Print 86 comment(s) - last by BansheeX.. on Aug 21 at 12:35 PM

A Texas court has banned sales of Microsoft Word and copies of Microsoft Office containing word until a final decision is reached in a copyright infringement trial. Microsoft has 60 days to cease sales.  (Source: Microsoft)
Microsoft also faces more damages over willful infringement

Microsoft's Office 2003 and 2007 wove XML into Word, with the introduction of .docx, otherwise known as Office Open XML, as the format of choice.  The new format brought an open standard and better storage to the application.  Unfortunately, it also turned into one of the company's biggest legal headaches.

In making Office, Microsoft implemented technology seeming covered under a 1998 patent (No. 5,787,449) by a developer of collaborative-based content solutions, Toronto-based i4i.  The patent covered "manipulating a document's content and architecture separately." 

A Texas federal court ruled in May that Microsoft had infringed on the i4i's patents and ordered Microsoft to pay $200M USD in unpaid royalties.  Microsoft was reportedly hurt in the proceedings by a published trail of emails that indicated that the company knew that it was infringing on i4i's work.  Microsoft disagreed strongly with the verdict and promised to fight it in appeals court.

Now a US District Court of Eastern Texas judge, Judge Leonard Davis, has ordered sales of Microsoft Word in the U.S. banned until a final judgement is reached.  The injunction also came with an order for Microsoft to pay an additional $40M USD for willful infringement, $37M USD in prejudgement interest, and $21,102 per day in additional fines.  The court also is asking that Microsoft hand over $144,060 a day, until the final judgement and damages are paid (though it may get some of this money back).

Until the final decision is reached, Microsoft is banned from selling any version of Microsoft Office containing copies of Word that can open .XML, .DOCX, or DOCM files containing custom XML.  Microsoft has a mere 60 days to comply with the injunction.

With Office being one of Microsoft's staple products, and with the .docx format being the current default format, an appeal seems inevitable.  Microsoft has not issued a formal response yet to ban on Word sales.

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By Visual on 8/12/2009 8:30:50 AM , Rating: 5
First of all, the docx extension is not "Open Office XML", but "Office Open XML" and is a MS format that has nothing to do with Open Office. Your mistake is very misleading.

Second, that patent is retarded and the patent system itself is retarded to allow it. The judge for this ruling is also retarded, as is the US legal system in general.

By wempa on 8/12/2009 8:38:03 AM , Rating: 5
Agreed. I am more and more amazed each time I read another one of these vague patents that get issued. These patents should never be issued since they are way too broad. Heck, I think I'll apply for a patent on looping constructs in programming languages. I should be able to collect royalties on pretty much every piece of program code that's been written.

By Golgatha on 8/12/2009 8:53:50 AM , Rating: 5
In other news...

Retarded judge unable to issue written judgment due to a blanket WGA deactivation of every copy of Word 2003 and 2007 in the free world. Chinese government spokesperson angered that roughly 10% off all Chinese businesses are negatively effected by this overreaching DRM. Also, Microsoft releases Word 2010, which is basically 2007 without the ability to save in docx format.

By KashGarinn on 8/12/2009 9:38:21 AM , Rating: 5
I think you're underestimating the intelligence of the judge in question.

The judge clearly wants a reform on the whole thing, and the quickest way for a judge to get things changed is to get a high-profile victim, with a really obvious case, and rule to the strictest sense of the law, to show people how stupid the law is.

He did right in judging this way, if he wants the thing changed, what better target than M$ who most likely have a lobbyist working for them.

The 3 way system of power within government is a great system, but it makes it hard for judges to point out when laws are stupid and should be changed without victimizing people under the old stupid law.

By invidious on 8/12/2009 10:02:14 AM , Rating: 1
Agreed, if there is a problem with the law it is important to fix it. Leaving it fosters the idea that is OK to break the law as long as you don't agree with it. And enforcing an unjust law is even worse.

But I wouldn't be so quick to assume the judge's motives. It is not his place to judge the law, only the people accused of breaking it. It is his job to enforce the law to the letter wether he agrees with it or not.

