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Supreme Court Rules Against Microsoft In i4i Case

Soulskill posted more than 3 years ago | from the done-and-done dept.

The Courts 162

CWmike writes "The US Supreme Court has let stand a $300 million patent infringement ruling against Microsoft, granting a victory Thursday to i4i (PDF), which filed the lawsuit back in 2007. The legal battle already forced Microsoft to modify certain functionality in its Word application in 2009, when the US District Court for the Eastern District of Texas ruled in favor of Toronto-based i4i and told Microsoft to stop selling Word in the US. At issue was an i4i patent that covers technology that lets users manipulate the architecture and content of a document, which i4i alleged Microsoft infringed upon by letting Word users create custom XML documents. Microsoft removed the feature. 'This case raised an important issue of law which the Supreme Court itself had questioned in an earlier decision and which we believed needed resolution. While the outcome is not what we had hoped for, we will continue to advocate for changes to the law that will prevent abuse of the patent system and protect inventors who hold patents representing true innovation,' Microsoft said in a statement."

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Too funny (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36389536)

"While the outcome is not what we had hoped for, we will continue to advocate for changes to the law that will prevent abuse of the patent system and protect inventors who hold patents representing true innovation", Microsoft said in a statement.

Re:Too funny (4, Insightful)

WrongSizeGlass (838941) | more than 3 years ago | (#36389834)

"While the outcome is not what we had hoped for, we will continue to advocate for changes to the law that will prevent abuse of the patent system and protect inventors who hold patents representing true innovation", Microsoft said in a statement.

Someone needs to let Paul Allen [slashdot.org] know about MS's change in attitude about patents.

That's a mouth full. Short version - (3, Insightful)

Lead Butthead (321013) | more than 3 years ago | (#36389848)

"We want our cake and eat it too."

Re:That's a mouth full. Short version - (1, Insightful)

blair1q (305137) | more than 3 years ago | (#36390180)

"We want our cake and lie about it too."

FTFY

Re:That's a mouth full. Short version - (1)

cmdr_klarg (629569) | more than 3 years ago | (#36391338)

"We want our cake and lie about it too."

FTFY

The cake IS a lie.

Re:That's a mouth full. Short version - (1)

blair1q (305137) | more than 3 years ago | (#36391730)

(*click*)

(*rakkakkakkakkakkakkakkkk*)

(...)

(*click*)

whooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOSHHHHHHHH!

Re:That's a mouth full. Short version - (1)

TheTurtlesMoves (1442727) | more than 3 years ago | (#36390504)

They want their cake, and they want to sell you the cake and then they want to eat *both* cakes! [penny-arcade.com]

Re:That's a mouth full. Short version - (1)

Lead Butthead (321013) | more than 3 years ago | (#36391204)

They want their cake, and they want to sell you the cake and then they want to eat *both* cakes!

I think you're giving them too much credit; they only have ONE cake. But I agree with you that they want to keep the cake, sell us the cake and eat it too. And to top it off, they want you to renew the LICENSE for that cake, for a "modest" fee each and every month... Did I just described the federal government?

Re:Too funny (2)

DrgnDancer (137700) | more than 3 years ago | (#36390016)

I think most of the big software vendors are starting to really believe this. MS has been advocating for patent reform in more than just lawsuit defenses. They're paying lobbyists to say the same thing. That doesn't mean they won't keep filing patents, and filing lawsuits based on those patents, until the day any reform takes place though. There's a difference between seeing something needs to change, or even advocating for those changes, and letting the currently unchanged rule bite you in the ass. No corporation is going to take a moral stand on the issue in a way that opens it up to potential liability or disallows potential profit. All the big players (except maybe Oracle), seem to be realizing that the current system doesn't favor them, it favors the patent trolls.

Say whatever bad things you want about MS, Apple, Google, and the like, but all of them are in essentially the same boat. They actually make real products, that they release and sell. Whether those products are pure software or software and hardware synergies, they are real products which really make money one way or another. Patent trolls don't make anything, they just patents stuff and wait around for someone to do something similar so they can sue. The patent portfolio based "mutually assured destruction" pacts that keep the big players off each other's backs simply don't work on the trolls, and it's going to start costing the big boys more and more money. So now they have a good reason to change the system they've been abusing for the last decade.

Re:Too funny (5, Insightful)

EdIII (1114411) | more than 3 years ago | (#36390362)

So now they have a good reason to change the system they've been abusing for the last decade.

Maybe it was second nature, or just the context of your point, but what you said is corporations changing the system they have been abusing.

What is tragic to me is that it is not the citizens being represented here. The whole system does not work at all for the consumer or society. We need major reform of the entire copyright/patent/trademark system starting with the fundamentals...... that public domain is the most valuable thing we own and that it needs to be protected first.

