Microsoft has issued a patch for Microsoft Word 2007 and Microsoft Office 2007 that disables certain features. These features were actually patented by a small company in Canada.
Microsoft said they have been preparing for this possibility since August of this year, since the court issued an injunction. The patch is mandatory for users and will remove Word’s ability to read custom XML elements in .docx, .docm, and .xml files.
When I first read about this, I thought it was a great victory for the company, i4i, that sued Microsoft. They went up against this huge monolith and actually managed to win, and are supposed to be paid $290 million from Microsoft. But some people seem to think otherwise.
Why? Microsoft could conceivably release another patch in the future that restores the removed features to Word without violating i4i’s patent. Microsoft also intends to continue fighting, which could result in them eventually wearing i4i down and settling out of court for a much smaller amount than $290 million.
Via eWeek Microsoft Watch.