Microsoft has been ordered to stop selling Microsoft Word, its flagship word processor, within 60 days.
US District Court for the Eastern District of Texas ruled that Microsoft must no longer sell, offer to sell, and/or import in or into the US any Infringing and Future Word Products that have the capability of opening a .XML file.
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Judge Leonard Davis also ordered Microsoft to pay $290m for willfully infringing an i4i patent covering a document system that relies on the XML custom formatting function.
Microsoft Office is the company's flagship product. The news could delay the release of Office 2010, and potentially Windows 7, if it contains any software for open .XML documents.
One blogger, who worked with the co-author of the XML 1.0 spec, said in a posting: "I4I filed the patent in July 1994 - i.e. at a time when the idea of a unified DOM and DOM api started percolating slowly into the SGML community. As a matter of fact, the patent is not about the web, but really about SGML. Please note, USPTO took four years to validate the patent! That's more than a generation in our web world. In 1994, the web was still almost confidential. In 1998, the web had already changed the world."
i4i was formed in 1994, and created an XML editor using a Word-like user interface.