The way corporations want it, and that includes MS (and especially Disney), is that the public domain does not exist at all. They keep pushing for permanent ownership of ideas and expressions without the possibility of being put *back* into the public domain.

Re:Too funny (2)

DrgnDancer (137700) | more than 3 years ago | (#36390508)

I meant more "advocating for changing the system they've spent the last decade abusing". Doesn't change your point though. I totally agree. I'm not an anti-IP fanatic, I think the existence of copyright and patents are fine and good for society overall, but several things about he current system clearly need to change. Shorter copyright terms, more controls on what is or isn't patentable, these and many others need to be implemented before posterity loses it's access to our cultural and scientific heritage.

Re:Too funny (2)

theshowmecanuck (703852) | more than 3 years ago | (#36390634)

What is more like the OP is saying is that the corporations like MS et al have to live within the system as it exists now, even if they want to change it. That means for their survival, they must patent and challenge other patents, since they actually make a product. I believe there is sense in this. I also happen to agree that these business method patents are ridiculous. I also believe that MS should have won this case, and I wouldn't be surprised if the SCOTUS split along party lines again.

Re:Too funny (2)

Rob Y. (110975) | more than 3 years ago | (#36390980)

True, we want to change the system, but could you please wait until we've sued that pesky Android system out of existence...

Thanks so much,
Microsoft

Re:Too funny (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36391272)

Patents and public domain don't have anything to do with each other dumbass.

Re:Too funny (1)

KarrdeSW (996917) | more than 3 years ago | (#36390476)

Patent trolls don't make anything.

Well, i4i does at least make something. They now sell a utility that undoes the damage caused to documents by Microsoft's forced removal of their custom XML feature. [i4i.com]

As far as I can see, they omit from the page that they are the reason the feature was removed.

Re:Too funny (1, Informative)

manicb (1633645) | more than 3 years ago | (#36390668)

Well, another way of looking at it is that it implements the feature they patented... For all intents and purposes, the software existed before the lawsuit. It's just that people are now going to have to buy it rather than rely of Microsoft ripping it off.

Re:Too funny (1)

Anne Thwacks (531696) | more than 3 years ago | (#36391070)

Speaking as a turkey, I want Christmas to come early this year!

so... (1)

arunce (1934350) | more than 3 years ago | (#36389548)

they have a problem with patents and want something else so they can be the only rulers?

Does /. consider this good or bad? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36389582)

On one hand, it is a scenario in which MS lost, therefore its good

OTOH its a scenario in which software patents won, therefore its bad

Re:Does /. consider this good or bad? (1)

just_another_sean (919159) | more than 3 years ago | (#36389798)

IMHO it is more good then bad. It takes someone as big as MS to get slapped by this nonsense before anything will change. Now, that said, it will probably get bad again before it gets better considering MS statement on the results. Rather then meaningful patent reform that levels the field for everyone I anticipate MS. Oracle, IBM, etc. will all get together to write the changes to the current legislation; somehow I don't think small inventors will be on the top of their priority list...

Re:Does /. consider this good or bad? (1)

bzipitidoo (647217) | more than 3 years ago | (#36389940)

That's like asking which dog you'd back in a dog fight to the death.

We want the fighting ended. MS is just one of hundreds who are a little too eager to participate in these bloodsports. This time, MS's dog lost. Will this inspire MS to take a step back and rethink the whole thing? Not likely, but we can hope.

Re:Does /. consider this good or bad? (1)

mabhatter654 (561290) | more than 3 years ago | (#36390304)

This is GOOD because a powerful company finally got shut out by the current law, enforced "equally" for once.

All the big companies negotiate their own deals out of court with big checks so the bad laws are on the books for the rest of us like a hammer. This case the plaintiff wanted Microsoft shut out.. They didn't wantba deal.

Of course we won't get a BETTER law out of this, they'll just put some mandatory RAND terms.. For "$1 million" which wipes most upstarts like iOS devs (this weeks other case) from the board but makes it "fair" for everybody else. Most Americans are employed at ( or own) small businesses which are under 50 employees... Even $1 million is devastating to a business that size, but pocket change to IBM, Apple, Microsoft, Oracle, ect.

This is the fundamental problem of worshiping capitalism. It is like comparing "one man. One vote" to each dollar... But making every decision by essentially simple majority "mob" rule. You're not truly "equal" in our society unless you have $10 million or so of liquid property stuffed in a "mattress" on 640+ acres otherwise you still are beholden to Banks, insurance, farmers, government, etc for all the important things. Like making sure your pension, retirement is actually AT the bank when you retire, or that you won't be bankrupted by expensive medical care (Most truly serious stuff Starts at $100k now) or that a simple lawsuit wont bankrupt you. That's why so Many actors, rockstars, and athletes are poor five years after quitting.. That $100k FDIC should really be $1m to account for inflation in the last 30 years. Little people are really, really screwed.

