Microsoft has lost their appeal in a patent dispute with Canadian software developer i4i over the use of patented XML handling algorithms used within Microsoft's flagship Office 2007 application.
The particular issue that the case relates to is the handling of .XML (extensible markup language) .DOCX and .DOCM files in Word 2007 which infringe upon an algorithm owned by i4i and patented since 1998.
The patent relates to the opening of custom XML markup within the .XML, .DOCX and .DOCM files.
Microsoft was originally accused of violating the patent in both Word 2003 and Word 2007, but the ruling applies only to copies of Office and Word shipping after January 11th 2010, after which Microsoft has been ordered to immediately cease selling further copies of the software containing the disputed code.
Microsoft also landed a $287 million fine over the same matter.
Microsoft have said in a media statement that they are moving to comply with the injunction. By January 11th Microsoft is expected to be shipping a version of Word 2007 and Office 2007 that do not contain the offending code.
Beta versions of Office 2010 and Word 2010, available for download now, have already had the code removed.
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