On Tuesday, a judge ordered Microsoft to stop selling Word, its flagship word processing software and one of the main components of the Microsoft Office System - namely part of Word 2003 and Word 2007. This also now extends to Word 2010 which contains the same feature set.
Judge Leonard Davis of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas issued a permanent injunction that "prohibits Microsoft from selling or importing to the United States any Microsoft Word products that have the capability of opening .XML, .DOCX or DOCM files (XML files) containing custom XML," according to a statement released by attorneys for the plantiff, i4i, CNET reports. Microsoft stated that it planned to appeal the verdict. i4i sued Microsoft in March 2007 that Microsoft violated its 1998 patent (No. 5,787,449) for a document system that "eliminated the need for manually embedded formatting codes. "
XML (Extensible Markup Language) is considered a "page description language," with one of its key features being that humans are able to read it legibly, not just PC's and other devices. XML allows developers to create their own tags for data.
In May 2009, a jury in Tyler, Texas, ruled in favor of i4i that the custom XML tagging of Word 2003 and Word 2007 infringed on the patent owned by i4i and ordered Microsoft to pay $200 million in compensation.
In Tuesday's ruling, Microsoft was also ordered to pay an additional $40 million for willful infringement, as well as $37 million in prejudgment interest. Microsoft must comply with the injunction within 60 days and the injunction specifically states that Microsoft way not test, demonstrate or market Word products that contain the XML feature in question.
The Microsoft Office system overall generated a 9.3 billion dollar profit in 2008 alone, and this move would hurt that business immensely.