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MS Word Banned in the US

Thursday, August 13, 2009 , Posted by Author at Thursday, August 13, 2009

Microsoft has been ordered by a US court to stop selling MS Word in the country in 60 days. The ban, which is applicable on the 2003 and 2007 version, comes after it was determined that technology used in the software violates a patent held by i4i, a Canadian software maker.

This decision comes as the climax of a legal dispute that has been going on since May, when i4i was awarded $200 million damages from a federal jury.

MS Word forms a part of the MS Office suite of productivity applications, which is one of Microsoft's best-selling products with millions of users worldwide. Word 2007 is the latest installment, with the next version of Office expected to be out only next year.

Microsoft is expected to appeal against the verdict. "We are disappointed by the court's ruling," said Microsoft spokesman Kevin Kutz. "We believe the evidence clearly demonstrated that we do not infringe and that the i4i patent is invalid."

i4i's dispute is centered on a way of processing electronic documents that removes the need for individual, manually embedded command codes to control text formatting in electronic documents. Both MS Word 2003 and MS Word 2007 use extensible markup language or XML. i4i says that Microsoft's method of customizing XML for its products infringes its patent.

However, things are not that bleak for the software giant. It is set to appeal and it's probable that the court verdict will be overruled. Barring that, Microsoft can try to come to an out of court settlement with i4i or just tweak its software to comply with the court's demand.

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