Proving that sometimes the law does have teeth, even when dealing with the biggest corporations, a US Judge yesterday denied a Microsoft appeal, offering a judgment which could see Word and Office removed from sale starting January 11.

Canadian developer i4i first sued Microsoft in 2007, accusing the US company of illegally using its XML editing technology in the popular Word software line. In May, a Texas jury said Microsoft violated i4i’s patent, and ordered it to pay i4i nearly $300 million in damages.

Microsoft filed various appeals and won a six-month delay in execution of the order to remove Word and Office in their current forms from sale. Now the Court of Appeals has upheld that injunction.

The case is likely to head two ways at this point – an appeal to the US Supreme Court or a settlement (financial deal) between Microsoft and i4i – otherwise Word and Office will be withdrawn from sale while various XML features are removed.

Microsoft will comply with the decision, a company spokesman said today. “We are moving quickly to comply with the injunction, which takes effect on 11 January, 2010,” said Kevin Kutz, the director of public affairs for Microsoft, in an email.

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