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Microsoft Loses Second Word Appeal, Owes $240M

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March 12, 2010 5:47:56 PM

So let me put this in a far simpler way:

m$ - 0.24B = i4i

Hi, Tuan!
March 12, 2010 5:48:04 PM

Microsoft will win in the end, unfortunately money talks.
March 12, 2010 5:58:27 PM

tomtompiperMicrosoft will win in the end, unfortunately money talks.

Yuppers...that's how it worked for them when sued by U.S. government years ago!
March 12, 2010 6:07:00 PM

"Soon after the verdict was made public in August, court documents revealed that not only did Microsoft know about the infringement, the company hoped to render i4i's product obsolete with newer versions of Office."

That's funny. M$ steals i4i's patented technology and tries to run them into the ground with it. Kind of like...when M$ took Java and made Visual J# which failed trying to make an open-source technology a M$. Or the Iso program that had open-source code in it...and M$ turned it into proprietary code. Hell, I could go on...
March 12, 2010 6:15:08 PM

At least this is a patent infringement case on a patent that someone is actually applying to a product they have. "Intellectual property" is a joke.
Anonymous
March 12, 2010 6:15:39 PM

They need to make software patents go away, period. And need to make it where if a patent holder doesn't make a product or service within 2 years of a patent being granted, the patent is nullified.
March 12, 2010 6:18:57 PM

$240M seems a like a bit much for something like this. i4i (eye for eye) is more like an arm and a leg in return for a papercut
March 12, 2010 6:19:03 PM

I wonder if Microsoft checked to see if all i4i machines had genuine versions of windows installed and not pirated versions. Hilarity could ensue were it not the case.

I'm no MS fanboi, but i4i is just a patent troll. I know plenty of people who work for companies like that. They do R&D without any intention of marketing their products and then sit on em waiting for one of the big players to slightly infringe on the patent so they can sue.
March 12, 2010 6:27:52 PM

falconqcI wonder if Microsoft checked to see if all i4i machines had genuine versions of windows installed and not pirated versions. Hilarity could ensue were it not the case.I'm no MS fanboi, but i4i is just a patent troll. I know plenty of people who work for companies like that. They do R&D without any intention of marketing their products and then sit on em waiting for one of the big players to slightly infringe on the patent so they can sue.



MarthThey need to make software patents go away, period. And need to make it where if a patent holder doesn't make a product or service within 2 years of a patent being granted, the patent is nullified.



to both of you i4i has products that use the xml patents
March 12, 2010 6:44:45 PM

falconqcI wonder if Microsoft checked to see if all i4i machines had genuine versions of windows installed and not pirated versions. Hilarity could ensue were it not the case.I'm no MS fanboi, but i4i is just a patent troll. I know plenty of people who work for companies like that. They do R&D without any intention of marketing their products and then sit on em waiting for one of the big players to slightly infringe on the patent so they can sue.

it doesn't matters how dirty i4i are matter to the fact, microsoft was convicted in software stealing... if they considering them self as an huge software company, then they should either not get caught or stop stealing other's code.
March 12, 2010 7:13:58 PM

Daggsit doesn't matters how dirty i4i are matter to the fact, microsoft was convicted in software stealing... if they considering them self as an huge software company, then they should either not get caught or stop stealing other's code.


Are they stealing code, or just doing something as vaguely defined in a patent?

I'm pretty sure SenseUI didn't steal any code, but Apple is suing them because it uses their 'patented' two finger gesturing style.



I've noticed that in the tech field, companies are able to get away with using vague patents to bully people. Most likely because the judges aren't particularly knowledgable about a subject.

I think they should have a group of specially trained judges that have a better understanding of the underlying subject matter some day.
March 12, 2010 7:28:41 PM

Screw these lawsuits against MS. I'm gettign really sick of everyone suing the most amazing computer company in the world. Show some respect, we wouldn't even be close to where we are today without MS. Like them or not, that fact is undeniable. They are not perfect, no company is. But constantly cashing out on them with lawsuits will be their downfall. I wouldn't be surprised if the mission statement for some of these small companies is to find a way to nail MS for some copyright or monopoloy infringement. Scumballs.
March 12, 2010 7:51:32 PM

Under the current system i4i sounds like they have a case and are winning, it doesn't matter if they're making products with their IP or just patent trolling.

