by Mike Masnick
Fri, May 29th 2009 12:50am
A bunch of folks sent in variations on the story about Microsoft losing a patent infringement lawsuit to the tune of $200 million to a small Toronto firm (the ruling also came right on the heals of another ruling against Microsoft in a patent case, for $388 million). Since both rulings will certainly be appealed, it seemed a bit early to pay too much attention, but Joe Mullin has dug into the details of the $200 million ruling, and it's fairly startling. The patent in question is for separating the manipulation of content from the architecture of the document, which the company, named i4i argues, covers basic XML editing. It's quite troubling that doing something as simple as adding an XML editor should infringe on a patent, but what's even more troubling is that the court somehow ruled that such an editor was worth $98 in the copies of Microsoft Word where it was used. An XML editor. $98. And people say patent awards aren't out of sync with reality?
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