Re:Does /. consider this good or bad? (2)

quickOnTheUptake (1450889) | more than 3 years ago | (#36391056)

That $100k FDIC should really be $1m to account for inflation in the last 30 years. Little people are really, really screwed.

First, it has been upped, originally it was $2,500 (1934)
Second, it is not $100k, but $250k (as of 2008).

Re:Does /. consider this good or bad? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36390350)

Shopkeeper: Take this object, but beware it carries a terrible curse!
Homer: Ooh, that's bad.
Shopkeeper: But it comes with a free frogurt!
Homer: That's good.
Shopkeeper: The frogurt is also cursed.
Homer: That's bad.
Shopkeeper: But you get your choice of toppings.
Homer: That's good!
Shopkeeper: The toppings contain potassium benzoate.
[Homer looks puzzled]
Shopkeeper: ...That's bad.

Re:Does /. consider this good or bad? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36390400)

EFF (I think Google too?) supported Microsoft: http://yro.slashdot.org/story/10/10/01/2232224/EFF-Apache-Side-With-Microsoft-In-i4i-Patent-Case [slashdot.org]

This is the only time in my life I sided with Microsoft in a legal dispute.

No surprise that MS fails when they try to bring about good. It's unpossible.

So... (2, Insightful)

errandum (2014454) | more than 3 years ago | (#36389588)

One of the patent hoggers got what they deserved.

The whole patent system needs a revamp but it is to protect us from companies like Microsoft, Apple and whatnot. They are the ones stiffing innovation.

Re:So... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36389826)

Shame that, if there is any patent reform legislation, it will be written by Microsoft, Apple and whatnot.

Re:So... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36390904)

It'd be hard for them to protect themselves from this sort of crap without protecting the rest of us from them.

And the band marches on... (4, Insightful)

KingSkippus (799657) | more than 3 years ago | (#36389606)

I know it's popular to portray Microsoft as the Evil Empire, but this totally sucks. While you all are laughing at the irony, keep in mind that this is only going to convince big companies like Microsoft, Apple, Google, Amazon, Cisco, etc. that they need to hunker down even more in developing extensive patent portfolios and vigorously defending them. It's the only way to survive as a business these days, to have enough goods to establish a mutually assured destruction scenario if someone sues you. Unfortunately, it also looks like patent trolls are going to be encouraged from now on. As a society, we've completely missed the narrow window of opportunity we had to change the system to prevent this kind of abuse. I guess we were too busy watching Snooki, American Idol and Dancing with the Stars, I hope it was worth it.

This system is so hideously broken, so apparently messed up with no will or way to change it, that it sometimes makes me want to get out of the IT industry altogether.

Re:And the band marches on... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36389770)

I totally agree. I'm the biggest Linux zealot I (personally) know, and even I think this decision is horrible.

Hopefully, after the big companies redouble their efforts to patent everything... and end up suing each other so much that they're paying more for lawyers than R&D... they'll realize that it's much more cost effective to use their high-paid lobbyists to actually reform the system instead of trying to abuse it for their own ends.

can't sue those that does not create (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36389788)

Mutual Assured Destruction cannot be used to defend against patent trolls. They create no products, therefore cannot possibly infringe on any patents, which means no matter how many patents you have, you can't counter sue them. Their whole business plan consist of buying patent on the cheap, and suing anybody who makes a profit in any area remotely related to the patent.

Re:can't sue those that does not create (0)

oh_my_080980980 (773867) | more than 3 years ago | (#36390054)

i4i is not a patent troll. you'd know that if you'd bother to read.

Re:can't sue those that does not create (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36390368)

Um, the GP never said i4i was a patent troll. GP merely raised the obvious point that if you are sued by a patent troll, MAD is useless. Now, one can then infer that this means Goggle, MS, etc hunkering by creating more patents is futile against patent trolls, but it might be useful against i4i. Apparently it wasn't, though, as MS does patent a lot of things even though they don't routinely sue people for infringing those patents.

Re:And the band marches on... (5, Interesting)

mooingyak (720677) | more than 3 years ago | (#36389802)

I agreed with you completely until right here:

As a society, we've completely missed the narrow window of opportunity we had to change the system to prevent this kind of abuse.

Maybe I'm an optimist, but I believe that software patents are doomed. The major corporations all have little to nothing to gain from them and waste time and resources acquiring them defensively.

Re:And the band marches on... (1)

spongman (182339) | more than 3 years ago | (#36391218)

once the cabal of large companies has invested huge amounts of capital on boosting the strength of their patent portfolios, they're not going to allow that investment to evaporate overnight if they think it gives them an advantage in the market.

initially these companies have been willing to lobby for patent reform, but as the trolls increase their attacks, and the companies grow their defense portfolios, that lobbying effort is going to diminish until the point when they start lobbying against patent reform. when that happens, barring some radical campaign finance reform miracle, you can basically kiss goodbye to innovation in the US.