And ultimately I don't understand what authority a state judge has to impose a federal ban on an international corporation. Judges making rulings behond their authority is worries me far more than overly generic copyright laws.

By invidious on 8/12/2009 10:03:51 AM , Rating: 2
Nevermind about that last paragraph, just saw the comments that he is a federal judge.

By Samus on 8/12/2009 11:41:17 AM , Rating: 3
$200 MILLION? Really? What the hell is up with everybody picking on Microsoft lately. Sure, they need to be lightly regulated and monitored but this is out of control. Eventually they're not even going to turn a profit because of all these fines and injunctions.

Huh. Just in time for the back to school seasons, too. That's a bitch students won't be able to legally purchased required software for their classes.

By jonup on 8/12/09, Rating: -1
By rcc on 8/12/2009 6:32:45 PM , Rating: 2
This is a case of damned if you do, damned if you don't.

If they don't have open standards, etc., people bitch. If they do, people bitch. Interestingly enough, it's often the same people.

In this case, a patent for saving file content and formatting separately? Are they kidding? I don't know what the right answer is for software patents, but this kind of thing is getting absurd.

So, if they come out with a Word version that doesn't support the .docx format, will the EU fine them for restricting the rights of consumers? You have to wonder...

By Regs on 8/13/2009 8:54:33 AM , Rating: 2
Wtf is wrong with people and their hysteria against organizations that make profit? Profit makes a corporation grow, feed more families, give more job opportunities, promote careers, give raises, give stock holders dividends, and pay for health care. The bigger the fire the more it takes to feed it to sustain it. Like our economy, it was only a matter of time before some one screamed, fire!

SERIOUSLY WTF IS UP WITH PEOPLES WARPED SENSE OF REALITY LATELY? Profit weights heavier than costs now and it just does not make any sense to me.

And for the people who pick on the greedy pharma industry....blow me. Yes, they want to poison you with pills just so you can keep coming back to them as a paying customer. Meanwhile you can get a generic drug that was originally created by the larger pharmaceutical company for much less and about 10 times as less regulated. That's right, that generic drug is much more likely to kill you than any of the brand named drugs. But no, lets create more barriers to entry for pharmaceuticals and health care...that will fix the freaking problem.

This country is quickly going down the shitter. If people don't grow brains fast or keep an open mind to both sides of the problem, then we're headed for another disaster.Stop blaming everyone else but yourself is a good place to start.

And yes, the legal system is a freaking mess.

By lightfoot on 8/13/2009 7:13:00 PM , Rating: 3
Stupid capitalist.

In Communist Amerika you do not own company. Company owns you.

By plowak on 8/16/2009 5:07:45 PM , Rating: 1
That's close, better would be:

Stupid capitalist.

In Obamalist Amerika you do not own company. Obama owns you.

By fotoguy on 8/19/2009 8:50:43 AM , Rating: 1
You've got to be joking. People don't care about the file format. They just want everyone to be able to open the documents they send to others. The Office .doc format can be opened by basically any word processing program out there. Changing the default format just makes everyone else have to update their apps, so in the mean time, people figure they have to upgrade their current copy of MS Word. Cha-ching!

By futrtrubl on 8/12/2009 2:21:55 PM , Rating: 2
Nah, MS has 60 days in which to stop selling the software, even with the extra $20000/day of fines it still makes sense for them to keep selling right up to the end, and that sufficiently covers the back to school period, even if they aren't able to fight the injunction.

By JediJeb on 8/12/2009 11:46:24 AM , Rating: 5
But I wouldn't be so quick to assume the judge's motives. It is not his place to judge the law , only the people accused of breaking it. It is his job to enforce the law to the letter wether he agrees with it or not.

Actually it is the Judicial Branch that is in charge of interpreting the laws, the Executive Branch enforces the laws and the Legislative Branch creates the laws. It is how the system is supposed to work with checks and balances.

The problem these days is that each branch is wanting to have all three powers and that is what is messing up the system.

