A reader of this blog (well, to be precise, it was my mom) sent me a news article about a recent court decision in favor of i4i Corporation against Microsoft. It seems that Microsoft violated some of i4i's patent rights in a recent version of Microsoft Word, and will have to pay a fine and cease selling copies of the program that contain the illegal code. (Microsoft plans to have a compliant version for sale almost immediately.)
What my mother points out is that Microsoft did not respond by reaching out into our computers and yanking out the violating copies of Word. Nor did the court, nor the plaintiff, suggest that this would be a reasonable course of action--even though Microsoft has access to most of our computers through its online updates.