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Microsoft lose patent appeal

Microsoft lose patent appeal

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Microsoft yesterday lost an appeal to be able to continue selling the Word software package due to a violation of a patent relating to XML.

In August i4l Inc of Toronto, Ontario won a suit over Word’s ability to open DOCX, DOCM and XML based files, based on custom XML included in the file types. At the time the court allowed Microsoft to continue selling the software as the appeal progressed through the court system. Yesterday the appeal was denied by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit.

Microsoft will not be happy as they have until January the 11th 2010 to halt the sales of all versions of Word and Office which infringe on the patents owned by i4l inc. Microsoft said in a statement they were “moving quickly to comply with the injunction. With respect to Microsoft Word 2007 and Microsoft Office 2007, we have been preparing for this possibility since the District Court issued its injunction in August 2009 and have put the wheels in motion to remove this little-used feature from these products.

“Therefore, we expect to have copies of Microsoft Word 2007 and Office 2007, with this feature removed, available for U.S. sale and distribution by the injunction date. In addition, the beta versions of Microsoft Word 2010 and Microsoft Office 2010, which are available now for downloading, do not contain the technology covered by the injunction.”

This injunction applies to Word 2007 and Office 2007 sold in the USA on or after January the 11th, copies sold before that date are not affected.

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Stuart Davidson

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