By BansheeX on 8/13/2009 5:34:24 AM , Rating: 2
Actually, I think he was more correct. It's not the law itself that's supposed to be interpreted by judges, it's whether it was broken and to what degree. That's what may vary from judge to judge, but each judge's understanding of the rule should not. Same logic applies to referees in sports. Every umpire in baseball is trying to call a home run a home run, it's a well defined rule. What they actually see is not always correct, but it's not because they're all expected to have their own opinion of what a home run is. The problem arises when the legislators fail to make the law perfectly clear for all circumstances. Imagine what would transpire if there was nothing in the rulebook about what to do when a ball bounces over the fence. Some umps would call it a homer and others wouldn't. That's not what we want, we don't want different interpretations due to ambiguity in laws.

By JackQW on 8/13/2009 12:35:53 PM , Rating: 2
You basically just said "It's not the law itself that's supposed to be interpreted by judges, it's [the law itself that's supposed to be interpreted by judges]."

Interpret is synonymous with judge here.

It is the judge's job to judge the law itself.

By BansheeX on 8/21/2009 12:35:35 PM , Rating: 2
No, you are confused as hell. Understanding what the law says is a simple objective matter. Deciding whether the defendant, beyond reasonable doubt, broke it is a completely different subjective determination. The whole purpose of a freaking written rule to make differences in interpretation of it impossible.

"Killing another person for money is illegal."

So if I'm a judge and I read that as "Killing another person for money is illegal unless they felt they needed it to survive," you're cool with that? That's not the way it's supposed to work. I should not have the capacity to insert exceptions that aren't there because I personally, emotionally feel for some reason that the legislator meant for them to be there and just forgot to include it.

There is a process for amending laws and the constitution when times change or words change or the original law fails to define things like "cruel and unusual."

By lco45 on 8/12/2009 9:28:02 PM , Rating: 2
I agree that vague patents like this shouldn't be granted.
Microsoft though has shot themselves in the foot with their email trail.

By JasonMick on 8/12/2009 8:39:49 AM , Rating: 3
Hi visual,
Fixed the error, thanks!

I also added the link to the patent on the USPTO site, as another op suggested.

If you read the patent, I think most will agree that it is overly broad and vague. Should be interesting to see if Microsoft can fight this.

By FITCamaro on 8/12/2009 9:32:15 AM , Rating: 2
Seriously. That patent would make XML illegal. Not just Microsoft's format. Not to mention things like utilizing HTML and CSS to create a webpage since the content is in HTML and the architecture in CSS.

And as much as I love Texas, I don't believe a state judge can bar Microsoft from selling Word in the entire US.

By phattyboombatty on 8/12/2009 9:39:49 AM , Rating: 4
And as much as I love Texas, I don't believe a state judge can bar Microsoft from selling Word in the entire US.

A federal judge entered the order, not a state judge.

By JohnSelden on 8/12/09, Rating: 0
By guacamojo on 8/12/2009 4:25:04 PM , Rating: 2
We could certainly blame the Patent Office, which issued the thing. But once a patent is issued, it is presumed valid, and Microsoft bore the burden of proving its invalidity.

From what I can tell, this is all standard operating procedure for patent cases. I'm a little surprised that the judge ordered a stop to sales of the product, as any award could account for lost royalties in the interim.

In my experience, the Patent Office tries to do a good job of allowing/disallowing claims, but examiner quality varies, and it's still a human institution. The court system is where patents are ultimately tested, and Microsoft will have a fair chance to prove their case.

If there is prior art to this 1998 patent, as other posters have commented, it should be easy for MS to invalidate the patent.

Has anyone here read the actual claims which are supposedly being infringed?

By rcc on 8/12/2009 6:36:57 PM , Rating: 3
In my experience, the Patent Office tries to do a good job of allowing/disallowing claims, but examiner quality varies

Not to mention that if the examiner was actually good and writing/evaluating code he'd be making far more elsewhere.

