Saturday, May 30, 2009

Patent Trolling or Patent Infringement

It's hard trying to make head or tails about the i4i v Microsoft case. Anybody interested in a robust tech industry needs to be concerned about this. Large, powerful entities can't simply take processes created by smaller firms but neither should we allow the copyright process be taken advantage of.

The patent in question is for separating the manipulation of content from the architecture of the document, which the company, named i4i argues, covers basic XML editing. It's quite troubling that doing something as simple as adding an XML editor should infringe on a patent, but what's even more troubling is that the court somehow ruled that such an editor was worth $98 in the copies of Microsoft Word where it was used. An XML editor. $98. And people say patent awards aren't out of sync with reality?
Wait, Editing An XML Document Is Patented And Worth $98 Per Application?

Doug Cawley, i4i’s lead trial lawyer argued that i4i demonstrated its product to Microsoft in 2001 and that Microsoft, instead of buying it incorporated a similar function of its own. i4i did not accuse Microsoft of copying its code or product. The question then is - how is this a patent infringement? I'm not a patent lawyer, nor have I read the patent in detail, but it seems as if i4i is arguing that any XML editor written now, or in the future, owes i4i royalties. What would change my mind would be if the i4i patent was for something truly insightful. I'm not getting that impression in any of the reporting.

Patent Litigation Weekly: E.D. Tex Unkind to Tech; PubPat's Other Suits

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