Re:And the band marches on... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36391772)

The fight is not dictated by logic, but by greed; at least one of them actually believes they can prevail in erecting the ultimate toll booth and all your base everyone else at the same time.

Re:And the band marches on... (3, Insightful)

cozzbp (1845636) | more than 3 years ago | (#36389804)

I know it's popular to portray Microsoft as the Evil Empire, but this totally sucks.

I totally agree, and I also think it's totally asinine to celebrate this as a victory, regardless of what you think about Microsoft.

Patent No. 5,787,449 [google.com] is the most broad-ass patent I've ever read in my entire life. The only person this is a victory for, is that dumbass Loudon Owen [cnet.com] .

Re:And the band marches on... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36390034)

Microsoft is an Evil Empire, a falling one but still there, and these things happening can only be a good omen. At one point things will become so entangled and they'll sue each other over so many things and for so much money, that they'll find it cheaper to lobby for a patent system change, a lot cheaper. They might avoid future battles by pre-emptively buying up patents like they've started a few years ago, but they can't buy all of them.

This was a minor feature, but what if they fail to catch one that's crucial and get asked for loads of money, how many of those incidents can they take?
MS and the like have always had a few brands to their names and can pretty much stay there and make money, but if they don't expand, they'll fade into oblivion. Going into a new field implies research, and obviously some things have already been researched and guess what, patented as well!

Incidents like i4i only serve to speed up the patent systems implosion.

Agreed (2)

Benfea (1365845) | more than 3 years ago | (#36389904)

While I agree with you that this is a bad decision with negative consequences for the industry, well, you did mention the irony here so I won't have to explain why I am experiencing a twinge of schadenfreude right now.

Re:And the band marches on... (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36389916)

While I agree, I'm not sure this case specifically was the venue to change that. It appears that the case revolved around whether a patent can be found invalid by "preponderance of the evidence" or by "clear and convincing evidence". The Court held "Section 282 requires an invalidity defense to be proved by clear and convincing evidence".

That the burden of proving a patent invalid falls on the party claiming it is invalid sounds good to me; otherwise small-time patent owners would never be able to go to court and prove (over and over) that all their patents are valid against a deep-pocketed adversary.

http://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/10pdf/10-290.pdf

Re:And the band marches on... (1)

oh_my_080980980 (773867) | more than 3 years ago | (#36390030)

Yeah it's *THIS* decision that's going to make Microsoft use software patents even more.

moron.

Re:And the band marches on... (3, Interesting)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 3 years ago | (#36390096)

I know it's popular to portray Microsoft as the Evil Empire, but this totally sucks.

While it totally sucks, Microsoft is the Evil Empire. to wit, from the summary:

While the outcome is not what we had hoped for, we will continue to advocate for changes to the law that will prevent abuse of the patent system and protect inventors who hold patents representing true innovation,' Microsoft said in a statement."

So when you say:

this is only going to convince big companies like Microsoft, Apple, Google, Amazon, Cisco, etc. that they need to hunker down even more in developing extensive patent portfolios and vigorously defending them.

You actually miss the point about why Microsoft is evil. Instead of talking about how software patents are ridiculous, they publicly announce their intention to manipulate the system such that big corporations like them will be able to crush small players (of ill repute or not) like i4i. Got to love that name, huh? Of course, you have to do a little translation. "prevent abuse of the patent system" means "avoid Microsoft and its ilk being harmed by the patent system" and "true innovation" means "strong market position". To Microsoft, it is only justified to wield such a portfolio if you actually use the patents, because they do. There is at least a certain logic to this position.

Re:And the band marches on... (2)

phantomfive (622387) | more than 3 years ago | (#36390098)

It's a huge mix of emotions. Microsoft hatred. Hating patents. Awareness that this hurts every company that ever uses XML. Realizing that this hurts every company that ever uses XML, and thus could be the end of XML! There's too much hate. Let the world move on, and dance!

Re:And the band marches on... (2)

future assassin (639396) | more than 3 years ago | (#36390164)

Patent trolls? I though i4i had a legitimate case here and have real products.

Re:And the band marches on... (1)

shutdown -p now (807394) | more than 3 years ago | (#36391086)

You must be new here. In Slashdot newspeak, "patent troll" is any company that sues over any patent it holds.

Re:And the band marches on... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36391224)

Hey don't put logic in the way of a slashdot rant against patent trolls. It doesn't matter that i4i have valid case, real products and that their patents has very limited effect on XML - it's really all about patent trolls and a huge foreigner Canuckastanian company putting the boots to an American company by misusing American courts............ mmmmm now that's truthiness!

Re:And the band marches on... (1)

makubesu (1910402) | more than 3 years ago | (#36390456)

They'd take this approach, but unfortunately somebody already patented the business practice of patent hoarding.