By jimbeau on 8/12/2009 9:40:15 AM , Rating: 5
A Texas federal court

By Motoman on 8/12/2009 10:44:42 AM , Rating: 2
...wouldn't make it illegal, but if the patent is held up, people will have to pay that company royalties.

I'd have been inclined to side with MS on this one...but the revelation that there are email threads from MS demonstrating that they knew about the patent in advance and knew they would be in violation of it are pretty damning. I would reckon that the proper thing to have done would have been to challenge the patent up-front, rather than just bulldoze your way through it and hope you either don't get caught, or can fight off the lawsuit later.

...however, I do have to admit a great deal of schadenfreude (sp?) over this. MS banned from selling's giggle-inducing.

By guacamojo on 8/12/2009 4:28:27 PM , Rating: 3
the revelation that there are email threads from MS demonstrating that they knew about the patent in advance and knew they would be in violation of it are pretty damning.

They could well have known of the patent in advance, and some people at MS thought they infringed, and others didn't. Email traffic discussing possible infringement of existing patents isn't necessarily damning.

I say that, of course, not having read the actual emails. Maybe they had a business discussion of how easy it would be to steamroll over these guys with legal fees.

By jimbeau on 8/12/2009 9:41:04 AM , Rating: 2
otherwise known as Office Open XML,

By crystal clear on 8/12/2009 9:50:13 AM , Rating: 2
Hey patent lawyers have to earn a living a patent system/legal system in general, that generates employment/income for company's legal dept employees & court clerks & judges. (joking)

By XZerg on 8/12/09, Rating: -1
By Iaiken on 8/12/09, Rating: 0
By FITCamaro on 8/12/2009 11:59:03 AM , Rating: 2
I think the issue is why is it being brought up now? Office 2007 has been out for nearly 4 years. Its not like its document format has been a secret. Christ there were huge hearings on it in the EU and it was validated as a format. Why didn't the company bring it up then?

And why aren't they suing Open Office as well? Answer. Money.

By ghost101 on 8/13/2009 7:52:14 PM , Rating: 2
Civil action started

8th March 2007.

People fail to realise that cases take a long time. Even though its pretty obvious. You think the ruling was made overnight?

By ghost101 on 8/13/2009 7:54:36 PM , Rating: 2
Just so you know, that ~3 months after volume release and ~1 month after retail release.

By FITCamaro on 8/12/2009 12:03:04 PM , Rating: 5
And that patent basically describes XML. If it is a valid patent, then they should have sued when XML was released and demanded royalties from anyone using it.

And XML is rooted in SGML which has been around since the 80s and does many of the same things, which that patent could be applied to.

To any sane person, that patent is BS.

By wempa on 8/12/2009 12:30:08 PM , Rating: 2
Exactly. Why don't the patent offices hire some people who actually HAVE technical knowledge so they can shoot down all these bogus patents ?

By drebo on 8/12/2009 12:11:21 PM , Rating: 5
I'm sorry, but I have to disagree with you. This patent could be applied to everything from TeX to CSS and HTML to ini files to XSL and more. Most of which is work that is either ISO or (remember, 'or' implies 'and') predates this patent by many years.

The problem with this patent is not that it doesn't apply to the company's business (although one could make that assertion as their business is XML AUTHORING, not content authoring or typesetting), but rather that the patent does not distinguish itself enough from prior art, and in fact admits to being based on SGML, which is an ISO standard that predates the patent.

Unless Microsoft's Office Open XML format explicitly uses the same typesetting codes as this company's formats, there is no infringement. In fact, this patent should not have been approved, as it basically IS the prior art on which it was based.

By crystal clear on 8/12/2009 2:15:59 PM , Rating: 3
Some facts for the purposes of accuracy-

The i4i patent in question was filed in June of 1994 (and granted in 1998), whereas Microsoft's dates from December of that year. It describes a general method of handling the formatting information in documents by separating it out from the text that's being formatted. In this sense, it's a superset of Microsoft's new patent, which claims similar capabilities but is exclusively targeted to XML file formats.

It's not clear whether the fact that Microsoft has since been granted a patent for the specific technology at issue here might influence further legal proceedings.

