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  1. #1
    long time visiter Alfster's Avatar
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    Microsoft can't sell MS Word in the US

    ... at least for a while. They were found to violate a patent from a small firm. Sounds like MS is more than willing to steal someone elses technology to advance. I've got to stop supporting these guys by purchasing their software

    http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/...rticle1249534/

  2. #2
    On my TARDIScycle! KingTermite's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alfster View Post
    ... at least for a while. They were found to violate a patent from a small firm. Sounds like MS is more than willing to steal someone elses technology to advance. I've got to stop supporting these guys by purchasing their software

    http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/...rticle1249534/
    Their motto for a few decades now......"If you can't beat 'em, buy 'em!"
    Quote Originally Posted by coffeecake View Post
    - it's pretty well established that Hitler was an *******.

  3. #3
    long time visiter Alfster's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by KingTermite View Post
    Their motto for a few decades now......"If you can't beat 'em, buy 'em!"
    or steal from 'em.

  4. #4
    On my TARDIScycle! KingTermite's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alfster View Post
    or steal from 'em.
    They only steal at first...when the complaints being, they'll just buy the company.
    Quote Originally Posted by coffeecake View Post
    - it's pretty well established that Hitler was an *******.

  5. #5
    The Improbable Bulk Little Darwin's Avatar
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    Many software patents have confused me in the past, so I am curious what this patent actually was.

    I don't recall the specifics, but in the past, I recall seeing software patents for algorithms that a first term college student could write, and were not in my opinion unique enough to be patentable.

    I see it in the same light as back many years ago, and SEA claimed to have exclusive rights to the file extension .arc Like nobody would have thought of naming a file archive that way. I immediately on the BBS I immediately made a public claim to the extension .txt and I have yet to see a nickel of my licensing fees even though I see the extension all over the place now. If I could just afford to hire a lawyer.

    EDIT: My short point is that software patents are often granted for algorithms that shouldn't be able to get one.
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  6. #6
    On my TARDIScycle! KingTermite's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Little Darwin View Post
    Many software patents have confused me in the past, so I am curious what this patent actually was.

    I don't recall the specifics, but in the past, I recall seeing software patents for algorithms that a first term college student could write, and were not in my opinion unique enough to be patentable.

    I see it in the same light as back many years ago, and SEA claimed to have exclusive rights to the file extension .arc Like nobody would have thought of naming a file archive that way. I immediately on the BBS I immediately made a public claim to the extension .txt and I have yet to see a nickel of my licensing fees even though I see the extension all over the place now. If I could just afford to hire a lawyer.
    My favorite is how M$ trademarks "regular" words they use for software programs so you can't use it. Try naming any piece of software with the word "explorer" in it and get away with it. You'll have about 8 billion M$ lawyers down your neck by the weekend.
    Quote Originally Posted by coffeecake View Post
    - it's pretty well established that Hitler was an *******.

  7. #7
    GATC
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    I see they've got 60 days to straighten this out, so word remains on the market:

    http://blog.seattlepi.com/microsoft/archives/176223.asp

  8. #8
    Gears? CliftonGK1's Avatar
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    The firm said that several years ago it approached Microsoft with a breakthrough product in data processing, only to be spurned and to see its technology show up later in versions of Microsoft Word.

    Isn't this exactly why Hollywood types won't accept unsolicited scripts; so that no one can claim derivative work and infringement on them if they happen to come up with something similar in the future?
    You'd think that a company like Microsoft would have a similar policy in place: A "don't call us, we'll call you" sort of arrangement regarding intellectual property so no one could do just what happened here... "Well we showed it to them a few years ago and they didn't want it but now it's in their products. Gimmie money."
    "I feel like my world was classier before I found cyclocross."
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  9. #9
    Non-Spandex Commuter jdmitch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Little Darwin View Post
    EDIT: My short point is that software patents are often granted for algorithms that shouldn't be able to get one.
    Because the patent office can't be bothered to hire experts... too many people who've been working patents too long, not understanding current technologies.
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    You don't need to dress up like a spandex super hero to ride your bike.

  10. #10
    You Know!? For Kids! jsharr's Avatar
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    As soon as the MS hit squad gets done with some "wet work", sales will resume.
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    Quote Originally Posted by colorider View Post
    Phobias are for irrational fears. Fear of junk ripping badgers is perfectly rational. Those things are nasty.

  11. #11
    Pwnerer Wordbiker's Avatar
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    Ironic, considering that M$ has always been more of a legal firm fighting for tougher copyright and patent laws to protect their acquired intellectual property than an actual software producer.
    Quote Originally Posted by ahsposo View Post
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  12. #12
    You Know!? For Kids! jsharr's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wordbiker View Post
    Ironic, considering that M$ has always been more of a legal firm fighting for tougher copyright and patent laws to protect their acquired intellectual property than an actual software producer.
    Excellent word choice.
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    Quote Originally Posted by colorider View Post
    Phobias are for irrational fears. Fear of junk ripping badgers is perfectly rational. Those things are nasty.

  13. #13
    phony collective progress x136's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by KingTermite View Post
    Try naming any piece of software with the word "explorer" in it and get away with it. You'll have about 8 billion M$ lawyers down your neck by the weekend.
    Makes me want to start a company specializing in software for proctology offices, just so Microsoft would have to threaten to sue me, claiming that "Anal Explorer" is too similar to their own product and could confuse consumers.

