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Microsoft Patents Your Rights Online

Microsoft Sues Salesforce.com Over Patents 243

Posted by kdawson
from the few-selected-gems-from-the-collection dept.
WrongSizeGlass writes "CNET is reporting that Microsoft is suing Salesforce.com in Seattle federal court, claiming it infringes on nine patents. Two of the patents in question are a 'system and method for providing and displaying a Web page having an embedded menu' and a 'method and system for stacking toolbars in a computer display.'" Microsoft says it first notified Salesforce more than a year ago about the alleged infringement.
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Microsoft Sues Salesforce.com Over Patents

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  • Reciprocal angle. (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 18, 2010 @10:35PM (#32260744)

    MSFT must have recently gotten their hands on salesforce.com's source code, and can proceed with euthanizing their competitor. Much better ROI than acquisition.

    Nothing new to see here, folks.

  • Re:What's the angle? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Yo Grark (465041) on Tuesday May 18, 2010 @10:37PM (#32260754)

    Yes, SF continues to win contracts from Dynamics or whatever MS is calling their latest CRM this week.

    SF are just WAY too nimble in their catering to companies needs while MS expects companies to buy upgraded hardware, software, consultants, etc to conform data to THEIR system.

    SF: Here you go, we figured out how to provide x for no extra charge.
    MS: Sorry we can't do that without $100,000 and even then there's no guarantee.

    So yeah, SF is kickin MS's a$$ets and putting their attempts at a CRM to shame.

    Next up, MS buys SF.com. *sigh*

    - Yo Grark

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 18, 2010 @10:47PM (#32260804)

    Typically employers make their employees sign an agreement when they are hired that any intellectual property they create while performing their job becomes the intellectual property of the employer and the employee loses the rights to it.

    Some agreements are even as strict as to say that anything you create while you are employed becomes the IP of your employer. So if you wrote something at home while you are "off the clock" it would still technically be the property of your employer. Booo!

  • Bill Gates (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Enderandrew (866215) <enderandrew AT gmail DOT com> on Tuesday May 18, 2010 @11:39PM (#32261082) Homepage Journal

    I remember a few years back when Bill Gates said that Microsoft had been sued over patents, but never sued anyone else. They insisted that like IBM and other big companies, they had massive patent portfolios just to protect themselves. But then they sued TomTom over FAT patents and now this. What happened to Microsoft doesn't believe in suing over patents? Is this indicative of Gates handing the reigns over to Ballmer, the guy who threatened to sue anyone running Linux?

  • by phantomfive (622387) on Tuesday May 18, 2010 @11:49PM (#32261122) Journal
    I love the fact that the '768 patent uses Netscape in its screenshots. The main claim seems to be that they are using an applet (or separate chunk of code) to create a menu.

    So the standard HTML drop down menu wouldn't apply, it is a menu created with a separate chunk of code. I'm not sure I saw that kind of thing before 1998, so there may not be any prior art. However, that doesn't mean its not a silly patent. It should have been obvious to any programmer who was thinking about that sort of thing. I don't think I even have a problem so much with software patents, although they are a bit annoying. I have a problem with patents that are so obvious that anyone could figure them out. 1-click purchase is an obvious example.
  • by Giltron (592095) on Wednesday May 19, 2010 @12:02AM (#32261180)
    So if you look at 7,251,653, it basically describes a method for implementing customization of multi-tenancy for databases. (pivot tables) If this is allowed to stand then it basically means most companies delivering SaaS offerings can be sued. I see it was filed in 2004. I'm thinking maybe Salesforce was already using this prior to the patent filing.
  • by man_of_mr_e (217855) on Wednesday May 19, 2010 @12:46AM (#32261378)

    Actually, I can't think of a single software vendor that was doing what Windows Update did in 1995. Can you?

  • Re:What's the angle? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by mjwx (966435) on Wednesday May 19, 2010 @12:48AM (#32261400)

    Yes, SF continues to win contracts from Dynamics or whatever MS is calling their latest CRM this week.

    SaleForce.com is winning customers away from Dynamics because Dynamics is an absolute pile of crap. If you managed to wade though the absolutely stupid way to customise Dynamics 3.0 you quickly found out that you needed to start from scratch again with 4.0 because MS changed everything and it's still a pile of crap.

    Businesses wont use Dynamics despite MS giving away free licenses with every MAPS and partner subscription.

    Oh, and the reasons the parent mentioned.

  • by man_of_mr_e (217855) on Wednesday May 19, 2010 @12:50AM (#32261414)

    The problem with ideas is that they seem obvious in hindsight. Prior to that, clearly nobody had implemented it.. so the idea couldn't have been that obvious. Obvious ideas have lots of simultaneous prior art because, well, they're obvious..

    The thing about knowledge is that if you know it, it's obvious. If you don't, it's not. 2+2 = 4 is obvious to us, but it wasn't before the invention of math. Hell, the concept of "0" seems obvious to us, but nobody figured it out for centuries after math was around until the Arabs thought of it.

    The question is not "Is the idea obvious today, given hindsight". It's "Was the idea obvious when it was patented".

  • by JDAustin (468180) on Wednesday May 19, 2010 @01:29AM (#32261612)

    The ribbon is one of the worst UI changes ever to a application. Most experianced Excel users find their productivity going down due to it.

  • by CFBMoo1 (157453) on Wednesday May 19, 2010 @07:07AM (#32263286) Homepage
    I hate that damn ribbon, half the time I can't find the things I want and when I do find them and try to go back again later I don't remember where I found them before. If I wasn't forced to use Office at work I would have wiped it off my drive long ago.
  • by NickFortune (613926) on Wednesday May 19, 2010 @07:44AM (#32263624) Homepage Journal

    I thought these two were kinda well behaved and used patents only as a defensive measure, guess I was wrong.

    That's a good point. Wasn't it only yesterday that we had a half dozen MS apologists stepping forward to explain how Microsoft only ever used Patents defensively [slashdot.org] and would never ever ever use them offensively?

    Everyone who made that claim, go stand at the back of the class. You know who you are.

  • by YttriumOxide (837412) <yttriumox@gma[ ]com ['il.' in gap]> on Wednesday May 19, 2010 @08:35AM (#32264160) Homepage Journal

    Typically employers make their employees sign an agreement when they are hired that any intellectual property they create while performing their job becomes the intellectual property of the employer and the employee loses the rights to it.

    Some agreements are even as strict as to say that anything you create while you are employed becomes the IP of your employer. So if you wrote something at home while you are "off the clock" it would still technically be the property of your employer. Booo!

    I truly do love the terms of my current employment. I'm employed as a programmer, and I retain "dual copyright" over all of my own creations. Essentially, while I work here, I am also contractually bound to not compete with them, but should I ever leave I can take all of my own code with me and fork it (any images, product names, documentation, or whatever may need to be scrubbed/changed though, since they're not my work). In return for this, they got all of the code I had written before I started here, giving them a nice jumpstart in areas that they were interested in but weren't too keen on doing all the basic startup stuff for.

    It's a win-win situation and should I ever choose to go somewhere else, I'll only accept it under the same terms - I have such a massive collection of libraries that I've written now for various purposes, that it'd be truly painful to have to start them from scratch again... One day (perhaps after I leave my current employer), I also hope to release a large amount of it under the GPL, since there's a few GPL projects I'd love to get my libraries in to and also see what others can do with what I've started.

FORTRAN is a good example of a language which is easier to parse using ad hoc techniques. -- D. Gries [What's good about it? Ed.]

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