Re:And the band marches on... (2)

c (8461) | more than 3 years ago | (#36390632)

> this is only going to convince big companies like Microsoft, Apple,
> Google, Amazon, Cisco, etc. that they need to hunker down even
> more in developing extensive patent portfolios and vigorously defending them.

That's a strategy which only really works against someone who builds a product which might infringe on one of their patents. It doesn't do much to prevent exposure to patent trolls, or companies who discover they can make more money from lawsuits than actually building products.

Re:And the band marches on... (1)

oakgrove (845019) | more than 3 years ago | (#36390832)

I know it's popular to portray Microsoft as the Evil Empire, but this totally sucks.

I am no friend of Microsoft as anyone who has read my past posts can attest to but I agree this just stinks. Software patents serve the purposes of the big boys and do nothing but stifle the little guys.

Case in point, I was making a spinner dialog for an Android app this morning and was searching for a way to directly change the xml values in the string resource that populates the drop down box. Well, looking at this very case, I can see why the Android sdk doesn't allow you to directly manipulate that xml programmatically. So, now I have to do it a different way that adds unnecessary complexity (not looking for a tutorial, I figgered it out).

This impacts me. And this is such a brain dead obvious thing to do that the fact that it is patented and worth 300 million dollars is fucking ridiculous!

Re:And the band marches on... (1)

JamesP (688957) | more than 3 years ago | (#36390896)

I disagree

I hope patent trolls keep pounding lawsuits against MS, hopefully for billions of dollars.

Only then MS will be convinced and set their congresscritters to change something

Meanwhile, they can cry me a river.

Re:And the band marches on... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36391754)

While you all are laughing at the irony, keep in mind that this is only going to convince big companies like Microsoft, Apple, Google, Amazon, Cisco, etc. that they need to hunker down even more in developing extensive patent portfolios and vigorously defending them.

We know and thats EXACTLY why we'll be laughing. Once they start calling for an end to software patents we might start being more sympathetic.
Live by the sword, die by the sword.

Judge's don't understand technolog (2)

PickyH3D (680158) | more than 3 years ago | (#36389626)

I guess we should all be patenting the obvious use cases of all standards.

Same story, different day. What a joke. i4i should go around suing every company using XML with predefined tags.

Re:Judge's don't understand technolog (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36389750)

Judge's don't understand

And you don't understand the English language!

Re:Judge's don't understand technolog (4, Insightful)

Tsingi (870990) | more than 3 years ago | (#36389754)

I guess we should all be patenting the obvious use cases of all standards.

Same story, different day. What a joke. i4i should go around suing every company using XML with predefined tags.

Yes, this is a joke. Microsoft is using XML to do something XML was designed to do, how can someone patent that?

It hurts a little to say this, but Microsoft is in the right.

Re:Judge's don't understand technolog (0)

oh_my_080980980 (773867) | more than 3 years ago | (#36390086)

No they're not but then I didn't expect that you actually followed the lawsuit and understood the details of the case.

Re:Judge's don't understand technolog (2)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 3 years ago | (#36390162)

In the absence of any actual details or real explanation, your claims are not very convincing.

Re:Judge's don't understand technolog (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36391010)

In the absence of any actual details or real explanation, your claims are hearsay.

There, I fixed that for you. Not that the argument may not have merit, but neither side has presented any useful evidence here to back up their claims...

Re:Judge's don't understand technolog (2)

Tsingi (870990) | more than 3 years ago | (#36390740)

No they're not but then I didn't expect that you actually followed the lawsuit and understood the details of the case.

You make a lot of assumptions, I'm surprised you took the time to write a reply. Considering that, while there is an obvious attempt at an insult, you don't actually say anything of substance.

Re:Judge's don't understand technolog (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36391150)

Ahh yes, you've convinced me now. I agree with you 110%. Thanks for the enlightening rebuttal back up with an informative summary.

Re:Judge's don't understand technolog (5, Insightful)

Trepidity (597) | more than 3 years ago | (#36390126)

This specific Supreme Court review didn't really touch on the technology issue, though, just the legal standard of proof, since the question they were reviewing was a pretty narrow one of statutory construction. Section 282 of the patent code specifies that, when a patent is challenged in court:

1. "A patent shall be presumed valid."

and

2. "The burden of establishing invalidity of a patent or any claim thereof shall rest on the party asserting such invalidity."

I disagree with that as a matter of policy, but that's what the Patent Act says, and absent any claim that it's unconstitutional, the only thing the Court was asked to decide here is what "burden" means, legally.

The Federal Circuit (a lower appeals court) has held for some years now that "burden of establishing invalidity" means that the party bringing a challenge must show "clear and convincing evidence" of the patent's invalidity. Microsoft argued that, for prior art that the patent office had not already considered in its review record, the burden of establishing invalidity should be lower, with a "preponderance of the evidence" standard.

