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Company Claims Patent Over XML

Zonk posted more than 8 years ago | from the such-a-headache dept.

Patents 421

Aviran Mordo writes "News.com reports that a small software developer plans to seek royalties from companies that use XML, the latest example of patent claims embroiling the tech industry. Charlotte, N.C-based Scientigo owns two patents (No. 5,842,213 and No. 6,393,426) covering the transfer of 'data in neutral forms.' These patents, one of which was applied for in 1997, are infringed upon by the data-formatting standard XML, Scientigo executives assert."

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421 comments

One word - EDIFACT (5, Informative)

pieterh (196118) | more than 8 years ago | (#13846886)

http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q=define+edifac t&btnG=Google+Search [google.com]

Significantly older than 1997, and achieved the same goals as XML, though much less elegantly.

Antother word perwill... (3, Informative)

oliverthered (187439) | more than 8 years ago | (#13846939)

'Perwill's EDI software, which went live in 1992/3.'

Perwill [google.co.uk] is a horrible piece of software written by Polaris that maps from one text based format to another, it's mainly used for EDI but can be used for anything (you could probably setup an XML/SGML template if you could bare using the software for that long).

Two words (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13847116)

F*CK THEY.

LOL PATENTS RULE LOL (1)

LOL PATENTS RULE LOL (903720) | more than 8 years ago | (#13846887)

LOL PATENTS RULE LOL

Patenting Patents (5, Funny)

bldp (912036) | more than 8 years ago | (#13846889)

Somebody should patent the patent process. Quite possibly the only way to screw it up more.

Re:Patenting Patents (5, Funny)

psst (777711) | more than 8 years ago | (#13846960)

I have seen this comment posted in every article related to patent abuse. In fact, I am thinking of patenting the idea of patenting the patent process, just so it never comes up on slashdot again. Of course, at some point someone would take it even further and patent patenting my idea, and the someone else ... blah blah blah ... I think you get the idea =)

Re:Patenting Patents (0, Redundant)

Mayhem178 (920970) | more than 8 years ago | (#13847033)

I own the patent for the process of patenting the patent process for a patent. You all owe me money.

Re:Patenting Patents (5, Funny)

bldp (912036) | more than 8 years ago | (#13847063)

We'll just create Godwin's rule of Patent threads.

As an online discussion about patents grows longer, the probability someone saying "I'll just patent the patent process" approaches 1.

Re:Patenting Patents (1)

trip23 (727132) | more than 8 years ago | (#13847010)

Somebody should patent the patent process. Quite possibly the only way to screw it up more.

The patent office already patented the process.

Re:Patenting Patents (1, Informative)

thuh Freak (725126) | more than 8 years ago | (#13847154)

someone should patent using teh same fucking joke everytime a patent story comes up. or maybe patent the mod process that keeps rewarding people like you.

No wonder you guys are so crazy about patents (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13846892)

if only i could patent the first post, but another anonymous coward would probably claim prior art.

SGML? (4, Informative)

slavemowgli (585321) | more than 8 years ago | (#13846897)

But XML is essentially just a stricter version of SGML, which was developed in the 1960s already. Certainly that is prior art?

Re:SGML? (2, Informative)

julesh (229690) | more than 8 years ago | (#13846957)

While technologically XML is a descendent of SGML, it's used for a substantially different goal: SGML is intended for markup of documents, XML is intended for rendering non-document structured data in a way that allows it to be processed independently of its data type.

As these patents are very clearly about data, not documents, I don't think SGML is a valid antecedent.

That doesn't mean there aren't any. ASN.1 or S-Exprs spring to mind as candidates.

Re:SGML? (2, Informative)

slavemowgli (585321) | more than 8 years ago | (#13846996)

Oh, and to the idiot who modded this redundant, if you compare the comment ids, you'll notice that I was actually the first to point this out. Sheesh, if you have to mod down at all, at least mod down the *later* posts, idiot.

Re:SGML? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13847049)

I am not the person who modded you down. However, in his/her defense, everything in your original post was stated in the first page of the article. That qualifies as redundant in my book.

From the article:

"Sunstein noted that XML is derived from SGML, which dates back to the 1980s. SGML, in turn, is based on computing concepts from the 1960s. If Scientigo's claims were ever litigated, the company would have to address all the prior work on data formats."

