A U.S. district court judge in Texas ruled against Microsoft on Wednesday in a law suit over a patent infringement in the companies software product Word. The ruling takes affect in 60 days and would ban sales of Microsoft Word versions 2003 and 2007. It also hits the software giant with a $290 million fine in damages.
These versions of the Word product contain particular use of XML which infringes on a patent filed by i4i Ltd, a small firm in Canada. Microsoft states that they plan to appeal the patent citing that they “do not infringe” and that the i4i patent is not valid. Microsoft also has a new version of Word coming out next year as part of their Office 2010 suite, which does not contain the infringing XML component. Microsoft could also simply remove the particular XML portion of the existing Word applications to comply with the court ruling for future sales.
Word is part of Microsoft’s Office suite of products, which is the flagship product of the company sold around the world. The patent infringement focused on the use of XML which was used to put data in a common format to be readable by multiple disparate systems. This final judgment comes after a jury ruled against Microsoft in the patent infringement in May.