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Emergency Motion to Prevent a Ban on Microsoft Word

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Summary: Some of the latest developments in the i4i saga

Microsoft has filed an emergency motion to prevent a ban on its cash cow, Word. i4i's retaliatory response to Microsoft is a subject we have been covering since the beginning of the year. In reverse-chronological order:

  1. Commonalities Between i4i and Microsoft
  2. Microsoft Engaged in Misconduct in i4i Trial
  3. The Microsoft Crowd Uses the Word Verdict to Throw FUD at ODF, More Spin Comes from Denmark
  4. Microsoft and Friends Want to Add More Bugs to OOXML
  5. The Patent Trolls and McKool Smith Show Why OOXML and Software Patents Should be Shunned
  6. Microsoft Will Not Comply with Software Patents But Will Eventually Comply with the GPL
  7. Microsoft Accused of “Willful and Deliberate” infringement and “Discovery Misconduct” in Another Patent Case
  8. XML Patents, Microsoft Aggression, and ODF Hostility
  9. Reader Explains “Microsoft Innovation”
  10. Microsoft is Again Paying the Huge Price for Wanting Anti-Free Software Laws


The "What Will We Use" Web site wrote about the subject and reminded readers that Microsoft has a history of extreme legal aggression against Free software, including OpenOffice.org.

RIP Microsoft Office – October 3, 2009



[...]

Microsoft has been fighting free and open source software in court on a patent issues for quite some time. It is no secret that Microsoft had funded SCO’s lawsuits against many major players in the Linux market which Bill Gates used to slow Linux’s growth. Now, nobody cares about SCO anymore? Why? SCO filed for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy in May of 2009. Microsoft used SCO to do ligation five years ago but lately it is has been taking matters into its own hands. First they extorted Novell into “partnering” with them.


Many have wrongly speculated or assumed that i4i is a patent troll, but it is not. The story behind i4i and Microsoft as a pair goes a long way back. In fact, one reader sent us this pointer yesterday, nothing that it reveals "more Microsoft interaction with the intelligence community."

Six years ago, an unusual and powerful alliance approached a tiny Toronto software company with a fateful proposition. Microsoft was helping U.S. intelligence sift through relentless mountains of documents relating to the 9/11 terrorist attacks but had few means to sort them out. This firm, i4i, had the software that could intuit crucial, revelatory patterns that its own software could not.


As we now know, Windows contains back doors and the FBI has CIPAV, with which to tap suspects' Windows PCs. Actually, while on the subject, worth highlighting is this new page about the Trilateral Commission.

MORE, MORE, MORE MONEY

More foreigners demanded more U.S. money at a lunch panel called “European and Asian views on U.S. Foreign and Security Policy.” Participants were Elisabeth Guigou, a member of the French National Assembly and former minister for European affairs and Han Sung-joo, former minister of foreign affairs for South Korea.

An afternoon session addressed “global health” with more calls for American tax dollars. A major voice in this cause came from Sylvia Mathews Burwell, president of Global Development Programs, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Bill Gates has attended at least one Bilderberg meeting.


We last mentioned this here because other Microsoft executives also are attending Bilderberg meetings, including the Free software-hostile Mundie [1, 2, 3]. The Gates family and Bilderberg organisers are no strangers as Melinda French too was once there. That's at least once. Other previous posts which mentioned this are [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7] and this may be relevant when assessing Microsoft's connections not just with the US government [1, 2, 3, 4] but with the world at large.

“The Gates family and Bilderberg organisers are no strangers as Melinda French too was once there.”Going back on topic, in relation to the news that Microsoft Office might allow users to set the default format as MSODF [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7], Pamela Jones wrote in Groklaw: "if this is true, why do we need two formats? Didn't Microsoft say we need both ODF and OOXML because they were not for exactly the same thing? And thy put us through all that grief for absolutely nothing? There must be a catch."

Regarding i4i she wrote: "Tell that to Microsoft. They are pushing for patents on standards to be considered "open standards". Ah. The judge just gave them a lesson on that theme, did it not? The chickens have come home to roost. But for the rest of us, an object lesson. This is what life is like when you allow software patents, even on standards. How do you like it? Keep in mind that in this case, it affects only one company. When it is a standard everyone uses, it affects the entire market. By the way, I hear ODF is a standard that does not allow Custom XML in documents, so in this case it's just Microsoft and its users who are impacted. And by the way, here is an article on the XML patent Microsoft was granted on August 4 by the oh-so-clueful Patent Office, which, the article says, "would appear to cover all usage of XML and XSDs in word processing document, which would effectively leave all other modern word processors - and other software that used their documents - liable to licensing by the company.""

Microsoft's own XML patents are an issue that we covered under (in reverse-chronological order):



Groklaw also links to this analysis which asks whether or not In Re Bilski can be used to invalidate i4i's patents. The answer is said to be negative.

* Bilski?: i4i’s claim 14 may well fail the Federal Circuit’s Bilski machine-or-transformation test. The claim reads as follows:

A method for producing a first map of metacodes and their addresses of use in association with mapped content and stored in distinct map storage means, the method comprising:

* providing the mapped content to mapped content storage means; * providing a menu of metacodes; * compiling a map of the metacodes in the distinct storage means, by locating, detecting and addressing the metacodes; and * providing the document as the content of the document and the metacode map of the document.


Regarding the Bilski machine-or-transformation test, it comes from IBM (at least in part) and IBM is still a proponent of software patents. Thanks, IBM? Here is Glyn Moody's reaction to IBM's stance:

There we have it: "IBM is committed to ensuring that such technology is and remains patentable" - no two ways about it.

But wait - IBM goes even further, claiming that software patents are so desirable in part because they actually *powered* the rise of free software...

[...]

So, no, IBM, that's a load of cobbler's, and it's disgraceful you should even try to pass off this apology of an argument that patents are somehow precursors of true "free sharing" in a submission to a court considering such an important matter, for self-proclaimed selfish reasons. This is clearly an attempt to head off the criticism that software patents harm free software, the most vibrant sector of computing today, and should therefore be scaled back by the US Supreme Court. Cynical ain't in it.


Some more pressure ought to be put on IBM too.

“The only patent that is valid is one which this Court has not been able to get its hands on.”

--Supreme Court Justice Jackson

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