Microsoft Patent Suit May Affect More Than Word

Lora Bentley

Wednesday's big tech story was a U.S. district judge's decision to enjoin Microsoft from selling versions of Word that include "custom XML" capabilities until a patent infringement lawsuit involving that technology is settled. But as is the case with many patent suits, the result of this one will not affect just Microsoft Word.


CNET News blogger Matt Asay points out that a final decision against Microsoft could also put the Open Document Format (ODF) at risk. He quotes Gartner analyst Brian Prentice this way:

If the validity of the patent is upheld then the immediate question is whether this will also impact ODF. If so, then this turns out to be a significantly more important issue and one which will crystallize the fury of the anti-patentistas.

Asay then notes that the current version of ODF doesn't include the "custom XML" technology, but later iterations could. That said, according to Asay, this case may make friends of Microsoft and the open source community.

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