The workaround will allow Redmond to comply with court ruling banning the sale of certain versions of Word.
Microsoft has already begun offering what appears to be a patch for its popular Word software, allowing it to comply with a recent court ruling which has banned the software giant from selling copyright infringing versions of the word processing product.
In a statement last week, Microsoft’s director of public affairs, Kevin Kutz, said the firm had been preparing for the injunction decision handed down by the US Court of Appeals.
“With respect to Microsoft Word 2007 and Microsoft Office 2007, we have been preparing for this possibility since the District Court issued its injunction in August 2009 and have put the wheels in motion to remove this little-used feature from these products,” he explained.
Kutz said he expected to have copies of the software with the offending features removed available for sale by the injunction date, 11 January.
Now it appears that the patch is available on Microsoft's OEM Partner Center Website, under the heading – “2007 Microsoft Office Supplement Release (October 2009)”.
“After this patch is installed, Word will no longer read the Custom XML elements contained within DOCX, DOCM, or XML files,” read the explanatory notes.
“These files will continue to open, but any Custom XML elements will be removed. The ability to handle custom XML markup is typically used in association with automated server based processing of Word documents. Custom XML is not typically used by most end users of Word.”
Microsoft also notes that the patch is required for all US customers.
The workaround should put an end to a long-running dispute between Canadian i4i and Redmond, although Kutz has hinted that the legal battle might yet take another turn.
“While we are moving quickly to address the injunction issue, we are also co nsidering our legal options, which could include a request for a rehearing by the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals en banc or a request for a writ of certiorari from the US Supreme Court,” he said in the statement last week.