Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Patents Microsoft Software

Microsoft Patents XML Word Processing Documents 357

Posted by timothy
from the no-problems-there-nothing-to-worry-about dept.
theodp writes "Embrace. Extend. Patent. On Tuesday, Microsoft was granted US Patent No. 7,571,169 for its 'invention' of the Word-processing document stored in a single XML file that may be manipulated by applications that understand XML. Presumably developers are protected by Microsoft's 'covenant not to sue,' so the biggest question raised by this patent is: How in the world was it granted in light of the 40-year history of document markup languages? Next thing you know, the USPTO will give Microsoft a patent for Providing Emergency Data in XML format. Oops, too late."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Microsoft Patents XML Word Processing Documents

Comments Filter:
  • Won't hold up (Score:5, Insightful)

    by clang_jangle (975789) on Thursday August 06, 2009 @07:43PM (#28980599) Journal
    This won't hold up if challenged, there is plenty of prior art.
    • Re:Won't hold up (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Delwin (599872) * on Thursday August 06, 2009 @07:47PM (#28980633)
      So why was it granted in the first place?
      • Re:Won't hold up (Score:5, Insightful)

        by _KiTA_ (241027) on Thursday August 06, 2009 @07:59PM (#28980777) Homepage

        So why was it granted in the first place?

        Because the Patent Office doesn't have enough computer geeks and is underfunded.

        • Re:Won't hold up (Score:5, Interesting)

          by FourthAge (1377519) on Thursday August 06, 2009 @08:18PM (#28980935) Journal

          This.

          It seems the "stupid patent formula" has been updated. It used to be "$X, but on the Internet". As in, "I've reinvented the wheel! But this time, it's connected to the Internet!"

          The new "stupid patent formula" seems to be "$X, but using XML". As in, "I've invented fire! But this time, it uses eXtensible Markup Language!"

          Since XML was the solution to all possible problems about ten years ago, we can probably guess at where the "stupid patent formula" will be in a decade's time. No doubt it will involve something like "$X, but using Javascript on a Web 2.0 social networking site that's accessed using a smartphone with a touch screen".

          • It's actually pretty hard to uphold any patent against that kind of argument. "I invented the wheel, but this time it uses spokes and cotton!"
            • Re:Won't hold up (Score:5, Insightful)

              by iYk6 (1425255) on Thursday August 06, 2009 @09:16PM (#28981429)

              The thing is, spokes and cotton can't be used for everything. XML can store any type of data at all. Storing $x in XML is not creative or innovative, it is exactly what XML was designed to do.

          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            There is so much prior art for this, it's just sick. ODF, for one thing.

            Heck, I even wrote an XML based text editor back when I was learning Java in 2001 or so.
            All I can say is maybe I should file a patent for "Patenting inventions currently covered by patents"

            • Re:Won't hold up (Score:5, Informative)

              by Planesdragon (210349) <slashdot&castlesteelstone,us> on Thursday August 06, 2009 @11:49PM (#28982295) Homepage Journal

              Heck, I even wrote an XML based text editor back when I was learning Java in 2001 or so.

              Go read the patent. Go!

              The darn thing isn't for a pseudo-WYSIWYG XML editor. It's for a specific bundle of features that let you save your non-XML based word processing file as one single XML file, which includes bookmarks, styles, and "formatting hints" as well.

              Making your word processor save to XHTML, or a randomly selected XML dialect? Obvious. The specific way you do that, and include some conventions for features that XML really wasn't meant to support? Non-obivous, and therefore patentable.

              Also not all that broad.

              And, of course,, the real nice thing: this patent only applies if you through a lot of formatting crap into your XML file as well... and I certainly don't remember anyone dumb enough to do that before Microsoft.

            • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

              Out of interest, I was technology evaluation on a beta version of MS Word in 1998 or 1999, for our company, that had a pure XML document format already which I was pretty exited about.
        • not quite true (Score:5, Insightful)

          by ProfBooty (172603) on Thursday August 06, 2009 @11:06PM (#28982055)

          Incorrect on both counts.

          You need a degree in science or engineering to be an examiner, the examining corps has been hiring over 1200 examiners a year and fee diversion has ended.

          The main problems for examiners has been lack of time (has not changed since 1976), a lack of an easy way to text search non-patent literature, increased number of claims, increased claim length, longer specifications, and more clerical tasks. Both the patent bar and the examiner unions want more time for examiners. Examiners do the best they can in the ~22 hours they have allocated for a case.

