Linked by Thom Holwerda on Wed 12th Aug 2009 17:55 UTC, submitted by Laurence
Legal In what some will undoubtedly call ironic, Microsoft has been declared guilty of wilfully infringing upon an XML patent held by the Canadian company i4i. The judge has ordered Microsoft to pay a fine of 290 million USD, and has barred Microsoft from selling Word in the United States if the company doesn't comply within 60 days (a detail omitted by many). Microsoft has already announced it will appeal the judge's decision.
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Word-less US
by weildish on Wed 12th Aug 2009 18:11 UTC
weildish
Member since:
2008-12-06

What an odd turn of events. I'm just trying to imagine a Word-less US. If the decision isn't appealed, this doesn't rule out future Word programs though, does it? Only 2003 and 2007? If it does rule out any Word program forevermore, businesses won't have much to turn to except for OpenOffice.org (which wouldn't be a bad thing, I suppose) aside from some other less-known proprietary programs.

I have to say-- that seems a bit harsh. Very surprising, too.

I bet it won't be hard for them to repeal the decision, though. At least for being able to still sell Word.

Reply Score: 1

RE: Word-less US
by jpobst on Wed 12th Aug 2009 18:19 UTC in reply to "Word-less US"
jpobst Member since:
2006-09-26

Yes, thank goodness OpenOffice doesn't use an XML based format and is therefore immune to this patent!

Reply Score: 7

RE[2]: Word-less US
by lemur2 on Wed 12th Aug 2009 23:47 UTC in reply to "RE: Word-less US"
lemur2 Member since:
2007-02-17

Yes, thank goodness OpenOffice doesn't use an XML based format and is therefore immune to this patent!


AFAIK, this patent applies to having the formatting codes separate from the text to be formatted. Microsoft Office and the OOXML formats do this extensively, using a feature Microsoft call "custom XML", but ODF does not. The formatting codes in ODF are unobscured and intertwined with the text element they apply to.

AFAIK, if OpenOffice.org wants to be certain that it did not infringe this patent, all that it would need to do is drop its .docx support.

Supporting reference:
http://www.groklaw.net/comment.php?mode=display&sid=200908121441548...

Edited 2009-08-12 23:50 UTC

Reply Score: 4

RE[3]: Word-less US
by lemur2 on Thu 13th Aug 2009 02:25 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Word-less US"
lemur2 Member since:
2007-02-17

"Yes, thank goodness OpenOffice doesn't use an XML based format and is therefore immune to this patent!
AFAIK, this patent applies to having the formatting codes separate from the text to be formatted. Microsoft Office and the OOXML formats do this extensively, using a feature Microsoft call "custom XML", but ODF does not. The formatting codes in ODF are unobscured and intertwined with the text element they apply to. AFAIK, if OpenOffice.org wants to be certain that it did not infringe this patent, all that it would need to do is drop its .docx support. "

Here we go:

http://mashable.com/2009/08/12/word-patent/

The injunction reads:

Microsoft Corporation is hereby permanently enjoined from performing the following actions with Microsoft Word 2003, Microsoft Word 2007, and Microsoft Word products not more than colorably different from Microsoft Word 2003 or Microsoft Word 2007 (collectively “Infringing and Future Word Products”) during the term of U.S. Patent No. 5,787,449:
1. selling, offering to sell, and/or importing in or into the United States any
Infringing and Future Word Products that have the capability of opening a .XML,
.DOCX, or .DOCM file (“an XML file”) containing custom XML;
2. using any Infringing and Future Word Products to open an XML file
containing custom XML;
3. instructing or encouraging anyone to use any Infringing and Future Word
Products to open an XML file containing custom XML;
4. providing support or assistance to anyone that describes how to use any infringing and Future Word Products to open an XML file containing custom XML;
and
5. testing, demonstrating, or marketing the ability of the Infringing and Future
Word Products to open an XML file containing custom XML.

This injunction does not apply to any of the above actions wherein the Infringing and Future Word Products open an XML file as plain text.


My bold.

The OpenOffice.org format, known as ODF or OpenDocument, is indeed an XML format, but it does not use "custom XML" at all (I think it uses metadata tags instead to hold formatting info), so it would seem that ODF would not infringe on this patent, and OpenOffice.org would not be subject to a similar order.

