What goes around, comes around: Microsoft win one XML patent and lose another

! Warning: this post hasn't been updated in over three years and so may contain out of date information.

xmlThere is a saying that irony is lost on Americans. I’ve no idea if such a crass generalisation has any truth to it or not, but if any American (or anyone else) is in any doubt over what irony means, they need look no further than our friends at Redmond: Microsoft.

Last week, Microsoft were awarded a patent on what they claimed would be an open standard, namely OXML. OXML is an XML based file format and the patent is intended to protect the formatting and editing of Word documents that use XML. Fast forward five days and this time a judge in Texas rules that Word documents that use XML are in violation of an XML-related  patent held by i4i.

In an ideal world, this ironic turn of events will cause people to wake up to just how broken and stupid the American patent system is. In a perfect world, everyone would then look at XML and wonder what sort of insanity caused humanity to think XML was anything other than possibly the most idiotic way of storing data ever imagined. We don’t live in either an ideal or perfect world though.

More likely, the i4i case will drag on through the courts before a settlement is reached and Microsoft’s patent will be used in any future stand-off with the EU over open standards and word processing. And the insanity of software patents will continue unabated.

3 thoughts on “What goes around, comes around: Microsoft win one XML patent and lose another

  1. “what sort of insanity caused humanity to think XML was anything other than possibly the most idiotic way of storing data ever imagined”

    It fulfills its purpose, those that don’t understand things are often afraid of them

  2. I don’t understand the singer Mika, and I am certainly terrified of him.

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