The chairman of the company that has won a landmark injunction against Microsoft says his goal is not to see Microsoft Word pulled from store shelves.
In fact, I4i Chairman Loudon Owen said he is one of the hundreds of millions of people who uses Word and the other Microsoft Office tools every day.
I4i Chairman Loudon Owen
(Credit: McLean Watson)
"We’re not seeking to stop Microsoft’s business and we’re not seeking to interfere with all the users of Word out there," Owen said in a telephone interview on Wednesday. He added that this week’s ruling orders an injunction only against Word shipping in a form that uses I4i’s custom XML technology.
As noted earlier, Microsoft has several options, including legal appeals, pursuing a settlement, or recrafting Word in a way so that it doesn’t infringe on I4i’s technology.
Although he couldn’t comment on such a technical workaround, Owen said he would be happy to see Microsoft come out with a version of Word that removes the infringing technology.
"The injunction is not saying there is no more Word for the world," Owen said. "That is not our intention and that would not be a sensible remedy."
The judge’s ruling, in addition to upholding a $200 million monetary award from May, does issue an injunction against Microsoft that would bar Word in its current form, though. The ruling would go into effect in 60 days, unless Microsoft wins a stay as part of an appeal, which is currently in the works.
As for the size of the monetary verdict in the Word case, Owen wouldn’t say how it compares to the company’s annual revenue, but noted it is a big deal.
"It’s obviously a material verdict by US patent verdict (standards), but we think it is fair," he said.
But Owen said I4i’s focus is on its products, not on the courts. Owen said I4i’s mission is trying to make database-ready all of the world’s unstructured information. Only about 10 percent of data today is structured, but XML can change that.
The company, which has about 30 employees and has been running since 1993, has products in use by a number of large companies, including many large pharmaceutical names such as Amgen, Bayer and Biogen.
Interestingly, though, one of the company’s biggest projects was its 2001 overhaul of the US Patent and Trademark Office’s own Web site for patent submissions. The patent involved in its suit against Microsoft, though, was filed in 1994 and granted in 1998.