Forgot your password?
typodupeerror

Microsoft Loses Appeal in Guatemalan Patent Claim 174

Posted by Zonk
from the no-corner-view-in-this-office dept.
Spy der Mann writes "A year ago, Guatemalan inventor Carlos Armando Amado sued Microsoft for stealing an Office idea he had tried to sell them in '92. They were found to be infringing on his patent and had to pay him $9 million in damages, but they refused and appealed the decision. Today, just a year after they appealed, the Court confirmed the verdict: Microsoft loses. If that wasn't enough, the amount was raised to $65 million for continuing infringement."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Microsoft Loses Appeal in Guatemalan Patent Claim

Comments Filter:
  • Good (Score:4, Insightful)

    by nbannerman (974715) on Saturday June 17, 2006 @07:33AM (#15554314)
    Good. Good. Good.

    This is how the patent system should work. A guy came up with an idea and tried to make his buck. MS stole the idea, which for all intents and purposes ruined his chances of making his money back. So, he sued them and got what he deserved. Eventually.

    Of course, 14 years must be a hell of a long time to wait for your money...

    I wonder if someone at MS is feeling just a bit stupid right now. Yeah yeah, £65mil is chump change to them, but they do leave with a substantial amount of egg on their face!
    • Re:Good (Score:5, Insightful)

      by thelost (808451) on Saturday June 17, 2006 @07:41AM (#15554324) Journal
      unfortunately they probably are not. yeah they drop 65m but often a large company like this will simply bulldoze through a smaller opponent, having the money and manpower to ignore niggles like this. After all this isn't going to appear on the front page of the newspapers tomorrow, so apart from the money the damage to MS is minimal. No one is going to put them on their knee and give their hide a good tanning, and that is what annoys me than anything. Money makes a poor substitute for apologies to me, even 65m of it. tag this post "idealistic" but I would be happy with an honest apology and handshake, that was earnestly meant.
      • Re:Good (Score:3, Interesting)

        by TheLinuxSRC (683475)
        "I would be happy with an honest apology and handshake, that was earnestly meant."

        Good luck with that. When has Microsoft *ever* made a public apology for anything? (not a troll -- honest question)
        • Re:Good (Score:3, Interesting)

          by thelost (808451)
          indeed, but then when has any large company ever apologized for their behaviour? Check this [youtube.com] out for the greatest apology from a multi-national - that never happened.
          • Man, I almost fell for that one. If it weren't for them talking about the Yes Men and the hoax on that page, I'd have been telling everyone that everything was made alright. I had been talking about the Bhopal incident a couple months ago and am still amazed by how much damage was done and yet nobody has been forced to stand accountable. I find it hard to believe that "we" want something like the WTO to make fair trade for Starbum's coffee but they seem to miss taking any action on gross miscarriages of jus
      • Yeah (Score:5, Funny)

        by Mark_MF-WN (678030) on Saturday June 17, 2006 @02:27PM (#15555484)
        Yeah, isn't America supposed to be big on capital punishment? If the most extreme form is good enough for children and the mentally disabled, I'd think Microsoft's management would definitely qualify for at least a good caning in the public sqaure. Does Washington even have public sqaures? That would be a great make-work project: public squares for canings. It would also stimulate the local market for canes. A few sets of stocks wouldn't hurt either; those guys at SCO might qualify for a week in stocks. And there could be a law stating that members of congress have to spend a month in a suspended metal cage for each campaign promise they fail to keep. Suspended cages -- oh what the middle ages can teach us about justice.
        • Re:Yeah (Score:4, Funny)

          by aevan (903814) on Saturday June 17, 2006 @06:39PM (#15556272)
          I think you're meaning corporal punishment [wikipedia.org]? Capital punishment [wikipedia.org] tends to be a little extreme, but corporal punishment just might work.

          At the very least you could air it and get revenue...pretty sure a Pay-per-view caning of Bill Gates would garner a large audience.
          • yes (Score:3, Funny)

            by Mark_MF-WN (678030)
            Ah yes, a very important distinction. Although it is ironic that a nation so willing to execute anyone and everyone would flinch away from a simple caning -- and positively recoil in horror when another nation does to some punk what his own parents should already have.
    • Re:Good (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Halo1 (136547) <jonas.maebe@NosPAM.elis.ugent.be> on Saturday June 17, 2006 @08:36AM (#15554425) Homepage

      This is how the patent system should work. A guy came up with an idea and tried to make his buck.

      Actually, this is independent of how the patent system should work. The only goal of the patent system should be to promote innovation. It is not there to "help the little guy get his share from large companies" any more than it is there to "help large companies crush little guys with their huge portfolios".

