Injunction on Microsoft Word unlikely to halt sales

A judge said the software giant can't sell Word if it allows custom XML tagging

A judge on Tuesday ordered Microsoft to stop selling Microsoft Word products in their current form in the U.S., but legal appeals or technical work-arounds make an actual halt of sales unlikely.

The U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas gave Microsoft 60 days to comply with the injunction, which forbids Microsoft from selling Word products that let people create custom XML documents, according to i4i. The ruling, which also includes additional damages Microsoft must pay, are related to a patent infringement suit filed by i4i.

The most common versions of Word on the market now, 2003 and 2007, both allow users to create custom XML documents.

Microsoft did not reply to questions about the affect the injunction will have on it and its ability to sell Word in the U.S. In a statement it said it planned to appeal the verdict.

An appeal could stay the injunction but even if the injunction stands, Microsoft could potentially strip the functionality from Word or possibly build a work-around.

The ruling is unlikely to affect anyone any time soon, said Michael Cherry, an analyst with Directions on Microsoft. "It's going to take a long time for this kind of thing to get sorted out," he said.

Custom XML allows people to create forms or templates such that words in certain fields are tagged and then can be managed in a database, said Loudon Owen, a spokesman for i4i. Large companies and government agencies, for example, might create such templates.

I4i's patent covers technology that lets end users manipulate document architecture and content.

In a March 2007 suit, i4i charged Microsoft with willfully infringing its patent. Earlier this year, a jury in the Texas court ordered Microsoft to pay i4i US$200 million for infringing the patent.

Owen said that if the injunction stands, end users who use custom XML in Word will have to find another way to create templates. "Hopefully you're going to call us because our intention is to support custom XML," he said.

The judge also ruled that Microsoft should pay an additional $40 million for willful infringement of the patents and over $37 million in prejudgment interest. That brings total damages to more than $290 million.

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Tags Microsoftmicrosoft officemicrosoft word

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Nancy Gohring

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Cool Tech

SanDisk MicroSDXC™ for Nintendo® Switch™

Learn more >

Breitling Superocean Heritage Chronographe 44

Learn more >

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Panasonic 4K UHD Blu-Ray Player and Full HD Recorder with Netflix - UBT1GL-K

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

Razer DeathAdder Expert Ergonomic Gaming Mouse

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?