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back to article Microsoft wins wants right to appeal Word patent ruling

Microsoft has won asked for* the right to appeal a recently-lost patent case brought by Canadian firm i4i. The company didn't get much credit for its claim to own Word patents until it won an injunction against Microsoft sales of Office 2007 and forced the software giant to patch the product before it could be legally sold. …

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Silver badge
WTF?

Microsoft: Too proud to admit theft, again?

Microsoft, like Apple, has a long history of stealing others I.P.

The name "Internet Explorer" was stolen, then I seem to remember that a hard disk technology was the subject of a dispute. And they had trouble with Open Software. The list is long.

I guess i4i didn't want to sell out to Microsoft, as others did, which is good for them. They obviously have some pride in their product, as well as moral integrity.

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Silver badge
FAIL

You tire me with tirades

Implying "custom XML editing" is a patentable idea instead of something that programmers find in the bog every second day.

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Silver badge

I looked up the patent

Here's the claim:

"A method, executed on a computer processor, of formatting and displaying text, comprising: associating style objects with corresponding text elements of a document, the style objects storing attributes and formatting information corresponding to the text elements; associating view objects with the corresponding text elements of the document, the view objects functioning to format and display the corresponding text elements; arranging the view objects as subclasses according to a hierarchy of the text elements; formatting the text elements using corresponding view objects and based on attributes and information in the corresponding style objects; and displaying the text elements using the view objects and based on attributes and information in the corresponding style objects. "

I thought everyone thought software patents were a stupid idea? That and the fact that that particular paragraph, as far as I can tell (IANAL) patents the 'idea' of using a particular icon to store formatting data. Oh wow, give that man a medal: that's a groundbreaking invention there.

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Re: Microsoft: Too proud to admit theft, again?

"Microsoft, like Apple, has a long history of stealing others I.P."

MS may deserve their status as a common enemy for many in IT, however the battle against nonsense software patents should not be selective in who it favors.

Everyone should be allowed to code whatever they please, to the best of their abilities, without artificial restraint, so long as they don't steal the code.

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Silver badge

Good for the goose

If MS think their crap software patents are a good idea, then the same applies to this patent. It's a real company, with real products, not a bunch of lawyers in Texas collecting money for nothing. MS just don't like getting hit by their own stick.

Software patents, and business method patents are crap but as long as Corporations and lawyers back them I don't think we will be able to get rid of them.

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Big Brother

Manners and morality

In Cro-Magnon's time, when you saw someone with more stuff than you, you put on a dark animal skin, grabbed your club, beat them with it, and took their stuff. We are *much* more elevated in our approach: now when you see someone with more stuff than you, you take them to court, watch someone in a black robe beat a bench with a hammer, and then order the poor sap to give his stuff to you. Time travel, anyone?

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Troll

Patent troll

No sympathy for Microsoft, but this patent is ridiculous.

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Silver badge
WTF?

Microsoft too proud to admit theft again?

Microsoft, like Apple, has a long history of stealing others I.P.

The name "Internet Explorer" was stolen, then I seem to remember that a hard disk technology was the subject of a dispute. And they had trouble with Open Software.

I guess i4i didn't want to sell out to Microsoft, as others did, which is good for them. They obviously have some pride in their product, as well as moral integrity.

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FAIL

USPTO

Or maybe, it's because the USPTO are so shite that they have to ask the courts to review everything?

USPTO decision process for deciding which patent applications to grant:

1. Get all of today's applications in a pile.

2. Stand at top of stairs.

3. Throw pile up applications up in air.

4. Those that land face up - granted. Otherwise - not granted.

5. Collect backhanders from IP lawyers for keeping them in business for another 10 years.

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Joke

Retract that pack of lies!

"USPTO decision process for deciding which patent applications to grant:"[snip]

The flaw in your reasoning is that you assume (quite errantly) that they have any plan whatsoever.

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Paris Hilton

Circa Win3.11-95 partition compression tool

...that M$ re-implemented as DriveSpace:-

Stacker.

Stacker succesfully sued M$ iirc

Paris... cos she's stacked... no wait... bee stings don't qualify

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Happy

Bee stings?

I understand that a kiss makes takes the sting out....

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Joke

Re: bee stings

Its all a matter of perspective, really.

Two buds on a stick can look very impressive, depending on how thick the stick, eh?

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Bronze badge

The description of a patent isn't the whole of its story.

For instance, suppose that my patent is called "A recipe for making a cake." I wouldn't be patenting cake, I would be patenting my particular recipe. Although maybe you don't do that with a patent.

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Repeat after me...

I hate software patents...

I hate software patents...

I hate software patents...

I hate software patents...

I hate software patents...

It doesn't matter who is on either side of these cases, I still hate software patents. I can see someone wanting to patent a specific, and novel algorithm. But how someone can patent the use of XML in any way is beyond me. It's simply a markup language, and any and all extensions to it are not only obvious they are logical based on the original concepts of a markup language. This is simply ludicrous. I looked up the actual patent and it's not a new and novel invention, it's a freaking obvious evolution of existing markup language handling. I can't believe I'm saying this, but Microsoft is getting shafted over this. there is nothing innovative or new in this patent. A competent practitioner in the field could easily develop their supposedly unique approach themself. Hell, even the language of the patent makes it clear that the thing being patented is simply a development of exiting concepts and technology.

Thank you US patent office, US courts and little tiny annoying Canadian Patent troll, you have made me side with Microsoft. That is a remarkable feat.

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FAIL

Headline is wrong

The headline says "Microsoft wins right to appeal Word patent ruling"... I think that's a bit premature.

Once the appeal court has ruled against someone, they can "ask[..] the Supreme Court [...] to consider the case". This is just a matter of filing the right paperwork; they haven't "won" anything by filing it. This is what Microsoft have done.

The Supreme Court will now decide if it should hear the case. It might, it might not - it's up to the Court. (The Court can only take a small number of cases each year, it has to choose the most important ones). It'll probably take weeks to decide. If and when it agrees to hear the case, then you can reuse that headline.

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Bronze badge
Pint

Didn't I say this in another thread?

Once there's no-one left, the patent trolls will go after each other.

Soon after, they'll disappear up the vacuum of their own arses.

Good riddance, I don't care, I'll be at the pub.

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Gold badge

Stac and i4i

"then I seem to remember that a hard disk technology was the subject of a dispute"

Yeah, Stacker by Stac Electronics. Microsoft made out like they were going to buy Stac, looked at Stac's code as part of "due diligence" then decided they weren't going to buy them. Then they came out with a blatent copy (DoubleSpace) included with DOS 6. When they realized they were going to owe damages per copy, rather than trying to license the code properly they then pulled DoubeSpace back out of the next version of DOS. Then they tried to drag the case out until Stac ran out of cash, but that didn't work and they paid Stac about $75 million.

Anyway, I do think software patents are bogus. This is an odd case though -- the one item they are suing over is some ability Office 2007 originally had to manually insert arbitrary XML into a document (like, click an "XML" button and throw in your own tags that you've made up), which is what this company claims is infringed. What's the use of this? I don't know. But at least it's not something totally arbitrary like trying to patent word processing, and it's also something i4i provided a plugin to do years before Microsoft decided to include it in Office.

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