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Judgement Against Microsoft Declares XML Editing Software To Be Worth $98?

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 5 years ago | from the swing-and-a-miss dept.

The Courts 230

Many people have written to tell us about the patent infringement lawsuit that resulted in a $200 million judgement against Microsoft by a small Toronto firm called i4i. Techdirt has a line on the details of the suit where the patent in question is for "separating the manipulation of content from the architecture of the document." i4i argues that this covers basic XML editing to the tune of $98 per application. "It's quite troubling that doing something as simple as adding an XML editor should infringe on a patent, but what's even more troubling is that the court somehow ruled that such an editor was worth $98 in the copies of Microsoft Word where it was used. An XML editor. $98. And people say patent awards aren't out of sync with reality?"

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Texas? You Don't Say! (2, Insightful)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 5 years ago | (#28143985)

Microsoft Corp said on Wednesday a Texas federal jury ...

Texas? You mean the state of Marshall, TX [overlawyered.com] where Microsoft (and everyone else who wants to win) holds all of its prosecuting patent cases? I do believe Microsoft may be getting a taste of its own medicine!

Re:Texas? You Don't Say! (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28144039)

Yeah, too bad it sets a precedence that fucks us all.

Down with "soft" patents!

Re:Texas? You Don't Say! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28144439)

It doesn't fuck your dead great grandmother, I tapped that first.

Dead grandmothers now? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28144755)

Seriously, I enjoyed the Anti-Obama trolls (well, the off-topic ones, not the ones trying to rename stools after him) because they provided an interesting look at stuff I normally don't care about enough to dig into. Granted, perhaps it's just that "successful troll" is being successful, linking bogus information out of context, but still, at least it provoked thought.

The dead grandmother shit isn't even funny to a 10 year old who simply thinks the word "fuck" is funny.

Fuck.

Re:Texas? You Don't Say! (4, Informative)

CajunArson (465943) | more than 5 years ago | (#28144193)

Please reference one case where Microsoft was plaintiff in the Eastern District of Texas (where Marshall resides) and won some huge award... I'm not holding my breath.
P.S. --> A plaintiff is the party that brings a case, Microsoft was the defendant in this case. Under Federal rules of civil procedure, plaintiff has a choice of forum (assuming there is personal jurisdiction and venue, but MS conducts business in all 50 states, and venue is often pretty easy to manufacture as well).

Re:Texas? You Don't Say! (3, Insightful)

xlotlu (1395639) | more than 5 years ago | (#28144779)

I do believe Microsoft may be getting a taste of its own medicine!

You make it sound like it's a good thing...

I haven't read the patent, but TFA makes it sound like it applies to any kind of "WYSIWYG" editing of a document that gets saved in a structured format, not only XML ("separating the manipulation of content from the architecture of the document").

Besides the obvious implications for software like OpenOffice, this covers pretty much any type of WYSIWYG editing: spreadsheets, UML diagrams, math formulas, MS's Visio/Project outputs, the list goes on. Hell, all modern browsers support a WYSIWYG HTML editor. Do they infringe this patent?

This is absolutely terrible. The only good thing about it is that Microsoft has the money to overturn this joke of a patent, and can get enough media coverage to point out how broken the U.S. patent system is.

Re:Texas? You Don't Say! (1)

Amazing Quantum Man (458715) | more than 5 years ago | (#28144787)

Sounds like a patent on MVC or Doc/View architecture.

Re:Texas? You Don't Say! (4, Interesting)

digitig (1056110) | more than 5 years ago | (#28144921)

You make it sound like it's a good thing...

I haven't read the patent, but TFA makes it sound like it applies to any kind of "WYSIWYG" editing of a document that gets saved in a structured format, not only XML ("separating the manipulation of content from the architecture of the document").

Not just WYSIWYG. There are TeX and laTeX templates that aim to separate content from structure, and have been for a long time. There are even elements of it in roff. Just how old was that patent?

Re:Texas? You Don't Say! (4, Informative)

CrossCompiler (69816) | more than 5 years ago | (#28145235)

Two minor points.

#1 The patent application is from 1994. The example in the patent looks like the same early-XML format used by Ventura, a desktop publishing program released in 1986 by Xerox (and subsequently purchased by Corel). The general idea and much of the exact format was borrowed from expensive, proprietary computerized typesetting equipment that was popular in the 70's.