Here is a question: What is the penalty to be applied to the ISO for approving a standard (ISO 29500) that violates another company's patent? ISO 29500 specifies custom XML, and custom XML is i4i's technology, according to this ruling. i4i never submitted their technology to ISO for inclusion in any standard. Can this decision now be used to get the ISO standard 29500 disapproved (as it always should have been)?

Edited 2009-08-13 02:45 UTC

Reply Score: 5

RE[4]: Word-less US
by gustl on Sun 16th Aug 2009 18:21 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Word-less US"
gustl Member since:
2006-01-19

No, you cannot get it disapproved.
But some companies might now no longer offer .docx support inside the USA for their applications (like OOo)

Reply Score: 2

RE: Word-less US
by fridder on Wed 12th Aug 2009 18:21 UTC in reply to "Word-less US"
fridder Member since:
2007-11-03

Keep in mind that this only affects the .docx and similar formats. They would still be able to distribute a version of word that uses the .doc extension.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Word-less US
by Eddyspeeder on Wed 12th Aug 2009 22:05 UTC in reply to "Word-less US"
Eddyspeeder Member since:
2006-05-10

I'm internally divided over this matter. Frankly, Microsoft should know better and be more careful when it comes to matters like these. The gazillions of trials they had in which they ended up paying multi-million settlements for misconduct or infringement should have taught them that.

But a court ruling like that is just ridiculous. Is there really legislation allowing a judge to prohibit a company to sell or support their product (i.e., Office) altogether? Also, it's OFFICE(!); think of the economic damages, not only for Microsoft (which may end up outweighing the settlement), but for any company or individual around the globe using Office. That would mean that they, too, have effectively just a few days to completely transfer everything to OpenOffice. And as history has shown us; they won't.

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: Word-less US
by lemur2 on Thu 13th Aug 2009 03:25 UTC in reply to "RE: Word-less US"
lemur2 Member since:
2007-02-17

I'm internally divided over this matter. Frankly, Microsoft should know better and be more careful when it comes to matters like these. The gazillions of trials they had in which they ended up paying multi-million settlements for misconduct or infringement should have taught them that. But a court ruling like that is just ridiculous. Is there really legislation allowing a judge to prohibit a company to sell or support their product (i.e., Office) altogether? Also, it's OFFICE(!); think of the economic damages, not only for Microsoft (which may end up outweighing the settlement), but for any company or individual around the globe using Office. That would mean that they, too, have effectively just a few days to completely transfer everything to OpenOffice. And as history has shown us; they won't.


AFAIK, patent law does allow for exactly such an injunction to be imposed.

The fact that it is Microsoft Office isn't really relevant ... even Microsoft should be subject to the law, one would think. If there is a problem (which, granted, there does appear to be) ... then the law needs changing, not merely an exemption granted to Microsoft because they are Microsoft.

Since software is just maths, then a clause stipulating "No software patents" would seem to be a good ammendment to patent law that would solve this problem for everyone.

The true irony, for me, is that it is the "custom XML" features of the .docx formats that are AFAIK the very elements of OOXML via which Microsoft was hoping to keep its format lock-in.

Edited 2009-08-13 03:27 UTC

Reply Score: 4

RE[2]: Word-less US
by phoenix on Thu 13th Aug 2009 18:33 UTC in reply to "RE: Word-less US"
phoenix Member since:
2005-07-11

But a court ruling like that is just ridiculous. Is there really legislation allowing a judge to prohibit a company to sell or support their product (i.e., Office) altogether? Also, it's OFFICE(!); think of the economic damages, not only for Microsoft (which may end up outweighing the settlement), but for any company or individual around the globe using Office. That would mean that they, too, have effectively just a few days to completely transfer everything to OpenOffice. And as history has shown us; they won't.


It only affects the US, and it only affects Office 2003 and 2007, and it only affects future sales. All the installed copies will continue to work. And you can always use the .doc file format, as this only applies to the .docx file format.

If it is held up, then all MS has to do is release an update to Office 2003 and 2007 that removes the ability to save in .docx format, and sets the default file format back to .doc. And then start shipping Office 2007 with the same.

