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Microsoft Word injunction goes into effect

Among other things, as an injunction preventing sales of certain versions of Office takes effect, most versions of the suite are temporarily unavailable from Microsoft's online store.

Although Microsoft was largely ready for an injunction that went into effect on Monday against selling certain versions of Microsoft Office, there were a few visible impacts.

The injunction stems from a verdict in which the custom XML function in recent versions of Microsoft Word was found to infringe on technology patented by Toronto-based I4i. A judge later issued an injunction barring sales of Office 2003 and Office 2007 versions containing the feature.

Most versions of Office were unavailable from Microsoft's online store Monday, as Redmond worked to comply with an injunction barring sales of versions of the product that contain a custom XML feature found to infringe on a Canadian company's patent. Screenshot by Ina Fried/CNET

As noted by Computerworld, most versions of Office were unavailable from Microsoft's online store. As of 1:30 p.m. PST, only the $679 Office Ultimate edition was listed in stock.

The software maker also pulled Office 2003 Professional from its MSDN and TechNet developer site. However, the company noted that the standard version of Office 2003 is still available and the professional version will be back online for subscribers soon.

"We've taken steps to comply with the court's ruling, and we're introducing the revised software into the U.S. market," Microsoft said in an updated statement on Monday afternoon. "This process will be imperceptible to the vast majority of customers, who will find both trial and purchase options readily available."

Microsoft said it has modified Word to comply with the ruling and is "in the process of introducing the new software into our distribution channels."

"The process won't take long," Microsoft said, noting that customers outside the U.S. have all of the usual online-buying options. "In the U.S., the Home & Student suite is already available for online purchase and download, and the other suites are available retail outlets."

Microsoft also confirmed on Monday that it is changing Office for Mac to remove the custom XML feature. An optional update for existing users of Office 2004 and Office 2008 will also remove the feature.

"While Office for Mac products were not accused of infringement, we are changing the product to allay any potential concerns about compliance with the injunction," Microsoft spokesman Kevin Kutz said in a statement.

Although Microsoft has already lost its initial appeal of the case, the software maker on Friday asked for either a rehearing before a three-judge panel or for the full appeals court to hear its case. As part of the case, Microsoft also faces the prospect of having to pay $290 million to I4i.