          We will see what changes if Kappos (former head of IBM's IP dept) is approved by congress and takes over leadership of the USPTO.

      • by cmacb (547347)

        Have you ever heard the saying: "good enough for government work"?

    • Re:Won't hold up (Score:5, Insightful)

      by BSAtHome (455370) on Thursday August 06, 2009 @07:47PM (#28980635)

      But it still costs a fortune to get it challenged. That is the real problem. It is an armsrace and the one with the biggest pocket wins. I wonder when this cold war bubble will burst.

      • Re:Won't hold up (Score:5, Insightful)

        by ObsessiveMathsFreak (773371) <obsessivemathsfreakNO@SPAMeircom.net> on Thursday August 06, 2009 @08:29PM (#28981039) Homepage Journal

        It will never burst. We have seen scandal after scandal involving patents granted by the USPTO. Companies big and small have all been hit, hard, by patent trolls and anti-competitive litigation. We've seen products sunk and industries mired in doubt. We've seen farcical patents and US supreme court case. If there was an event that could have burst this bubble, it would have happened by now.

        The USPTO is not going to stop granting these things. Industry is never going to become so irritated by the cons of the patent system that they give up the pros. Ordinary people are never going to let go of the illusion that one genius invention, with patent protection, will set them up for life. This system is deeplying ingrained, self sufficient and self perpetuating.

        The patent system is not going to reform itself. Industry will not reform it. The public will not reform it. The legal system will not reform it. Patent holders will not reform it. Reform must come from an external source, powerful enough to completely reform the system. And so deeply rooted is the current regime that reform will be a very, very painful process. Frankly, I doubt modern America, along with many western nations, has the capacity to implement such a change, given its inability to reach national consensus on anything.

        So, don't expect a great event that's going to topple the whole patent system. There's not going to be a some kind of Watergate or Pearl Harbour to shake the system to its foundations. Until reform comes alone, the patent system is going to continue in its current vein, come what may. And it will probably do so for a very, very long time.

        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by jd2112 (1535857)

          There's not going to be a some kind of Watergate or Pearl Harbour to shake the system to its foundations.

          If someone patents regular expressions would it be like an IP Perl Harbor?

          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by SL Baur (19540)

            If someone patents regular expressions would it be like an IP Perl Harbor?

            There must have been a reason why Bell Labs didn't patent them. The setuid bit was patented. They documented it in the back of the Version 7 Green Book in the early 1980s.

        • Re:Won't hold up (Score:5, Interesting)

          by OldSoldier (168889) on Thursday August 06, 2009 @11:12PM (#28982081)

          The patent system is not going to reform itself. Industry will not reform it. The public will not reform it. The legal system will not reform it.

          I only partially agree with this. The "reform" that we're looking for can simply come if the PTO admits what it is doing. A very cursory glance at prior art and other patentability issues and then granting a patent. If the PTO was honest with itself that it is relying on the legal system to help it flush out the prior art claim then they should also FOSTER the ability of John Q Citizen to bring such a claim.

          In envision a cheap prior art challenge (cheaper than a full court case) perhaps filling out a few standard forms the PTO could concoct and then let that run.

          Alternatively, maybe the EFF can step up to this too?

      • I wonder when this cold war bubble will burst

        17 years from now (or whatever the patent time is now).
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Hurricane78 (562437)

        No. The real problem is, that it was granted in the first place. And the real reason is, that the patent offices works under the control of a government, that has more revolving doors and "lobbys"* than the Internet Explorer has quirks, holes and bugs.

        ___
        * Which suddenly became the word for an euphemistic view on the illegal bribery and disloyalty to the people, which in many countries are major crimes on the punishment level of murder.

      • Marc0WNi (Score:3, Funny)

        by Scrameustache (459504)

        But it still costs a fortune to get it challenged. That is the real problem. It is an armsrace and the one with the biggest pocket wins. I wonder when this cold war bubble will burst.

        Why don't you ask Nicola Tesla...

      • by ZombieRoboNinja (905329) on Thursday August 06, 2009 @09:07PM (#28981353)

        >I wonder when this cold war bubble will burst.

        All I know is, when it does hit that bullseye, all the dominoes will fall like a house of cards: checkmate!