Re:SGML? (5, Funny)

afd8856 (700296) | more than 8 years ago | (#13847131)

On slashdot, only the anonymous coward reads the article. Us, cowboys, will head straight to the arena for a quick round of trolling and fighting.

Re:SGML? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13847109)

amen

Re:SGML? (1)

putko (753330) | more than 8 years ago | (#13847146)

How about S-expressions? Those are from 1959 or so -- the birth of lisp.

That stuff is just based on the Lambda Calculus -- from the 30s.

And then there's just plain old "mathematical notation" -- I just don't see how this stuff, if it is as abstract as XML, isn't going to just be mathematical notation. Which goes back to what -- Ancient China? The Assyrians?

Ahh, but I recently patented "Data" (2, Funny)

Isca (550291) | more than 8 years ago | (#13846902)

I will require one non-screwed up patent system as my royalty.

Standard /. comments (0)

lastchance_000 (847415) | more than 8 years ago | (#13846903)

Cue all the comments on patenting breathing, 1s and 0s etc. etc.

Neutral? (1)

hesiod (111176) | more than 8 years ago | (#13846906)

I may not understand what they mean by "neutral," but couldn't that be construed to mean any open standard? Otherwise, XML doesn't transfer data at all, let alone in a neutral format. The format is defined by the use!

There Goes OpenDocument!!! (0, Flamebait)

Master Eclipse (782488) | more than 8 years ago | (#13846907)

Well, I guess I'm not supprised. Does anybody else smell a Rat? After all, Micro$oft would love to sue OpenOffice and Open Document to the ground!!!!

Re:There Goes OpenDocument!!! (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13846970)

Um, no? MS's new document formats are XML based as well.

Re:There Goes OpenDocument!!! (1)

advocate_one (662832) | more than 8 years ago | (#13847055)

Um, no? MS's new document formats are XML based as well.

Doesn't matter... Microsoft would quite happily pay the royalties while watching OpenOffice.org go down the tubes...

I spent 20 minutes filling out that form... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13846909)

Now pay me 50 kagillion dollars please.

Re:I spent 20 minutes filling out that form... (0)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 8 years ago | (#13847080)

I'll take your kagillion and raise you a gazillion!

Umm...Prior Art? (2, Insightful)

Mad-Mage1 (235582) | more than 8 years ago | (#13846911)

XML is a derivative of SGML..WAY Older than 1997, I can't see how an IP attorney would suggest they actually litigate this. There is A LOT of prior art to go through, in a LOT of formats...This is going to take YEARS in a best case.

Re:Umm...Prior Art? (2, Insightful)

hitchhikerjim (152744) | more than 8 years ago | (#13847068)

Yeah -- but this one is going to be a battle of definitions I believe. I was around during the beginnings of XML and working with several of the companies that created XML (on other projeects)... SoftQuad and several other SGML product makers. They originally envisioned XML as a "simpler" version of SGML... and a way to capitalize on the web market that they were rapidly losing to companies that made products that were simpler in concept. ...and this all happened right around 1997. And I have some vague memory of Paul Odom, currently of Scientigo was involved. If he was the only one to file a patent, then people are screwed on this.

But I think it'll boil down to whether or not XML is actually different from SGML, or just a re-definition or derivation. IMHO it's a simpler re-definition/derivation. But others would differ on that.

Years you say? (1)

msimm (580077) | more than 8 years ago | (#13847092)

And yet you can't see how an IP attorney would suggest such a thing..

:)

Can you get more generic? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13846912)

How much more generic than "data in neutral form" can you get?

If such patents are held to be enforcable you americans really need to start shooting the judiciary to help them get a sense of priorities sorted.

Re:Can you get more generic? (2, Insightful)

Onan (25162) | more than 8 years ago | (#13847001)

How much more generic than "data in neutral form" can you get?
If the writeup is accurate (a big supposition), this is pretty absurd. I'm amused by the very notion of patenting doing things not in any particular way.
If such patents are held to be enforcable you americans really need to start shooting the judiciary to help them get a sense of priorities sorted.
I have always held that the second ammendment has been broadly misunderstood: its goal was to allow people to overturn the government as necessary, not shoot burglars in their homes. Thus, using a gun on a criminal should still be classed as vigilanteism and a crime itself, but shooting any government official or law enforcement officer should be a constitutionally-protected right.

