US judge bans Microsoft Word sales

A judge in Texas has issued an injunction preventing Microsoft from selling Word products in the US after ruling the company's software violated a patent owned by Toronto-based i4i Inc.

A judge in Texas has issued an injunction preventing Microsoft from selling Word products in the US after ruling the company's software violated a patent owned by Toronto-based i4i Inc.

Judge Leonard Davis of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas, Tyler Division, ruled Microsoft wilfully infringed the patent, granted in 1998, which covers software designed to manipulate "document architecture and content".

The injunction covers all Microsoft Word software that has the capability of opening .XML, .DOCX or DOCM files containing custom XML.

Yesterday's ruling followed an earlier verdict in the same court in May when jurors awarded $200m damages to i4i against Microsoft for violating the same patent.

Judge Davis ruled the software giant should pay an extra $40m for infringing the patent, another $37m in prejudgment interest and an additional $155,000 a day until the date of final judgement.

The order requires Microsoft to comply with the injunction within 60 days and forbids it from testing, demonstrating, or marketing Word products containing the contested XML feature.

Founded in 1993, Toronto-based i4i describes itself as "at the fore-front of applying XML to the problem of collaborative content" and claims to have assisted "some of the most successful organisations, across a wide range of industries, with their XML content development and management".

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