Does Microsoft have XML patents?

Discussion in 'XML' started by Ramon F Herrera, Dec 24, 2007.

  1. I read somewhere that Microsoft has hundreds or even more than a
    thousand patents which are related to XML.

    Can someone confirm/deny this?

    -RFH
     
    Ramon F Herrera, Dec 24, 2007
    #1
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  2. Ramon F Herrera

    Tim Smith Guest

    In article
    <>,
    Ramon F Herrera <> wrote:
    > I read somewhere that Microsoft has hundreds or even more than a
    > thousand patents which are related to XML.
    >
    > Can someone confirm/deny this?


    I'd be rather surprised if anyone here could confirm or deny that you
    have read something! :)

    But seriously, I suppose it depends on what you mean by "related".
    Doing a search at the PTO site for patents that have "Microsoft" in the
    assignee name field and XML in the abstract, I come up with 99, but many
    of those just happen to specify that they use XML to store something--do
    those count as being related to XML?

    Anyway, if you want to check those out yourself, and decide which are
    related, go here:

    <http://www.uspto.gov/patft/index.html>

    then click on "Quick Search", and put Microsoft in term 1, XML in term
    2, and change field 1 to assignee name and field 2 to abstract, and you
    should get the list I got (well, after you hit "search" :)).

    A similar search, but looking for XML in the claims, returns 213
    patents. Again, though, a lot comes down to what it means to be related
    to XML. There was one there, for instance, that had to do with speech
    processing for telephony. In the claims, XML shows up as part of a
    dependent claim. Let me digress to explain a little bit about patent
    claims. There are two kinds of claims: independent claims and dependent
    claims. An independent claim looks like something like this:

    5. A method for blah blah blah comprising the steps of yadda yadda
    yadda.

    It stands alone. A dependent claim looks something like this:

    6. The method of claim 5 where the step of yadda is done by a Nun
    lathered in baby oil.

    A dependent claim narrows down the claim it depends on. (BTW, a
    dependent claim can be dependent on an earlier dependent claim, so we
    could have a further dependent claim:

    7. The method of claim 6 where the Nun is a she-male.

    and so on).

    That's how XML comes up in this speech processing patent. They have a
    claim. Then they narrow it in a dependent claim. Then that dependent
    claim is further narrowed in another dependent claim, which involves a
    loadable grammar. Then, THAT dependent claim is further narrowed to
    "The method of claim 12 wherein the grammar is loaded from an XML file".

    I don't think I'd count this patent as being related to XML.

    I can't think of any good way to do a search to just get ones that are
    actually about XML, although I'd guess that most of those would have XML
    mentioned in the abstract, so that list of 99 is probably the place to
    start looking.

    --
    --Tim Smith
     
    Tim Smith, Dec 24, 2007
    #2
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  3. ____/ Ramon F Herrera on Monday 24 December 2007 19:13 : \____

    > I read somewhere that Microsoft has hundreds or even more than a
    > thousand patents which are related to XML.
    >
    > Can someone confirm/deny this?


    Microsoft will deny this, but it's already confirmed that Microsoft's 'Open'
    XML, for example, is a patent trap. See here:

    http://boycottnovell.com/2007/12/15/ooxml-binary-windows-only/

    Mind the bit art the top. I've collected many more examples.


    --
    ~~ Best of wishes

    Roy S. Schestowitz | "Black holes are where God is divided by zero"
    http://Schestowitz.com | Open Prospects | PGP-Key: 0x74572E8E
    Tasks: 124 total, 1 running, 123 sleeping, 0 stopped, 0 zombie
    http://iuron.com - knowledge engine, not a search engine
     
    Roy Schestowitz, Dec 25, 2007
    #3
  4. Ramon F Herrera

    Guest

    As was said: Depends on what you mean by "related". There have
    certainly been XML-related patents -- I've been involved in several
    that IBM has filed, and expect to contribute to others -- but whether
    any of them affect any particular XML application depend on the exact
    details of that application, just as is true in any other field of
    engineering where patents may exist.

    Could you be more specific about what question you're really trying to
    answer?
     
    , Dec 25, 2007
    #4
  5. Ramon F Herrera

    Guest

    I should also note that pre-existing patents covering topics in data
    processing, networking, et al may be applicable to XML applications,
    making the concept of "XML-related" that much fuzzier.

    Just for curiosity, I did the above-mentioned quick searches
    substituting IBM for Microsoft... I got 137 hits on XML in abstracts,
    and 259 hits on claims. I haven't checked in more detail.