By msheredy on 8/12/2009 11:35:28 AM , Rating: 1
If this were Apple you'd all be cheering for joy. Humbling isn't it???

By Vivi22 on 8/13/2009 6:58:08 AM , Rating: 4
I'm pretty sure if this were Apple they'd have filed for the overly broad and vague patent first.

The Internet is Infringing!
By nafhan on 8/12/2009 8:52:14 AM , Rating: 5
...or at least it's prior art.
system and method for the separate manipulation of the architecture and content of a document
Seriously, doesn't this sound like CSS?
From Wikipedia on history of CSS:
Style sheets have existed in one form or another since the beginnings of SGML in the 1970s. Cascading Style Sheets were developed as a means for creating a consistent approach to providing style information for web documents.

RE: The Internet is Infringing!
By Spivonious on 8/12/2009 9:30:18 AM , Rating: 2
It does sound like a lot of things would violate this patent. Anything that defines the structure of the document using metacodes and stores it separately from the contents of the document would violate this patent.

I fail to see how OOXML violates this, as the contents and structure are defined in the same place, similar to all markup languages.

RE: The Internet is Infringing!
By 67STANG on 8/12/2009 10:37:30 AM , Rating: 2
You forgot all your Javascript, PHP, ASP/ASP.Net and every other language used in conjunction with HTML.

RE: The Internet is Infringing!
By nafhan on 8/12/2009 11:07:08 AM , Rating: 2
Yep, I really have no idea how this even got patented. Anyway, it only takes one example for prior art...

RE: The Internet is Infringing!
By wempa on 8/12/2009 12:36:59 PM , Rating: 2
I still think XML is a much better example. CSS separates the 2 concepts, but XML is used in so many more ways to only get at the data. CSS is always just combined with the HTML to display the page.

Done before
By StrayGator on 8/12/2009 9:05:26 AM , Rating: 5
RE: Done before
By FITCamaro on 8/12/2009 9:34:32 AM , Rating: 2
ROFL! I'd forgotten about that one.

Is it sad you know the day that comic was released to find it that quickly?

RE: Done before
By VaultDweller on 8/12/2009 9:52:52 AM , Rating: 2
Pennypacker, my friend.

Or maybe you want to find a comic involving Bothans?

RE: Done before
By axeman1957 on 8/12/2009 9:56:54 AM , Rating: 2
Remember when RM violated a patent by "sending information wirelessly"? $450 million

By MrPoletski on 8/12/2009 9:03:18 AM , Rating: 2
it's only evil socialist Europe that wants to suck money out of microsofts coffers!

RE: but..but..but..
By FITCamaro on 8/12/2009 12:49:17 PM , Rating: 2
Is Canada much different?

Nah I'm kidding. Canada is more like Camelot. Tis a silly place. ;)

RE: but..but..but..
By Jucken on 8/12/2009 2:39:24 PM , Rating: 2
It's only a model...

RE: but..but..but..
By MrPoletski on 8/13/2009 6:07:52 AM , Rating: 2
...only they don't use a round table, just an oversized snowball.

RE: but..but..but..
By 41A on 8/17/2009 2:27:38 PM , Rating: 1
So... the pole sees 'evil socialists' in Europe, and HONDACamaro sees a 'more congenial spot' north of the 49th... do either have a comment on 'Government Motors' or what purports to be 'capitalism' south of the 49th.

By Bobsr on 8/12/2009 8:25:51 PM , Rating: 2
Bill Gates bought the operating software for computers on the cheap. It now seems they stole patented software for Word. They also announced to the world that they were going to show Google how to construct a search engine. Unfortunately for them they were unable to steal or buy the Google software and were left in the dust.I'm starting to think that the Linux operating system is going to replace Microsoft within the next 10 to 15 years.

RE: Microsofties
By wempa on 8/12/2009 9:30:47 PM , Rating: 2
Regardless of whether or not you support Microsoft, this is more evidence of a REAL problem in the patent system. Patents should NOT be issued for software unless it is a very specific way of doing something. "A way to separate content from the architecture" is WAY too general. As others have pointed out, it can be applied to a lot of different software technologies. They need to fix the system so that these stupid patents aren't awarded to companies.

