Legal Issues

by Mike Masnick




Company Claims To Have Patented XML; Plans To Sue Everyone

from the um,-hello,-prior-art dept

Another day, another patent troll. A small firm that has gone through a variety of businesses has just "discovered" an old patent they have that they believe covers XML. The patents in question cover dealing with "data in neutral form." Of course, there's a ridiculous amount of prior art on this, not to mention the fact that the earlier patent was filed in 1997, when XML was already pretty far along. This is pretty much the definition of a patent troll. It's not about innovation (or even inventing something new). It's about a firm that got a broad patent on a very general idea that never should have been awarded at all. Then, years later, after lots of people are actually innovating around a technology -- none of whom are doing so because they got the idea from this patent -- the company suddenly steps up with a lawyer and says "pay up, now."

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  • identicon
    Diego, 21 Oct 2005 @ 10:38am

    No Subject Given

    That's funny

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Just one guy, 21 Oct 2005 @ 10:56am

    Bah

    There will always be people trying to make a fast buck (or pretending they will very soon now) on some kind of weird ideas.

    Enforcing a patent on a technology whose birth and development is so well-documented and so well-known since the late '60? No way.

    This is no obscure bit or shared memory or whatever SCO focussed on with his IBM litigation about Linux. This is the whole XML thing dated back to HTML and SGML and back to GML in the late sixties...

    Couldn't it be that they are just looking for some time under the spotlight? Just an advertisement trick?

    I would not be worried.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Stoned4Life, 21 Oct 2005 @ 10:56am

    Patent Life

    If I got a patent on human existance, could I receive royalties for every nano-second you are alive?? 10 cents per year that you are alive, over 4 billion people, over 10 years.. that's $400 billion.

    I love patent laws.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Aaron Friel, 21 Oct 2005 @ 2:01pm

      Re: Patent Life

      "If I got a patent on human existance, could I receive royalties for every nano-second you are alive?? 10 cents per year that you are alive, over 4 billion people, over 10 years.. that's $400 billion."
      What's scarier is that some still believe there are only four billion people on earth.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    crystalattice, 21 Oct 2005 @ 10:56am

    Spank them.

    There needs to be a way to punish companies that do this. It's just like that British company that claimed to own HTML.
    If the company truly owned a patent from 1997, then why have they waited nearly 10 years to pursue action on it? It's no one's fault but their own if they didn't know they had it. There should be statue of limitations on IP different from the 20+ years a patent is valid for. For example, you have 5 years to pursue monetary compensation for a patent or other IP. If you haven't done it by then, then you can't come, after the fact, claiming you own it if it's in worldwide use.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 21 Oct 2005 @ 11:02am

      Re: Spank them.

      What if you didn't know about the patent abuse for 5 years?

      I hold a patent and all of a sudden I'm expected to know what people are doing with it on a global scale? Is there some patent spycam network that I get access to or what?

      So to revise your idea and make it more workable, let's say a year from when you first knew about said abuse. Of course, proof of knowledge is hard to come by, but would be the only fair way to proceed.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        bob, 21 Oct 2005 @ 12:06pm

        Re: Spank them.

        Shut up. the wording is deliberately vague and might i say, sounds like it was put out there to try to grab money later on.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 21 Oct 2005 @ 11:02am

    No Subject Given

    All Trolls must die!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 21 Oct 2005 @ 11:03am

    Only looked at the first patent(5,842,213) so far.

    It describes "employing a non-hierarchical non-integrated structure to the organization of information"

    Correct me if I'm wrong, but XML seems very hierarchical.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Allan W Janssen, 21 Oct 2005 @ 11:04am

    XML

    What sort of a pant size is Extra-Medium-Large anyway, and do I have to pay them now if I don't loose weight?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    M. Spankie, 21 Oct 2005 @ 11:10am

    Maybe this will help get rid of XML

    I've never understood why folks like XML anyway. They say it helps make the data more "readable" and self-descriptive. Who's actually reading the data that doesn't know what they are looking for? Every program, interface or service I have worked on knows the format of the data it is reading. XML only helps bloat the file(s) and of course make life a little easier on the hackers who get a hold of the files to read...

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Xeno, 21 Oct 2005 @ 11:51am

    Patent on...

    Can I patent Stupidity and Greed? Anyone got a patent on lawsuits yet?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    John, 21 Oct 2005 @ 12:15pm

    Good for them

    Hey as long as the laws continue to permit and even reward this behavior, good for them, I hope they make a killing. It isn't their fault after all, they are acting within the absurd laws we have overpaid legislators to create. I agree that IP laws are way beyond what intelligent individuals would even consider doing to eachother, but hey, I guess no one in a postiion to DO something about it agrees with me or their constituents, and so it goes, on and on. Same for copyright.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Geisrud, 21 Oct 2005 @ 12:18pm

    No Subject Given

    I read a patent spoof once that Micro$oft got a patent on the number "0" - as in binary. The spoof went on to say that since all code, and in fact everything, eventually breaks down to binary numbers, and everyone on the planet would have to pay a 1 cent royalty everytime they used a 0.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      malhombre, 21 Oct 2005 @ 2:18pm

      Re: No Subject Given

      The best thing I've ever seen in favor of massively rethinking our current IP and copyright laws:

      from Monday, September 23, 2002 at http://archives.cnn.com/2002/SHOWBIZ/Music/09/23/uk.silence/
      ---------------------------------------- ----

      LONDON, England -- A bizarre legal battle over a minute's silence in a recorded song has ended with a six-figure out-of-court settlement.

      British composer Mike Batt found himself the subject of a plagiarism action for including the song, "A One Minute Silence," on an album for his classical rock band The Planets.

      He was accused of copying it from a work by the late American composer John Cage, whose 1952 composition "4'33"" was totally silent.

      ---------------------------------------------

      And what the hell can I add to that?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        SOLIDUS, 21 Oct 2005 @ 2:23pm

        Re: No Subject Given

        Wow... so I've used XML on some of my home pages, now I'll even get sued? f-ck that idea. Those n00bs probably dont even know what XML really stands for...

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 23 Oct 2005 @ 11:56pm

        Re: No Subject Given

        In the case of Batt/Cage, Batt's mistake was adding Cage's name as co-composer. Cage's estate wanted their cut.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Sohrab, 21 Oct 2005 @ 3:13pm

    No Subject Given

    We sadly live in a society that everybody just wants to sue everybody else. That company isnt loosing out on crap but they just see this as a chance of getting some spot light and some extra cash. how pathetic.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Peter, 21 Oct 2005 @ 9:25pm

      Sue Happy?

      Then take a number and get in line with the rest of the world. I think I should patent air...

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Gaz, 21 Oct 2005 @ 9:31pm

        Re: Sue Happy?

        I wonder if I could create a world of atheists just by putting a patent on God

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Monkey Joe, 23 Oct 2005 @ 7:37pm

          The real issue...

          -snip-
          Small company makes big claims on XML patents
          -end snip-

          Small company just got a heap of extra hits to its website, its name gets spread around and possibly a few more new clients...
          Is this "news" or just a cleverly hidden plug?
          Any coverage is good coverage to some...

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 14 Jun 2007 @ 8:53pm

    xml are sexpr redone, right?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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