    BTW, searching the titles is unfortunately often *not* useful. Most
    XML-related patents are going to be general data processing techniques
    where XML just happens to have been the syntax used in the reference
    implementation, and as the boilerplate phrase has it, "an experienced
    practitioner will readily see" that the approach could be applied to
    other kinds of data.

    Note that the converse is also true -- a patent which doesn't
    explicitly mention XML may still cover exactly what you want to do.

    (I'm firmly of the opinion that any engineer ought to do at least one
    full patent search as part of their education.)
     
    , Dec 25, 2007
    #5
  6. Ramon F Herrera

    Tim Smith Guest

    In article <>,
    Roy Schestowitz <> wrote:
    > Microsoft will deny this, but it's already confirmed that Microsoft's 'Open'
    > XML, for example, is a patent trap. See here:


    No more so than ODF.


    --
    --Tim Smith
     
    Tim Smith, Dec 25, 2007
    #6
  7. Ramon F Herrera

    Rick Guest

    On Mon, 24 Dec 2007 20:09:24 -0800, Tim Smith wrote:

    > In article <>,
    > Roy Schestowitz <> wrote:
    >> Microsoft will deny this, but it's already confirmed that Microsoft's
    >> 'Open' XML, for example, is a patent trap. See here:

    >
    > No more so than ODF.


    Yes, more so than ODF. Microsoft has repeatedly gone after competitors
    using legal and illegal means to get rid of them. When was the last time
    Sun lost an anti-trust action?

    --
    Rick
     
    Rick, Dec 25, 2007
    #7
  8. Ramon F Herrera

    Stefan Ram Guest

    Tim Smith <> writes:
    >Roy Schestowitz <> wrote:
    >>Microsoft will deny this, but it's already confirmed that Microsoft's 'Open'
    >>XML, for example, is a patent trap. See here:

    >No more so than ODF.


    It was Microsoft Corporation issuing a patent-submission for
    »Word-processing document stored in a single XML file«:

    http://v3.espacenet.com/origdoc?DB=EPODOC&IDX=EP1376387&QPN=EP1376387
     
    Stefan Ram, Dec 25, 2007
    #8
  9. On Dec 24, 10:50 pm, wrote:
    > Could you be more specific about what question you're really trying to
    > answer?


    My concern - and that of all programmers, is that I can write any
    conceivable program in C, Java or C++, etc. without fear. (obvious
    restrictions notwithstanding).

    Should I be fearful when I (or my programs) generate XML code?

    -Ramon
     
    Ramon F Herrera, Dec 25, 2007
    #9
  10. On Dec 25, 12:09 am, Tim Smith <>
    wrote:
    > In article <>,
    > Roy Schestowitz <> wrote:
    >
    > > Microsoft will deny this, but it's already confirmed that Microsoft's 'Open'
    > > XML, for example, is a patent trap. See here:

    >


    > No more so than ODF.
    >


    I beg to differ, Tim. Are you saying that the source code of C# or
    Visual J are as open and devoid of the fear factor as that of Java?

    I don't have to delve into the relationship (please!) between the
    above and my question, do I?

    -RFH
     
    Ramon F Herrera, Dec 25, 2007
    #10
  11. Ramon F Herrera

    Tim Smith Guest

    In article <-berlin.de>,
    -berlin.de (Stefan Ram) wrote:
    > Tim Smith <> writes:
    > >Roy Schestowitz <> wrote:
    > >>Microsoft will deny this, but it's already confirmed that Microsoft's 'Open'
    > >>XML, for example, is a patent trap. See here:

    > >No more so than ODF.

    >
    > It was Microsoft Corporation issuing a patent-submission for
    > »Word-processing document stored in a single XML file«:
    >
    > http://v3.espacenet.com/origdoc?DB=EPODOC&IDX=EP1376387&QPN=EP1376387


    So? Microsoft has patents covering OOXML. Sun had patents covering
    ODF. As part of submitting their specifications for standardization,
    they have to provide licenses to those patents.


    --
    --Tim Smith
     
    Tim Smith, Dec 25, 2007
    #11
  12. Ramon F Herrera

    Tim Smith Guest

    In article
    <>,
    Ramon F Herrera <> wrote:
    > On Dec 24, 10:50 pm, wrote:
    > > Could you be more specific about what question you're really trying to
    > > answer?

    >
    > My concern - and that of all programmers, is that I can write any
    > conceivable program in C, Java or C++, etc. without fear. (obvious
    > restrictions notwithstanding).
    >
    > Should I be fearful when I (or my programs) generate XML code?


