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Microsoft Loses Appeal Over Word Patent

     
2:22 pm on Mar 12, 2010 (gmt 0)

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Microsoft Loses Appeal Over Word Patent [news.bbc.co.uk]
Microsoft has lost an appeal against a court judgement that told it to pay $240m (160m) in damages.

In August 2009, a US court awarded the damages to i4i which claimed Microsoft had infringed its patents.

The patents cover the use of XML, a mark-up language that preserves data formats across different programs.



In this second appeal, the court again re-affirmed the original ruling and spelled out why that decision was made. In court documents spelling out their reasoning, the three appeal court judges said there was evidence that Microsoft knew i4i technology was patented before it turned up in Office programs.



Earlier Story

Microsoft Word and Office Ban Begins [webmasterworld.com]
11:54 pm on Mar 12, 2010 (gmt 0)

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Time to stock up
1:37 am on Mar 13, 2010 (gmt 0)

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This is ridiculous. Whatever you think of Microsoft, this is a victory for patent trolls.
1:51 am on Mar 13, 2010 (gmt 0)

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MS already started removing this rarely used technology from Office earlier this year. I'm not sure that stockpiling Office would be the best advice. ;)

However, I doubt this is the last we'll hear of this case...
4:34 am on Mar 13, 2010 (gmt 0)

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>Whatever you think of Microsoft, this is a victory for patent trolls.

Oddly enough, that was the party line parroted by the Microsoft attorney in the original trial. Which I thought was an incredibly stupid approach to take, since of all the computer-related patent suits in the news lately, this was unique in that it was filed by a real development company with a real product (that is, completely unlike the patent-holding-companies called patent trolls) so that there was genuine technology to transfer (i.e. not just "patent the idea" or "patent the goal" abuse) AND that there was clear evidence of technology transfer from the patentholder to the infringer (unlike nearly other case, because software patents almost invariably involve independent invention. In fact, the only other software case I can think of that involved actual technology transfer was -- the Stacker suit against, let me see, Microsoft.)

Whatever you think of Microsoft or Software Patents (I don't know which to hate worse) this is a bit like convicting Al Capone of income tax fraud: not justice, perhaps, but at least an expression of a desire for justice.
1:50 pm on Mar 13, 2010 (gmt 0)

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Patenting an open source language intended explicitly for interoperability is pretty hard core trolling. While I don't agree with Microsoft's bull on their "standard" which is so massive no one would be able to implement it other then them I'm totally against this patent troll as I would be against any patent troll.

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9:49 pm on Mar 15, 2010 (gmt 0)

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No language was patented.

And languages aren't EVER "open source"--there IS no source. (The language is the definition, the specification. An automatic language processor (compiler, parser, interpreter, transformer) would have source that could be "open" or "closed."

This isn't about the XML language at all. It's about a particular implementation of maintaining markup and data in different files.

The problem isn't patent trolling, or "NPE" as the lawyers like to call it. This is an ALGORITHM patent, which represents a different kind of abuse of the patent system--a kind of patent that (IMO) shouldn't be allowed, for legally and logically and ethically and pragmatially and all other kinds of reasons.

Never, in the lawsuit, did Microsoft make the claim that software patents shouldn't be allowed. (I wish they had!) It turns out that Microsoft is not only the biggest offender in SW patent infringement, they're the biggest offender in SW patent filing.

Which comes back to the usual point: Bill Gates is not Satan, no matter what Satan likes to think.
11:31 pm on Mar 17, 2010 (gmt 0)

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Now, here's a real patent troll: a company that doesn't have a product, didn't ever have a product, didn't ever have anyone who even tried to create a product -- and winning 100 million dollars: probably not coincidentally, from Microsoft.

[blog.seattlepi.com...]
1:35 am on Mar 18, 2010 (gmt 0)

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You notice that is all happening in Texas? Supposedly there is a specific district in Texas were a lot of these cases get filed. It has been said that the judges and juries in that area are very favorable to plaintiffs bringing these type of suits. It's almost like they're running a patent suit factory down there.
5:54 am on Mar 19, 2010 (gmt 0)

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In this second appeal, the court again re-affirmed the original ruling and spelled out why that decision was made. In court documents spelling out their reasoning, the three appeal court judges said there was evidence that Microsoft knew i4i technology was patented before it turned up in Office programs.


Which is another reason for the common advice not to search for software patents you might breach (the other is that evidence you knew increases damages).