Microsoft was awarded a fast-track appeal in the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit for the recent ruling that could have seen its popular Word application pulled from retail shelves. A panel of judges granted Microsoft the appeal while denying a related request for an administrative stay, which would have nullified the injunction against Word.

Microsoft, you might recall, was sued by i4i for infringing on a patent related to customizing XML, and a federal judge ruled against the software giant on August 10, fining Microsoft over $290 million and calling on the company to stop selling Word 2007 and Word 2003 in their current forms by October 10. A week later, Microsoft filed a motion to stay the injunction while it appealed the verdict. A verdict on that motion isn't expected until the end of September at the earliest.

Put simply, what Microsoft has won is the right to argue its appeal on a quicker-than-usual schedule. The original injunction against Word—which could conceivably require Microsoft to stop selling the product on October 10—is still in place.

Although software experts have examined the technological aspects of this case and concluded that Microsoft could easily create a workaround that would obviate the need to stop selling Word, Microsoft says it's not that easy. The company claims it isn't possible to modify Word 2007 and Word 2003 by the October 10 injunction date.