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back to article Microsoft warns of 'irreparable harm' on court's Word injunction

Microsoft's warned it'll suffer "irreparable harm" and that "major public disruption" will result if it's forced to redesign Word to comply with a US court ruling. The company claimed the court's injunction will mean Office is kept out the market for months as it redesigns Word and the suite to remove an offending XML patent. A …

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Gates Horns

So?

Microsoft hasn't released a decent version of Office in years. Who cares?

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Bronze badge

Dangerous tactic

Customers, meanwhile, could be "stranded without an alternative set of software" - rather relies on the judge and his legal team being MS fanbois (and I swore I would never use that phrase) as otherwise they will just point to any number of alternative packages which have the ability to read MSOffice documents. That does of course raise the problem of whether these packages automatically fall foul of the same patent infringement but that will be left for another court and a fresh set of lawyers to earn their fees over.

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Open Office?

I guess Microsoft aren't willing to acknowledge open office as a alternative?

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Well Argued Document

It is a well-argued document that identifies the stupidity of the judge who granted the injunction, the nonsense of the patent and the ignorance of the USPTO for granting a patent.

You can despise Microsoft and still agree with what they are saying.

The damages calculations are nonsense. What collection of slack-jawed, knuckle-dragging, transgeneration imbeciles came up with these numbers.

You have to pity the Microsoft lawyers who have to travel to Fecal Swamps, Shitsville to try to make informed points in words with a fractional number of syllables so they can be understood by the cross-eyed, twitching, sister-loving, sheep-shagging jury.

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FAIL

Customers, meanwhile, could be "stranded without an alternative set of software"

Other than Open Office?

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kbb
Thumb Up

Great defence

So now the community knows what defence to use if Microsoft come knocking at the door waving patents at Linux. What's good for the goose...

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FAIL

Since When ...

... is using what you have (or a competent alternate) a "major public disruption"? This man is totally out of touch with the computing public. If I were told I couldn't buy a new Chevrolet, I'd just keep driving what I have now or buy a Ford, BMW or whatever. Compatibility issues can be worked out and there is a work-around after all.

Stevie boy must be experiencing a low blood potassium level; we need to send him more bananas.

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Alert

Anonymous Title

First off I'm an OpenOffice user, have been for many years now and am a fan of the product ... I use Linux and Solaris (and grudgingly Windows occasionally) ...

I am not a fan of Microsoft or of Microsoft Office ...

However this court ruling (and others) really are going too far!

I'm a little surprised that they haven't brought in prior art on this, we've got a few different versions of stuff that did this (not in XML or course, but in markup) going back to the mid 70's sitting in our office.

We're not going out of our way to tell Microsoft that though :)

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Gates Halo

Boo fcuking hoo

IF Microsoft have effectively stolen this portion of the code that relates to this XML, then lost revenue, millions of $$ of sales lost ... then Boo Hoo, my heart bleeds.

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FAIL

What goes around....

I thought Microsoft were in the camp that thought software patents were good for the industry?? It's kind of Ironic that they get stung with an XML patent shortly after being issued with their own pointless, unintuitive, farcical XML patent: "Word-processing document stored in a single XML file that may be manipulated by applications that understand XML".

http://patft.uspto.gov/netacgi/nph-Parser?Sect1=PTO1&Sect2=HITOFF&d=PALL&p=1&u=%2Fnetahtml%2FPTO%2Fsrchnum.htm&r=1&f=G&l=50&s1=7,571,169.PN.&OS=PN/7,571,169&RS=PN/7,571,169

So they used XML for defining a method to use and store data.... How ingenious, I bet no one has ever used XML to do that before. <expletive deleted>!

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Troll

In other news...

Mafia bosses complain that not being allowed to break the law cause "irreparable harm" to their "legitimate" business, their associates and the victims they exploit.

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Silver badge

Boo Hoo

And cry me a river. Mentioning the retail channel as an excuse is particularly patronizing on Microsoft's part, given what we know about their sales contracts.

Its like the schoolyard bully getting caught hitting a kid half his size, then arguing that, if punished, said kid won't get his quota of daily exercise. Ridiculous.

And what is it with Microsoft lawyers ? Is there a special screening procedure at Redmond in order to only retain the pricks ? I can't understand why the judge doesn't string them up for contempt.

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WTF?

I may hate m$oft

but this case was nonsense; both the arguments made and the ruling. Of course customers will have alternatives, and to claim they wouldn't, publicly, is nothing more than a sales pitch (and false advertising?).