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: Word-less US
by sbergman27 on Thu 13th Aug 2009 18:47 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Word-less US"
sbergman27 Member since:
2005-07-24

It only affects the US, and it only affects Office 2003 and 2007, and it only affects future sales. All the installed copies will continue to work.

Unless the product was purchased through Amazon, in which case the software will automatically delete itself after deleting all the of documents the user has created with it.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Word-less US
by lemur2 on Thu 13th Aug 2009 00:08 UTC in reply to "Word-less US"
lemur2 Member since:
2007-02-17

What an odd turn of events. I'm just trying to imagine a Word-less US. If the decision isn't appealed, this doesn't rule out future Word programs though, does it? Only 2003 and 2007? If it does rule out any Word program forevermore, businesses won't have much to turn to except for OpenOffice.org (which wouldn't be a bad thing, I suppose) aside from some other less-known proprietary programs. I have to say-- that seems a bit harsh. Very surprising, too. I bet it won't be hard for them to repeal the decision, though. At least for being able to still sell Word.


Well, Microsoft could scrub up thier support for ODF, make it fully compliant with ODF 1.2, and use that as the default format, and retain the support for their legacy, binary formats, but drop all OOXML formats.

That way Microsoft could, AFAIK, avoid this patent and still sell Office. In one fell swoop, Microsoft would also rid themselves of accustaions from the EU of lack of interoperability.

Reply Score: 2

Ironic
by darknexus on Wed 12th Aug 2009 18:16 UTC
darknexus
Member since:
2008-07-15

While I hate patent trolls (and software patents altogether for that matter) and don't support them in any way, I must say the irony in this ruling is just too delicious. Still, even if it's Microsoft, I don't ever want a patent troll to succeed... so I guess, this one time, I'm on Microsoft's side. Wow, that feels weird to write that. Obviously the best thing would be the elimination of software patents altogether, but I don't see that happening especially in our corrupt legal system where money buys verdicts in the big cases.

Reply Score: 10

RE: Ironic
by sbergman27 on Wed 12th Aug 2009 18:46 UTC in reply to "Ironic"
sbergman27 Member since:
2005-07-24

Still, even if it's Microsoft, I don't ever want a patent troll to succeed... so I guess, this one time, I'm on Microsoft's side. Wow, that feels weird to write that. Obviously the best thing would be the elimination of software patents altogether, but I don't see that happening especially in our corrupt legal system where money buys verdicts in the big cases.

I'm not sure that I understand that reasoning. it's easier to purchase a law than it is to purchase a verdict. Microsoft was obviously not able to purchase the verdict that it wanted in this case. And few companies have the money and influence that Microsoft has. Best to see Microsoft hurt and hurt badly by the current laws in order to encourage them to buy us some new ones.

Edited 2009-08-12 18:49 UTC

Reply Score: 3

RE[2]: Ironic
by darknexus on Wed 12th Aug 2009 19:42 UTC in reply to "RE: Ironic"
darknexus Member since:
2008-07-15

Well, I doubt Microsoft put a lot of effort into attempting to buy the verdict they want, I suspect they thought the ruling would be in their favor especially concerning a patent troll. I'd love to see Microsoft taken down, way down in fact, but I don't want abuse of the patent laws (well, anymore than already happens) to be silently encouraged by anyone. It's a bad, bad precedent to set, as if we start actually ruling in favor of the patent trolls we'll get an even more overstressed legal system, even more corruption, and no chance ever of getting any kind of relaxation on software patent laws as it'll be too much of a moneymaker for lawyers to allow it. Don't let your hatred of Microsoft cloud your judgement here, I'd rather have Microsoft get punished, but the ends do not always justify the means, and I think letting the patent trolls get a foothold is much worse.

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: Ironic
by sbergman27 on Wed 12th Aug 2009 19:53 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Ironic"
sbergman27 Member since:
2005-07-24

Don't let your hatred of Microsoft cloud your judgement here,

I find that assertion offensive. Although I suspect it was not intended to offend.

*Of course* the situation is unfair to Microsoft. Although I would not characterize this as an *abuse* of patent laws. I would characterize it as the enforcement of the current, very flawed system.

And the implications of this legal decision are even more dire for OSS than for Microsoft. All the more reason to want to have powerful players like Microsoft on *our* side during the coming battles.

Strange times make for strange bedfellows, indeed.