Maybe, I'm just a cock-eyed optimist but... (2, Interesting)

badbrownie (879761) | more than 8 years ago | (#13847078)

... I like to imagine that the person claiming these patent rights is doing so to shake some sense into the whole system. They must Know that there's no chance they can win, but the attempt to do so will force some lines to be drawn that will help a million more ambiguous cases. Am I the only one to think that this patent claim is the best thing to ever happen to software patents.

Bring it on so we can get clearer rules on when software patents have crossed over the line into the Land of Silly

Looooosers. (5, Informative)

Godeke (32895) | more than 8 years ago | (#13846919)

According to this:

http://www.ukoln.ac.uk/web-focus/events/workshops/ webmaster-2002/materials/savory/slides/img18.html [ukoln.ac.uk]

the XML draft specification was prepared in November 1996. Good luck with that January 28, 1997 filing date.

As the article points out, XML is an outgrowth of SGML, which goes way before these filings. Yet somehow both patents manage to recognize neither SGML nor XML as prior art. Patent trolls indeed, I'm looking forward to the crunching sound their company makes when it is crushed. XML is too entrenched for the big players to ignore these losers.

Re:Looooosers. (0)

Yartrebo (690383) | more than 8 years ago | (#13846980)

A peculiarity of the US patent system is that anyone can file for a patent for up to 1 year after the idea is officially published. It's perfectly legal to find an unpatented discovery in a magazine, patent it, and the sue the original devoloper.

Unfortunately, that draft specification wouldn't qualify as prior art under our dumb laws.

Re:Looooosers. (1)

Tankko (911999) | more than 8 years ago | (#13847044)

Good thing you don't have a clue what you're talking about.

Re:Looooosers. (4, Informative)

1ucius (697592) | more than 8 years ago | (#13847135)

Incorrect, fortunately. You can't patent something you didn't invent (i.e., independently conceive). 35 USC 102(f). Moreover, even assuming your hypothetical patentee did independently invent the same thing, they would need to prove they conceived that invention before the publication date of the draft specification or magazine. 35 USC 102(a). They may also need to prove they conceived the invention before the author of the publication. 35 USC 102(e) and 102(g).

Re:Looooosers. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13847014)

I'd like to point out that the filing date is not necessarily the date of invention. They're two distinct things.

Though, it does lead one to believe that they'd have to do a lot of swearing behind to make the patent valid.

Re:Looooosers. (2, Informative)

kfg (145172) | more than 8 years ago | (#13847152)

As the article points out, XML is an outgrowth of SGML, which goes way before these filings.

More than that, the patent specifies non-heirarchical. XML is specifically heirarchical.

What they actually seem to have patented here is delimited ASCII.

KFG

XML predates this patent filing (5, Interesting)

jesup (8690) | more than 8 years ago | (#13846921)

From http://www.xml.com/pub/a/w3j/s3.paoli.html [xml.com] :

"Microsoft cofounded the XML working group at the W3C in July 96 and actively participated in the definition of the standard."

This was used in IE4.00 for their Channel Definition File (used to schedule "Pull" of channels, an idea that's largely died). I was implementing CDF files at Scala in '96/97. The patent was filed in '97.

Re:XML predates this patent filing (0, Troll)

netfall (721323) | more than 8 years ago | (#13847083)

So what you're saying is that now Micro$oft is going to file for the XML patent once this one gets thrown out? dAMN THEM!

Patent protections (2, Insightful)

totallygeek (263191) | more than 8 years ago | (#13846922)

What is really accomplished in all this? No one has stopped making websites with GIF images. After I install Fedora on my box, I race out for the MP3 libs. So, if this goes through, we will all continue to use XML regardless?

RSS... (1)

illumina+us (615188) | more than 8 years ago | (#13846924)

Everyone prepare to be sued for your use of RSS.

I don't get it... (5, Insightful)

SimReg (99053) | more than 8 years ago | (#13846925)

Do these companies just forget they have a patent on some technology/feature and then 8 years later when their patent is included in a standard and a huge part of the community they say "Hey, didn't we patent that 8 years ago?"

There really needs to be some reform that states a company has 90 days, 1 year, or some short fixed period of time to bring a suit against a product, starting from the time it hits the market and is available to the public, the industry, or something.

The idea that you can silently sit on patents waiting for the world to embrace an obvious idea is an abuse of the system.