#2: The person who "examined" the patent, a Jankus; Almis R, is now a patent [patents.com] agent [uspto.gov] . I'm no longer amazed at how often bad patent applications are approved by law students, future patent attorneys and/or agents.

What about Open Office (2)

cbs4385 (929248) | more than 5 years ago | (#28144015)

Aren't all the ODF documents just XML documents? How much does Open Office have to pay for each download?

Re:What about Open Office (4, Informative)

Jurily (900488) | more than 5 years ago | (#28144085)

Aren't all the ODF documents just XML documents?

No, they're compressed XML documents.

How much does Open Office have to pay for each download?

If this ruling stands for them too, still nothing. They just won't let you download in the US. Free Software has no jurisdiction.

Re:What about Open Office (4, Insightful)

mea37 (1201159) | more than 5 years ago | (#28144531)

Right. And any Open Office developers who happen to live in the U.S. - whose coding would be subject to U.S. patents - would do what exactly to avoid their liability for infringing the patent? And even if we pretend (as TFS seems to imply, incorrectly) that patent damages somehow have to be tied to a count of distributed copies, and that OO could cut off U.S. distribution, how would the cover the damages for copies already distributed in the U.S.?

If the patent applies to what OO is doing, it would be a big problem for the project.

Re:What about Open Office (2, Funny)

RulerOf (975607) | more than 5 years ago | (#28144783)

And then torrenting OpenOffice inside of the US would be illegal for an entirely different reason than 99% of all the other torrent traffic out on the inter-tubes.

Neat.

Not good, just neat.

Re:What about Open Office (1)

MadnessASAP (1052274) | more than 5 years ago | (#28144889)

I would suspect that many people would start using Tor once again demonstrating to the governments that people are still more then capable of hiding their identities online when given sufficent cause too.

Re:What about Open Office (2, Insightful)

Jurily (900488) | more than 5 years ago | (#28145095)

And any Open Office developers who happen to live in the U.S. - whose coding would be subject to U.S. patents - would do what exactly to avoid their liability for infringing the patent?

Stop contributing. Where is it written, that OOo has to have contributors from the US? There will be others. And I'm sure the courts would appreciate the fact that they stopped upon finding out about the infringement.

Also, the fact that they sued the richest software company in the world does not imply they'll go after individuals.

Re:What about Open Office (5, Insightful)

msobkow (48369) | more than 5 years ago | (#28144155)

If it's an issue of editing XML documents in the sense of using XML to store structured data (such as Ooo documents), then the patent should be overturned. The whole point of XML is to provide a generic (and thereby obvious) means of structuring and editing data.

Re:What about Open Office (1)

Jurily (900488) | more than 5 years ago | (#28144195)

The whole point of XML is to provide a generic (and thereby obvious) means of structuring and editing data.

Not to mention ODF is an international standard, so any US patent should in my opinion be null and void. Of course that's common sense, so likely not true.

Re:What about Open Office (1)

larry bagina (561269) | more than 5 years ago | (#28144573)

This patent was first filed in 1994. Initial talks on standardizing ODF began in 2002. I don't know when StarOffice started using XML, but it was DOS only until 1996. The patent (bullshit or not) predates ODF.

Re:What about Open Office (3, Interesting)

belmolis (702863) | more than 5 years ago | (#28144983)

The use of XML for documents may postdate the patent, but text processing systems that separate document structure from details of formatting go back at least to the late 1970s in the form of Brian Reid's Scribe. Unless I have misunderstood the patent, this constitutes prior art.

Re:What about Open Office (1)

mea37 (1201159) | more than 5 years ago | (#28144645)

It may be common sense, if the standard were there first (i.e. before the patent). If the patent were there first, why would it be common sense that an international standards body would be allowed to say "Hey, that's a good idea; we'll just invalidate your patent by incorporating it into a standard!"?

And indeed, if the standard came first, then any later-filed patent covering the idea could not be novel and non-obvious, so the law would behave in what I consider a common-sense fashion.

Re:What about Open Office (1)

wellingj (1030460) | more than 5 years ago | (#28144907)

I would generally agree with you on this point concerning any other kind of patent except for software...