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Stop

Scare mongering tacticts - again....

"Even if Microsoft ultimately succeeds on appeal, it will never be able to recoup the funds expended in redesigning and redistributing Word, the sales lost during the period when Word and Office are barred from the market, and the diminished goodwill from Microsoft's many retail and industrial customers."

Tough shit - if you live by the sword you die by the fucking sword.

...Microsoft said would cause a "major public disruption"

Erm no - I'll just use Open Office or iWork like I always do.

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"stranded without an alternative set of software"

Really?

Open office anyone?

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Why...

does MS not just pay royalties to i4i? I don't really see why they are making so much fuss.

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Badgers

Also, milk will turn sour and there will be a gigantic tidal wave...

"stranded without an alternative set of software"

You've got to hand it to them, they've got their drama straight. Regardless of that they should have checked the IP in the first place — why not force them to put out a simple software-update within a certain timeframe?

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Go

Stranded?

"Customers, meanwhile, could be "stranded without an alternative set of software""

www.openoffice.org

That is all

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Gold badge
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I hope they lose, bwuhahaha!

Seriously, this is possibly the most broken patent ruling ever. It appears to cover the use of XML to encode metadata, the separation of form from content (with the possibility of several presentation forms for the same content) and the use of WORD as a generic XML editor.

If the patent is allowed to stand, then pretty much all US companies (not just MS) will be barred from using XML for just about anything. Result!

Of course, the judge is a complete idiot and should never be allowed to sit on a patent case ever again, but what's new?

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Happy

Stranded without alternative set of software ...

It's a hooter. Microsoft being soooo worried about customers who would be "stranded without alternative set of software" if MS Office weren't on sale.

Pardon me? MS Office has an absolute monopoly then? Err ... didn't Microsoft claim that it's working in a software eco-system which has has "healthy competition"? Gosh. My mistake.

And there was me thinking that Open Office (which according to i4i *doesn't* infringe on their XML patent !) was an acceptable alternative. Well ... apparently not when Microsoft is trying to reverse a perfectly normal court decision. It will be again when the US and EU anti-trust authorities come sniffing around again, don't you worry. Stands to reason surely.

And Microsoft's unethical antics to stuff the ISO panels with bribed supporters to have its XML offerings declared not only a "standard" but also an "Open Standard" (despite MS Word's totally proprietary document format being buried in the XML specs)? Those weren't detrimental to customers? Oh dear!

And why oh why didn't Microsoft disclose that it had a lawsuit running against it when it touted its XML format as the new standard? Isn't that something that an ISO panel ought to know about? Well ... not if it's to *adopt* your standard obviously. Any remaining patent wrinkles can be ironed out later surely?

Hehe this is the Microsoft of old we've come to know and love. Funny how a company can get away with misrepresentation that would get any natural person jailed. But such is life in Commerce. If anyone ever complains, it's a "miscommunication" ... that or we'll blame the secretary. Any secretary.

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tossers

In other words, Microsoft would like to keep stealing and trying to drive i4i out of business. They not only want to have their cake and eat it, they want i4i's cake and eat that one as well, without any sanctions or penalties.

I'm quite curious as to how the courts will react. US courts are extremely politicized, so it's really a toss up.

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Grenade

boot... foot...

It hurts when the boot is on the other foot, doesn't it?

Software patents are rubbish, and the quicker the US patent system takes this into account, the better.

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Silver badge

Pot, Kettle, Black.

enough said.

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Future precedent...?

If they don't have to redesign it, then clearly they can get away with violating any patent they like in future developments of... well... anything. Because after they've done it, it'll be too late. Redeveloping it to remove said violations will then cause even more 'irreparable harm'.

Patents. Protecting your inventions since 1449*.

*unless Microsoft wants them.

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Gates Horns

Major Public Disruption?

I doubt it. There are very clear alternatives, even if only temporary ones while Office is not available. A quick Google search will find frer or cheap alternatives to Office. The disruption will be to M$'s sales, and who cares about that other that Ballsmer and the shareholders?

And I wonder how many of these disrupted citizens would be actually buying afresh rather than upgrading and existing install? It's not too difficult to stick with your old version for a while until M$ pull their thumbs out of their arses and either pay their dues to i4i or get a new version out.

Plus it'll give other smaller office products a chance, too, no bad thing IMO. Office isn't the only retail office system around.

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Alert

Does this open the door

For OO? Google?

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Silver badge

Yeah, and so?

