Linked by Thom Holwerda on Tue 22nd Dec 2009 19:40 UTC, submitted by poundsmack
Legal Earlier this year, a judge ruled that Microsoft willfully infringed on an XML-related patent held by i4i, and ordered the company to pay 290 million USD. In addition, if the Redmond giant didn't comply within 60 days of the ruling, Word would be banned from the US market. Microsoft later received a stay on this injunction, pending appeal. This appeal failed for Microsoft, as the earlier ruling has been upheld.
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Interesting
by gustl on Tue 22nd Dec 2009 19:57 UTC
gustl
Member since:
2006-01-19

I would like to know if patents are a net benefit for Microsoft.

The Bilski case which is to be decided next year could well mean that software patents will become obsoleted in the US, on the other hand Microsoft seems to be in favour of software patents, which seems to be the only source of FUD against FOSS left to them.

So I guess Microsofts patents may not be the big money bringer, could even be a loss, but strategically they might well be invaluable.

Reply Score: 3

RE: Interesting
by systyrant on Tue 22nd Dec 2009 20:06 UTC in reply to "Interesting"
systyrant Member since:
2007-01-18

For many companies it has been a bargaining chip. I think of it like the cold war. I have a bunch of nukes and you have a bunch of nukes. Let's make a deal to not use them.

I personally would like to see the end of software patents.

Reply Score: 4

Comment by poundsmack
by poundsmack on Tue 22nd Dec 2009 20:10 UTC
poundsmack
Member since:
2005-07-13

also: http://www.microsoft.com/Presspass/press/2009/dec09/12-22statement....

Update: Microsoft says it's moving quickly to prepare versions of Office 2007 and Word 2007 that don't have the "little-used" XML features for sale by January 11, and that the Office 2010 beta "does not contain the technology covered by the injunction," which can be read in a number of ways. It's also considering an appeal, so we'll see what happens next.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Comment by poundsmack
by shotsman on Tue 22nd Dec 2009 21:22 UTC in reply to "Comment by poundsmack"
shotsman Member since:
2005-07-22

This was their appeal. So they are going to appeal the result of the appeal. SCOTUS here they come.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Comment by poundsmack
by flanque on Wed 23rd Dec 2009 09:49 UTC in reply to "RE: Comment by poundsmack"
flanque Member since:
2005-12-15

Yes, they can. They just go to a higher court if I understand.

Reply Score: 2

v wow, just wow
by inaneframe on Wed 23rd Dec 2009 04:17 UTC
RE: wow, just wow
by inaneframe on Wed 23rd Dec 2009 04:26 UTC in reply to "wow, just wow"
inaneframe Member since:
2008-10-29

. . . oh yeah we had one not too long ago, George W. Bush.

Reply Score: 4

RE: wow, just wow
by lemur2 on Wed 23rd Dec 2009 05:02 UTC in reply to "wow, just wow"
lemur2 Member since:
2007-02-17

It's a shame that our court systems have such a limited grasp of technology that they think they can literally ban a piece of software from sale within any national borders.

This is so mindblowingly stupid and annoying, I'm finding it hard to comprehend how any living being with more than a half a brain cell could believe they have this much power.


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Patent#Enforcement

It happens to be the law.

Typically, the patent owner will seek monetary compensation for past infringement, and will seek an injunction prohibiting the defendant from engaging in future acts of infringement.


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Injunction

An injunction is an equitable remedy in the form of a court order, whereby a party is required to do, or to refrain from doing, certain acts. The party that fails to adhere to the injunction faces civil or criminal penalties and may have to pay damages or accept sanctions for failing to follow the court's order. In some cases, breaches of injunctions are considered serious criminal offenses that merit arrest and possible prison sentences.


Enforcement of this law is quite serious. Braking an injunction is a criminal offense (as opposed to violating a patent which is merely a civil matter). If a company breaks this law, the company's directors can be jailed.

Software patents are utterly stupid, and should be eradicated.