Re:I don't get it... (2, Interesting)

just_another_sean (919159) | more than 8 years ago | (#13847052)

Exactly! There was a recent ruling to that effect regarding a guy named Lemelson. Although the guy in question waited between 18 - 39 years before he started going after the industry. The original article I read on this is at Groklaw [groklaw.net] with a follow up concerning a ruling against Lemelson there [groklaw.net] as well. The basic gist is that a party may base a reasonable defense against patent infringement on the fact that the plaintiff waited too long to bring a case against them. I would hope that applies here as well!

Re:I don't get it... (1)

jzeejunk (878194) | more than 8 years ago | (#13847091)

There really needs to be some reform that states a company has 90 days, 1 year, or some short fixed period of time to bring a suit against a product, starting from the time it hits the market and is available to the public, the industry, or something.

but then consider this ... say a joe schmo opens a coffee shop named google in timbuktu. even if google comes to know that there has been a "trademark" violation its simply not worth it for them to go after such "google"s because a) such small violations don't cause harm to google and b) legal costs so they would just decide to ignore/wait. now over time our joe schmo's google might become big enough to jeopardize google's business. it'd be feasible for google to go after a violater then. now by waiting i don't think the original patent/trademark holder did anything wrong. i mean why should the original trademark/patent holder pay the price for being lenient. i think it depends on case to case. its difficult to come up with a generic time limit to enforce legal rights.

Re:I don't get it... (1)

ginotech (816751) | more than 8 years ago | (#13847139)

because google is going to be hurt by a coffee shop

Re:I don't get it... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13847094)

At common law there is an equitable defense of laches. It's not clear that that should apply to patents.

More on point, the defense of inequitable conduct for enforcing patent rights was held to be invalid.

Patents are what they are. If it's valid, the patent owner may use the right to prevent another from making, using and/or selling an infringing product. You can't cherry pick the patents you do and do not like.

Of course, that's why litigation always follows the: I didn't do it, even if I did the patent isn't enforceable, or even if it is enforceable it's not valid defense strategy.

One word for you: (1)

CompSci101 (706779) | more than 8 years ago | (#13846926)

HA!

This is a joke (and a shitty one) if ever there was one.

They realize that they're suing very narrowly, anyway, right? XHTML is a subset of XML -- why not sue everyone on the web that claims compatibility with the XHTML doctype?

Absurd.

Invalid Claim (5, Informative)

robbyjo (315601) | more than 8 years ago | (#13846929)

From the patent abstract:

The present invention simplifies the data modeling process and enables its full dynamic versioning by employing a non-hierarchical non-integrated structure to the organization of information.

XML is hierarchical data structure. Hence, his claim isn't valid.

Re:Invalid Claim (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13847017)

"non-hierarchical non-integrated structure to the organization of information"

*baffled*

How the hell can you organize information into a non-hierarchical non-integrated structure? Organize by definition means integrated and structured information. Sounds more like they've patented unorganized data...

Re:Invalid Claim (1)

m0rph3us0 (549631) | more than 8 years ago | (#13847093)

RDBMS systems do it all day long.

Both non-integrated, and non-hierarchical. It is the relation that defines the organization of the data. It sounds more like they patented relational databases than XML.

Re:Invalid Claim (1)

doj8 (542402) | more than 8 years ago | (#13847095)

> Sounds more like they've patented unorganized data...

Isn't unorganized data equivalent to noise?
So, they've patented static, in other words.

What an idiotic patent [office]...

Re:Invalid Claim (4, Insightful)

RexRhino (769423) | more than 8 years ago | (#13847077)

Yes!

Now all you need is two years and $5,000,000 for the legal fees to prove it in court!

I've got a great idea: (4, Funny)

BrakesForElves (806095) | more than 8 years ago | (#13846942)

That's it... I'm going to patent an "agency enabling litigous under-achievers to assert ownership rights for ideas completely obvious to the most casual observer, and exacting confiscatory license fees therefrom". Yep, I'm going to patent the U.S. Patent Office, then chage dickheads like these "patent license" fees for using _my_ patented invention: The patent office.

Can I use PayPal for payment? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13846943)

I use XML. Just wondering if I can pay by PayPal or will I need to give them my credit card details directly? I couldn't find a way to pay on their website.

From the patents... (1)

boldtbanan (905468) | more than 8 years ago | (#13846946)

The patents talk about data transmission in non-hierarchical forms only...isn't XML hierarchical with a defined structure...parents, children, etc. Doesn't seem like the patents cited here apply.