I'd prefer the lower burden of proof, but this question isn't really at the heart of why we have a patent mess; at best it's a symptom.

Re:Judge's don't understand technolog (1)

Rob Y. (110975) | more than 3 years ago | (#36391236)

1. "A patent shall be presumed valid."
and
2. "The burden of establishing invalidity of a patent or any claim thereof shall rest on the party asserting such invalidity."

Hmmm. Maybe there is something unconstitutional. At the bottom of it all, this case is about the 'crime' of patent infringement, and if there's any question that the patent is not valid, then the violator should have the opportunity to 'establish invalidity' with the presumption of innocence. I.e. no collection of royalties or 'ceasing to infringe' until the validity of the patent has been established. Just because the court is supposed to presume the patent is valid when challenged, doesn't mean that a supposed infringer isn't also entitled to his presumption of innocence.

Re:Judge's don't understand technolog (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36391386)

But...this patent was both obvious and had prior art. I don't understand how Microsoft could have failed to demonstrate this.

Apple (1)

goombah99 (560566) | more than 3 years ago | (#36390410)

Apple's OS and Apps use XML out the wazzu. this could be interesting.

Re:Judge's don't understand technolog (1)

mabhatter654 (561290) | more than 3 years ago | (#36390480)

This case was about the best case for software patents... Don't fool yourself, Microsoft KNEW UP FRONT what this product was, that it was patented, and actively hijacked their customers while being a "partner" with them. This was a "slam dunk" patent case which is why the court took it.

Just like when Lessing was trying to overturn retroactive copyright, the court put the rules squarely on CONGRESS to fix... They seem to be truly living up conservative and refuse to legislate from the bench.

Microsoft to fight software patents? (1)

erroneus (253617) | more than 3 years ago | (#36389644)

So you got this weapon you are using against others and now others are using it against you too! Cry me a river Microsoft. You helped to create the problem. Want to save yourself? Help uncreate it.

Re:Microsoft to fight software patents? (2)

Mongoose Disciple (722373) | more than 3 years ago | (#36390746)

Congratulations, you've simplified a complex situation down to a simple black and white dichotomy which bears little relevance to the original situation. Have you considered founding a popular religion?

Re:Microsoft to fight software patents? (1)

erroneus (253617) | more than 3 years ago | (#36391046)

Call me a religious fanatic, but I think it really is that simple. Get rid of software patents. We have already seen an effective death of "business method" patents after all.

The situation isn't that complex. As it stands, you probably can't write a program in BASIC without violating some software patent either directly or by calling a routine or function within the BASIC interpreter. Didn't Microsoft patent a math function a few years ago? Some sort of increment/decrement function I think it was. Software patents are worse than bad, they are stupid. Software is using a machine for its intended purpose. HOW is that patentable? That's no more patentable than using a steak knife to open a can.

And to be clear, the original situation is that there is a patent on how a user does something with his documents using software. A software patent. The patent's details are similar to a feature in MS Word. MS got sued over the use of a software patent. Software patents shouldn't exist. How is that bearing little relevance?

Re:Microsoft to fight software patents? (1)

sgt scrub (869860) | more than 3 years ago | (#36391322)

Agreed. I like the response that basically says, "our patents should be allowed to screw people but not anyone else's".

FYI (1)

mrthoughtful (466814) | more than 3 years ago | (#36389670)

It's Patent Number: US007251778

Translation: (2)

Greyfox (87712) | more than 3 years ago | (#36389686)

"While the outcome is not what we had hoped for, we will continue to advocate for changes to the law that will prevent abuse of the patent system and protect inventors who hold patents representing true innovation,' Microsoft said in a statement.""

If you run that statement through Google translate and select "English to Microsoftese", it translates it to "We'll continue to lobby for laws that allow us to file patent lawsuits against everyone else, but which prevents anyone else from filing them against us."

Re:Translation: (1)

sconeu (64226) | more than 3 years ago | (#36389878)

protect inventors who hold patents representing true innovation

So Microsoft IsNot [uspto.gov] filing frivolous patents?

Re:Translation: (1)

Colonel Korn (1258968) | more than 3 years ago | (#36389886)

I don't know the history of Microsoft suing people, but then again neither does Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Microsoft_litigation#Private [wikipedia.org]

It looks like Microsoft gets sued by other companies over patents but doesn't bring lawsuits of its own.

Re:Translation: (1)

oh_my_080980980 (773867) | more than 3 years ago | (#36390120)

Lindows, Android, Apple. You might actually want to do some research.

Re:Translation: (1)

steelfood (895457) | more than 3 years ago | (#36390340)

To be fair, Lindows was a trademark infringement suit, which is a completely different thing. And, according to the wikipedia article, Microsoft eventually paid to acquire the Lindows trademark.

