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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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 Parent 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 Parent 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 Parent Score: 3