Re:What about Open Office (1)

Jurily (900488) | more than 5 years ago | (#28144953)

If the patent were there first, why would it be common sense that an international standards body would be allowed to say "Hey, that's a good idea; we'll just invalidate your patent by incorporating it into a standard!"?

Doesn't the ISO have policies for patents they know about? And if they didn't, it's hard to argue about the originality of a patent that made it into a standard.

Re:What about Open Office (1)

mea37 (1201159) | more than 5 years ago | (#28144571)

Whether the patent would be valid might well depend on when it was filed. The mechanisms for editing XML are obvious if the XML spec is taken as background, but if the patent was in force when the XML spec was created and if those methods were covered by the patent, then XML would violate the patent (not the other way around).

Re:What about Open Office (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28144895)

Before we had XML, there was a more elaborate ML called "SGML" (HTML 1-4 are simplified versions of SGML. SGML was standardised in 1986, was there prior art involving similar techniques around XML?
--
AC

OOo (1)

Celeste R (1002377) | more than 5 years ago | (#28144021)

Microsoft Office may be worth $98 (what? only $98?), but what about OOo?

Oh wait, OOo has more XML compatibility. Perhaps it's worth more than MS Office? /sarcasm

Re:OOo (1)

Brian Gordon (987471) | more than 5 years ago | (#28144107)

Maybe the entire XML-editing program is only worth $98, not just a single copy :)

I feel sorry for Microsoft (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28144033)

Which makes i4i Stalin Hitler.

Re:I feel sorry for Microsoft (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28144163)

i4i , does it stand for Eye For an Eye?

8==P=A=T=E=N=T==P=E=N=D=I=N=G==D (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28144035)

8==C=O=C=K==S=L=A=P==D
Patent Pending

I hate, Jews, Sand Niggers, Regular Niggers, Spicks, White Trash, and Homosexuals (Apple Fans).

Also, I hate nerds.

Fair Play (0, Flamebait)

DaMattster (977781) | more than 5 years ago | (#28144049)

Hey, Microsoft is one of the software patent trawlers. They have to be careful about lobbying to hard for a legal weapon that could be used against them. I don't feel sympathetic in the least.

Re:Fair Play (4, Insightful)

someone1234 (830754) | more than 5 years ago | (#28144129)

Despite how one feels against M$, this is ridiculous.
It is not fair at all and could be used against other software with similar capabilities.

Re:Fair Play (1)

Jurily (900488) | more than 5 years ago | (#28144349)

It is not fair at all and could be used against other software with similar capabilities.

Not quite. Other companies with similar cash flow.

Re:Fair Play (2, Insightful)

rzekson (990139) | more than 5 years ago | (#28145043)

You mean, the law should protect only the poor, miserable, and troubled, and punish the rich, mighty, and successful, so that everyone and everything becomes uniformly mediocre and apathetic. I'm amazed at how the pure open source ideals sometimes end up twisted in people's minds, so that they become indistinguishable from the dull communist propaganda. Surely, this is completely missing the point of the open source movement?

Re:Fair Play (1)

Jurily (900488) | more than 5 years ago | (#28145175)

You mean, the law should protect only the poor, miserable, and troubled, and punish the rich, mighty, and successful, so that everyone and everything becomes uniformly mediocre and apathetic. I'm amazed at how the pure open source ideals sometimes end up twisted in people's minds, so that they become indistinguishable from the dull communist propaganda. Surely, this is completely missing the point of the open source movement?

WTF? I was implying that suing the richest software company in the world does not necessarily mean they'll go after individuals, because it's likely not a good investment. What ideals are you talking about?

Re:Fair Play (4, Funny)

JCSoRocks (1142053) | more than 5 years ago | (#28144637)

I agree. I enjoy seeing them get a taste of their own medicine as much as anyone, but this sets an awful precedent. Can we organize a virtual million man march and get the patent system fixed? (and by "we" I mean someone other than me. I'm too busy drinking soda in my mom's basement.)

Re:Fair Play (1)

Red Flayer (890720) | more than 5 years ago | (#28144191)

I don't feel sympathetic in the least.

Neither do I. However, in the end, who ends up paying $98/copy to i4i?

I'll give you a hint -- it's not Microsoft.

Re:Fair Play (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28144455)

Really? I bet it will be their name on the check.

