Microsoft Delays MS Word Sale Ban

Microsoft Corp. has won a stay on a federal court ruling that forced it to stop selling its Word document processing application by the next month, according to various reports.

The US Court of Appeals in Washington DC has granted Microsoft’s petition for a stay of an injunction issued last month by a US District Court Judge that bans the company from selling its hugely popular Word software

The application has a custom XML code which breached patents held by a company called i4i.

Under the previous ruling, Microsoft was ordered to pay $290 million to i4i in damages for breaching the patent laws, and also told to stop selling the iterations of Word, including open documents saved in the .DOCX, .XML, .DOCM, formats that include custom XML.

In addition, the ruling further stopped Microsoft from providing tech support for infringing products sold after the injunction comes into effect.

The US Appeals Court said Microsoft had met the necessary conditions required to grant the stay. The two parties will present their arguments over the matter in the Court on 23 September.

Kevin Kutz, a Microsoft spokesman, said in a statement, “We are happy with the result and look forward to presenting our arguments on the main issues on September 23”.

Our Comments

Microsoft has managed to buy some time, literally, to allow it to prepare itself better, before facing i4i and its legal team. The outcome of this wrangle could possibly be a major setback for the company as the launch of Office 2010 could be postponed, adding pressure on Microsoft to bounce back after last quarter's disappointing figures.

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