I don't know about Microsoft versus any of the other brands you mentioned. I know Oracle has filed a patent lawsuit against Android (Google), and Apple constantly files patent suits against its competitors, but I don't remember Microsoft actually using its patent portfolio offensively against those two entities. Do you have a link that references them?

I do know Microsoft tried to, via SCO as its proxy, bring a copyright infringement suit to certain Linux vendors. We all know how that ended up. I also know they've entered into patent agreements with Novell (and paid of Corel, among other things), to try to intimidate vendors into paying them for using Linux or getting out of developing for it outright. But I don't recall Microsoft actually initiating any patent-related lawsuits directly or indirectly against another major player.

If you have any specific cases in mind, I'd be more than happy to be enlightened though.

Re:Translation: (5, Informative)

a_n_d_e_r_s (136412) | more than 3 years ago | (#36390520)

Here are a couple articles describing some times when Microsoft has sued different companies over patents:

TomTom:

http://www.techflash.com/seattle/2009/02/Microsoft_sues_TomTom_over_patents_in_case_with_Linux_subplot_40305732.html [techflash.com]
Salesforce:

http://www.tgdaily.com/business-and-law-features/49826-microsoft-sued-over-patents-for-a-change [tgdaily.com]

Motorola:
http://www.osnews.com/story/23860/Microsoft_Slaps_Motorola_with_Patent_Lawsuit_over_Android [osnews.com]

Barnes & Noble:

http://mashable.com/2011/03/21/microsoft-sues-barnes-noble/ [mashable.com]

Just a few of the companies being sued by Microsoft.
Most companies don't wanna get sued by Microsoft - so they often settle.
But Microsoft will sue if they don't get their way.

Re:Translation: (1)

ichimunki (194887) | more than 3 years ago | (#36390464)

Microsoft vs. Apple was a copyright thing. Lindows was trademark-related. Microsoft is often the target of patent lawsuits. I can't recall them starting one. Please show your work.

Re:Translation: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36390672)

Microsoft sued TomTom over their patents on VFAT: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Microsoft_v._TomTom

Re:Translation: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36391038)

Lindows, Android, Apple. You might actually want to do some research.

Can you site any of the research you did that show Microsoft filing patent lawsuites against any of those 3 you mention?

Re:Translation: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36390300)

From the page you linked: "Microsoft and Lucent have filed additional patent lawsuits against each other". Guess you are wrong.

Re:Translation: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36391058)

Microsoft certainly does threaten people with their patents. Read here:

http://jonathanischwartz.wordpress.com/

Search for "Bill Gates".

Re:Translation: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36389986)

Like all public companies management is paid to increase and preserve shareholder values not to enhance the welfare or efficiency of society at large. If you find this distasteful by all means openly advocate socialism.

Translation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36389732)

"we will continue to advocate for changes to the law that will prevent abuse of the patent system and protect inventors who hold patents representing true innovation"

"Too many patent trolls are suing us because we have deep pockets and we'd like to change the rules so that we can still intimidate the little guys, but the patent trolls can't sue us."

That's the only possible change I can think of that would make the system worse.

Then again, $300MM is not much for MS if they can use software patents to spread enough Android FUD to get a toe-hold in the tablet market.

I'm genuinely surprised that MS, Google, IBM, Oracle, etc. etc. aren't advocating to eliminate software patents. Even someone as dumb as a troll knows to sue someone with deep pockets not someone who has nothing.

MS bitching about patent abuse? Irony.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36389784)

Let me get this straight... these are the patents MS is suing everyone involved with android over.. (referenced from http://tinyurl.com/4k7zmqb)

- One of the patents in this case enables devices to show the content of a page even while the background is still rendering, allowing users to interact with the page more quickly. (U.S. Patent No. 5,778,372)

- This patent provides information about download status on top of the content display. (U.S. Patent No. 6,339,780)

- One patent enables users to select text, see what is selected via highlighting, and expand the selection in either direction as desired. (U.S. Patent No. 6,891,551)

- Another patent allows people to insert and review annotations without changing the underlying document, and to select annotations and be brought to the related portion of the document. (U.S. Patent No. 6,957,233)

And for these WEAK ASS patents MS thinks the licencing cost owed them is more than their windows 7 licencing costs. Yeah.. no patent abuse here.

MS.. Please GET BENT! Pay your infringement penalty and shut your face!

compensatory damages (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36389856)

The obvious issue is whether i4i's invention should've been awarded a patent in the first place. But assuming the patent was valid, another issue is whether it in itself should've been enough to force Microsoft to pull the feature out of Word and pay $300 million in compensation. What actual damages has Microsoft's independent discovery and use of the invention done to i4i's business? The damage award should've been limited to the lost profits that i4i can demonstrate that it may reasonably have accrued had Microsoft not infringed. Not $300 million, obviously a war chest i4i can use to buy more dubious patents and pull similar stunts.