Ideally I'd rather undo this whole system, software patents need to be much more limited (like 2 years tops) and that's it. After that it should become public domain, because IMO with software you're retarding the entire user experience to the point it becomes harmful to the entire human race which uses software. Most importantly it prevents open source from moving forward either, and the bad part is that when the open source guys come up with patentable technology it usually doesn't get patented.

Secondly how can someone hold xml pattents? XML is supposedly an open standard held and published by W3C. Did i4i really come up with some novel idea that is strictly xml related? I doubt it. I'd really like to hear more about these patents. Even if we don't nuke the entire patent system as it stands right now, there need to be some massive changes to how patents are awarded.

Bottom line is that i4i sounds like they have a legit case and they're winning. Sucks for MS and sucks for the rest of the consumers but that's our legal system and it's not all perfect.
March 12, 2010 9:34:05 PM

OMG will people stop with the lawsuits allready...

March 12, 2010 10:46:37 PM

Damn the justice system slams Microsoft like its cool or something.
I bet they're all mac users. Seriously i think i would buy a mac just so it can get a virus and sue apple for false advertisement. The payment you ask?
all i want is for jobs to say that "apple products are overpriced". *sigh a man can dream can't he?
March 13, 2010 1:19:21 AM

falconqcI'm no MS fanboi, but i4i is just a patent troll. I know plenty of people who work for companies like that. They do R&D without any intention of marketing their products and then sit on em waiting for one of the big players to slightly infringe on the patent so they can sue.


I do agree but beg differ perspective. Microsoft already knew about this. Heck, they even meet the i4i and purposely implement that technology to render i4i obsolete. Normally I have neutral stand when Microsoft is involved, but this action is really irresponsible. Microsoft, if they really want to use that technology, they can acquire it. They have the capability. Instead, they choose to do this way and purposely do so.

And because of their intention, ignorance and purposely doing this, I believe Microsoft should be fined.
March 13, 2010 1:33:04 AM

p05esto said:
Show some respect, we wouldn't even be close to where we are today without MS.

Nope, we'd be well ahead of where we are now. MS, Apple, Adobe etc all hold back the industry with patents and proprietary garbage.
March 13, 2010 2:55:10 AM

expertesterI do agree but beg differ perspective. Microsoft already knew about this. Heck, they even meet the i4i and purposely implement that technology to render i4i obsolete. Normally I have neutral stand when Microsoft is involved, but this action is really irresponsible. Microsoft, if they really want to use that technology, they can acquire it. They have the capability. Instead, they choose to do this way and purposely do so.And because of their intention, ignorance and purposely doing this, I believe Microsoft should be fined.


In Big Business, sometimes you go ahead and steal code, and wager the settlement will be less expensive than the acquisition. Here MS gambled, and probably lost. To them, however, it's just the "lose some" part of the "win some, lose some" philosophy.
March 13, 2010 2:56:13 AM

I'm not saying that it's the most righteous way of conducting business, but it has proven effective many times over.
March 13, 2010 2:03:56 PM

Some people make me laugh, unfortunately an electronic device that does something similar and a code are not the same thing. How much coincidence do you think there is for 2 companies to create the same code (or write the same thing) and call it the same thing (XML) I'm sorry but no matter how you put it and say that i4i is was just waiting for something to vaguely copy it, just does not cut it here. Especially when Microsoft states in the letter, they had previously met with i4i and told them that their product was going to make theirs obsolete and well your product may be good just for XP. LOL I mean with threats like that, who the heck would not sue? I don't really want to pick sides, but there is no way they came up with the same coding and so happens to call it the same thing. Even electronics that do similar things are called differently and are some how build a bit different, they just accomplish the same thing. Coding that is compatible with each other pretty much needs to be written the same way or written with the other one in mind, because no matter how you look at it XML is XML and run it on i4i or Microsoft product it's the same thing. Also it is not the first time Microsoft as been called out on this, a little to many times, plus also slapped in the hand for monopoly in the past, nothing new.

