Microsoft Must Stop Selling Word, Judge Orders

TYLER, Texas—Microsoft has been ordered by a judge to stop selling its Word program because of a patent lawsuit from a Canadian firm.

Tuesday, Judge Leonard Davis of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas issued a permanent injunction prohibiting Microsoft from selling or importing to the United States any Word products that have the capability of opening .XML, .DOCX or DOCM files (XML files) containing custom XML, reports CNET.

In March 2008, i4i out of Toronto filed suit against Microsoft claiming a violation of its 1998 patent for a document system  by which manually embedded formatting codes as not needed.

As CNET notes, XML is a "page description language," readable by people, as well as machines and unlike HTML, which has predefined tags, XML allows developers and users to create their own tags for data.

A federal jury ruled in May that custom XML tagging found in editions of Word 2003 and Word 2007 infringed on i4i's patent. Microsoft was ordered to pay the plaintiff $200 million, and now must stop selling any version of Word with the XML features, which pretty much means all editions.

Along with Tuesday's injunction, Microsoft was hit with more fines: $40 million for willful infringement and $37 million in prejudgment interest. The computer software giant also must comply with the injunction within 60 days and must not test, demonstrate or market any Word products with the XML options.

Microsoft said in a statement it will appeal the verdict.