Edited 2009-12-23 05:08 UTC

Reply Score: 3

RE[2]: wow, just wow
by inaneframe on Wed 23rd Dec 2009 06:21 UTC in reply to "RE: wow, just wow"
inaneframe Member since:
2008-10-29

Never said that patents were not the law but the distinction between injunctions and fines to make business for a company impossible and a full out ban is rather large. And for the purposes of almost any discussion of law, "it's the law" is an aggravating and EXTREMELY erudite "argument", if it could be called such.

Though patents, of course, are untenable for their outcome if not for their ostensible purpose, bans, prohibitions, or embargoes, besides not working at all, are flagrantly evil.

Quoting Lao Tzu:
When they lose their sense of awe,
people turn to religion.
When they no longer trust themselves,
they begin to depend on authority.

When taxes are too high,
people go hungry.
When the government is too intrusive,
people lose their spirit.
Act for the people's benefit.
Trust them; leave them alone.

Basically, all I was saying is judges, and by extension, law, and by FURTHER extension government SHOULD butt out. It's a matter of fact, what currently is but, really, thanks for the update. It was so obvious by my post that I had no idea that patents and patent injunctions were law. No, really, thanks for that!

Edited 2009-12-23 06:25 UTC

Reply Score: 1

RE[3]: wow, just wow
by bousozoku on Wed 23rd Dec 2009 06:29 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: wow, just wow"
bousozoku Member since:
2006-01-23


...
Basically, all I was saying is judges, and by extension, law, and by FURTHER extension government SHOULD butt out. It's a matter of fact, what currently is but, really, thanks for the update. It was so obvious by my post that I had no idea that patents and patent injunctions were law. No, really, thanks for that!


So, when a huge company infringes on a small company's property, no one should come to their aid?

It's similar to the bully taking lunch money. That's okay with you, I guess.

Reply Score: 3

RE[4]: wow, just wow
by inaneframe on Wed 23rd Dec 2009 10:02 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: wow, just wow"
inaneframe Member since:
2008-10-29

And that would be the ostensible purpose that I was speaking of. More times than not, it does not work that way, in fact 99.9% of the time it doesn't. We have this myth in our culture, encouraged by major patent holders mind you, of the inventor in his attic. Doesn't happen. Patents are treated like currency anymore. In fact, a patent is only a government mandated monopoly, that is the precise definition. Large companies beat small companies over the head with them a thousand times over for every time a small company finds a way to take the larger company to court over a patent . . . this has a lot to do with the fact that the smaller company never even has enough money to go through the extensive processes necessary to seek a judgement.

To quote Thomas Jefferson:
That ideas should freely spread from one to another over the globe, for the moral and mutual instruction of man, and the improvement of his conditions, seems to have been peculiarly and benevolently designed by nature, when she made them, like fire, expansible over all space, without lessening their density in any point, and like the air in which we breathe, move, and have our physical being, incapable of confinement of exclusive appropriation. Inventions then cannot, in nature, be a subject of property.

When you force information to be owned, you are going against it's very nature.

Let's take this a little bit further, the original point of patents was not to protect the little inventor in his basement laboring on an invention for 20 years. The original point of patents was to encourage inventors to RELEASE the DETAILS of their invention to a PUBLIC repository in a day and age when it was easily conceivable that the details of an invention's inner workings might be lost, when inventions would be created in a climate where there weren't many experts/scientists/engineers/learned skilled enough to reverse engineer it, in exchange, the inventor received a LIMITED monopoly.

Should I elaborate on how much the climate of inventions has changed since then?

Patents only serve as commodities for HUGE corporations anymore, like IBM, Microsoft, Intel, and AMD, and, in fact, there are supposed "IP" companies that do nothing but collect patents and litigate to capitalize on them.

It's a joke that would be funny if they weren't so dangerous to society.

In fact, a very persuasive argument could be made that one of the main reasons we have such HUGE mega corporations is BECAUSE of government mandated monopolies.

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: wow, just wow
by lemur2 on Wed 23rd Dec 2009 09:21 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: wow, just wow"
lemur2 Member since:
2007-02-17

Never said that patents were not the law but the distinction between injunctions and fines to make business for a company impossible and a full out ban is rather large. And for the purposes of almost any discussion of law, "it's the law" is an aggravating and EXTREMELY erudite "argument", if it could be called such.