    It depends on what the XML does or is used for. I don't think that
    there are any patents covering XML per se, and if there are, I think
    they would have had to have been made available under a reasonable
    license as part of XML standardization.

    But if you were, say, working on preparation of a software configuration
    using an XML type programming language, you might have to worry about
    Sun's patent on "Preparation of a software configuration using an XML
    type programming language", (Patent number 7,263,699), one of the ~70
    patents of Sun that mention XML in the claims. (As was mentioned
    before, that's not necessarily a good way to find XML patents, but it
    gives a place to start).

    If you were writing a program to generate XML documents from a
    relational database using XPath data model, then "Generating one or more
    XML documents from a relational database using XPath data model" (Patent
    number 7,174,327), assigned to IBM, might be of concern.

    Personally, I don't worry too much about this when writing code. If any
    of those companies were to go after a small outfit over one of these
    patents, they'd get a lot of bad publicity, and I don't think they way
    that. Microsoft would also feel constrained by their desire to not draw
    more attention from antitrust regulators.

    --
    --Tim Smith
     
    Tim Smith, Dec 25, 2007
    #12
  13. Ramon F Herrera

    Tim Smith Guest

    In article
    <>,
    Ramon F Herrera <> wrote:
    > On Dec 25, 12:09 am, Tim Smith <>
    > wrote:
    > > In article <>,
    > > Roy Schestowitz <> wrote:
    > >
    > > > Microsoft will deny this, but it's already confirmed that Microsoft's
    > > > 'Open'
    > > > XML, for example, is a patent trap. See here:

    > >

    >
    > > No more so than ODF.
    > >

    >
    > I beg to differ, Tim. Are you saying that the source code of C# or
    > Visual J are as open and devoid of the fear factor as that of Java?


    No. I'm saying that Sun has patents that cover ODF, Microsoft has
    patents that cover OOXML. Both of them have made those patents
    available reasonably (but not in a way that makes the formats "open" by
    the standards usually used for things to be "open") for those who want
    to implement those formats, respectively. Roy decided to use your
    initial question as an opportunity to post part of his stock list of
    anti-OOXML FUD.

    --
    --Tim Smith
     
    Tim Smith, Dec 25, 2007
    #13
  14. ____/ Stefan Ram on Tuesday 25 December 2007 04:23 : \____

    > Tim Smith <> writes:
    >>Roy Schestowitz <> wrote:
    >>>Microsoft will deny this, but it's already confirmed that Microsoft's 'Open'
    >>>XML, for example, is a patent trap. See here:

    >>No more so than ODF.

    >
    > It was Microsoft Corporation issuing a patent-submission for
    > »Word-processing document stored in a single XML file«:
    >
    > http://v3.espacenet.com/origdoc?DB=EPODOC&IDX=EP1376387&QPN=EP1376387


    You're replying to a Microsoft agent/apologist. S/he won't tell you that IBM
    has conceded all intents to ever sue (a promise was made to Free software
    projects at the least) and Sun hasn't as history of what it /itself/
    called 'patent terrorism' (referring to Microsoft).

    --
    ~~ Best of wishes

    ..oÊʇ sÉ buıɥʇ ɥɔns ou s,ÇɹÇɥʇ 'ɹÇpuÇq 'ʎɹɹoÊ Ê‡,uop :ʎɹɟ
    ..oÊʇ É ÊÉs ı ʇɥbnoɥʇ ı puÉ ...ÇɹÇÉ¥ÊʎɹÇÊŒÇ soɹÇz puÉ sÇuo .ɯÉÇɹp 1nÉŸÊÉ uÉ
    ʇÉÉ¥Ê 'É¥É¥É¥É :ɹÇpuÇq
     
    Roy Schestowitz, Dec 25, 2007
    #14
  15. ____/ Rick on Tuesday 25 December 2007 04:16 : \____

    > On Mon, 24 Dec 2007 20:09:24 -0800, Tim Smith wrote:
    >
    >> In article <>,
    >> Roy Schestowitz <> wrote:
    >>> Microsoft will deny this, but it's already confirmed that Microsoft's
    >>> 'Open' XML, for example, is a patent trap. See here:

    >>
    >> No more so than ODF.

    >
    > Yes, more so than ODF. Microsoft has repeatedly gone after competitors
    > using legal and illegal means to get rid of them. When was the last time
    > Sun lost an anti-trust action?