    • For one, isn't ODF, which IIRC is covered by multiple published standards, exactly such a system as MS is now getting a patent for?
    • This won't hold up if challenged, there is plenty of prior art.

      I was gonna make a remark about the filing date, but seeing that it's 6 December 2004, there's still plenty of prior art.

    • Re:Won't hold up (Score:5, Insightful)

      by cetialphav (246516) on Thursday August 06, 2009 @09:10PM (#28981385)

      This won't hold up if challenged, there is plenty of prior art.

      I agree that it probably won't be upheld if challenged, but I don't think prior art will be the issue. I just looked at the references of the patent and it looks like it refers to a ton of what I would consider prior art (lots of AbiWord references for example). It would appear that the patent office saw this and concluded that this was different. Convincing a judge or jury that the patent office was wrong would be difficult.

      Personally, I don't think this patent would meet the requirements of the recent Bilski [wikipedia.org] decision. This patent is just a way of storing data in a format that is specifically designed to store data. If that is a legit patent, then we will have an arms race where everyone tries to think of anything that could be stored in XML and try to get a patent before anyone thinks of it. (Phone books, recipes, code, test cases, GUI layouts, packet captures, code reviews, etc, etc).

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by L4t3r4lu5 (1216702)
        I'm currently patenting a "method for storing graphical data of single or multiple close-proximity persons engaged in or about to engage in or have just engaged in acts of a nature which may appear or are lewd and / or unhygenic."

        I'm going to make BILLIONS!
    • Re:Won't hold up (Score:5, Insightful)

      by greenbird (859670) * on Thursday August 06, 2009 @09:24PM (#28981485)

      This won't hold up if challenged, there is plenty of prior art.

      And what the hell difference does that make. They'll sue and the defendant will either have to settle or go out of business because:

      A. There'll be an injunction against their product so they can't sell it.

      B. Because it'll be made clear that the court battle will cost them loads more than fighting (Microsoft has billions for lawyers).

      C. Microsoft will make the license terms so outrageous they have to fight and then Microsoft will break them with the legal battle.

      D. They'll lose the court case because they are violating the patent even though it never should have been issued..

      So far courts have assumed the validity of patents even when a preliminary review has found them invalid. It takes years at best to get a final invalidation of a patent and that can be extended by appeals and modifications of the claims and other legal tactics. By then any company that was fighting would be out of business for one or more of the above reasons.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by HiThere (15173)

      But if they sue you, you'll go broke defending yourself, and then they'll win a default judgment against you because you didn't show up in the new venue that you were notified about yesterday.

  • by MartinSchou (1360093) on Thursday August 06, 2009 @07:46PM (#28980627)

    That one I could see them getting a patent on, but on something that uses the abbreviation for "eXtensible Markup Language"?

    Extending the use of it is what it was designed to do in the fist place.

  • by bogaboga (793279) on Thursday August 06, 2009 @07:46PM (#28980629)

    Folks reading stories like these will simply conclude that America is on the wrong path. To be more accurate, I think folks at the patent office suffer from effects of "thought disorders."

  • two patent offices (Score:5, Interesting)

    by wizardforce (1005805) on Thursday August 06, 2009 @07:48PM (#28980641) Journal

    it's already been suggested however this makes a decent case for a system with two competing patent offices. one to produce patents and the other invalidates them. give each a financial incentive to defend its position and let them fight it out. if the patent creating office issues a bogus patent and the patent invalidating office catches it, the patent creating office loses funding while the invalidating office gains funding.

  • OpenDocument (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Tubal-Cain (1289912) on Thursday August 06, 2009 @07:53PM (#28980691) Journal
    So basically, OOXML was a way to acquire a patent that could kill ODF-using applications in the US (that can't get legal backing, anyways)
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by DragonWriter (970822)

      So basically, OOXML was a way to acquire a patent that could kill ODF-using applications in the US

      This patent wouldn't seem to affect OpenDocument, since OpenDocument files are not, AFAIK, single XML files, they are JAR archives with several XML files (and others) inside.

  • WTF??? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Jane Q. Public (1010737) on Thursday August 06, 2009 @07:54PM (#28980713)
    How in the world can anybody even pretend to patent something that is entirely within AN OPEN STANDARD?