      Only if the chance that other people would come up with this on their own is very small, and if the "original discoverer" would not publish it without getting a 20 year monopoly in return, and if the downsides of this 20 year monopoly don't outweigh the upsides of disclosure, then there could be a justification for granting the patent. On a macro-economic scale, this is not true for software patents [ffii.org].

      In this particular case, it's about patent US 5,701,400 [uspto.gov]. Let's have a look at claim 1, which as a whole consists of a single sentence of 506 words. Below, you can find a summary of the meat of that claim:

      a program in execution by said computer for controlling operations thereof for receiving user input defining one or more analysis rules to be applied to user specified data from said memory,

      We have a program with rules operating on data

      each said analysis rule being a user defined arithmetic and/or logic test to be applied to user specified items of said data and for controlling said computer to receive and store user entered data defining the alphanumeric text of a diagnostic statement associated with each true result of each said analysis rule,

      Each rule is a mathematical or logical expression returning true or false, and its outcomes are associated with text strings (i.e., if-statements with a string as result)

      each said diagnostic statement comprised of a user defined alphanumeric text string which the user can program to define the significance of the true result, its relevance or any other expression which provides meaning to the user of the true result of the analysis rule, and for controlling said computer to receive user input controlling which of said analysis rules are to be applied to said data,

      The user can specify the "then" and the "else" outcomes of these "if" statements.

      and for applying said analysis rules so designated to the data designated by said user and returning a true or false result for each analysis rule so applied depending upon the state of the data to which each analysis rule was applied,

      You can apply the if-statements to different inputs, and the output will depend on the input

      and for each true result returned by an analysis rule, controlling said computer to store in a file in said memory the user programmed text of a diagnostic statement associated with each true result as a diagnostic in a diagnostic database,

      Those earlier mentioned text strings are stored in memory once those if-statements are evaluated.

      and for controlling said computer to receive and store in said memory user input defining one or more expert tests, each expert test comprising a user defined arithmetic and/or logic statement to be applied to one or more diagnostics selected by user input from the diagnostics stored in said diagnostic database, said arithmetic and/or logic statement comprised of mathematical operators and/or logical operators from any logic set such as predicate logic or Boolean logic including at least the AND, OR and NOT functions, each said expert test returning either a true or false result, and for controlling said computer to receive us

      • I have to admit, I haven't read the patent itself.

        If the patent isn't valid to start with, it does of course call into question the whole thing. I'm glad someone can actually distill that patent into something readable.
        • Re:Good (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Halo1 (136547) <jonas.maebe@NosPAM.elis.ugent.be> on Saturday June 17, 2006 @09:13AM (#15554499) Homepage
          Even if the patent were valid, the goal of the patent system is not "to enable small guys to gets lots of money from the big guys", even if said big guys are doing something the small guys thought of first. The fact that this patent itself is horse crap (although I have yet to see a software patent which isn't, to be honest) is just something which adds injury to the insult.
          • I think you've mis-understood the sentiments in my original posting.

            I agree with what you say; the patent system should exist to spur innovation, be it in big multi-nationals in vast labs, or people in their own houses.

            However, if someone devises something, then the patent system should protect their interest and provide a means to reward them for their work. In this case, the 'big guy' essentially stole the work from the 'small guy', and imho the patent system shouldn't just allow anyone a free ride
            • by bit01 (644603)

              You're falling into one of the standard errors of patent proponents. My correction:

              ... However, if someone devises something, and they wouldn't have done it without monopoly protection and profits and the overall benefit to society outweighs the cost of the monopoly., then, and only then, the patent system should protect their interest and provide a means to reward them for their work. ...

              No invention that takes little investment, or that might reasonably have more than one person independently think

            • You don't need to grant a 26 year monopoly to encourage software innovation. In fact, innovation works much better in this area without monopolies.
      • Are you sure? (Score:3, Interesting)

        by sane? (179855)
        Are you sure this is the patent in question?

        I've skimmed through the vast extent of it and some points arise:

        1. it should never have got accepted in the first place, its a piece of software, written as patent
        2. it references Microsoft FoxPro as something it works within, which both dates it and calls into question the Access/Excel claims
        3. its a mess of AI, Genetic algorothms, decision support, data mining and virtually every other buzzphrase in the known universe
        4. it describes a level of intelligent action on
      • by njdj (458173) on Saturday June 17, 2006 @09:19AM (#15554512)

        If that were all that the patent said, Microsoft's team of top lawyers would have ripped it to shreds in seconds. The fact is that Claim 1 just describes a component, for which no originality is claimed. The essence of the patent is that it takes a bunch of things, none of which are novel, and combines them in a way which is claimed to be novel. The patent itself says "its individual elements respond to prior art in the following areas: decision-support software and executive information systems, expert systems and expert system building tools, ..." and it cites 7 examples of prior art just in the area of decision-support software.

