Microsoft’s Word patent appeal fails

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A US Court of Appeals judge has upheld a $290 million jury victory against Microsoft for infringing a patent held by Toronto, Canada-based i4i in its Word program.This effectively means that Microsoft cannot sell either Office 2007 or Word 2007 unless they remove the infringing code from the program – well, from January 11 of next year.

The patent in question relates to how specific algorithms is used to read and write custom XML.

The Seattle-based company has said it is taking steps to remove the “little-used” feature from the latest versions of Office and Word from that date. Microsoft has also noted that the beta versions for Office 2010 and Word 2010 do not contain the infringing patent.

Microsoft, however, has not ruled out applying for another appeal.

“While we are moving quickly to address the injunction issue, we are also considering our legal options, which could include a request for a rehearing by the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals en banc or a request for a writ of certiorari from the U.S. Supreme Court,” Director of Public Affairs for Microsoft, Kevin Kutz, said in a statement.

i4i has welcomed today’s ruling. “I4i is especially pleased with the court’s decision to uphold the injunction, an important step in protecting the property rights of small inventors,” founder and co-inventor of i4i, Michel Vulpe, said in a statement.

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