In a bizarre move, a US District Court judge in Texas ordered Microsoft to stop selling recent versions of its Word software within 60 days. The ruling is related to a patent-infringement suit that was filed by a company called i4i, which owns a patent for XML document content and architecture.

The ruling affects the two most recent and popular versions of Word, which shipped as part of Office 2003 and Office 2007. However, Microsoft doesn't expect that it will need to comply. The company will appeal the ruling and, if necessary, deploy technical workarounds to skirt around the injunction.

Microsoft has also been ordered to pay $40 million in fees for willful infringement of i4i's patent and over $37 million in interest. The software giant was previously ordered to pay $200 million in damages. The suit was first filed in March 2007.