The Canadian company i4i took Microsoft to court earlier this year -- i4i alleges that Redmond violated the company's XML-related patent. An appeals court has now upheld an injunction on the sale of Word issued by a lower court, so Microsoft now has to comply.
In addition to the sales injunction, Microsoft must pay $290M in fines and damages.
So what does that mean for you and your January purchase order for new Office software? Well, if you want to be sure that you're unaffected by the injunction, get your purchase order in before January 11. In reality, though, we don't expect that this decision will have much effect on the availability of Word. According to a press release issued by Microsoft, the company is already preparing to remove the offending code from Word 2007, and Word 2010 -- currently available for trial in beta -- is unaffected.