Though patents, of course, are untenable for their outcome if not for their ostensible purpose, bans, prohibitions, or embargoes, besides not working at all, are flagrantly evil.

poem cut for brevity

Basically, all I was saying is judges, and by extension, law, and by FURTHER extension government SHOULD butt out. It's a matter of fact, what currently is but, really, thanks for the update. It was so obvious by my post that I had no idea that patents and patent injunctions were law. No, really, thanks for that!


Your actual words indicated otherwise:

It's a shame that our court systems have such a limited grasp of technology that they think they can literally ban a piece of software from sale within any national borders.

This is so mindblowingly stupid and annoying, I'm finding it hard to comprehend how any living being with more than a half a brain cell could believe they have this much power.


My bold. You indicated that you thought the the courts were stupid when it comes to software.

Au contraire, it is the law that is stupid. The courts have apparently correctly interpreted what the law says, and applied it exactly.

There was no indication therein that you understood that this was in fact the law. There is still no indication at all that you understand that Microsoft have been found to have violated this patent. There is still no indication that you understand that if Microsoft now decide to ignore this injunction, then Microsoft's corporate leaders could be jailed.

However, as for the rest of your rant ... I do agree with you that the whole idea of applying patents to software is utterly stupid in the first place.

Software is mathematics. You cannot patent mathematics (or at least you should not be able to, but someone apparently forgot to tell the USPTO).

Edited 2009-12-23 09:26 UTC

Reply Score: 2

RE[4]: wow, just wow
by inaneframe on Wed 23rd Dec 2009 10:18 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: wow, just wow"
inaneframe Member since:
2008-10-29

Like I said, a BAN is not an INJUNCTION. To BAN an item from sale is different from imposing restrictions on the actions of one company.

AND the law represents very ACCURATELY what the courts think they have the right to do, though this has very little to do with the court full out BANNING a piece of software which is tantamount to censorship.

It may seem to be a THIN distinction but it is not, it's the reason we have two different words, ban and injunction (a restraining order is an example of an injunction, for instance).

No matter the law of a land, there remains (you may not agree) natural law, which is the ruler by which all matters of jurisprudence and government is measured and cast legitimate (or not).

Regardless of what ANY law may say (even though I have made it perfectly clear that patent law in the U.S. as it stands doesn't apply here [to a ban]), there are limits as to what a government may do.

BTW, the USPTO is as ignorant to the realities of technology as the courts are, but you know that as well as I do.

Edited 2009-12-23 10:20 UTC

Reply Score: 1

RE[5]: wow, just wow
by lemur2 on Wed 23rd Dec 2009 10:58 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: wow, just wow"
lemur2 Member since:
2007-02-17

Like I said, a BAN is not an INJUNCTION. To BAN an item from sale is different from imposing restrictions on the actions of one company.

AND the law represents very ACCURATELY what the courts think they have the right to do, though this has very little to do with the court full out BANNING a piece of software which is tantamount to censorship.

It may seem to be a THIN distinction but it is not, it's the reason we have two different words, ban and injunction (a restraining order is an example of an injunction, for instance).

No matter the law of a land, there remains (you may not agree) natural law, which is the ruler by which all matters of jurisprudence and government is measured and cast legitimate (or not).

Regardless of what ANY law may say (even though I have made it perfectly clear that patent law in the U.S. as it stands doesn't apply here [to a ban]), there are limits as to what a government may do.

BTW, the USPTO is as ignorant to the realities of technology as the courts are, but you know that as well as I do.


Microsoft are not banned from selling Word. They are merely under a permanent injunction in the US from selling copies of Word that contain i4i's patented technology after January 11, 2010.

Microsoft will remove the "custom XML" technology from Word before that date, and continue to sell Word thereafter.

http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2357496,00.asp

"We expect to have copies of Microsoft Word 2007 and Office 2007, with this feature removed, available for U.S. sale and distribution by the injunction date," Microsoft said. "In addition, the beta versions of Microsoft Word 2010 and Microsoft Office 2010, which are available now for downloading, do not contain the technology covered by the injunction."