"Customers, meanwhile, could be "stranded without an alternative set of software""

Customers who have bought into MS-Office by definition have access to the Microsoft software, and probably have it installed. They are hardly stranded if they are already running it. I'll leave the "alternative set of software" bit alone, as it's hardly necessary in this scenario ...

"during the re-development work that Microsoft said would cause a "major public disruption"."

Why? Me & mine (personally), and most of my clients have been happily not running Microsoft software for years, with absolutely no disruption.

"This pain would prove a "complete waste of time" should Microsoft ultimately win on appeal."

So Microsoft agrees that there is more than a possibility that Microsoft will not win? Sounds to me like Microsoft is running scared ...

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FAIL

Were their patent department asleep?

Erm, did this other company take out a retrospective patent in the hope of 'sticking it' to MS?

I am amazed that MS didn't do their homework better on this.

Someone in the legal/patent department will be looking for alternative employment I would assume.

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All those preloaded "free trials"... ouch!

There must be loads of machines percolating through the channel that have the Office 2007 "ransomware" preloads. It will be fun to watch the offending OEMs scramble to remove them... schadenfreude here we come!

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Go

But.. But.. It's US, not THEM!

So, Microsoft is known for 'partnering' with small companies, running them dry of cash by not filling their end of the bargain and preventing any release because it's a "shared product", and when they fold, using their ideas for free. Or just taking what they want anyway and using their legal teams to drown any complaints (or in the cases that get through the courts, they just stump up cash from their overflowing war chest and ignore it, as that's money they always owed anyway, and they can always increase the product cost).

Now, a court has said "Enough, I'm going to really do something that makes you sit up and listen by doing unto you what you do to others", and they just go on about "Irreparable Harm". A small taste of what they've done to countless other companies.

I don't happen to like the way software patents are implemented (c'mon, 25 years for something that'll be obsolete and forgotten in 5-10?). If they're there at all, a maximum of 3-5 years should be as much as you get. That's a lifetime is software.. But that's another story.

Something just seems to have that "Live by the lawyer, die by the lawyer" feel about it here.. Hopefully the legal wing have developed a backbone and are now saying "We'll apply the law uniformly. Here's what you lobbied for, now know how it feels".

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Pirate

So everyone's gotta stop using word?

I'd say MS is overreacting. They could perhaps, buy a license? Oh wait, they are probably too cheap for that.

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Grenade

business model?

I thought that 'irreparable harm' was/is part of the microsoft business model

Just like sue-ing the hell out of everybody else microsoft doesn't like

and:

>> Microsoft has said in a court filing to stay the injunction: "Even if Microsoft ultimately succeeds on appeal, it will never be able to recoup the funds expended in redesigning and redistributing Word, the sales lost during the period when Word and Office are barred from the market, and the diminished goodwill from Microsoft's many retail and industrial customers."

We know a bunch of companies that microsoft "killed/demolished" that way

and that a number of companies like "Best Buy, Hewlett-Packard and Dell" "face the imminent possibility of a massive disruption in their sales"

Yes good one, take responsibility for that, YOU, microsoft sold broken/stolen goods to them, don't blame others for your actions.

==================================

So, about what is microsoft crying now ?

OpenOffice next ? I don't think so, SUN did not make $$$$$ out of the xml use

But time will tell ..

A.

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Grenade

Ummm

May I be the first to say, boo-fricking-hoo.

Suck it up Monkeyboy and Co. You are the guys who reckon that these stupid software patents are a great idea so I have zero fucking sympathy for you when they come back and bite you on your fat corporate arse.

The day you scumbags start lobbying for the end of software patents is the day that I might start considering the merest possibility of entertaining a slight modicum of empathy for your self created situation.

In the meantime, you can all go and bite me.

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Linux

OOOOhhhhhh...

It is nice to see the shoe on the other foot! Must feel nice to have a patent violation rammed down your throat after decades of ramming it down others'.

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Grenade

quit f***ing whining and pay the licence fee then

If it's going to cost MS so much money and effort to fix Word to get around the patent infringement why not just pay to licence it (or whatever it is you do when you use patented stuff).

Then design it out of the next version. Gah.

Of course i could be missing something here... maybe i need another coffee...

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Gates Horns

BooHoo BooHoo

What a personal disaster!

I mean, really. They've threatened other businesses with their patents. Seems they can't take it themselves....

Oh, and shouldn't they have mentioned the court case when they were buying all the votes, I mean lobbying for OOXML to be made a standard?

Oh look, ODF doesn't infringe the patent...

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Linux

Uh?

