U.S. court stays Microsoft Word injunction

Case brought by Canadian software firm i4i Ltd Partnership

SEATTLE -- The U.S. Court of Appeals has granted Microsoft Corp's request to stay an injunction imposed by a federal court that would have halted sales of some versions of its popular Word application.

In an order issued on Thursday, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit said Microsoft had met requirements to merit a stay of the injunction.

Microsoft asked for the stay two weeks ago, as it requested an expedited review of its appeal against a court ruling last month that found Microsoft was in breach of a patent held by a small Canadian software firm.

The Court of Appeals granted the request for an expedited review and will hear arguments on the case on Sept. 23.

On Aug. 12, a U.S. district court in Texas ruled in favor of i4i Ltd in a long-running dispute against Microsoft, slapping more than $290 million in damages on Microsoft and issuing an injunction preventing the world's top software company from selling versions of Word that contain the disputed patent technology.

The patent in question relates to the use of XML, or extensible markup language, in the 2003 and 2007 versions of Word. The injunction was set to take effect in 60 days from the ruling, which would have been mid-October.

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

A representative for i4i was not immediately available for comment.
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