Reply Score: 5

RE[4]: Ironic
by darknexus on Wed 12th Aug 2009 21:49 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Ironic"
darknexus Member since:
2008-07-15

You're right, it wasn't intended to be offensive, and I didn't aim it at you specifically either though it probably did look that way. Sorry about that. I said it, though, because I see it happen a lot whenever MIcrosoft and patents, or Microsoft and anything else, end up being discussed together--again, in general, not you specifically.

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: Ironic
by JAlexoid on Wed 12th Aug 2009 23:31 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Ironic"
JAlexoid Member since:
2009-05-19

Should anyone remind you about the whole irony of it? Remember the most resent FAT patent troll from MS against TomTom?

Edited 2009-08-12 23:32 UTC

Reply Score: 3

RE: Ironic
by phoenix on Thu 13th Aug 2009 18:35 UTC in reply to "Ironic"
phoenix Member since:
2005-07-11

While I hate patent trolls (and software patents altogether for that matter) and don't support them in any way, I must say the irony in this ruling is just too delicious. Still, even if it's Microsoft, I don't ever want a patent troll to succeed... so I guess, this one time, I'm on Microsoft's side. Wow, that feels weird to write that. Obviously the best thing would be the elimination of software patents altogether, but I don't see that happening especially in our corrupt legal system where money buys verdicts in the big cases.


i4i isn't a patent troll, though, as they have been actively using, selling, and supporting the patented technology ever since the patent was approved.

Patent trolls are companies that don't ever use the patented technology in any way, and then just go after infringing companies, usually years after the infringing app has been released.

Reply Score: 2

Apocalypse
by systyrant on Wed 12th Aug 2009 18:36 UTC
systyrant
Member since:
2007-01-18

If we lived in a world where people payed attention to software this might frighten them into demanding a standardized open format that was not developed by Microsoft, but we don't. We live in a world where the said patent will be invalidated or if not Microsoft will find a work around that doesn't violate the patent. Either way Word and the .docx format will both continue.

What we really have here is apocalyptic story about how a dominate player is being brought down by the cracks in a system it has twisted for years. It's an awesome story for Hollywood, but in the end it's all just a bunch of money for lawyers and press for Microsoft.

Reply Score: 1

RE: Apocalypse
by gustl on Sun 16th Aug 2009 18:36 UTC in reply to "Apocalypse "
gustl Member since:
2006-01-19

Microsoft will do something by far more lucrative for them.

They will just buy a patent license.

That will allow Microsoft to use docx in the future, but will deny open source competitors the capability to read/write it in the USA.
And as i4i is proovably independent of Microsoft, any patent lawsuits of i4i against a competitor will not hurt Microsoft's reputation.

Perfect lock-in, just as Microsoft always wanted.

Settling this, and thereby granting the patent itself an aura of validity is worth billions to Microsoft.

Reply Score: 2

Not sure you guys understand....
by Nex6 on Wed 12th Aug 2009 19:07 UTC
Nex6
Member since:
2005-07-06

I am, not sure you guys are understanding what this means.

the patent in question covers what they call "metacode", the changing of text within an XML document.

OO.o, and all sorts of apps that uses XML for data storage, or config files (even OSX as Plists are XML)

would, down the road be effected. Microsoft will appeal, and if its held up XML will change or will die becuase of this.



-Nex6

Reply Score: 7

Lennie Member since:
2007-09-22

Quick let's rewrite everyting to use JSON. :-)

http://www.json.org/

Reply Score: 1

boldingd Member since:
2009-02-19

Actually, it doesn't just cover XML documents. The (ridiculous!) patent covers a "Method and system for manipulating the architecture and the content of a document separately from each other," for any type of document.

Reply Score: 2

sukru Member since:
2006-11-19

It will be naive, but if what you said is true, then it covers LaTeX as well, which is clearly a prior art.

Edited 2009-08-12 21:10 UTC

Reply Score: 4

sbergman27 Member since:
2005-07-24

It will be naive, but if what you said is true, then it covers LaTeX as well, which is clearly a prior art.

The fact of the matter is that i4i has a patent. That matter has already been decided by the experts at the USPTO. The court has decided that the patent applies in this case. The judge cannot go against the official determination of the experts, who have already conducted extensive investigation to exclude the possibility of extant prior art.