        The patent is bad because it is a software patent. But if software patents are allowed, then combining known elements in a new way qualifies for a patent, because there is over 100 years of precedent in awarding patents for just that in other fields.

      • by bhmit1 (2270)
        The if-then-else with and-or-not is a prerequisite for the rest of the patent, not the patent itself. From the abstract:

        A system for applying artificial intelligence technology to data stored in databases and generates diagnostics that are user definable interpretations of information in the database. The diagnostics are stored in a database which can be queried with downdrilling to the associated data which generated the diagnostic. A set of bidirectional links is maintained between selected data items

        • Re:Good (Score:3, Informative)

          by Halo1 (136547)
          My post simply summarized the first claim of the patent. The claims of a patent define the monopolies granted to the applicant. All conditions of a single claim must be fulfilled in order to infringe on that claim. So as soon as you use an if-the-else test in the way described in the first claim, you are infringing.

          The abstract and description are merely used to help interpret the claim, but they have little or no legal value and do not directly define what the patent monopoly covers.
    • by njdj (458173) on Saturday June 17, 2006 @08:36AM (#15554426)

      Cost to Microsoft: Negligible. (Microsoft's net income was over $12 billion last year).

      Cost to the inventor: 14 years of his life spent fighting a legal battle.

      Message to anybody else whose work Microsoft steals: if you take us to court, figure on losing 14 years of your life fighting a legal battle, and by the way you'd better have a lot of money before you start, because Microsoft won't hesitate to spend a few tens of millions on the best legal talent available.

    • Re:Good (Score:5, Insightful)

      by moochfish (822730) on Saturday June 17, 2006 @08:46AM (#15554447)
      To demonstrate just how arbitrary the patent system seems sometimes... let's replace a few words in your statement:

      Good. Good. Good.

      This is how the patent system should work. [Creative] came up with an idea and tried to make [their] buck. [Apple] stole the idea, which for all intents and purposes ruined [their] chances of making [their] money back. So, [they] sued [Apple]...

      Of course, [4] years must be a hell of a long time to wait for your money...

      You could do the same thing with Amazon's One-click patent and achieve similar results. Yeah... I am not saying the dude did or didn't deserve the money. I am just saying it all seems very arbitrary sometimes.
      • Re:Good (Score:3, Interesting)

        by nbannerman (974715)
        You're quite correct, I guess it does seem a bit arbitary sometimes. Considering the facts in this one, I do still agree it is a good decision. If the patent system was reformed properly, it would be easier to make decisions about what is 'good' and what is 'bad'.

        To use your analogy, if Creative did create something and Apple decided against using it (licence too high, etc), but then had a change of heart and used it without paying Creative for a licence, then Apple would (imho) be in the wrong.

        Now if
      • It's not arbitrary at all, actually the rule is very simple. Successful (and preferably big) companies must DIE DIE DIE, while the mythical "little guy" must be allowed to prosper. Strangely enough, such theory is upheld by many little guys.
        Welcome to /., I hope you enjoy your stay.
    • And while we're at it, why don't we apply copyright law against all those stolen ideas in Hollywood.
    • by Descalzo (898339)
      The problem here is that they had to pay the guy 65 million quetzales, which comes to like 2 bucks American.
    • I wonder if someone at MS is feeling just a bit stupid right now. Yeah yeah, £65mil is chump change to them, but they do leave with a substantial amount of egg on their face!

      This could acutally be very bad for Microsoft. Very little of MS-Windows is genuine. Most is borrowed, bought or infringed from other sources. Microsoft could dye with a 1000 cuts.

    • by mi (197448)
      MS stole the idea
      Are you sure, they did not just ignore him back then? I would not take the Guatemalan court's decision as any kind of proof or confirmation. I'm sure, sympathy for a fellow Guatemalan and considerations like "Microsoft is rich, they can afford it" played a large role in the judges' decision...
  • by tenverras (855530) on Saturday June 17, 2006 @07:34AM (#15554315)
    Sure, Microsoft would still much rather win, but I doubt they were kidding themselves into thinking that they weren't in the wrong. I wouldn't be surprised if the whole reason they took it to court was to send the message that just because you think that Microsoft is infringing on your patents, doesn't mean they're going to roll over and pay you off. You better be ready to go the distance if you want to earn your dollar.
  • Misleading summary (Score:5, Insightful)

    by kjart (941720) on Saturday June 17, 2006 @07:36AM (#15554317)
    From the article:

    Morrison & Foerster said it is hoping that the federal court will award Amado further damages for continuing infringement, out of an escrow account that now has more than $65 million in it.

