Why Microsoft Got Hammered by the Judge over XML Patent

If you were wondering why the judge came down like a ton of bricks over i4i’s XML patent, then this this is likely the reason:

In a 65-page summary opinion dated Aug. 11, U.S. District Court Judge Leonard Davis said that evidence presented during the May 2009 jury trial showed Microsoft had met with i4i executives as far back as 2001, knew of the firm’s patent for XML editing, and yet did nothing to guarantee that its implementation of “custom” XML would not infringe the i4i patent.

The judge also raises some (what look like to me) anti-trust monopolistic points:

“The trial evidence revealed that Microsoft’s intention to move competitors’ XML products to obsolescence was quite bold,” Davis said in his opinion. During the trial, i4i’s expert testified that 80% of the market for the company’s products was made moot when Microsoft added custom XML capabilities to Word 2003.

Of course you have to hand it to Microsoft for trying it on when attempting to get around the injunction, but the judge caught them again:

“Even after several years of litigation and a jury verdict of infringement, Microsoft requests the ability to continue selling the accused products and release an upcoming product with the same infringing functionality,”

Not to mention that Microsoft would have known of both the patent and the lawsuit whilst successfully railroading OOXML through the ISO standards process in flagrant disregard for the concerns about the format.

Fortunately it’s already been reported that OpenOffice.org ISO standard XML file format ODF is not affected by this patent.