The BBC reports that a US federal court has filed an injunction preventing Microsoft from selling Word. This is in addition to an order by a US federal court that Microsoft pay over $290m for “wilfully infringing on a patent by Canadian firm i4i”. The patent in question relates to the use of the Extensible Mark-up Language otherwise known as “XML”. In 1998, I4i filed a patent that set out ways of “manipulating the architecture and the content of a document separately from each other” thus invoking XML as a means of allowing users to format text documents. However, the court found in a jury trial that Microsoft, which uses XML extensively in some of its Word programs e.g. Word 2007, had infringed the patent.
As a result of the ban (injunction), Microsoft have now been prohibited from “selling, offering to sell, and/or importing in or into the United States” any versions of the software that can open custom XML files (with file extensions .xml, .docx, or .docm). They now have 60 days to comply with the injunction although a spokesman for the organisation, Kevin Kutz, insists that the ruling is wrong and Microsoft will “appeal the verdict”.