  14. #14
    Pwnerer Wordbiker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by x136 View Post
    Makes me want to start a company specializing in software for proctology offices, just so Microsoft would have to threaten to sue me, claiming that "Anal Explorer" is too similar to their own product and could confuse consumers.
    You might get sued by the porn industry too...just sayin'.
    Quote Originally Posted by ahsposo View Post
    Ski, bike and wish I was gay.

  15. #15
    Tiocfáidh ár Lá jfmckenna's Avatar
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    This is interesting and I wonder what the patent is? Using XML was actually a promising move by MS for standards.

  16. #16
    Fax Transport Specialist black_box's Avatar
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    The patent in question is 5,787,449. Punch that number in here or your favorite patent browser. The language is a little strange at first, but from my brief reading, the typical text document is stored as a single stream of content with "tags" that show the formatting and structure. I'm guessing that originally, everyone used proprietary tags, the next step was to use XML. This patent suggests separating the document into two separate pieces, the content and the tags (metacodes). The tags are stored in a table and each tag has a list of addresses of where they belong.

    So for example:
    Hello world.
    In the old format this would be:
    [bold][underline]Hello [/bold] [/underline] [italics]world.[/italics]

    and in the new format:
    Hello world. ** bold(characters 1-5), underline(characters 1-5), italics(characters 7-10)

    I see an advantage in searchability because now all the formatting is in one big lump, and all the content (which is what you really want to search) is also together. Of course thats just my interpretation and made-up syntax for it, not any sort of patent/legal advice.
    Last edited by black_box; 08-13-09 at 10:05 AM.

  17. #17
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    So much for their file format being "open"
    They pushed the new office 2007 to my work system a few months ago and it makes me glad I switched to openoffice at home years ago, MSoffice2007 is awful.

  18. #18
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    IANAL, but there is possibly the existance prior art that can be argued on this. SGML comes to mind. nroff, heck, even TeX might be able to be argued. It was files on June 2, 1994, and at that time, there were plenty of markup standards out there.

  19. #19
    Banned. timmyquest's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alfster View Post
    or steal from 'em.
    I'm not sure I'm buying that entirely.

    Listen to this podcast and tell me how you feel about the matter. I'm not convinced of anything, frankly.

  20. #20
    Every day a winding road spinnaker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Little Darwin View Post
    Many software patents have confused me in the past, so I am curious what this patent actually was.

    I don't recall the specifics, but in the past, I recall seeing software patents for algorithms that a first term college student could write, and were not in my opinion unique enough to be patentable.

    I see it in the same light as back many years ago, and SEA claimed to have exclusive rights to the file extension .arc Like nobody would have thought of naming a file archive that way. I immediately on the BBS I immediately made a public claim to the extension .txt and I have yet to see a nickel of my licensing fees even though I see the extension all over the place now. If I could just afford to hire a lawyer.

    EDIT: My short point is that software patents are often granted for algorithms that shouldn't be able to get one.
    Our company (along with a number of others) gets sued by the same attorney on a regular basis. He finds obscure patents and sue for patent infringement (not sure if he is buying them up or suing on behalf of a client). He usually picks a figure where he knows the company would rather pay him to go away rather than fight it out in the courts.
    "The world is a dangerous place to live, not because of the people who are evil, but because of the people who don't do anything about it."

    Albert Einstein

  21. #21
    Crawlin' up, flyin' down bikingshearer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by spinnaker View Post
    Our company (along with a number of others) gets sued by the same attorney on a regular basis. He finds obscure patents and sue for patent infringement (not sure if he is buying them up or suing on behalf of a client). He usually picks a figure where he knows the company would rather pay him to go away rather than fight it out in the courts.
    Two words to ask your company lawyers about: "vexatious litigant." Don't know if there such a designation in PA, and I don't know if this a-hole would qualify. But it's worth asking the questions.
    "I'm in shape -- round is a shape." Andy Rooney

  22. #22
    Crawlin' up, flyin' down bikingshearer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by enine View Post
    So much for their file format being "open"
    They pushed the new office 2007 to my work system a few months ago and it makes me glad I switched to openoffice at home years ago, MSoffice2007 is awful.
    Well, they have been selling their beta versions as finished products pretty much forever . . . .




    Quote Originally Posted by KingTermite View Post
    Their motto for a few decades now......"If you can't beat 'em, go thermonuclear on them"
    Fixed it for you.
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  23. #23
    Fax Transport Specialist black_box's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by spinnaker View Post
    Our company (along with a number of others) gets sued by the same attorney on a regular basis. He finds obscure patents and sue for patent infringement (not sure if he is buying them up or suing on behalf of a client). He usually picks a figure where he knows the company would rather pay him to go away rather than fight it out in the courts.
    that seems odd, I wonder if the inventors or assignees of the patents similar? or maybe a competitor just has a budget set aside for troublemaking

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by bikingshearer View Post
    Two words to ask your company lawyers about: "vexatious litigant." Don't know if there such a designation in PA, and I don't know if this a-hole would qualify. But it's worth asking the questions.
    From what I've read (again IANAL), this is very hard to to get, especially if it is about IP law with some merit in the patents. Even if the patents get turned over via prior art.

    Quote Originally Posted by black_box View Post
    that seems odd, I wonder if the inventors or assignees of the patents similar? or maybe a competitor just has a budget set aside for troublemaking
    Sometimes patents end up being bought and sold, and ending up being owned by organizations that have no relation to the original patent holder. Larger companies avoid the patent pissing contest by cross licensing stuff (it also keeps people out of their markets they don't want in.)

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