First Post! (0)

NorthDude (560769) | more than 8 years ago | (#13846948)

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>

<slashdot>
        <comment user="Northdude" moderation="-1: troll" date="2005-10-21 15:29:21 PM">
                First post? Maybe not, because of the lameness filter...
        </comment>
</slashdot>

Re:First Post! (1, Troll)

Bake (2609) | more than 8 years ago | (#13847057)

15:29:21 PM..... ?

The use of a 24 hour timestamp implicitly means that you do NOT use the AM or PM notion (IMO a silly notion btw...)

Just as an FYI :-)

Bah. (2, Insightful)

sethadam1 (530629) | more than 8 years ago | (#13846951)

Let's review the patenet, line 1:

The present invention simplifies the data modeling process and enables its full dynamic versioning by employing a non-hierarchical non-integrated structure to the organization of information.

Uh... is it just me, or is XML ENTIRELY hierarchical?? In fact, it won't validate if you don't have elements nested properly. How can they even be serious?

Re:Bah. (1)

hey! (33014) | more than 8 years ago | (#13847147)

is XML ENTIRELY hierarchical??

Well, nonhierarchical is just a special case of hierarchical.

Look at your typical Java application configuration file, where for no perceptible reason the good old property file format is replaced with XML. In many cases, XML is used as CSV for the twenty-first century.

Data Structures (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13846953)

Good 'ol data structures are superior to XML anways.

More efficient, easier to read, etc.

Ya, mod me troll. Whatever.

I for one hope they get their royalties... (1)

snapman (173642) | more than 8 years ago | (#13846954)

...less XML in my professional life would be an excellent thing. :)

USPTO - Again (5, Insightful)

geomon (78680) | more than 8 years ago | (#13846959)

This fact:

Charlotte, N.C.-based Scientigo owns two patents (No. 5,842,213 and No. 6,393,426) covering the transfer of "data in neutral forms." These patents, one of which was applied for in 1997, are infringed upon by the data-formatting standard XML, Scientigo executives assert.

combined with this fact:

Daly noted that companies or even individuals often make patent claims on XML. For example, Microsoft, which uses XML as the foundation of many of its products, was awarded a patent for programming techniques related to XML.

shows me that the USPTO hopelessly is fucked up.

These people are either overwhelmed by the number of claims and have no time to do the proper research before granting a patent, or they are are just plain stupid. I'm going to be generous and assume that these examiners are given a quota that they have to have resolved each week and that they haven't the time or resources to validate every claim. There is probably also a lack of expertise in the USPTO to properly vet the claims made in these applications.

Patent is for a Non-hierarchical format (1)

CannedTurkey (920516) | more than 8 years ago | (#13846964)

Which XML isn't.

Burn all XML!!! (1)

grumbel (592662) | more than 8 years ago | (#13846967)

Time to start a 'Burn all XML' capain and get everybody to switch the good old S-Expressions =;)

1960's prior art (1)

dtfinch (661405) | more than 8 years ago | (#13846971)

XML is basically a subset of SGML, which has been around since the 60's and was standardized in 1986. I haven't RTFP though.

Neutral? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13846972)

I may not have a clear understanding but if it is patented, doesn't that make it non-neutral?

Patents don't apply to hierarchal data (2, Informative)

Swamii (594522) | more than 8 years ago | (#13846974)

From the patent submission,


The present invention simplifies the data modeling process and enables its full dynamic versioning by employing a non-hierarchical non-integrated structure to the organization of information.


How exactly is XML non-hierarchal? Every bit of XML I've seen is all data contained in tags that is structured in a hierarchy of other tags. And if XML is hierarchal, then how do these patents apply to XML data, are they claiming it falls under the "non-integrated" data? Heck, I could throw together a text file and transfer the data over like that, and that would non-integrated. Are they planning on patenting plain text too? This is ludicris. Any tech company with a vested interest in software needs to voice their complains about the horrific software patent situation.

These insane patents are a good thing... (5, Insightful)

RexRhino (769423) | more than 8 years ago | (#13846982)

These insane patents are actually the best thing that could have ever happened. The way things are going now, there is going to have to be a major overhaul of the patent system. The instane patents have made it dramaticly clear that there is something wrong with the system (these are the tech equivelents of suing McDonalds because your kids are fat).

Had companies been less aggressive in patenting and litigating nearly anything possible, the system might go on how it is now for decades. These people are making the patent system collapse in a way that those against software patents don't have the power to do.