Re:Fair Play (1)

wellingj (1030460) | more than 5 years ago | (#28144969)

This is the same kind of egalitarianism that's stifling nearly everything good in the US. Which is to say it's not very egalitarian at all because someone has some crack pot idea about how thier world should work and the ends justify the means in their mind.

Re:Fair Play (2, Insightful)

rzekson (990139) | more than 5 years ago | (#28145139)

You don't become a patent troll by simply acquiring lots of obvious patents. You become a troll by using those patents to harass others. Lots of companies big and small file patents for DEFENSIVE reasons. Once you have a patent, it's much harder to sue you for infringement; after all, the patent office already agreed that you're doing something innovative. So as long as the patent office awards patents for obvious stuff, filing for such patents for defensive reasons is not only fair, but essentially required. You don't want to risk investing lots of money to develop and market a new product only to find out later that you've been sued by some stupid patent-squatter. Instead of blaming the big players, who only exercise their common sense right to protect their investment, the community should exert pressure on the patent office to start uniformly rejecting ALL such applications.

Let's all (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28144051)

write XML editors, and send the source code to the company using disposable email addresses.

Since when... (1)

Stoner369 (1447211) | more than 5 years ago | (#28144079)

...did notepad start costing $98?

LOL (0)

EkriirkE (1075937) | more than 5 years ago | (#28144091)

LMAO

Re:LOL (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28144213)

ROFLYAO?

Re:LOL (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28144495)

FYMLMAO

If You Have a Repeat Offender, Increase Penalty? (3, Interesting)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 5 years ago | (#28144097)

... but what's even more troubling is that the court somehow ruled that such an editor was worth $98 in the copies of Microsoft Word where it was used. An XML editor. $98. And people say patent awards aren't out of sync with reality?

Well--and I stress that I am not defending this ruling--you could look at it like raising the stakes involved since there are so many patent cases.

Example: You steal a piece of fruit. You are convicted in front of a jury and slapped on the wrist. So you and everyone else does it again tomorrow. To combat this they increase the penalty to a $70 fine and 4 days in jail. In an ideal world, people stop stealing fruit.

Of course, I'm told hands get chopped off for stealing in some countries (could be wrong on that one though). I do know in Texas they're not opposed to electrocutin' ya for certain offenses though ... maybe they are just on their way to try to get all these patent cases prevented?

Doesn't make a lick of sense at all considering you can't throw a goddamn progress bar [edn.com] on your application without risking litigation.

Re:If You Have a Repeat Offender, Increase Penalty (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28144519)

I do know in Texas they're not opposed to electrocutin' ya for certain offenses though ...

We do not electrocute people in Texas. We use lethal injection. A few of us would rather we went back to good, old-fashioned hanging.

Re:If You Have a Repeat Offender, Increase Penalty (1)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | more than 5 years ago | (#28144653)

Why don't you just hang them on a conductive IV hose connected to a mains line?

Filed in 1994 (2, Interesting)

El_Muerte_TDS (592157) | more than 5 years ago | (#28144119)

Granted in 1998.

It took them that long to sue MS?

Re:Filed in 1994 (2, Insightful)

moogsynth (1264404) | more than 5 years ago | (#28144371)

Who knows why they took so long. Still, the patent will expire in a couple of years, so if they want to milk people for cash they have to do it now. Anyone who creates similar software is going to have to watch out for the next couple of years.

Anyhow, the patent is regarding "separating the manipulation of content from the architecture of the document." That's so hopelessly vague it's not even a joke. That's a patent that will affect every document format known to man. How on earth can this patent be a novel solution, then? Human brains work exactly the same way. We learn and absorb information, and then process it and work with it without modifying the architecture of our brains. Can I have a patent on that?

Re:Filed in 1994 (1)

Amazing Quantum Man (458715) | more than 5 years ago | (#28144811)

Still, the patent will expire in a couple of years

2015 (or 2018) is *FOREVER* in "internet time".

Re:Filed in 1994 (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28145119)

Anyhow, the patent is regarding "separating the manipulation of content from the architecture of the document." That's so hopelessly vague it's not even a joke.

The patent claims (which define the scope of the patent) are easier to read after going through the specification a bit more closely. This patent is about a particular method of encoding structured data.

