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Courthouse News reports a federal judge in Texas fined Microsoft $290 million and ordered it to stop selling Word in the United States, because the word-processing software violates a patent held by a small company called i4i. Toronto-based i4i, which has about 30 employees, said Microsoft violated a patent tied to Extensible Markup Language or XML, a special alphabet that allows computers to interpret text.

The Canadian company filed a patent for a "customized XML" tool in 1998.

Because Word 2003 and Word 2007 have the ability to process XML documents with custom XML elements, i4i accused Microsoft of patent infringement. Microsoft insisted the patent was invalid.

In May, a jury ruled for i4i and awarded it $200 million in damages.

Microsoft moved for judgment despite the verdict, but US District Judge Leonard Davis in Tyler, Texas, sided with i4i, saying Microsoft knowingly infringed on the smaller company's patent.



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