PS: For your interest, Microsoft themselves are calling this an injunction, so it would seem that it is only you who is confused.

Microsoft had already pulled the technology from Word 2010.

The interesting bit is that now the ISO Standard 29500 includes a non-RAND technology (custom XML) which is NOT offered by the patent holder (i4i) for use as a standard.

This means that ISO 29500 is itself infringing (in the US jurisdiction), and under ISO's own rules it cannot therefore be ratified as it stands as an ISO standard.

Edited 2009-12-23 11:03 UTC

Reply Score: 2

RE[6]: wow, just wow
by inaneframe on Thu 24th Dec 2009 02:21 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: wow, just wow"
inaneframe Member since:
2008-10-29

Sorry if I caused any confusion, many times I'm just a skimmer, the article said there was a ban, if it's simply an injunction (as you've shown), it's different.

It is IMPOSSIBLE to ban a piece of software, the logistics don't pan out. This is what I was trying to get out but since it is not a ban (since a ban is not feasible or allowed within patent law, afaik), my comment is kinda mis-presented (not a word). It still doesn't negate my argument that governments haven't a clue as to the logistics of software or technology (as far as the legislative and judicial branches are involved).

You are right that it's not the courts that legislate but it is their job to validate a law and its appropriateness.

Reply Score: 1

RE[3]: wow, just wow
by Bill Shooter of Bul on Wed 23rd Dec 2009 16:23 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: wow, just wow"
Bill Shooter of Bul Member since:
2006-07-14

Calm down. It seemed from your previous post that you were specifically blaming the judiciary. The blame should have been more accurately placed on the legislature. While you may have thought that was implied, it really shouldn't be given popular discourse. Many people believe that judges "legislate from the bench" "creating new laws, instead of ruling on existing law". Your post sounded like you were accusing the courts of that. So by stating that "its the law" the guy responding to you was trying to refute any allegations of judicial misconduct.

Reply Score: 3

RE[4]: wow, just wow
by inaneframe on Thu 24th Dec 2009 02:33 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: wow, just wow"
inaneframe Member since:
2008-10-29

The law (in the United States at least) is not closed to interpretation. The courts have a responsibility to interpret the validity of a law, to miss such obvious misdeeds cast upon the public IS judicial misconduct defined.

The courts are not a police force, their job is not to flatly apply law, if that were so, we would have no need for them.

And they DO have the a certain degree of "creating new law", where there are no laws in certain situations or where a law may not apply, there is case law. Case law, as precedence, is ever evolving, an important part of the judicial system and carries as much weight as legislated law in the court room. Given all of this it IS very ignorant to say, "it's the law", it's the law only insomuch as the courts interpret it.

And as stated, a ban is NOT the same as an injunction. The article stated that there might be a ban. I apologized for relying on the wording already, as this is simply not the case and banning software is not in the jurisdiction of a court under patent law (besides being logistically impossible and costly if implemented).

When it comes to supposed "intellectual property" and "prohibitions", I will not calm down. They are passions of mine, it may not be yours, to each their own.

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: wow, just wow
by flanque on Wed 23rd Dec 2009 09:50 UTC in reply to "RE: wow, just wow"
flanque Member since:
2005-12-15

You mean, breaking.

Reply Score: 2

RE: wow, just wow
by dulac on Wed 23rd Dec 2009 13:27 UTC in reply to "wow, just wow"
dulac Member since:
2006-12-27

I'm certainly no fan of Microsoft but this is garbage.


Yeap... Just feels good to see the bully get caught in it's own game... It is stupid anyway, and one should ask why...

The patent system was created to protect the lonelly inventor, not corporations... however the system was subverted to what is now seen.

Besides... inventions are one thing... exploints of other ideas are NOT inventions. And that is what happens in computing. We hardly see any inventions... However, exploits ARE for some decades accepted as inventions... Just because the patent system was subverted. Thake the double-click patent from Microsoft... they did NOT invent the mouse. And the double-click... is an obvious thing... and Microsoft is not an inventor to get a patent or to possess one.