Also some people may want to watch Pirates of Silicon Valley, This is just how Microsoft started as a company, and Apple, big pirates both of them, with such memorable quotes has "Good artists copy, great artists steal." LOL
March 13, 2010 2:49:44 PM

expertesterI do agree but beg differ perspective. Microsoft already knew about this. Heck, they even meet the i4i and purposely implement that technology to render i4i obsolete. Normally I have neutral stand when Microsoft is involved, but this action is really irresponsible. Microsoft, if they really want to use that technology, they can acquire it. They have the capability. Instead, they choose to do this way and purposely do so.And because of their intention, ignorance and purposely doing this, I believe Microsoft should be fined.


I second what expertester says.
MS does those things on purpose.
It Is bullying big ecosystems. It's time MS gets fined a lot more.
Not because I'm against that company for some reason, just because MS is doing crappy things and should be brought to justice.
(Punished for will fully infringment and a whole bunch of other stuff.)
March 13, 2010 4:35:28 PM

To clarify here everyone is saying Microsoft was convicted of "Stealing" software. In fact that's not the case in most software patent cases. What happens is someone at MS comes up with a similar idea and implements it into their software. Later they find out it has already been done and has a patent on it.

These companies certainly don't have access to everyone else's code for stealing. As you can see in the line:

"We saw [i4i's products] some time ago and met its creators. Word 11 will make it obsolete," said Sawicki. "It looks great for XP though," he added.

This is pretty clearly a case of "we came up with the idea too late" not actual code theft. Unfortunately in software design, good ideas are commonplace and not restricted to a single person in the entire world. Patents on code should only be enforced if the code is stolen, not if someone else comes up with the idea on their own.
March 13, 2010 5:53:12 PM

Good news, the convicted monopolist is being held accountable for their actions.
March 13, 2010 6:15:37 PM

nice to see justice isn't licking Microsoft's ass for once.
March 13, 2010 9:27:59 PM

its not like i4i was doing anything with this patent. i have never heard about i4i before they started bitching. i wonder if suing for patent infringement is their business plan?
March 13, 2010 10:08:18 PM

The one patent that really brings me to tears is the one that vaguely states the sales and transmission of music files online. How do you patent that??? Conestoga really missed out on patenting the transportation of humans using the wheel...
Anonymous
March 14, 2010 3:30:19 AM

zachary k - "its not like i4i was doing anything with this patent. i have never heard about i4i before they started bitching. i wonder if suing for patent infringement is their business plan?"

reply:
Maybe XML was used for specific custom purposes, or still under development. Anyways, Microsoft decided to make use of it without proper authorization from i4i. You wouldn't like it if you created and patented a cute little do-it-all 'widget' program for your local college to use, then find out Microsoft started using your program in the Office suite without telling you. Then the whole world, including your local college, starts using your program within Microsoft Office but nobody knows you even exist, and your still broke - would you be mad? If you're the first to create something, it's yours (be sure to patent it, though) and you should get the credit and recognition for it. If someone comes along and wants to use it, they either have to get permission from you or pay you, whichever YOU want, or you can deny them from using it and they will have to look elsewhere for their solution. -And please don't reply with something stupid like "I would be proud that Microsft is using my program..." because it would only show how much of an idiot you are for allowing a multi-billion dollar corporation to use your software without paying you a cent. And about i4i being a patent troll, put a lid on that sh*t! If you came up with a good idea, it would behoove you (or any corporation) to try their best to market it. There is no benefit from sitting on a good idea. If you sit on it too long or charge too much to use it, people will dismiss it and move on and newer technology will come along and replace it or make it obsolete. A company could not function if all they did was sit on patents, maybe so for state-of-the-art technology where a company may be waiting for certain market conditions to open up before deploying, but not on patents. How would they generate income then, buy HOPING some bigger company will come along and buy them out or infringe on their patent? Palease, that sounds like a gamble, not a market strategy. I'm pretty sure i4i was doing something with XML but just not in a large enough scale to be globally recognized, until Microsoft came along.
March 14, 2010 5:09:24 AM

@ Bill Shett
and they waited this long, for word to earn this much money to sue them? they just want the cash, not the patent.
March 14, 2010 8:23:40 PM

Will Microsoft take it all the way to the Supreme Court? Inquiring minds want to know!
March 14, 2010 10:35:32 PM