Re:compensatory damages (1)

oh_my_080980980 (773867) | more than 3 years ago | (#36390166)

Complete bull shit!

But I guess being a Microsoft troll the truth doesn't matter.

FYI Microsoft is using their own dubious patents to sue Android.

RTFO (5, Interesting)

spiritu (8757) | more than 3 years ago | (#36389942)

I realize that this is Slashdot, &tc... but please read the full opinion. As it makes clear, the Supreme Court (in an 8-0 decision, with the Chief recused) agrees that this aspect of the patent system is broken. As it also makes clear, the responsibility for fixing the broken patent system lies entirely with Congress.

This opinion is a good example of the Supreme Court essentially telling Congress to get its act together and fix the broken patent system. In the meantime, the Court reiterates what the problem is with the patent system in this case, and provides a solution for Congress to implement. But the Court is not empowered to fix the broken statute by itself, so it has to essentially settle for restating what the current broken statute says, and enforcing the law that's on the books.

Since the broken statute is not unconstitutional - Congress was empowered by the Constitution to act, and it did, poorly - the Court can only point out the flaw and hope the Congress fixes it.

Bummer (4, Insightful)

ThatsNotPudding (1045640) | more than 3 years ago | (#36390452)

As it also makes clear, the responsibility for fixing the broken patent system lies entirely with Congress.

Well, then we are truly and fully fucked.

Re:Bummer (4, Insightful)

adamchou (993073) | more than 3 years ago | (#36391656)

On the contrary, maybe this is a good thing. Its good that it happened to the 800 lb gorilla Microsoft instead of the little companies that can't afford to do anything about it. Microsoft has the money and political clout to lobby congress into getting something like this fixed. The little software companies would be rendered completely ineffective at trying to change something. I just hopes this means Microsoft is going to get this fixed

Re:RTFO (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36390728)

Nice explanation. Courts role truly is to interpret laws, and in this way they got it right.

Re:RTFO (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36391594)

Actually, judges have a wide discretion over legal "remedies". Rulings are divided up between the "opinion" and the "remedy". Between what the law says and what the court will do about it. In this case, they sat on their hands and let the buck pass to Congress.

Good. (1)

dmgxmichael (1219692) | more than 3 years ago | (#36390002)

Maybe now MS will refocus their considerable lobbying resources to true patent reform since they've now been bitten hard by the current broken system.

300 million?! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36390008)

Well, 60 million Android phones sold by HTC should cover that. Oh happy happy software patents.

Wrong angle of attack? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36390082)

It seems Microsoft's entire defense was based on the fact that i4i was selling software named S4 for a year before filing this patent, and Microsoft claimed that S4 contained the patented technology. However, Microsoft wasn't able to prove that S4 contained the tech, so their argument fell flat. Since MS has to establish the burden of proof and couldn't to the SCOTUS' satisfaction, the court ruled in favor of i4i.

It seems odd that the MS lawyers chose that defense. I wonder if all of us non-lawyers don't really understand what it takes to prove obviousness of a patent.

Now Microsoft can get back (1)

ThatsNotPudding (1045640) | more than 3 years ago | (#36390402)

to what they do best: intimating Linux infringes on their patent troll portfolio.

Gone unnoticed (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36390584)

is the fact that Microsoft is just as culpable in pursuing patent claims against others. So pot, kettle, black. Oh the irony. (pun intended) Did anyone else note that the name of the patent company was similar to "eye for an eye"?

Yay for victory Thurday, the new nation holiday. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36390606)

Oh where have all the prepositions gone?

The ruling offered a bit of hope about bad patents (2)

Julie188 (991243) | more than 3 years ago | (#36391000)

As part of the commentary in the ruling, Justice Breyer offered some advice to courts on how they can use facts in court cases about patent infringement. Some patent lawyers think that this may make it easier for juries to overturn a patent. (More in my article here, if you're interested: http://www.networkworld.com/news/2011/060911-microsoft-i4i-patent.html [networkworld.com] ) It's not the same as a ruling that would make it easier for companies to defend against patent infringement suits from bad patents, or if the Bilski case had lead to invalidated "business process" patents altogether ... Yes, the Supreme Court is making it clear that this is up to Congress to fix ... which it really is. But gimme a break ... Members of Congress are a little busy right now arguing over gutting Medicare and scandals involving naughty Twitpics.

Julie

Alternative Word Processors (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36391102)

Are you looking for an free alternative word processing program? I highly recommend AbiWord http://www.abisource.com/

How to change the default file type to .doc - http://www.abisource.com/wiki/FAQ/Always_save_as_Word

CSi4i (0)

XiaoMing (1574363) | more than 3 years ago | (#36391364)

Looks like they had to pay ... *puts on sunglasses*... an i 4 an i.

YYYYYYYYYEEEEEEEEEEEEAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!
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