    The very concept is ludicrous. We need to fire those people in the PTO, and replace them with homeless bums. At least they might get something right once in a while.
  • 2004 called.. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by RightSaidFred99 (874576) on Thursday August 06, 2009 @08:09PM (#28980853)

    2004 called and it wants...etc.. you know the rest.

    They filed this a long time ago, and of course for good reason as if they didn't some asshole little company would set up shop in east Texas and sue. As the kids say, don't hate the player hate the game. Our patent system is fucking retarded.

    • The point is that SGML predates XML (XML is simply a derivative of SGML). The notion of building documents in this way predates the existence of Microsoft, let alone this particular patent.

  • Word-processing document stored in a single XML file...

    How many ways are there to store a document? Markup (Postscript, XML, LaTeX, etc) and Binary are the only two I can think of. Using a different markup language is hardly an earth-shattering new development.

  • Bad Summary (Score:5, Informative)

    by Grond (15515) on Thursday August 06, 2009 @08:12PM (#28980897) Homepage

    As is all too often the case here on Slashdot, the summary has seized upon the title of the patent, which has no legal effect whatsoever, while ignoring the actual patent claims, which are all important.

    If one actually reads the claims, one sees that the main new part of the invention are the 'hint elements' contained in the XML file. The written description expands upon what hint elements mean: "hints are provided within the XML associated files providing applications that understand XML a shortcut to understanding some of the features provided by the word-processor. By using the hints, the applications do not have to know all of the specific details of the internal processing of the word-processor in order to recreate a feature."

    Basically, the invention here is the inclusion of information that lets third-party programs better understand what to do with the format. You can imagine, for example, if HTML included something like this. The del ('strikethrough') tag might be written:

    <del hint="draw line 1px horizontal">

    That code would allow a program that did not natively understand the tag to implement a simple version of it. The idea is to allow new features to be introduced into the format while enabling older versions of the software to use them without updating their code. The necessary code comes with the file.

    Now, whether that's still new and nonobvious, I don't know, but it's a significantly more accurate summary of the invention than "Microsoft Patents XML Word Processing Documents."

    • Re:Bad Summary (Score:5, Informative)

      by Jerry Coffin (824726) on Thursday August 06, 2009 @08:36PM (#28981101)

      As is all too often the case here on Slashdot, the summary has seized upon the title of the patent, which has no legal effect whatsoever, while ignoring the actual patent claims, which are all important.

      Geeze, there you go ruining everybody's fun, posting facts instead of completely uninformed complaints.

      Next you'll point out that the patent cites no fewer than 77 other patents going back to 1988 as related art, or that it cites 113 other documents, including documentation for file formats of things like AbiWord, StarOffice, Wisdom++, Docbook, WorX, MML, XMill, YAWK, and so on and so forth.

      Were it not for your UID, I'd have to pull out the "you must be new around here" wheeze, since you're in clear violation of /. groupthink guidelines!

    • XML already provides the ability to ignore things that are not understood.

      My head just hurts trying to think of how one could consider this patentable.

      • by rewt66 (738525) on Thursday August 06, 2009 @09:00PM (#28981297)
        Because it's using XML to try to help an app that doesn't understand the new element to figure out what to do with it, rather than just ignore it (as happens by default under XML, as you pointed out).
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by m.ducharme (1082683)

          Then maybe the real story here is how Microsoft has extended XML to include non-standard features, which they can implement in their own software while restricting third parties from implementing the same features...

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by julesh (229690)

            Then maybe the real story here is how Microsoft has extended XML to include non-standard features, which they can implement in their own software while restricting third parties from implementing the same features...

            Isn't this basically the point of patents? To give inventors monopolies on their inventions for a limited time?

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by dshadowwolf (1132457)

      You, apparently, have missed out and not read the actual claims of the patent. This patent covers any XML document which has an XSD definition and has:

      • rendering hints via an element or property of an element
      • a bookmarks element (of which two must be used to be valid)
      • a comments element
      • a 'text' element
      • a 'style' element
      • a 'font' element
      • a formatting element
      • a section element
      • a table element
      • an outline element
      • a proofing element

      And any variation of implementation on the above. It also covers the manipulation of a file

    • Basically, the invention here is the inclusion of information that lets third-party programs better understand what to do with the format. You can imagine, for example, if HTML included something like this. The del ('strikethrough') tag might be written:

      That code would allow a program that did not natively understand the tag to implement a simple version of it. The idea is to allow new features to be introduced into the format while enabling older versions of the software to use them without updating their

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      As is all too often the case here on Slashdot, the summary has seized upon the title of the patent, which has no legal effect whatsoever, while ignoring the actual patent claims, which are all important

      For reference, here is claim 1:

      A method for creating a document in XML ("Extensible Markup Language") in a computing device that is understandable by many applications, comprising: accessing a published XSD ("XML Schema Definition") in said computing device, wherein the XSD defines rules relating to the XML file format for documents associated with an application having a rich set of features; determining an element to create in an XML file in said computing device, wherein the element is selected from a s

  • by belmolis (702863) <billposer&alum,mit,edu> on Thursday August 06, 2009 @08:21PM (#28980961) Homepage

    One of the claims in this patent is that everything is stored in a single XML document. That is not true of ODF. An ODF file is the result of zipping up a bunch of files including not only XML files but various other things, such as image files.

  • by david.emery (127135) on Thursday August 06, 2009 @08:27PM (#28981023)

    And isn't SGML in part something IBM contributed to? So we can hope IBM will contribute to defending "prior art". Without actually reading the patent (I just read the patent abstract), what seems to be "unique" is the XML encoding along with the XSD style sheet; document markup languages are -really old hat- (Scribe's still my personal favorite :-). So "attacking" the patent based on the documented derivation of XML from SGML would seem to me to be a viable strategy, and many mark-up word processors of the previous millennium (including Scribe, if I remember right) had the concept of a 'document style sheet'.

    This patent is -particularly stupid- based on the patent abstract. (Hey, if the President can make snap judgements without doing full research, why can't I do it, too???)

  • How much is the typical bribe to a patent supervisor? This is truly a laughable one. I'm not going to bother counting the number of XML books I have on our home book shelves. I guess Microsoft sent them back through the time machine in the Redmond basement.

  • Last Land Rush (Score:5, Interesting)

    by mindbrane (1548037) on Thursday August 06, 2009 @08:29PM (#28981037) Journal
    The Land Rushes [wikipedia.org] that served up the last of the best lands America had to offer aren't too unlike the rationale driving the patenting of intellectual property. Corporations are driven by the need to protect themselves from potential future costs by claiming every "square inch" of intellectual property the US patent system will allow them to grab. If international laws are put in place governing intellectual property that are enforceable then the current seeming madness is the best available means of positioning American interests for the largest possible slice of the pie. About the time of the last land rushes Spencer's ideology of "survival of the fittest" was being touted as a rationale for the unconscionable actions of Yankee Traders who were infamous for their ruthless greed. It's a hedgemonists' zero sum game. There's method in the madness, madness though it be.
  • "Not long ago, the Black Gate of Armonk swung open. The lights went out, my skin crawled, and dogs began to howl. I asked my neighbor what it was and he said, 'Those are the NazgÃl. Once they were human, now they are IBM's lawyers.'"

  • by dtmos (447842) * on Thursday August 06, 2009 @08:35PM (#28981089)

    What matters isn't what the abstract says, it's what the claims, especially the independent claims, say. Here are the two independent claims in this patent, formatted for improved clarity (I hope). They basically say the same thing, except that the first is a "method" claim, claiming a method for doing something (in this case, "creating a document in XML in a computing device that is understandable by many applications"), while the second is an "apparatus" claim, claiming an apparatus (in this case, "a computer-readable storage medium having computer-executable instructions for interacting with a document") that performs a function:

    Claim 1. A method for creating a document in XML ("Extensible Markup Language") in a computing device that is understandable by many applications, comprising:

    accessing a published XSD ("XML Schema Definition") in said computing device, wherein the XSD defines rules relating to the XML file format for documents associated with an application having a rich set of features;

    determining an element to create in an XML file in said computing device, wherein the element is selected from a set of elements, including:
    a style element;
    a hints element that includes information to assist an external application in displaying text of the of the document;
    a bookmark element; wherein the bookmark element includes an identifier attribute that associates a start bookmark with an end bookmark element wherein two bookmark elements are used in book marking a portion of the document; wherein each of the two bookmark elements include an opening tag and an ending tag;
    a document properties element;
    a text element that contains text of the document; wherein all of the text of the document is stored within text elements such that only the text of the document is contained between start text tags and end text tags; wherein there are no intervening tags between each of the start text tags and each of the corresponding end text tags and wherein each of the start text tags do not include formatting information for the text between each of the start text tags and the end text tags;
    a text run element that includes the formatting information for the text within text elements;
    a font element;
    a formatting element;
    a section element;
    a table element;
    an outline element;
    and a proofing element;

    creating the document including the element in said computing device;

    and storing the document in said computing device.