"Microsoft", "Word", "Office" - nope, I can't say having a lack of any of these products are causing me major disruption.

Oh well, life carries on - as normal.

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Paris Hilton

Your recommended daily dose of irony

Interesting conundrum here - if I were to, say, make money by selling multiple copies of pirated MS Office and got caught doing it, MS would claim "irreparable harm" when prosecuting me and seeking damages. At the same time, MS steals someone's technology and makes money out of it but claims "irreparable harm" when forced to stop its illegal activities. Is there not irony here somewhere?

Paris, 'cause even she would recognise such hypocrisy.

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Flame

But software patents are only good?

But we were told that software patents are good and the only way to safeguard software, so there can´t be a problem.

Besides, from what I´ve seen they are only upset by the new version of Office. MS (& partners) could simply restart shipments of office 2003, which is all a number of customers want anyway, so all the doom and gloom for parters and business is not so bad.

On another point, since copyright only exists to allow the copyright holder to exploit the copyrighted works, if MS fails to exploit the copyright on Office 2003, by refusing to sell (license) it, does that mean that they have forfeigted the copyright?

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Stop

Are we supposed to feel sorry for them?

I don't like software patents because they lead to these sort of stupid law suits. But Microsoft love them, they live for software patents and use them to get money from other companies. If the emails that have been released are true then MS knew about this patent when they were designing the newer versions of Word and they wilfully ignored it.

So they knew the risks, they knew that they were infringing someone else's patent, and now its come back to bite them on the arse, and they're complaining saying its not fair and it will hurt them.

Tough fucking luck frankly.

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Silver badge

Good

I hope it does harm Microsoft and partners. Its time people used their computers as computers and not filing cabinets.

Office software - the man with the red flag walking in front of your matter transporter.

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FAIL

Software Patents

So, software patents are bad and stifle competition/development.... but only when they are used against Microsoft.

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Pint

'irreparable harm' to Microsoft?

But apart from that, why *else* is it a good idea?

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Gates Horns

Awwww, diddums!

Or they could use some of their billions to settle with the patent holder, like they forced TomTom to do.

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Grenade

Well, tough

This is where Software patents get you. Learn & weep. And stop forcing governments to be part of your marketing department.

>Customers, meanwhile, could be "stranded without an alternative set of software"

Well, what do you think Richard Stahllman has been talking about all these years?

I bet a few people can suggest some alternatives in any case. Learn & weep

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Silver badge

Soooo....

Pay the license fee, buy them out,...

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WTF?

Pay no attention to the GNU licenced software behind the curtain

I'm sorry but where exactly does MS get s its legal/pr flacks from?

'Customers, meanwhile, could be "stranded without an alternative set of software" during the re-development work that Microsoft said would cause a "major public disruption".'

Have they not heard of Open Office or are they simply choosing to ingnore that at least one free alternative exists to MS office products not to mention I sure the many other such as Emacs or even other proprietary software that you have to pay for.

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FAIL

In other words

"We're too big to have to comply with the law."

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Gates Horns

So if customers have "no alternative office suite"...

... shouldn't the DoJ get involved? Price controls on MSOffice? enforced license-free interoperability docs?

Yeah.....

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It's not so much an 'XML patent', as such

The patent concerned may appear to describe a fairly generic set of XML operations - and upholding it would be draconian and unfair, if it could be applied to those operations in a generic fashion. However (as with the nature of protective patents), it actually describes the actions performed by a specific piece of software - a Word plugin which i4i marketed to the pharmaceuticals industry throughout the early part of this decade. As such, the patent could probably only be usefully employed to define the functionality of this software, in particular, in cases where the functionality was alleged to have been stolen. i4i assert that the functional behaviour of their plugin was directly and deliberately copied into the core of Word, by Microsoft, who then actively marketed the copied functionality at the Pharmaceuticals industry - often using examples and documentation which bore a startling similarity to those originally published by i4i. None of these facts have helped Microsoft's case, in a courtroom (Tyler Texas) which was already notorious for finding in favour of plaintiffs in patent cases. Essentially, this appears to be another example of Microsoft turning on a partner, whom it originally encouraged to exend and improve the functionality of its products, and deliberately stealing the new business opportunities that the partner company had discovered for them. The fact that Microsoft asserts that removing this functionality from Word would be a giganntic effort simply attests to the fact that Microsoft's product range has become clumsy, top-heavy, and difficult to maintain (a practice of copying and assimilating any functionality that has proven remotely useful or profitable, to anyone else, probably has not helped, in this regard).

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