Something tells me Microsoft will lose at the Supreme Court as well, if they even agree to hear the case. MSFT should sometimes know when it is better to cut their losses and suck up an adverse judgment against them. After all, they've had plenty of adverse judgments over the years.
and that the Office 2010 beta "does not contain the technology covered by the injunction,"
sooooooo 2010 is in the clear, and 2007 is the only version in question, but its old anyway.
The Supreme Court seems to be waiting for someone to ask them "is software patentable?" This would, of course, be an opportunity to ask that question. Microsoft management seems to be fixated in the "we can't program worth predigested hog food, but someday we'll make beellions from our precioussss Int'lekshul Property" mode, and will probably NOT ask that question--however much it might help any future programming work they intend to do. (In addition, Microsoft is rich enough to pay the damages; and they be willing to tolerate the situation considering that competitors may be harmed more by software patents.
This is, by software patent standards, a very unusual case: unquestionably the alleged infringer got information about the plaintiff's patented technology, and commercially viable products based on it, from the plaintiff. (In most software patent suits, the issue is clearly independent development. In fact, many plaintiffs never actually developed the technology--just patented a similar idea.)
Word and office. Is that some sort of openoffice clone?
Microsoft Statement Regarding the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit Ruling in the i4i Case [microsoft.com]
|We have just learned that the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit has denied our appeal in the i4i case. We are moving quickly to comply with the injunction, which takes effect on January 11, 2010. (...) With respect to Microsoft Word 2007 and Microsoft Office 2007, we have been preparing for this possibility since the District Court issued its injunction in August 2009 and have put the wheels in motion to remove this little-used feature from these products. Therefore, 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. 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. |
^ right, so we really don't have a problem here at all.
Custom XML is a very niche market: i4i did a multimillion-dollar business on a few dozen clients with very specific data processing needs (Congress still uses it for tweaking laws/bills/resolutions/etc.) Most people don't need it, which is a good thing, as even more of them don't have the technical competence to use it.
It's puzzling why Microsoft felt the need to "cut off that particular [business partner's] air supply." You'd think it was much too tiny a puddle for the 800-pound gorilla to stomp in. I guess when you're Microsoft, friends are people to backstab when there are no enemies in reach.
|^ right, so we really don't have a problem here at all. |
No. Not from the sounds of it. The sensational headline was more wishful thinking than reality. Microsoft will have a patch in place by the deadline that will remove the feature from the Office suite and that will probably be the last we'll hear of this.
|Microsoft will have a patch in place by the deadline that will remove the feature from the Office suite and that will probably be the last we'll hear of this. |
Agreed, Microsoft would be foolish to take this to the Supreme Court because they would risk the Supreme Court making a ruling that would invalidate software patents. That is a HUGE risk for what will shortly be obsolete software once the next version comes out. It is much safer for Microsoft to just remove the offending feature.
|"is software patentable?" |
I thought its was generally considered that software could not be patented?
But in this case it seems the answer is yes?
|I thought its was generally considered that software could not be patented? |
- software is not patentable at all in the vast majority of the world (as it should be IMHO)
- software patents do exist in the USA.
Unfortunately many of them are of the most silly types that just stop things from happening (like all ways you can imagine to make a graphical cursor work are patented. Even those any kid without any experience can "reinvent" without prior knowledge just by explaining them the damage problem that needs to be solved.