Consider the example (given in the patent) of <Chapter><Title>The Secret Life of Data</Title><Para>Data is hostile. </Para>The End</Chapter>. Typical parsers would encode this as some kind of tree.

This patent teaches coding it by creating a "Metacode Map" with six elements encoded as {Element Number, Element, Character Position}: ({1, <Chapter&gt, 0}, {2, <Title>, 0}, {3, </Title>, 23}, {4, <Para>, 23}, {5, </Para>, 23}, {6, </Chapter>, 46}). The content is then stored separately as one long strong: "The Secret Life ofDataData is hostile. The End"

I haven't read the claims closely enough to say whether they are consistent with the teachings of the patent, but it does seem to be narrower than simply editing XML (or SGML). I also suspect that there aren't a whole lot of infringers since this is an unusual way encoding marked up language. Does Word do this? The jury though so, but the code is all under seal, so it is a bit difficult to check out independently.

Re:Filed in 1994 (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28144851)

If you were to decide to consider allowing your eyes to accept light emitted from your screen after having navigated to a site where details of the case were located and then allowed your sensory equipment to interpret the light patterns in accordance to the conventions of the English language, you might find that i4i demonstrated its technology to Microsoft in 2001 with the hopes of licensing it for use in Microsoft Word. Microsoft declined, but with office 2003, they offered the same capabilities as that which i4i tried to license them. The case was filed in 2007, so it took them like 3-4 years to sue. There were also some emails they found that microsoft was discussing i4i and their patent prior to adding the office 2003 functionality.

So Basically the company was able to present evidence that Microsoft intentionally reviewed, and then disregarded the patent and implemented the same feature as the patent holder tried to sell them. That probably didn't sit very well with the jury. Microsoft should have been a good citizen and tried to strike down the ridiculous patent, rather than just ignore it and hope for the best.

Re:Filed in 1994 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28145103)

Well that explains it, then. Mod parent up.

Maybe (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28144137)

it's a very fancy XML editor.

Patent Makes My Head Asplode (3, Informative)

Fantom42 (174630) | more than 5 years ago | (#28144139)

http://www.google.com/patents?id=y8UkAAAAEBAJ&dq=5787449 [google.com]

I have no idea what this patent is saying.

Abstract:

A system and method for the separate manipulation of the architecture and content of a document, particularly for data representation and transformations. The system, for use by computer software developers, removes dependency on document encoding technology. A map of metacodes found in the document is produced and provided and stored separately from the document. The map indicates the location and addresses of metacodes in the document. The system allows of multiple views of the same content, the ability to work solely on structure and solely on content, storage efficiency of multiple versions and efficiency of operation.

It sounds a bit like an embedded XSLT, more or less. Maybe?

Re:Patent Makes My Head Asplode (1)

oneiros27 (46144) | more than 5 years ago | (#28144267)

Just from reading the abstract, it sounds more like templating -- I know the basic structure of your format, so I can go in and replace the strings (content) between the parts that are structural. Or, to modify the template, I could hide the content, and allow you to modify just the structural part ... and I could present it in any number of ways to allow you to edit it.

XSLT is more one-directional, and there isn't the mapping made to relate how things go back into the original file.

Re:Patent Makes My Head Asplode (1)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | more than 5 years ago | (#28144695)

Perhaps there is a bit of something MVC-like? The "content" is a model/data structure, even "view" is explicitly mentioned. Hell, it can mean a million different things...it's a patent, after all. :)

Re:Patent Makes My Head Asplode (5, Funny)

Zarhan (415465) | more than 5 years ago | (#28144275)

When reading patents, you always ignore most of the boilerplate and preamble. Just go for the Claims section.

In this case, Claim 1 is quite understandable:

1. A computer system for the manipulation of the architecture and content of a document having a plurality of metacodes and content by producing a first map of metacodes and their addresses of use in association with mapped content; said system comprising:

        metacode map distinct storage means;
        means for providing a menu of metacodes to said metacode storage means;
        and means for compiling said metacodes of the menu by locating, detecting and addressing the metacodes in the document to constitute the map and storing the map in the metacode storage means; and
        means for resolving the content and the metacode map into the document.

