Microsoft Word could face temporary ban
A U.S. Federal Circuit Court of Appeals today ruled Microsoft can no longer sell certain versions of Word, due to software patent infringements owned by a technology company in Canada.
The Canadian company in question, i4i Ltd., is a former partner of Microsoft, with the feature mainly used by corporations, not home users.
In addition to the permanent injunction, Microsoft also was fined $290 million. Specifically, copies of Word that support opening files saved as .XML, .DOCX, and .DOCM formats with custom XML.
New versions of Microsoft Word 2007 and Office 2007 will become available by Jan. 11 that meet the court’s guidelines. In fact, since the District Court originally issued an injunction three months ago, Microsoft has been actively developing the new versions of the software.
“Users who bought or licensed Word before the injunction becomes effective will still be able to use the infringing custom XML editor, and receive technical support from Microsoft.”
Despite the company agreeing to pay the fine and adhere to the injunction, it’s possible Microsoft will “request a rehearing” with the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals.
Current beta copies of Microsoft Office 2010 and Word 2010 don’t make use of the disputed technology, according to Microsoft, so users are still able to download and test the beta programs.
Now that Microsoft has cleared up yet another legal matter, legal experts hope to try and reduce the number of approved patents that have such broad legal wording.
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