    "…this raises the issue - what assurance does a developer have that such a
    large specification is not the subject of third party patent claims? The
    pedigree of the specification is certainly no reason for hope, Microsoft has
    been the target of third party patent claims for some time now including some
    high profile losses in patent suits. The fact that the specification has been
    developed behind closed doors and on a fast track means that there has been no
    adequate opportunity to evaluate the likelihood of third party patent claims
    against the specifications. The sheer size of the document suggests there will
    be at least a couple hiding in there somewhere."

    http://brendanscott.wordpress.com/2007/12/13/cyberlaw-ooxml-seminar-14-december/

    About half a dozen nations have already voiced their concerns (explicitly, also
    in text) about OOXML patents.

    --
    ~~ Best of wishes

    http://Schestowitz.com | GNU/Linux | PGP-Key: 0x74572E8E
    Swap: 1510068k total, 329704k used, 1180364k free, 126440k cached
    http://iuron.com - next generation of search paradigms
     
    Roy Schestowitz, Dec 25, 2007
    #15
  16. Ramon F Herrera

    Rick Guest

    On Tue, 25 Dec 2007 00:57:59 -0800, Tim Smith wrote:

    > In article
    > <>,
    > Ramon F Herrera <> wrote:
    >> On Dec 25, 12:09 am, Tim Smith <> wrote:
    >> > In article <>,
    >> > Roy Schestowitz <> wrote:
    >> >
    >> > > Microsoft will deny this, but it's already confirmed that
    >> > > Microsoft's 'Open'
    >> > > XML, for example, is a patent trap. See here:
    >> >
    >> >
    >> > No more so than ODF.
    >> >
    >> >

    >> I beg to differ, Tim. Are you saying that the source code of C# or
    >> Visual J are as open and devoid of the fear factor as that of Java?

    >
    > No. I'm saying that Sun has patents that cover ODF, Microsoft has
    > patents that cover OOXML. Both of them have made those patents
    > available reasonably (but not in a way that makes the formats "open" by
    > the standards usually used for things to be "open") for those who want
    > to implement those formats, respectively. Roy decided to use your
    > initial question as an opportunity to post part of his stock list of
    > anti-OOXML FUD.


    Sun has been show in courts to have illegally maintained monopoly power
    on 2 continents. Sun also hasn't used every dirty, underhanded trick in
    the book in order to stifle competition, either.
    --
    Rick
     
    Rick, Dec 25, 2007
    #16
  17. Ramon F Herrera

    Linonut Guest

    * fired off this tart reply:

    > (I'm firmly of the opinion that any engineer ought to do at least one
    > full patent search as part of their education.)


    That might kill his desire for an engineering career!

    --
    Tux rox!
     
    Linonut, Dec 25, 2007
    #17
  18. Ramon F Herrera

    Tim Smith Guest

    In article <>,
    Roy Schestowitz <> wrote:
    > "…this raises the issue - what assurance does a developer have that such a
    > large specification is not the subject of third party patent claims? The


    There isn't--same as with ODF, which is why Sun's license includes this:

    This statement is not an assurance either (i) that any of Sun's
    issued patents cover an OpenDocument Implementation or are
    enforceable, or (ii) that an OpenDocument Implementation would not
    infringe patents or other intellectual property rights of any third
    party.

    Roy continues picking for his anti-OOXML FUD things that are flaws in
    both ODF and OOXML. Why not pick things that are flaws in OOXML but are
    fine in ODF?

    --
    --Tim Smith
     
    Tim Smith, Dec 25, 2007
    #18
  19. Ramon F Herrera

    Tim Smith Guest

    Roy lies on Christmas

    In article <>,
    Roy Schestowitz <> wrote:
    > You're replying to a Microsoft agent/apologist. S/he won't tell you that IBM


    Prove it.

    --
    --Tim Smith
     
    Tim Smith, Dec 25, 2007
    #19
  20. >Should I be fearful when I (or my programs) generate XML code?

    1) XML isn't code, it's a data markup convention.

    2) MS has no ownership in XML itself.

    3) MS (or someone else) might have patents applicable to specific uses
    of XML, to the same extent that they might have patents applicable to
    that applciation if its data was kept in some other representation.

    In other words, XML shouldn't make you any more fearful than anything
    else does. Or any less; your C/Java/C++ code might also infringe
    someone's patent.

    --
    Joe Kesselman / Beware the fury of a patient man. -- John Dryden
     
    Joseph Kesselman, Dec 27, 2007
    #20
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