Re:Patent Makes My Head Asplode (5, Funny)

happyemoticon (543015) | more than 5 years ago | (#28144805)

The USPTO should start denying patent applications that contain this kind of deliberately obfuscative gobbledegook. This is like describing cup of coffee as a "insulating ceramic material vessel for the transportation of central nervous system-stimulant-laden liquids of temperatures approaching gradual evaporation adapted to both manipulation and imbibation for the purposes of maximum early-hours alertness and/or circadian rhythm modulation." It's like reading Foucault.

Re:Patent Makes My Head Asplode (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28144943)

circadian rhythm modulation.

That made me like your post a lot more

Re:Patent Makes My Head Asplode (2, Interesting)

xlotlu (1395639) | more than 5 years ago | (#28144871)

Sounds like any type of stylesheet-based editing.

That means office suites, HTML editors, vector graphics editors are all "infringing".

Re:Patent Makes My Head Asplode (1)

PitaBred (632671) | more than 5 years ago | (#28144887)

Ok. So you read the claim... it seems exactly like what someone "skilled in the arts" would do when presented with a document having a plurality of metacodes. There's nothing "novel" about what they're doing.

Re:Patent Makes My Head Asplode (1)

TimothyDavis (1124707) | more than 5 years ago | (#28145165)

So to fill out a patent application, you first need to carefully document what the 'new' idea is, and then keep running it through computerized spoken language translations until all possible case specific meaning is lost?

IDNRTFPA (I did not read ... patent application) - but at least many of the patents of old had drawings of the concept so folks had a least a fucking clue as to what the patent applied to.

I can only imagine the poor guy who has to search through existing patents when checking to see if his idea is new.

Re:Patent Makes My Head Asplode (1)

iamhigh (1252742) | more than 5 years ago | (#28144305)

Or a database... or about anything else where you can structure data, work on the structure or work on the data.

Re:Patent Makes My Head Asplode (3, Interesting)

capt.Hij (318203) | more than 5 years ago | (#28144331)

From that vague wording it seems that using the XML::RPC module in Perl would violate the patent. You can use that module to separate your manipulation of the xml and the data that is represented in the xml. Then again, it seems to me that this is exactly what word processors have been doing since wordstar. The editor allows you to focus on the contents while the program manipulates the file under the hood. The fact that it uses XML is not really relevant.

tell the Obama Administration... (1)

ScubaS (600042) | more than 5 years ago | (#28144159)

i hate these people who get awarded patents for things they did not invent then go and sue a big innocent company. we need some serious patent reform at least obama can hire COMPETENT software engineers to review software related patents because this is rediculous how people get awarded patents for things that make a patent invalid - PRIOR ART and OBVIOUS

Re:tell the Obama Administration... (1)

cyber-vandal (148830) | more than 5 years ago | (#28144259)

Big? Yes. Innocent? Ahahahahahahahahahahahaha.

Re:tell the Obama Administration... (1)

ScubaS (600042) | more than 5 years ago | (#28144385)

yes, innocent. they did nothing wrong when they wrote that software. the patent is technically INVALID -- microsoft has NO reason to assume that what they were doing was patentable. if MS would get the patent office to invalid the patent then a jury verdict will be over turned. its kin to being convicted of a murder you did not do. and the DNA tests would overturn the conviction.

Altova (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28144167)

XML Spy costs $224 for the basic edition. I don't know how/why that company is still in business

Re:Altova (1)

Itninja (937614) | more than 5 years ago | (#28144601)

Because there a LOT of companies that assume expensive software is better software. I know that I could tell my manager that I needed $500 for "Media Win G-Playa xT 3.0 Enterprise Edition" and I would get it (as long as it really existed, which it does not). Even if Media Player or WinAmp did the same thing, the price would indicate that it was better in the eyes of the uninformed.

Re:Altova (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28144855)

Mind telling me which company this is? I could really use money, and I have a ton of useless software projects lying around on my hard drive.

Re:Altova (0, Troll)

PitaBred (632671) | more than 5 years ago | (#28144905)

Tell you what... I'll set up a site with a Winamp skin installer called "Media Win G-Playa xT 3.0 Enterprise Edition", you tell your manger you need it, and I'll split the profits with you 50/50. Deal?

Re:Altova (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28144947)

Your manager should be fired. You can't go directly to the CEO and say that because CEO would reply "Your manager knows things better than you do because his wage is higher."