RE: Microsofties
By HotFoot on 8/13/2009 4:05:10 AM , Rating: 2
Exactly. Otto didn't patent 'A way to motivate a carriage along a road or other such path'. He didn't even patent 'an internal combustion engine'. He patented a very specific design involving pistons, cylinders, and the Otto thermodynamic cycle. There's more than one way to skin a cat. Skinning a cat, in the first place, is not a patentable concept.

Here's a Better Version
By DaveLessnau on 8/12/2009 8:25:43 AM , Rating: 5
This IS the Internet, you know. How about a link to the patent underlying this case? I had to run the search myself to find it. Anyway, here's a link to a properly written of this story with actual source documents:

I haven't read the patent there, yet. But, the implication is that the patent is "a bit generic." Also, it seems Microsoft has won a patent for XML in Word. That would seem to negate some of this mess.

BS is Right
By clovell on 8/12/2009 11:09:28 AM , Rating: 3
If you pay close attention, all these junk IP infringement suits are more often than not filed in Texas. No offense to any Texans - half my family lives there, but companies will file in remote districts in order to get juries and judges that don't completely understand the technology, and then steamroll their way through the suit. It's complete BS and it's about time it got stopped.

RE: BS is Right
By ZachDontScare on 8/12/2009 2:29:15 PM , Rating: 2
Thats very simple minded of you. They're filed in a particular federal districts known for being easy to get these type of judgements in. These are federal judges, and at that level you're talking about judges who've probably lived and worked all over the US, not just Texas. Those arent entry-level jobs filled by placing a classified ad in the local newspaper.

What I think they should do is, when its a suit that isnt centered around a specific location, randomly assign the suit to a federal district to prevent this sort of shopping around.

Hey cool it
By crystal clear on 8/12/2009 9:12:25 AM , Rating: 2
An appeal could stay the injunction but even if the injunction stands, Microsoft could potentially strip the functionality from Word or possibly build a work-around.

The ruling is unlikely to affect anyone any time soon!

"It's going to take a long time for this kind of thing to get sorted out,"

In addition an out of court settlement is also possible & realistic to solve the problem.

Nothing spectacular in this news - such patent cases are normal & take years to settle .

RE: Hey cool it
By crystal clear on 8/12/2009 9:24:26 AM , Rating: 2
Example of such patent cases-

Microsoft and TomTom Settle Patent Infringement Cases.

REDMOND, Wash. — March 30, 2009 — Microsoft Corp. and TomTom N.V. today announced that they have settled the patent infringement cases brought by Microsoft before the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington and the International Trade Commission (ITC) and by TomTom in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia.

So its business as usual.

The judge is brilliant.
By markitect on 8/12/2009 10:02:31 AM , Rating: 2
The judge did exactly what he should of done, both within the scope of the law, and for a better patent world.

Judges do not invalidate patents, the patent office does.
Judges can declare a type of patent to not be consistent with the patent law.

First of all when M$ got sued they should have challenged the patent. No patent, no law suit. Why didn't they do this? Maybe because it would undermine their patent(s).

Secondly they could have argued that the patent type is inconsistent with patent law, but that would invalidate a LOT of their patents.

So now M$ can pay a lot of money; Or they can undermine their own patents. I think that is a good spot for them to be in.

RE: The judge is brilliant.
By Screwballl on 8/12/09, Rating: -1
RE: The judge is brilliant.
By omnicronx on 8/12/2009 11:10:44 AM , Rating: 3
Yes because I am sure Microsoft wants to put their industry leading word processor on the line in the hopes that they can buy out the rights to XML..


By nvalhalla on 8/12/2009 8:24:28 AM , Rating: 3
Hmmm... I have to wonder about the venue. I'm guessing i4i shopped that around for a while. The article sounds like Microsoft screwed up, but I'd want to see this "evidence" for myself. DT articles can be, misleading, at times.

