The Associated Press reports that an appeals court has upheld the $290 million judgment against Microsoft. It has also prohibited the company from selling Microsoft Word or Microsoft Office after Jan. 11.
Those software packages are a $20 billion business for the company.
A little history: In August, a judge in the Eastern District of Texas issued a permanent injunction prohibiting the company 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 plantiff, i4i.
Microsoft has said the bar would affect the sale of all versions of MS Word and MS Office that are currently available. (If you already own a copy of the program, this ruling won’t affect you at all.)
i4i initially filed suit against Microsoft in March 2007, saying the company had violated its patent for a system saving users from having to embed command codes in their documents to control the formatting of text.
Update: Microsoft says plans to remove the feature from all copies of Word 2007 and will design Word 2010 without the feature, so it can keep the product on store shelves.
"While we are moving quickly to address the injunction issue, we are also considering our legal options, which could include a request for a rehearing by the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals en banc or a request for a writ of certiorari from the U.S. Supreme Court," said Kevin Kurtz, director of public affairs for Microsoft, in a statement.