What the i4i-Microsoft patent case means for software users

You may have read last week about Microsoft losing a patent-infringement case to Canadian software vendor i4i. The patent in question covers a technique for implementing XML in word-processing software.

If you use a recent version of Word or nearly any other word-processing program, you probably benefit from the software's use of XML, which makes your files smaller and more efficient, among other advantages. It's only right that whoever invents a technique that improves software should be rewarded.

The question the courts wrestled with in the i4i-Microsoft case is whether the innovation i4i patented is actually patentable. In … Read more

U.S. backs I4i in patent case against Microsoft

I4i has won the support of the U.S. government as its patent infringement case against Microsoft winds it way to the U.S. Supreme Court.

The case stems from a lawsuit filed by I4i in 2007 in which it claimed that Microsoft had violated one of I4i's patents by including a custom XML feature in Microsoft Word. Though Microsoft lost on both the initial verdict and the appeal, the software giant filed another appeal last year, this time with the Supreme Court, which agreed last November to hear the case.

I4i, a small Canadian company, has received strong … Read more

Supreme Court to hear Microsoft I4i patent appeal

Microsoft's patent fracas with Canadian firm I4i has been given new life, as the U.S. Supreme Court has decided to hear the software giant's appeal.

The case, which went in favor of I4i last year, centered around Microsoft's use of XML technology within its Word software. Following I4i's victory, Microsoft was required to strip the functionality from its software as part of an injunction.

"We are gratified by the court's decision," Microsoft's corporate vice president and deputy general counsel for litigation David Howard said in a statement. "It's a … Read more

Web service tester

EPO Consulting's XML Transmitter is a powerful tool for developing and testing Web services. It will POST or GET XML messages using HTTP to a Web server and display the server's response. It's a handy addition to your Web management toolkit.

The program's configurable interface includes links advertising the developer's other products along the top edge, though registration removes them. The interface itself is efficient and attractive, with a look that sets it apart from typical Windows applications. Separate Directory and Server panes keep things tidy. There's a PDF-based Help file and Web-based assistance, … Read more

Web guru Tim Bray takes Google Android job

Tim Bray--co-inventor of XML, notable tech blogger, and until recently a Sun Microsystems employee--has joined Google's Android team in part to show the world what he thinks is wrong with Apple's iPhone.

The move puts a personal face on the cultural, technical, and business issues central to Silicon Valley companies. In a blog post titled "Now A No-Evil Zone," Bray said Monday he's in philosophical alignment with Google in general and in opposition to Apple's iPhone specifically.

"The reason I'm here is mostly Android. Which seems to me about as … Read more

Buggy document tools

Danet Studio is a suite of tools for creating, editing, and viewing XPS and other types of documents. Although we were initially impressed by the number of features the program offers, in the end we were put off by its functional problems.

The program's interface is nice enough, with a main screen that contains buttons for launching all of the software's different utilities. These include a creator, viewer, reader, merger, player, and puzzle. Some of these were functional, if not particularly impressive; the viewer and reader, for example, did an adequate job of displaying flow and fixed documents. … Read more

Microsoft Word injunction goes into effect

Although Microsoft was largely ready for an injunction that went into effect on Monday against selling certain versions of Microsoft Office, there were a few visible impacts.

The injunction stems from a verdict in which the custom XML function in recent versions of Microsoft Word was found to infringe on technology patented by Toronto-based I4i. A judge later issued an injunction barring sales of Office 2003 and Office 2007 versions containing the feature.

As noted by Computerworld, most versions of Office were unavailable from Microsoft's online store. As of 1:30 p.m. PST, only the $679 Office Ultimate … Read more

Microsoft seeks another hearing in I4i case

Microsoft filed another appeal Friday in its patent dispute with I4i, but also said that it will comply with the injunction against Office that is set to go into effect on Monday.

The software maker asked for either a hearing before the full appeals court or for the partial panel that heard its case to grant it a new hearing. A jury last year ruled that the custom XML feature in Office 2007 infringed on an I4i patent and a judge imposed both monetary damages and issued an injunction barring sales of Office containing the offending feature.

"Today Microsoft … Read more

Sage assistant

This handy toolbox simplifies importing orders from your e-commerce Web site for manipulating with your business' Sage accounting software. However, a bug in the automatic scheduler means you'll have to rely on manual data pulls.

Sage Order Importer complements your existing Sage 50 or Sage Line 50 accounting software by serving as a bridge from your e-commerce Web site to your in-office accounting package. It streamlines orders and inventories onto a single platform, freeing business owners from having to shoehorn data into multiple apps. The Sage set-up wizard makes configuring data sources a simple matter. The two-paned interface has … Read more

Appeals court weighs Word injunction

A federal appeals court on Wednesday heard arguments over whether to uphold an injunction that would ban sales of Microsoft Word in its current form.

Microsoft is appealing a jury's ruling that a custom XML feature in recent versions of Word infringes on a patent held by I4i, a Canadian software company. The jury ordered Microsoft to pay $200 million, while a judge raised that amount and also issued the injunction, although it has been temporarily put on hold while Microsoft's appeal is being heard.

The hearing before a three-judge panel in Washington, D.C., lasted about 90 … Read more