RE: Microsoft files for XML patents, says C|Net
Hi Rex, It's probably not that serious. I'd say it's unlikely that this patent will be granted and I'd be willing to bet that there are at least a 1/2 dozen members of this list who could lay claim to some prior art. (See the bottom paragraph for my layman's description of potential prior art). Doug -----Original Message----- From: Rex Brooks [mailto:rexb@s...] Sent: Sunday, 25 January 2004 11:03 AM To: Doug Hudgeon; 'Rex Brooks' Cc: xml-dev@l... Subject: RE: Microsoft files for XML patents, says C|Net I just responded to Bob Wyman's reply. You both have more experience and insight into this than I, and this appears to be a more potentially damaging development than I thought. Ciao, Rex --------In response to-------- At 8:05 AM +1100 1/25/04, Doug Hudgeon wrote: >The MS patent application can be read narrowly or broadly. I think even >the narrow interpretation would preclude the community converter for >word processing documents. > >Here's how the patent application looks from the perspective of a >person who wants to build a community converter to read, parse and do >something to a MS Word document. > >The broadest claim in the patent is, as always, the first: > >"A computer-readable medium having computer-executable components, >comprising: > >a first component for reading a word-processor document stored as a >single XML file; a second component that utilizes an XSD for >interpreting the word-processor document, and a third component for >performing an action on the word-processor document." > >This does not apply only to MS Word documents but to all >word-processing documents. However, Microsoft cannot seriously believe >that this claim will have no prior art unless the term "word processor >document" is restricted in meaning (otherwise a web browser displaying HTML could be prior art): > >So what is a Word-processor document? Interestingly, the term is not >defined explicitly but, instead, is defined as an example in the >definition of "markup language": > >" The terms "markup language" or "ML" refer to a language for >special codes within a document that specify how parts of the document >are to be interpreted by an application. In a word-processor file, the >markup language specifies how the text is to be formatted or laid out, >whereas in an HTML document, the ML tends to specify the text's >structural function (e.g., heading, paragraph, etc.)" > >This specifically restricts WPML to formatting markup and apparently >restricts the scope of the patent to the display of text rather than to >the structural function of the text (although I'm not sure where they >draw the line between "laid out" and an element's structural function). > >Here's what their sample document looks like: > >http://v3.espacenet.com/pdfdoc?DB=EPODOC&IDX=EP1376387&QPN=EP1376387&F= >128&P >GN=33 > >It's all pretty clear to this point and if the patent is granted the >community converter would be in breach. But the patent application >seems to encompass more than the display of the word-processing documents: > >Despite the title, "word processing document stored in a single xml >file", the patent contains the concept of a "hint" which seems to allow >some types of information to be stored outside the "single XML file". >The following paragraph describes a "hint". > > Other information may also be included within the document that >is not needed by the word-processing program. According to one >embodiment of the invention a "hints" element is included that allows >external programs to easily be able to recognize what a particular >element is, or how to recreate the element. For example, a specific >number format may be in a list and used by the external program to >recreate the document without knowing the specifics of the style. > >Now, despite the above example of a hint as a mechanism to specify the >format of a number in a list, claim 24 describes a hint as: > >"The schema of Claim 23, further comprising a hints element, wherein >the hints element may be used to indicate a meaning for an item." > >Note the use of the term "meaning". > >Read broadly, Microsoft's intent may be to restrict competitors from >not only displaying word processor files identically to MS Word, but >also to stop competitors from using the "hints" to extract meaningful >data from the text elements. So it may be that not only would the >community converter be in breach of the patent, but the community >archival and retrieval system may also breach. > >Now, I am not a patent lawyer, but it seems to me the prior art would >need to be a processor of a marked up document based on a schema >(preferably XSD) containing formatting instructions surrounding a >single tag element containing the text of the document. Optionally, >this document could refer to additional files containing further >information about the elements in the original document.
PURCHASE STYLUS STUDIO ONLINE TODAY!
Purchasing Stylus Studio from our online shop is Easy, Secure and Value Priced!
Download The World's Best XML IDE!
Accelerate XML development with our award-winning XML IDE - Download a free trial today!
Subscribe in XML format