Microsoft banned by judge from selling Word in U.S.

Microsoft cannot sell its Word software in the U.S. because of a patent infringement, a Texas judge ruled Tuesday. The software giant has 60 days to comply with the ruling.

An appeal or settlement will likely come in the next two months from Microsoft (MSFT) to Toronto-based i4i, which is alleging that Microsoft willingly violated its 1998 patent on a method for reading XML. The Canadian company issued a press release today with details of the ruling and allegations against Microsoft.

"We are very pleased with the terms of the final judgment," Michel Vulpe, founder of i4i and an inventor of the patent, said in a i4i press release today. "The financial award due to i4i is now over $290 million and a permanent Injunction has also been issued against Microsoft. We feel vindicated with this result."

The company filed the lawsuit in March 2007, seeking an injunction and damages. The eastern district of Texas, where the case was heard, is known for being a haven for patent litigation, reporter Nick Eaton wrote on the Seattle PI Microsoft blog.

"We are disappointed by the court's ruling," Microsoft spokesman Kevin Kutz said in a statement, the Seattle Post Intelligencer reported. "We believe the evidence clearly demonstrated that we do not infringe and that the i4i patent is invalid. We will appeal the verdict." Microsoft will likely do everything in its power to overturn Tuesday's ruling, Eaton wrote, and Microsoft will likely prevail.

There's no doubt that Microsoft has the money and lawyers needed to settle this case either in or out of court, depending on how the appeal goes for the software maker. Patent lawsuits against tech companies are common. You can be sure Microsoft won't allow it to get to the point where they are pulling Word off store shelves.

Anthony Massucci is a senior writer for DailyFinance. You may follow him on Twitter at hianthony.

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