It is sad because it's true

Re:Altova (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28145069)

I know that I could tell my manager that I needed $500 for "Media Win G-Playa xT 3.0 Enterprise Edition" and I would get it (as long as it really existed, which it does not). Even if Media Player or WinAmp did the same thing, my misrepresentation of the facts would indicate that it was better in the eyes of the uninformed.

fixed that for ya

$98 isnt alot compared to RIAA/etc (1)

wjh31 (1372867) | more than 5 years ago | (#28144179)

maybe they were after RIAA sized multiples of damages

Ignore this. (1)

Sybert42 (1309493) | more than 5 years ago | (#28144219)

Patents will be moot post-Singularity. It will be more about technology (encryption, maybe). But, please don't even mod this. Ignore it. Thanks--the Singularity will happen even if you ignore this post.

That makes sense... (1)

creimer (824291) | more than 5 years ago | (#28144291)

Only if you trying to program an XML parser without using an existing library. Creating the XML file is easy. Reading the damn thing back in is hard. Something I found out during one of my programming classes.

Re:That makes sense... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28144401)

No, it's actually pretty easy to parse. That's one of the advantages that XML has: there's a very specific documented definition of what's allowed and what's not. Yes it's moderately harder that writing XML, but compared to parsing HTML, or C++, it's a pretty trivial task.

Re:That makes sense... (1)

creimer (824291) | more than 5 years ago | (#28144539)

That wasn't a trivial task for me. Then again, I was taking three programming classes and carrying 19 units at the time.

Re:That makes sense... (1)

hazah (807503) | more than 5 years ago | (#28145123)

Its a matter of experience. The parent isn't realising that you haven't really worked enough with data structures, in general, which really helps knowing the ins and outs of what to do after you parse the data. In essence, you are asking a very different question than the one you worded.

The parent is stating that: Of the variety of parsing tasks out there to do, with the level of support available in terms of API's and frameworks, working with XML could be seen as slicing butter with a hot knife. Relatively, it's pretty easy.

The part that you found non-trivial isn't the parsing, it's figuring out what to do with the data once you parsed it.

Just figure out some sort of abstract structure of what the XML file is supposed to represent. That structure is a higher level structure than say, the DOM tree you get. Use it to wrap over the DOM objects to hide away the details. All this assumes you're using DOM. You could be using something else, but it's a matter of reorganising similar concepts.

Lather, rinse, repeat till it's second nature

Re:That makes sense... (1)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | more than 5 years ago | (#28144929)

Well, it's easy certainly easier parse in comparison with C++, but that does not mean that it's "pretty easy". And certainly not as fast to parse as comparable formats (s-exps, for example).

Re:That makes sense... (1)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | more than 5 years ago | (#28145097)

"it's easy easier to parse"...shoud be in bed already...Zzz...

Must Be East Texas (1)

Nom du Keyboard (633989) | more than 5 years ago | (#28144295)

I don't even have to read the article to know that this must be in East Texas. Anyone ever realize that maybe Texas should succeed? Not only would it whip Washington D.C. into line faster and more completely than anything else, but it would end Marshall Texas as the patent infringement destination resort of choice.

Re:Must Be East Texas (2, Informative)

Tihstae (86842) | more than 5 years ago | (#28144365)

Anyone ever realize that maybe Texas should succeed?

I bet Texas already thinks they are successful. Did you mean secede? http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/secede [merriam-webster.com]

Beat me to it (1)

billlava (1270394) | more than 5 years ago | (#28144493)

Secede is right. Please note the last time [wikipedia.org] Texas Succeeded at anything.

Windows 7 ships without notepad (1)

Fuzzums (250400) | more than 5 years ago | (#28144335)

Saves you $100 in a blink of an eye :)

And many others (1)

Vandil X (636030) | more than 5 years ago | (#28144367)

Indeed. I was about to post how plenty of people out there use Notepad, TextEdit, nano, vi, and plenty of other text editors and word processors to write XML.

May as well fine Smith Corona, since a typewriter from 1970 can also edit XML with the appropriate white out fluid.

XML editing in WORD?! (1)

N!NJA (1437175) | more than 5 years ago | (#28144523)

$98 is too much even for Word itself! besides, how great is XML editing in Word 2007? on version 2003 it just looks like a lame-ass text editor. however, if the lawsuit referred to Microsoft's free XML Notepad 2006, i would understand the reason for *some* of the ado. it's a great utility. butit it isnt worth more than $20 either.

