Microsoft and XML Patents

This article is kind of troubling.  It troubles me because they patented the concept of putting meta-tags in XML that map to inline style changes defined in a supplemental file.  I can understand patenting the supplemental file; I can understand patenting the mapping schema; but this is patenting a concept that seems, at least on the surface, very generic in nature.

i4i LP is only targetting Microsoft at this point, but they also clearly state that the ODF 1.2 specification violates their patent.  It would be a shame is this got in the way of the innovation coming out of the OpenOffice.org project.  Even Microsoft is hopping on board to support ODF in their next service pack of Office 2007.  Believe it or not, I disagree with this law suit; their narrow focus of Microsoft makes this seem personal against Microsoft and not about the general concept.  It also took them 2 years to find this?  I hope a victory can be scored for freedom of innovation here.

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About John

I write about technology interests, cooking, and my own writing (sci-fi and fantasy... sometimes both). I try to keep things light, but sometimes I get side-tracked on an issue that I feel strongly about. No offense is meant, I'm just like any other person who feels strongly about something when I write. View all posts by John

One response to “Microsoft and XML Patents

  • Jim Marks

    Technology patenting has been exceptionally broken for a long, long time.

    Many “companies” clearly do nothing but create patents on highly generic concepts, then wait for someone else to develop a working version and establish a revenue stream. Only then do they get sued. No point in suing someone over an idea they don’t yet -need-.

    Sony got sued over their “dual shock” controller technology nearly five years after launching it, just as they were getting ready to begin ramp up to launch the PS3. The timing was clearly deliberate so as to put Sony in a position to -need- to settle on some very large fee because w/o dual shock, their new system would simply put be worth a lot less to consumers who had spent five years becoming accustomed to the feature.

    It is good to hear that M$ is attempting to shield ODF, in spite of their own efforts to corrupt it.

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