Re:These insane patents are a good thing... (1)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 8 years ago | (#13847142)

These people are making the patent system collapse in a way that those against software patents don't have the power to do.

Yeah ... but unlike the rest of us they are getting rich.

GML (2, Informative)

rlp (11898) | more than 8 years ago | (#13846990)

From Wikipedia: SGML is a descendant of IBM's Generalized Markup Language (GML), developed in the 1960s by Charles Goldfarb, Edward Mosher and Raymond Lorie.

The response this deserves (4, Funny)

MillionthMonkey (240664) | more than 8 years ago | (#13846991)

<?xml version="1.0"?>
<bite attr="me"/>

Grounds for throwing the case out... (1)

bot (235273) | more than 8 years ago | (#13846992)

... abound.
  • The patents refer to "data modeling, storage and transfer in a particular non-hierarchical, non-integrated neutral form." XML documents, with a 'root' node, are by nature hierarchical.
  • Can you say prior art? SGML [coverpages.org] , which begat XML and HTML, dates back to the 60s [coverpages.org] .

EEEE (0, Redundant)

Darksoftnet (911923) | more than 8 years ago | (#13846994)

Yikes, that is some scary shit!

Prior Art and them some. (1)

BuffaloBill (246747) | more than 8 years ago | (#13846995)

Well PHI did that for us in our payroll product in 1968. John Cullinane and Gil Curtis generalized it for the rest of the world in 1970. You guys bought it as Culprit, Culprit-Audit....in fact we bought three flavors of our own product from them. Any way we thought SGML defined the product in a much more elegant way, and that resulted in HTML, XML, etc.etc.etc... I gonna patent the conversion of English to Sanscrit, you never can tell when it will become popular eh?

Whitespace (1)

markmcb (855750) | more than 8 years ago | (#13847005)

That's it, I'm going through with my patent on whitespace. You're all going down! Mwuhuahahahahaha!

Whoneedswhitespace? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13847097)

Icangetbywithoutitjustfinethankyouverymuch.

Re:Whitespace (1)

Cunk (643486) | more than 8 years ago | (#13847153)

GoAhead.ThinkOfAllTheSavedBandwidthAndDriveSpaceTh atWouldResultIfPeopleWereDiscouragedFromExcessiveW hitespaceUsage.

Re:Whitespace (1)

my $anity 0 (917519) | more than 8 years ago | (#13847161)

I-would-never-let-you-do-that...

Thank God (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13847018)

Now we finally have an excuse to kill off XML.

patent improvement (2, Interesting)

alzoron (210577) | more than 8 years ago | (#13847025)

What I would really like to know with all these generic patent infringment cases is what happened to being able to make an improvement to an existing patent and being able to create a new seperate patent without infringing on the original?

Example:

There is a patent for a widget to generate a generic document for an electronic medium. I come along and come up with a widget based on the same ideas but generates documents specially suited for view on, let's say, a handheld computer.

I would be using the same basic idea as the creator of the original widget, but with my improvements it has a much more specialized area, and performs in this area much better than the original could have.

This won't stop... (1)

AlltheCoolNamesGone (838035) | more than 8 years ago | (#13847034)

until it becomes an issue for non technical people (Joe Blow) and that won't happen until they patent something more insanely stupid than what currently has been patented and the Patent office upholds it.

And I for one don't see that happening....

Maybe somebody should hire Jack Thompson to sue the patent office; he just might be the only lawyer fanatically stupid enough to do it.

I wonder who... (0, Flamebait)

nagora (177841) | more than 8 years ago | (#13847047)

would bankroll something which is a direct attack on OpenOffice....hmmm?

Re:I wonder who... (1)

MikeB90 (857499) | more than 8 years ago | (#13847089)

No one would. Name one major software company (MS included) that doesn't heavily use xml, soap, web serveices based on these things. This is just a desperate money grab. No conspiracy here

This is rediculous (sp?) (1)

JordanL (886154) | more than 8 years ago | (#13847056)

You shouldn't be able to patent a concept of data. Data perhaps, but a type of data? Wouldn't any open standard be a 'neutral form'?

Re:This is rediculous (sp?) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13847114)

"This is rediculous (sp?)"

It wouldn't kill you to check your damn spelling.

Somebody's Crying SCO (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13847062)

Sounds a lot like SCO to me.

Doyal Bryant is da New Hot Shit in Town (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13847064)

Move over, Darl McBride, your days of glory are over. Get ready to be schooled by Wizard Doyal and his "Elemental patents" [sic -see Web site], now unleashing the power of D&D to annihilate tech companies using patents made of air, fire, water, and earth (but mostly air).

