Microsoft Needs To Work For i4i Case Settlement
Microsoft’s statement that taking off its application – Word from the market for a few months will cause harm to such a level that it can not be repaired is rather stretching things too far. However such a situation is bound create lots of inconvenience to the customers. Both the parties fighting this patent case need to reach a dollar solution after all it is a dollar problem. This has to be done right away.
It is not known XML transforms of Microsoft had infringed patent rights of i4i or not but it is sure Microsoft angered the judge dealing this court case that resulted into harsher ruling from the judge; harsher than what Redmond otherwise might have got from the court regarding this case.
In the present scenario, Microsoft should approach i4i and make a deal by the time Microsoft reformulate and makes the product non-infringing. Microsoft should readily pay i4i the amount for the patent’s temporary use and let the case continue in the court. To this i4i should also not object unless i4i has an aim to force Microsoft take away its products from the market?
If in the court Microsoft loses, i4i undoubtedly will keep all the money. Otherwise, if it’s winning situation for Microsoft, the money goes back to Microsoft. The court should play its role and encourage such a settlement. At this moment when Microsoft is in the developing stage of non-infringing code, Microsoft should afford fines. Though taking off Word from the market may not cause irreparable damage but will surely put the partners into tight corners with customers denied all important support for the product.
One solution that will put the current issue into backburner would be hastening the release of non-infringing Word 2010 that is due for release next year. This may be followed by non-infringing versions of Word 2003 and 2007. At present it’s a big incentive for i4i to stick to as much money as possible as compensation considering that the patent product of i4i will lose its sheen once Word 2010 is made available in the market for the users worldwide.
For this issue customers are not responsible. But as the customers are dependent on the services from Microsoft, Microsoft should see to it that the pain caused by the issue should not be borne by its customers for a small legal action. Microsoft looking at the situation should write a check of the settlement amount, i4i should cash it and everyone should move on.