When a corporation possesses an "idea"... that reflects the acceptation that the corporation possesses the inventor mind : A new form of slavery!
This should be enough to evaluate the new system and denounce it's lack of legitimacy.

It's a shame that our court systems have such a limited grasp of technology that they think they can literally ban <...>


Right! But isn't that the result of the government not having the necessary abilities to govern? Only to direct in absence of ability (implicating an absence of legitimacy). So it is only a machine that goes on... even when the function is no longer there. Ex: The FDA is turned to protect an industry instead of
protecting the citizens... and can face accusations of crimes against mankind, even if nobody has the financial chance to place them.

So, it is the Legal system that is also turned against Justice... if Money is so necessary to "battle" in the legal system, where is justice? And if "The People" become a propaganda word... isn't that a tyranny? Even if accepted due to the lost of perspective ?

This is so mindblowingly stupid and annoying, I'm finding it hard to comprehend how any living being with more than a half a brain cell could believe they have this much power.


Right.
As the cover does not bring content, it is obvious that a state machine by itself is no assurance that it will serve it's purpose. Nor that all their mechanisms will keep their goal. They can and have been subverted,
And a corporation is certainly NOT an inventor, just a virtual entity that was only accepted as long as serving the society (after all... it lives from society). The subversion there is even more perverse.

Our governments need to learn ...

Sure... but it is only a virtual entity... Not real except perhaps in the power of our acceptance. It doesn't not have to make sense though it should.
A friend once stated that Orwell's "1984" was fulfilled... Why? I asked... "because nobody noticed!" he answered!

How scary is the idea of a retarded tyrant?


Very,,, but we should not confuse the puppet with the puppetier ... and the latest is more dangerous if it is squizoid. We know for sure that the so called "governments" are usually autistic. But isn't that the face of all "institutions" now that "the people" is considered a herd of "consumers" to feed the corporations?

Yes... Something is very wrong.
We allowed to be "consumers" instead of citizens.

Merry Christmas (instead of Chop-mas)
Regards.

Reply Score: 1

So, what patent?
by spiderman on Wed 23rd Dec 2009 08:35 UTC
spiderman
Member since:
2008-10-23

Is there a link to the patent somewhere? I'm almost 100% sure it's a crappy patent, like almost 100% of software patents, but I would like to read that piece of crap anyway.
My guess is that Microsoft didn't even know about that company before, didn't use their software or even know they existed and just implemented some XML parsing method that happened to be patented.
I'm very far from a Microsoft fan, but I'm pretty sure every single big software vendor loose money to patent lawyers as well as the majority of the small ones. It's simple mathematics really: when one vendor pay another one for patents, money is lost in lawyers overhead. They are the only ones who benefit from patents at the end of the day.
That is just retarded. Everyone knows it, nobody defend patents, at worst they say they patent things because others do it and yet nothing will change in our lifetime. It will probably go worse and worse actually. The US patent office is run by incompetents and they seem to be here to stay.

Reply Score: 3

RE: So, what patent?
by Bill Shooter of Bul on Wed 23rd Dec 2009 16:51 UTC in reply to "So, what patent?"
Bill Shooter of Bul Member since:
2006-07-14

Your guess is wrong. The company approached Microsoft with an offer to license their technology inside of Word. Microsoft declined, then incorporated the same patented technology inside their product.

Software patents are stupid, but Microsoft believes in them. Their best defense was to sort of imply that this particular patent was not one of those "good software patents".

Reply Score: 2

Can algorithms be patented?
by axilmar on Wed 23rd Dec 2009 11:44 UTC
axilmar
Member since:
2006-03-20

Aren't algorithms mathematical formulas? can math be patented?

Reply Score: 3

RE: Can algorithms be patented?
by Rahul on Wed 23rd Dec 2009 14:41 UTC in reply to "Can algorithms be patented?"
Rahul Member since:
2005-07-06

This patent has nothing to do with algorithms. Refer to

http://www.glazman.org/weblog/dotclear/index.php?post/2009/12/23/Mi...

Reply Score: 1