Re:XML editing in WORD?! (1)

Cedric Tsui (890887) | more than 5 years ago | (#28144937)

"$98 is too much even for Word itself! "

Why? How much did you pay for it?
Suggested retail price is $229. [microsoft.com]

Patent awards out of sync with reality? Hardy! (2, Funny)

noidentity (188756) | more than 5 years ago | (#28144557)

And people say patent awards aren't out of sync with reality?

Are you aware of how much genius it takes to come up with the idea of first parsing the XML file into an internal in-memory format, editing that, then flattening that back to an XML file? Nobody would have done anything different than re-parsing and modifying the XML every time a minor change was made in the editor, if it weren't for this insightful patent.

Reality and Singularity (0, Troll)

Sybert42 (1309493) | more than 5 years ago | (#28144615)

Why are you ignoring me?

Re:Reality and Singularity (1)

VulpesFoxnik (1493687) | more than 5 years ago | (#28144841)

Why are you ignoring me?

Because if we don't, it will end your game. [emhsoft.com]

Re:Patent awards out of sync with reality? Hardy! (1)

Spyder0101 (1485837) | more than 5 years ago | (#28144747)

I'm afraid I am missing the sarcasm if it was present in that post...

You do know that XML Specification [w3.org] defines XML as a tree, a common structure in most (all?) programming languages. It is obvious to anyone even remotely skilled in the art. I wrote an XML editor as a toy project as a freshman in HS that would have violated this patent. I guess I am that much of a genius, or just not as much as a dumbass as you. **Listens for WOOSHING**

Re:Patent awards out of sync with reality? Hardy! (1)

shentino (1139071) | more than 5 years ago | (#28144777)

If you had published it it would have become what's known as PRIOR ART.

Re:Patent awards out of sync with reality? Hardy! (1)

Spyder0101 (1485837) | more than 5 years ago | (#28144861)

Non-obvoiusness is and important factor. [bitlaw.com] If as novice HS programmer can do it without assistance of any sort beyond knowing how to program, it is pretty obvious.

Isn't this a patent for a style sheet? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28144693)

Isn't this a patent for a style sheet?

Separate document that covers the architecture from the content?

Ridiculous. (4, Interesting)

cdn-programmer (468978) | more than 5 years ago | (#28144809)

This is just ridiculous.

The patent would apply to any markup language. This is totally obvious and there are many implementations which have been around for more than 25 years.

There are several errors here.

1) the patent should not have been granted because to do something like this is obvious.

2) the court must be totally incompetent.

3) the defense must be incompetent as well.

Any database driven web page is an infringement. It doesn't need to be XML. In fact most databases have this and Oracle is an example. PostgreSQL also has tools which do this.

Any templating software does this.

This illustrates just how bad the USA patent system is.

I hope it goes to appeal and that this gets straightened out. The thing is we software developers are under attack these days We will find that the 3rd world will eventually do all our software development. I know I would not go into software development if I were back in my university days. If a person does anything of any significance they can expect to be sued. No other profession that I know of is attacked as we software developers are being attacked.

Re:Ridiculous. (2, Interesting)

stikves (127823) | more than 5 years ago | (#28144931)

Defense does not necessarily need to be incompetent. As long as the accuser can demonstrate that the patent applies, defense has no choice, until the patent used itself is invalidated, which is not easy. (Remember that one-click shopping patent of Amazon).

I've only seen one recent case of Microsoft using patents against competition (FAT vs TomTom). However, every year they have to pay hundreds of millions of dollars to unknown companies. Especially the Eolas case was ridiculous, and those money, unfortunately, goes from our wallets, as the MS tax, when we purchase a new Dell system.

$98 is a Bargain... (1)

Hercules Peanut (540188) | more than 5 years ago | (#28145033)

...If you consider some poor sucker is paying $655.52 [pcconnection.com] for the whole office package. I'd rather pay $98 for an xml editor than $557.52 for MS Office sans editor. Not that the xml editor is that important but I'd rather throw away $98 than throw away ~$600.

Perhaps this is a little poetic justice for MS's fleecing of their own customers.
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