It's the end of the road for Microsoft in its patent fight against Canadian software shop i4i. The U.S. Patent and Trademark office has rejected Microsoft's challenge to i4i's patent concerning "a method for manipulating a document's content and architecture separately" and affirmed the patent's validity.
In a press release, i4i founder and co-inventor of U.S. Patent No. 5,787,449 Michael Vulpe said:
Our patent claims were put under intense scrutiny by the PTO during its reexamination and this decision is a resounding confirmation and a further validation of the '449 patent.
As a result, Microsoft will be enjoined from selling versions of Word that contain custom XML capabilities and, presumably, must license the technology from i4i if it is to be included in future versions of Word.
Prior to the Patent Office decision, i4i won a $200 million judgment and a permanent injunction against Microsoft, and Microsoft's various appeals and requests for rehearing were unsuccessful.
i4i Chairman Loudon Owen says:
i4i's...invention infuses life into the use of Extensible Mark Up Language (XML) and dramatically enhances the ability to structure what was previously unstructured data. As the magnitude of data grows exponentially, this is a critical technological bridge to controlling and managing this sprawling octopus of data...