By Manch on 8/12/2009 8:30:38 AM , Rating: 3
Microsoft has not issued a formal response yet to ban on Word sales.

Maybe they're downloaing open office to type it on?

I would like to see these patents from i4i. I'd like to know if it's just another case of patent trolling(did I spell that right?), or if it's actually legit.

By Zingam on 8/15/2009 3:34:25 AM , Rating: 2
they should have used ODF :)

that's their punishment for being arrogant

RE: :)
By mfed3 on 8/17/2009 5:28:46 AM , Rating: 1
it supports both out of the box clowney clown :)

oh and it works, not like which fucks up formating on every document ive ever created with it

Here's i4i's statement
By pequin06 on 8/12/2009 8:50:54 AM , Rating: 2
By Botia on 8/12/2009 9:03:19 AM , Rating: 2
Looking at that patent, it looks like any software that uses HTML or XML violates it.

By Murloc on 8/12/2009 9:16:09 AM , Rating: 2
this sounds unreal, is this judge stupid or what?

I thought too that not only EU justice sucks money out of microsoft.

By ZachDontScare on 8/12/2009 2:31:42 PM , Rating: 2
So do they go after Sun too for using an XML based doc format? imo, if patent holders dont go after each violation, perhaps a judge should take that into consideration, and rule against them since they're obviously just trolling.

Prior Art?
By gstrickler on 8/12/2009 2:49:39 PM , Rating: 2
How about databases in which the data type and formatting are defined in the schema, which is separate from the actual data? Dates back to at least the 1980s, and if you look at Codd's research for IBM, it goes back to the 1960's.

I haven't read the patent (and probably won't), but based upon the key points I've read, sounds like it's neither novel nor non-obvious and should have been denied.

By eddieroolz on 8/12/2009 8:10:38 PM , Rating: 2
I should get into the business of distributing pirated Office2007 just to piss this judge off...

But damn. I don't live in Texas.

So when will this be blamed the EU?
By BZDTemp on 8/12/2009 8:47:39 PM , Rating: 2
It is nice to see that for once someone in the US is putting MS in the spot - even with something like this.

By Jalek on 8/13/2009 12:13:43 AM , Rating: 2
"manipulating a document's content and architecture separately."

The quoted definition sounds like CSS, which was publicly proposed in 1993 by more than one person.

I don't get it. I should patent "a circle used to represent a letter in program code", then sue everyone that ever used a "to" statement or otherwise used "o"?

By friedrice on 8/13/2009 12:38:10 AM , Rating: 2
The bigger problem with Patents is that it seems there are too many people who come up with extremely broad ideas and patent them. Then, they sit on it waiting until a major company breaks it, and then sues. The company never seems to have an interest in actually using the patent, as often times these are 5+ years old.

Kind of like how people used to gobble up URLs so that if you wanted, you would have to pay big money to some hobo

By Kahnivorous on 8/14/2009 12:24:20 AM , Rating: 2
The judge is most likely fishing for free press, or he's an inept judge who has no idea what he was ruling on in the first place. In either case, it will ultimately back fire and he, as well as the great state of Texas, will end up looking like shmucks. Makes you wonder how that clown got that seat in the first place. Doesn't anyone research the names on the ballots anymore?

By Visual on 8/12/09, Rating: 0
By Visual on 8/12/2009 8:31:55 AM , Rating: 1
Oh, and apparently the Dailytech comment system is retarded as well for allowing these ridiculous double posts.

Live by the sword, die by the sword
By Donovan on 8/12/2009 11:12:31 AM , Rating: 1
Microsoft has abused their own pool of ridiculous patents too often for me to feel sorry for them now. The real question is how long before Microsoft recognizes their own vulnerability here and switches sides in the software patent debate.

By Billy1 on 8/12/09, Rating: -1
By upster on 8/12/09, Rating: -1
"Google fired a shot heard 'round the world, and now a second American company has answered the call to defend the rights of the Chinese people." -- Rep. Christopher H. Smith (R-N.J.)
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