Now, the USPTO is one of those government organizations which is entirely self-supporting. Its revenue comes from the fees it charges the applicants. (And every USPTO employee's paycheck comes out of that.) Thus the applicants are their customers and sole source of revenue. So when you ask them to withdraw a patent, you are asking them to anger a customer. And if the customer happens to be a patent troll, you are asking them to anger a *regular* customer.

Yes, it stinks to high heavens. But that is the reality of the situation.

Edited 2009-08-12 22:14 UTC

Reply Score: 4

Soulbender Member since:
2005-08-18

What matter has already been decided by the experts at the USPTO.


The...*experts*?? Thanks for making me start the day with a laugh.

who have already conducted extensive investigation to exclude the possibility of extant prior art.


Heh. A bit of a conflict of interest there though. Asking the experts to investigate if they themselves in fact did things right doesn't sound like a healthy practice.

Yes, it stinks to high heavens. But that is the reality of the situation.


Right, but that doesn't mean we should accept the situation.

Edited 2009-08-13 07:40 UTC

Reply Score: 3

MamiyaOtaru Member since:
2005-11-11

"What matter has already been decided by the experts at the USPTO.
The...*experts*?? Thanks for making me start the day with a laugh. "
You're really good at recognizing sarcasm

"who have already conducted extensive investigation to exclude the possibility of extant prior art.
Heh. A bit of a conflict of interest there though. Asking the experts to investigate if they themselves in fact did things right doesn't sound like a healthy practice. "
wow, sounds sort of like what the OP went on to say later in the same post!

Now, the USPTO is one of those government organizations which is entirely self-supporting. Its revenue comes from the fees it charges the applicants. (And every USPTO employee's paycheck comes out of that.) Thus the applicants are their customers and sole source of revenue. So when you ask them to withdraw a patent, you are asking them to anger a customer. And if the customer happens to be a patent troll, you are asking them to anger a *regular* customer

Reply Score: 2

mrhasbean Member since:
2006-04-03

Actually, it doesn't just cover XML documents. The (ridiculous!) patent covers a "Method and system for manipulating the architecture and the content of a document separately from each other," for any type of document.


Agreed. This is just insane. Although I don't see any problem with the intention of patents as such it's the way they are awarded and enforced that's the issue. A patent should be able to be invalidated even after it's been awarded if it can be proved it's just something that has been a standard state of play anyway, or indeed should be transferred to another party if they can prove they were indeed the inventors of the method. But before it's even awarded the onus should be on the applicant to demonstrate that there is no "prior art" and they are indeed the inventors of the thing.

Although I don't know the full details of this patent it may even stretch to include such things as classic MacOS's resource / data fork model - which has been around since Adam was in shorts, and certainly would have huge implications on the use of XML. It would actually be good to see a number of the large players get together and support Microsoft on this one...

Reply Score: 3

lemur2 Member since:
2007-02-17

Although I don't know the full details of this patent it may even stretch to include such things as classic MacOS's resource / data fork model - which has been around since Adam was in shorts, and certainly would have huge implications on the use of XML. It would actually be good to see a number of the large players get together and support Microsoft on this one...


No problem with that as long as they invalidate Microsot's own recently granted patent on long-standing and open XML technology as well while they are at it.

Reply Score: 2

AlexandreAM Member since:
2006-02-06

As much as I want to agree here, one problem persists:

How does one even begin trying to "prove there's no prior art"?

I mean, except with the option of 'reductio ad absurdum', which is not quite useable in this matter, is there any other way to effectively prove that something does NOT exist?

Reply Score: 3

Neverending story?
by mat69 on Wed 12th Aug 2009 21:16 UTC
mat69
Member since:
2006-03-29

How much more billions will be wasted until this mess is finally over?

I'm sick of reading such kind of articles, where entities only destroy and act like leeches.

It's really crazy, it has been obvious for many years that this system does not work and it's still there.

Reply Score: 2

Imagine a world...
by rajan r on Wed 12th Aug 2009 21:40 UTC
rajan r
Member since:
2005-07-27

... where we know not the blissful pleasures of software patents.