    Claim 12. A computer-readable storage medium having computer-executable instructions for interacting with a document, comprising:

    interpreting a published XSD (Extensible Markup Language (XML) Schema Definition), wherein the XSD defines rules relating to the XML file format for documents associated with an application having a rich set of features;

    and creating an element in an XML file, wherein the element is selected from a set of elements, including:
    a style element;
    a hints element that is interpreted according to a hints sch

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Damion (13279)

      In particular, it's worth noting that the entire case file for all issued patents is publicly available (http://portal.uspto.gov/external/portal/pair). For this patent, you can see exactly what the Examiner thought made the patent allowable over the prior art.

      Go to the Public PAIR website, put in the patent number, and then click on the "Image File Wrapper" tab. The document you're looking for is the Notice of Allowance. In this particular case, this is what the Examiner thought was allowable over t

  • by stuntpope (19736) on Thursday August 06, 2009 @08:50PM (#28981217)

    I'm patenting complaining about Microsoft using XML. I'll make a fortune.

  • by nurb432 (527695) on Thursday August 06, 2009 @09:11PM (#28981393) Homepage Journal

    That anything can be bought.

  • The innovative thing is that they got OLE In Place Editing to save its streams to an XML document. It's actually may be something of a hack, but most notably, unlike Excel, you really can round trip a Word 2003 document with nested OLE in Place spreadsheets and other stuff and it works. I just created a Word 2003 document, created an Excel sheet inside of it, confirmed it by doing Excel stuff and using Excel menus in Word, saved the whole shebang as Xml, and I was frankly pretty pleased that it loaded it up again.

    The thing is, I don't know that Open Office ever really supported OLE In Place Editing on Windows and I would bet probably not because OLE 2.0 is a set of COM libraries and I don't see such how they'd port it over to other platforms. That's a big job. In fact, I really can't think of any other Word processor besides Word that can be an OLE 2 host... seems like nobody else did the Scribble App that happened to be writing word processors....

    In any case, so yeah, Word is way more powerful than anybody else when it comes to round tripping Xml, and its easy to demonstrate. Everybody else could at best only save a version, but, Microsoft can round trip the active nature of the content, and that is pretty cool, new, and innovative.

    • Actually... (Score:3, Informative)

      by ivoras (455934)
      OpenOffice (as StarOffice way back) reinvented the whole "OLE 2" thing to support in-place editing on multiple platforms, which of course wasn't (I don't know about now) compatible with MS Office's implementation.
  • Yikes (Score:4, Interesting)

    by mmaniaci (1200061) on Thursday August 06, 2009 @11:29PM (#28982193)
    I use XML to wrap oil and gas pipeline data and then display it as a type of document. Am I going to get sued by Microsoft? Am I a personal example of prior art? We (the people I work with) have been doing this for over 10 years.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by MightyMartian (840721)

      I'm thinking anybody that uses inline CSS should probably expect a knock on the door from Microsoft demanding licensing fees, your firstborn, or perhaps a romantic evening with Steve "Mr. Patent Guy" Ballmer.

  • by cyberbill79 (1268994) on Thursday August 06, 2009 @11:42PM (#28982261)
    I am speechless... How much dumber can these Software Patents get?

    Software Engineer: "Hey look, I made this window open by using Ctrl-O. Neat huh?"
    Manager/Lawyer/CFO/CEO: "Write it up! We'll corner the market on opening any windows! They'll be stuck! HA! Brilliant!"
    Software Engineer: "What have I done... Oh well, where's the sysadmins? I must frag."

    Software patents do not make sense in our current system. We crave competition, we need it. You build a brilliant program, I'll find someone who will one-up you. Don't worry, you get to fight back. Just make your program better/stronger/faster. That's how it works here.

    First rule of 'Software Club': You don't fucking patent 'Software Club'.

    [throws mic on floor]

    Peace!

"In order to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first create the universe." -- Carl Sagan, Cosmos

Working...