Federal appeals court upholds ban on Microsoft Word sales

Software giant must remove patent-infringing technology from MS Word software by Jan. 11, 2011, or stop selling the software

Microsoft must stop selling its Microsoft Word software starting Jan. 11 if it can't remove patent-infringing technology by that time, according to a federal appeals court ruling released today.

The appeals court also upheld a judgment of about $290 million against the firm, plus interest and court costs.

The ruling stems from a lower-court case earlier this year in which a jury found Microsoft guilty of willfully infringing on a custom XML-related patent owned by Toronto-based i4i (United States Patent No. 5,787,449). The original judgment ordered Microsoft to stop selling Word products that have the capability of opening a .XML, .DOCX, or .DOCM file containing custom XML.

According to a statement released by Microsoft Director of Public Affairs Kevin Kutz, Microsoft has "been preparing for this possibility since the District Court issued its injuction...and have put the wheels in place to remove this little-used feature" from Microsoft Word 2007 and Microsoft Office 2007, the products affected.

"Therefore, we expect to have copies...with this feature removed available for U.S. sale and distribution by the injunction date." Beta versions of Microsoft Word 2010 do not contain the technology covered by the injunction.

Kutz also stated that while the company is preparing to comply with the injunction, it is also considering an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.

i4i did not release a statement regarding the ruling by press time.

About the Author

Becky Nagel is the executive editor of the 1105 Redmond Media Group's Web sites, including Redmondmag.com, RCPmag.com, RedDevNews.com and VisualStudioMagazine.com, among others.

Reader Comments

Tue, Dec 29, 2009

Greg "This so called "little used" XML, isn't so little used, the Federal Gov uses this DOCX, XML, ETC in most of their documents" Its not xml that is the problem. Its the ability to read/write a particular kind of custom xml that is the issue. Just because the government uses xml does NOT mean they use the particular xml strings that are part of this lawsuit. And also while I do believe that Microsoft should have to pay if they used copyrighted items it had better be for actual use of copyrighted components and not like the lawsuits with that company that managed to get a patent for the use of 3d in video games, not exact code or anything but just the use of 3d in video games, and started suing game makers a few years ago for lots of money for copyright infringement.

Wed, Dec 23, 2009

This is bull, if it was not Microsoft the judge would not be so intolerant. The damage done to the company that holds the rights to that technology does not even make word processing software, they use it to interface information from different software yes but not word processing. 290 mil is way to excessive of a fine to pay.

Wed, Dec 23, 2009 Greg Tulsa Time

This so called "little used" XML, isn't so little used, the Federal Gov uses this DOCX, XML, ETC in most of their documents. Microsoft is trying to scale down the use as of their responsibility. Typical

Wed, Dec 23, 2009 JFD U.S

Perhaps i4i thinks this is a victory; seemd to me they need to study some biology. Seems parasites have a much better life living off a larger host than they ever would living on their own. What is the size of the market they just removed from any purchaser of their products or technology. If Word can't use it why would I buy their technology?

Wed, Dec 23, 2009

Microsoft is a giant and just had the first rock thrown to bring it down.

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