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Microsoft overturns Word sale ban

Microsoft overturns Word sale ban

Microsoft has overturned a ban on it selling its flagship Word software, imposed after a patent dispute.

The block was imposed by a Texan court following a ruling that its use of formatting language XML in Word 2003 and 2007 infringed patents.

Under the ruling Microsoft was ordered to pay Canadian patent owner i4i $290m (£177m) damages and also told to stop sales of the relevant versions of Word.

The ban on sales was due to come in to force in mid-October.

The ruling was made on 12 August in a Texas court following a long-running dispute between i4i and Microsoft.

I4i's patent was filed in 1998 and outlines ways for "manipulating the architecture and the content of a document separately from each other" and invokes XML as a way to let people format text documents.

XML, or Extensible Markup Language, is a formatting system that preserves the structure of information, such as that in a spreadsheet, as it is passed around and handled by different programs.

Following the 12 August ruling Microsoft filed a request to stay the injunction and also asked for the case to be put on a fast track so its appeal could be heard quickly.

The US court said Microsoft had met the conditions needed to grant the stay. Arguments in Microsoft's appeal against the earlier ruling are due to be heard on 23 September.

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

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