This is just the latest incident in which MS has been caught using someone else's work. One of the early incident of this was with MS-DOS 6.0, 1993, where they included Stac Electronics disk compression software.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stac_Electronics
March 15, 2010 12:39:04 AM

Won't be seeing Office H&S dropping below 129.99 for a while now ^_^
March 15, 2010 5:44:41 AM

It's ok I have a patent on the mouse click so I am going to sue everyone for patent infringement for clicking there mouse. This stuff is getting dumb for the most part. Everyone suing everyone!!!
March 15, 2010 10:22:28 AM

Poor micro$uxx got something more than a slight slap on the wrist, for willfully, and repeatedly, infringing on others IP? And those "bastards" at i4i didn't crouch in cowardice, and beg for mercy, for daring to sue the biggest patent troll in history?
Something is surely wrong, as the collective whines of the wintarded micro$uxx fankiddie herd will tell you, filling the void...
Of course, every time m$ doesn't "win" a case, it's a "miscarriage of justice".

Finally a news article almost without the usual spin and bias. Oh wait, the usual black sheep (the rotten fruit) isn't even mentioned, to get all the blame...
March 15, 2010 5:26:24 PM

I would love to see M$ lose the right to sell word. After all the crap they have pulled, they have no respect, or right to sell anything.
March 15, 2010 7:15:14 PM

When you steal and lie Intel/MS it time to pay up. Everyone keep suing this greed company until they fall to there knee.
March 15, 2010 7:16:44 PM

These patent lawsuits are getting ridiculous. Basically anyone trying to compete with i4i's products could face law suits such as this. The changes to word were key features *required* by the customer base. i4i should not be allowed to patent a customer's need so that they can effectively cut out the competition.


March 15, 2010 7:57:56 PM

Mike00How much coincidence do you think there is for 2 companies to create the same code (or write the same thing) and call it the same thing (XML)


There is no accusation of code theft. You misunderstand the lawsuit. This is about implementing the same IDEA, not using the same CODE.

Mike00
I'm sorry but no matter how you put it and say that i4i is was just waiting for something to vaguely copy it, just does not cut it here. Especially when Microsoft states in the letter, they had previously met with i4i and told them that their product was going to make theirs obsolete and well your product may be good just for XP. LOL I mean with threats like that, who the heck would not sue?


Again you misunderstand. This was an internal e-mail, where a Microsoft employee was saying to another, "their technology is good, but once we release Word 11 there will be no point." In other words, there might be some use to i4i's products but Microsoft was implementing something similar which would make it unnecessary. This was no threat. i4i did not read this e-mail.


You can argue whatever you like about whether this is an abuse of the patent system or whether Microsoft just stole i4i's idea. But this is not about code theft or threats. And the fact that Microsoft had seen i4i's products does not prove in the slightest that they knew Word to infringe on an i4i patent. They most likely assumed that the incredibly generic use of XML in their product was not patentable.

Do a little research next time.
March 16, 2010 12:59:01 AM

Microsoft did not steal any code or invention. They simply used, a rather broad "idea" for which i4i simply happened to file a patent.

I read i4i's patent. I kid you not! The following over-view is in no way any more simplistic and broadly termed than the actual legal patent filed by i4i.

The idea:
Rather than keeping all the tags (i.e. formatting commands) in-line within the main document itself (precisely what HTML or LaTex does), store all the tags in a separate attached file. That file also includes information on where to insert all the tags in the main document file.

So basically this "idea" allows the user to view a document in two ways:
- allows you to view the document without any special formatting or inserted objects. This may be desirable lets say, to prevent a customer from seeing proprietary tables or charts.

or

- you can used the attached file to reinsert all the in-line formatting information into the main file, Now the document viewer can show display the document with all the original formatting and attached objects (in other words, pointers to graphs, pictures, applications, etc).

This reminds me of another case of patent law running amok:
When the Wright Brothers flew the first airplane they didn't just patent their design (wing-warping for steering - quickly made obsolete by flaps and rudders) but also patented the "idea" of heavier than air flight. As a result no one else could sell aircraft in the US without their permission. Glen Curtiss, who was arguably more revolutionary and influential in the development of the modern aircraft, could only sell his (original and modern designs) in Europe. As a result, while aviation development stagnated in the US for over 10 years, Europe surged ahead using Curtiss's designs.

!