MS Word Appeal Slated Sept 23; i4i Vows to Fight

Dennis Faas's picture

As the release of Windows 7 fast approaches, much of the tech industry has been neatly distracted by Microsoft's patent dispute with Canadian company i4i. The Redmond-based firm isn't about to lay down and accept a recent judgment barring its resale of its popular Word software -- instead, it's readying for a late September hearing it hopes will change its fortunes.

Problems began for Microsoft two weeks ago now when a Texas federal judge ordered Microsoft to stop selling its Word software so long as it included XML functions whose patent is owned by Toronto company i4i.

Tech Industry Faces 'Irreparable Harm'

The latter has promised it won't back down from the order, while Microsoft has claimed that if the decision isn't reversed it could cause the software giant "irreparable harm."

Weighing in not long after, PC makers who depend on profits from installing Office software like Word stated that it could be devastating for their business, too.

Given the importance of the recent decision and its potential impact on the tech industry, Microsoft has asked for an expedited hearing on the issue. According to reports, the company's appeal -- which is growing considerably desperate -- will be heard on September 23. (Source:

i4i "Confident" Heading into Appeal

Recent victors i4i say they're happy with the decision and believe an appeals court will feel it was the right move. "We firmly believe that the US District Court made the right decision on the merits of the case," said i4i Chairman Loudon Owen. "We are confident that we will prevail on the appeal." (Source:

i4i is also happy the appeal is following the initial decision so closely. They believe it could quickly cement their position and set a precedent for future small companies caught in situations like their own. "This is a vital case for inventors and entrepreneurial companies who, like i4i, are damaged by the willful infringement of their patents by competitors -- particularly competitors as large and powerful as Microsoft," Owen said.

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