Actually, I'm slightly sceptical of patents in general - but software patents, with its ability to stiffle innovation and raise barriers to entry unfairly and arbitrarily, is probably the worst. Maybe after pharmaceutical patents.

Reply Score: 3

Non-obvious?
by james_parker on Wed 12th Aug 2009 21:41 UTC
james_parker
Member since:
2005-06-29

What about this patent is supposed to be non-obvious? It seems to consist only of some set-oriented structure of <attribute, dataReference> with the "raw" data stored separately. This is basically an index-type structure, where the attribute can be anything one wishes to associate with the data indirectly locatable by the dataReference.

One example of this, very close to to idea of "format" and "text" that I'm familiar with is the Chemical Abstracts Service (CAS) Standard File Format, which was first published in 197l:

http://ieeexplore.ieee.org/xpl/freeabs_all.jsp?arnumber=1671672

Given that one other view of this would be index types -- from those in memory to those in DBMSs, I don't understand what isn't particularly obvious about this.

Reply Score: 2

The only answer
by fretinator on Wed 12th Aug 2009 21:53 UTC
fretinator
Member since:
2005-07-06

Susan Powter

Reply Score: 2

Competition
by Moredhas on Wed 12th Aug 2009 21:59 UTC
Moredhas
Member since:
2008-04-10

A brilliant change to the system would be if the attacking company (the one claiming to hold a patent that has been infringed) must prove they compete in the same consumer space. Take, for example, that company that sued Nintendo because the Wii remote is a lot like their pointing devices. Under this rule, that would have been a non-case because the attacking company does not cater to the gaming console market, and Nintendo don't officially support using the Wii remote for anything else (though it is possible). Does the attacking company in this case also provide word processing software for the same consumer space as Microsoft?

Reply Score: 2

They aren't patent trolls
by Drumhellar on Wed 12th Aug 2009 23:42 UTC
Drumhellar
Member since:
2005-07-12

i4i don't appear to be patent trolls to me. They actually have several products regarding document management and conversion that appear popular in the pharmaceuticals industry.

They have software that works from within Word to create and use XML document templates.

Microsoft using those patented features in Word means two things:
1) Microsoft is now a competitor to this small company.

2) Microsoft is using patented technology that this small company created to compete with them.

Microsoft was also awarded the same patent this very week, but i4i filed for theirs 6 months before Microsoft filed.

Reply Score: 4

RE: They aren't patent trolls
by Beta on Thu 13th Aug 2009 07:33 UTC in reply to "They aren't patent trolls"
Beta Member since:
2005-07-06

i4i don't appear to be patent trolls to me. They actually have several products regarding document management and conversion that appear popular in the pharmaceuticals industry.

They have software that works from within Word to create and use XML document templates.

Fairly sure I read something a while back about i4i approaching Microsoft with XML processing technology (I assume for product licensing) and they claimed that MS took the idea and built it straight into Office.

This is more about i4i keeping Microsoft from stealing their business. I4i have large government contracts already, but with most governments having MS agreements (cheap multiseat licensing), their product is unfortunately in a position where its extra expense.

Seems a bit sad that we’re soo focused on patent trolling we don’t actually notice real cases where a company has wilfully, and totally to character, taken a methodology of someone elses.

nb: not a patent fan.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: They aren't patent trolls
by Rehdon on Thu 13th Aug 2009 09:25 UTC in reply to "RE: They aren't patent trolls"
Rehdon Member since:
2005-07-06

Fairly sure I read something a while back about i4i approaching Microsoft with XML processing technology (I assume for product licensing) and they claimed that MS took the idea and built it straight into Office.


I wouldn't be surprised in the least, I still remember the Burst.com case:

http://www.pbs.org/cringely/pulpit/2002/pulpit_20020620_000736.html
http://www.pbs.org/cringely/pulpit/2003/pulpit_20030828_000447.html

They used to do this sort of tricks in the past, it took a lot of litigation and losing the antitrust suit to sort of mend their ways.

Rehdon

Reply Score: 2

CSS?
by whartung on Wed 12th Aug 2009 23:53 UTC
whartung
Member since:
2005-07-06

Just curious how CSS isn't covered by this patent.

Reply Score: 2

RE: CSS?
by lemur2 on Thu 13th Aug 2009 05:01 UTC in reply to "CSS?"
lemur2 Member since:
2007-02-17

Just curious how CSS isn't covered by this patent.


