world will end if we can't continue shipping Word.
  • by Beltonius (960316) on Monday August 17, 2009 @08:10PM (#29099371)
    As far as I'm concerned, whoever wins in the end, all that's been demonstrated is how absurd software patents are.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by PRMan (959735)

      No. This is EXACTLY how patents are supposed to work. Without patents, the rich get richer and the poor, small software company ALWAYS LOSES.

      In this case, they have won. Now the only argument is what is an appropriate remedy from Microsoft to them.

      • by mdwh2 (535323) on Monday August 17, 2009 @08:41PM (#29099611) Journal

        Without patents, the rich get richer and the poor, small software company ALWAYS LOSES.

        This is a rare case where the smaller company may benefit. In most cases, the larger company will just point out the numerous patents of theirs that you're infringing, and then tell you how the case will be settled. In more cases still, the new company has no chance of patenting anything, so they're unable to enter the market, or risk being sued, because of the difficulties of bringing a product to market without stepping on every software algorithm and other idea that's already been patented by someone.

        And I still don't understand taking their side just because they're smaller. Bad laws are bad laws. When that random company threatened to sue every ISP on the planet because they had a hyperlink patent, was everyone rooting for the little guy then?

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by prockcore (543967)

        Except this patent is nonsense.

        The patent is a system that covers taking a plain text file, and saying "from character 3 to character 42 is bold, from character 67 to 90 is in sans-serif. characters 3 to 90 are the first paragraph" etc.

        I can tell you this is exactly how the Quark file format works. Quark 6 and above even use XML to do the styles.

      • by tialaramex (61643)

        It's true.. sort of. The smallest software company wins. So the big software company gets sued by a smaller one, and then the smaller one gets sued by a single lawyer working out of a shared office.

        He's not infringing you see, all he does is file for patents and write lawsuits. So he wins every time in your system.

        Patent supporters mistake "economic activity" (moving money around) for economic _productivity_ ie actually making something. They maximise the former at the cost of the latter and end up up to th

  • by JoshuaZ (1134087)
    In general, the idea behind injunctions is to minimize irrepairable harm. If this injunction stands and Microsoft then wins the case that would result in what amounts of major irrepairable harm to Microsoft given the large amount of software they would need to sell in the meantime with reduced functionality. However, allowing Microsoft to continue to sell the software will have less of an impact on the company suing since there are already so many copies of Word out there.
  • Suck it Microsoft! (Score:2, Insightful)

    by erroneus (253617)

    You built this mess of "software patents" and it's way past time that it started to bite you in the ass. "Motion Denied" (and also suck-it!)

  • Eventually big corporations will lobby the governments for some real patent reform. Once the patent system makes it impossible for businesses to turn a profit something will have to give. Hopefully when the reform comes it will be done in a way that allows for a level playing field for all. I can't think of too many ways of reform that would make things worse while giving businesses a way out of the patent troll fiasco. Any way out for them is, I believe, going to benefit everyone.

    There are lots of possible

    • by sconeu (64226)

      Eventually big corporations will lobby the governments for some real patent reform.

      And it will look like:

      Only corporations with gross revenues of more than $XXX,XXX.XXX will be allowed to hold patents.
      They shall not be held liable for violating any patents held by smaller entities.

  • Sealed? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Tubal-Cain (1289912)

    On Friday Microsoft filed an emergency motion to stop the judgment and waive the bond requirement, according to court filings. The actual document was filed under seal, so the full contents of the request have not yet been made public.

    Why on Earth does a way seal court documents even exist?

    • "Why on Earth does a way seal court documents even exist?"

      To protect trade secrets under dispute, or to protect the identities of minors. Those are the two reasons that spring directly to mind. I'm sure there are others.
  • Waive the Bond? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by DannyO152 (544940) on Monday August 17, 2009 @11:25PM (#29100773)

    I wonder what the reason for this is and how frequently is this request granted.

    Any way, that's at least the second thing I remember this summer (the first being the buy now at 60% off deal on the various Windows 7s) that suggests Microsoft has a cash flow issue at the moment.

    Regarding the judgment, remember 90 million was tacked on by the judge to make Microsoft pay for its lawyers' behavior.

  • After reading the verdict its pretty clear that Microsoft knew about this patent and i4i long before they implemented custom XML. Its probable that they did infact learn about custom XML through i4is products and patents. Internal mails was shown where Microsoft did mention i4i and even their patent numbers.

    It looks as if Microsofts counsels has done pretty much anything possible to defend themselves but the case is so darn clearcut that they just cant win. The problem for Microsoft is that Office Open XML has now become i4is bitch while ODF is wholly in the clear and unencumbered by i4i patents (according to i4i). Since ECMA-376 contains the i4i patented technology in the standard its worthless to anyone in the US.

  • "Dear Judge,

    I know you have issued a judgment against me saying I'm not allowed to beat my wife. I have full intent to comply with the law. However if I stop beating my wife I will... ummm... I will... suffer significant psychological damage. That's it! Psychological damage. So I would like to file this motion saying that, while another judge double-checks your homework, I should be allowed to continue beating my wife. Respectfully yours,

    Microsoft"

    Yeah. I'm sure that would go well.

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