AbiWord use XML as its native file format since its inception in 1998, and it was one of the first application to make this use. According to Groklaw, Microsoft filed in 2002 a patent that cover the use of XML as a word processor file format, and that XML would transcribe without loss all the formatting that the word processor apply to the text.

I thought that in patent law there was the notion of prior art and that prior art would forbid patenting things that are not new.... Apparently this does not apply to Microsoft, as even 4 years they can patent stuff they did not even invent.

At the same time, still according to Groklaw, the common wealth of Massachusetts define clearly the term of Open Format, as they require for their own use. XML Office file format does not fall under that rule.

This needs to be watched seriously.