CSS would be prior art.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Css#History
Style sheets have existed in one form or another since the beginnings of SGML in the 1970s. Cascading Style Sheets were developed as a means for creating a consistent approach to providing style information for web documents.

Reply Score: 2

More opinion
by lemur2 on Thu 13th Aug 2009 03:45 UTC
lemur2
Member since:
2007-02-17

PJ's take (of groklaw fame):
http://www.groklaw.net/

PJ: Tell that to Microsoft. They are pushing for patents on standards to be considered "open standards". Ah. The judge just gave them a lesson on that theme, did it not? The chickens have come home to roost. But for the rest of us, an object lesson. This is what life is like when you allow software patents, even on standards. How do you like it? Keep in mind that in this case, it affects only one company. When it is a standard everyone uses, it affects the entire market. By the way, I hear ODF is a standard that does not allow Custom XML in documents, so in this case it's just Microsoft and its users who are impacted. And by the way, here is an article on the XML patent Microsoft was granted on August 4 by the oh-so-clueful Patent Office, which, the article says, "would appear to cover all usage of XML and XSDs in word processing document, which would effectively leave all other modern word processors - and other software that used their documents - liable to licensing by the company."


More here:
http://www.groklaw.net/article.php?story=20090812144154814
You probably think I am delighted. I am not. I hate software patents. And this is precisely why. It is karmic that this happened to Microsoft, who bullies Linux with patent threats and just got an XML patent of its own on August 4th that could, presumably, be used against the entire market. How stupid do we have to be to grant patents on software? On software *standards*? This is what happens. Now do you see it?

FOSS has been taking the lead in trying to educate the world that patents are toxic for software. They disrupt and they block innovation. Software and patents need to get a divorce. You might like to read Red Hat's amicus brief that it submitted in the Bilski case to see why software patents are particularly destructive to the FOSS development model.

As for Microsoft's recent effort to define "open standards" to, as Dana Blankenhorn describes it, "mandate standards bodies to consider patented, protected, proprietary technology on a par with truly open source offerings", what has just happened to the XML standard gives what I consider the absolutely final and complete answer to such a specious argument. Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, I present Exhibit A. It's not open if a judge can shut it down. Or a vendor. Is that hard?


Here is what PJ is talking about:
http://blogs.zdnet.com/open-source/?p=4623

Karma indeed.

Edited 2009-08-13 03:49 UTC

Reply Score: 3

tyrione
Member since:
2005-11-21

http://www.google.com/patents?vid=USPAT5787449

Download the PDF and read it. It's quite astonishing that they got this Patent while they cite SGML predating exactly what they patented.

Seriously, this is a crock.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION lists it intent.

Reply Score: 2

lemur2 Member since:
2007-02-17

http://www.google.com/patents?vid=USPAT5787449 Download the PDF and read it. It's quite astonishing that they got this Patent while they cite SGML predating exactly what they patented. Seriously, this is a crock. SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION lists it intent.


And how exactly is this patent:

http://news.zdnet.com/2100-9595_22-329645.html

(which Microsoft obtained too late) any different?

"Both XML and XML Schema are long-established open standards, designed to do exactly this, among many other functions."


How is Microsoft's attempt to patent everyone else out of being able to use XML any less of a crock than i4i's prior patent?

Karma.

http://www.google.com.au/search?hl=en&q=define%3A+karma&meta=&a...

Irony: If Microsoft manage somehow to invalidate i4i's patent, then they will probably also invalidate their own recently-granted XML patent by the same argument.

Sweet.

Edited 2009-08-13 04:49 UTC

Reply Score: 2

I love the name of the company!
by daddio on Thu 13th Aug 2009 21:11 UTC
daddio
Member since:
2007-07-14

If I form a technology company that does patent trolling, I think I'll call it...

tooth4tooth

HAR HAR.

Reply Score: 1

weren't unaware
by MamiyaOtaru on Sat 15th Aug 2009 07:04 UTC
MamiyaOtaru
Member since:
2005-11-11

We saw [i4i's products] some time ago and met its creators. Word 11 will make it obsolete
- Martin Sawicki, of Microsoft's XML for Word development team, via email

DOH

Reply Score: 2