Well, they still need dreamweaver... (3, Funny)

twocents (310492) | more than 8 years ago | (#13847065)

Wow, so a company that claims a patent on xml uses Dreamweaver to build their Web site?

SCO investing (2, Funny)

wastedbrains (588579) | more than 8 years ago | (#13847067)

I am pretty sure that SCO is thinking about investing in this small company... Microsoft will probably just try to purchase this company... Open Source will show prior art to this company... All employess will be replaced by lawers at this company... All of the lawsuits will fail this company... Lawers will be the only ones to profit from this company... The lawers find a way to ruin every profession,or at least get a cut, much like how coders should be held accountable to all the security flaws of the code they write... yeah i would quite my job and claim patents the day that happens.

Armchair Patent Attorneys (1)

Peyna (14792) | more than 8 years ago | (#13847074)

Let the Armchair Patent Attorney contest begin! Whoever can come up with a conclusion based upon the least amount of evidence and reasoning wins one free week of 24 hours a day reading of patent applications.

4/1 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13847085)

hey wait, 4/1 isn't for a few months yet!

"a small software developer" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13847087)

Please don't make fun of the vertically challenged.

Ha, ha, ha, ha...... (1)

mc900ftjesus (671151) | more than 8 years ago | (#13847105)

This is great, all of these rediculous patents coming out are wonderful. Now MS, IBM, Google, and all the rest of the big dogs get to try to unfuck what they thought would be the best way to corner the market. Way to go patent happy companies, if you would have just tried to let the best code win you would have been fine but you had to patent everything in sight, now look at the mess you have to deal with.

I'll fix the patent system, ready? You can only patent an implementation of an idea, not an idea. For instance, you can patent your code, but not what it does. Or just hire some people down at the USPTO that aren't total fuckwits that understand this concept to begin with.

I've got news for you (1)

thesnarky1 (846799) | more than 8 years ago | (#13847106)

I recently patented the use of two numbers, 1 and 0, and the use of them in representing a set of data or instructions. Along those lines I also copyrighted two digital songs, one consisting of the bit 1, and the other consisting of the bit 0. Since every peice of digital music repeats my songs more then 4 times (a whooooole lot more) every song is is copyright violation and owes me big. *shakes head* Will we NEVER see the end of these riduculous claims of copyright/patent/whatever-you-want-money-for infringement?! These are getting just plain absurd, as many of the comments above have pointed out, XML is based way earlier then '97, and its pointless for them to try and pursue this. I'm getting disgusted by the patent/copyright system in this country (from an American) and the greedyness people have in pursuing their (perceived) "rights". You can't wait 8 years, then all of a sudden realize something that many people are using is, in fact, your property, and you deserve money for it, that's plain absurd. Why didn't this come years ago, or were they living under a rock and not following tech developments? FTFA: "We're not interested in having us against the world. We're just looking for ways to leverage an asset; we have pretty concrete proof that makes us feel comfortable saying it is an asset," The first statement is quite pointless, because anything they try to pursue would be them "against the world" because of how many people use XML. Then 'leverage an asset' makes it sound like their patent is some way to get the company a ton of money (granted, a good reason to patent something) which *would* pit them against whoever is using "their product" due to infringement. *shakes head again* These stories of greed astound me, and for those who will aruge "well, if its true, they have a right to it", I'd say to read the dates on the patents (the newest is 2002) and wonder why they didn't pursue settlement back then? Greed is the only possible reason, plain and simple. Sure, they *might* have a case, is XML was started a few months later and not based on something decades older, but the fact is they don't.

Prior Art: 1960 (2, Funny)

ENOENT (25325) | more than 8 years ago | (#13847124)

John McCarthy invented LISP.

Since XML is just LISP S-expressions made ugly, there's your prior art.

I guess they could try to patent ugliness...

Scientigo is right! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13847144)

They definitely have a good case here.

But the silver lining.. (2, Funny)

Free_Trial_Thinking (818686) | more than 8 years ago | (#13847148)

Of course it would be nice if we could all get an excuse not to use XML ...

how dumb are patents? (1)

lasermike026 (528051) | more than 8 years ago | (#13847158)

ok, how dumb are patents in the modern word? People that claim "Intellectual Property" rights are parasites. They should get a real job.
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