    The lawyers appear to be hoping for more, but it hasn't necessarily been increased to $65 million yet. Personally, I don't think it's worth that much, since the infringing technology is related to:

    Microsoft's method of linking its Access database and Excel spreadsheet infringed on Amado's technology

    but heck, that's patent law for you.

    • Bump the parent by +4. Misleading summary? Sorry, but it's fair to say that the summary was just haphazardly posted by someone who didn't actually follow the link and read the short article.
  • by jkrise (535370) on Saturday June 17, 2006 @07:43AM (#15554328) Journal
    From TFA... "Since the jury verdict last year, Microsoft has altered Office, alerting businesses back in January that they will need to upgrade to the modified version."

    Why should USERS pay to upgrade to a new version? Why can't Microsoft license the patent in question, instead?
    • Why should USERS pay to upgrade to a new version? Why can't Microsoft license the patent in question, instead?

      I'd imagine that's referring to a patch and not something that costs money. Unless you're referring to the human cost of having to patch X copies of Office. Then again, I doubt that Microsoft cares if people actually upgrade - it's probably just important (for legal reasons I imagine) that they _ask_ people to.

    • "Why should USERS pay to upgrade to a new version?"

      35 USC 271: "...whoever without authority makes, uses, offers to sell, or sells any patented invention, within the United States, or imports into the United States any patented invention during the term of the patent therefor, infringes the patent."

      If the users don't upgrade, they also infringe the patent and can be sued individually for patent infringement. Microsoft has no legal obligation to indemnify its customers (unless they entered into some sor

    • You dont. Its a new Service Pack for office (which is free obviously). A company I work for got a letter about this requesting that any new installs of office be sure and have the latest service pack, or else you'd be in violation of the volume liscense agreement. In other words, non-compliance is now going to be the fault of the small businesses that MS audits, not the fault of MS.
  • by lee7guy (659916) on Saturday June 17, 2006 @07:44AM (#15554331)
    Points in the general direction of Redmond.

    Ha ha!

  • Hang on a minute (Score:5, Insightful)

    by sane? (179855) on Saturday June 17, 2006 @07:56AM (#15554354)
    This concerns a patent for a method of shifting data from Excel to Access. I thought we had all agreed that software patents were a bad idea? All of them.

    This guy managed to take two packages made by Microsoft and work a way of shifting data between them. So what? I'll guess (given that no reference is given to the actual patent) that given the two packages there are only very few mechanisms, and these are obvious in the context of the software. I can quite understand Microsoft telling him to take a hike for an export/import routine.

    As much as it may pain some, this person looks to be a chancer. Just because its the little guy and Microsoft doesn't make it right.

    • by homer_s (799572) on Saturday June 17, 2006 @08:25AM (#15554406)
      I thought we had all agreed that software patents were a bad idea? All of them.
      You must be new here.
      Here are the rules reg. patents on slashdot:

      If it is a patent by google/apple, it is a defensive patent and hence good.
      If it is a patent by any other company, it is teh evil.
      If it is a patent that hurts Microsoft, then it is good and that is how patents are supposed to work.


      • by Giometrix (932993)
        I wish you were only kidding...
      • by KiloByte (825081) on Saturday June 17, 2006 @10:17AM (#15554644)
        If it is a patent that hurts Microsoft, then it is good and that is how patents are supposed to work.

        The reason why we cheer for some patents, is that it's good to see patent trolls themselves get hurt. In fact, this is the only way to fight -- it is them who get to buy laws, and without them getting ever hurt, our side simply has no leverage to persuade anyone who has any power.
      • by tehshen (794722) <tehshen@gmail.com> on Saturday June 17, 2006 @10:47AM (#15554714)
        It's amazing how you can be automatically Insightful for bashing this place now. If someone's wrong about something, don't whine about some 'groupthink', try to correct whoever it was, which actually helps. Explain why this isn't how the patent system is supposed to work. Anyway here's my opinion on the matter.

        I think of it like this:
        • If I break into your house and steal all your money, that is bad and I should be punished for it.
        • If I break into your house because you stole my computer and I want to get it back, I might be more justified in doing so.

        Sure, it's a lot more complicated than that - in either case, I've got a charge of breaking and entering to deal with. Likewise, patents are going to be controvertial whatever happens.

        I don't like Microsoft that much. I don't like their business practices, their software, or their vast army of lawyers and patents, and anything that hinders any of those things is good by me. Then again, I'm also against these software patents, and I'm not sure if this one should've even been granted, let alone used.

        Using a patent against Microsoft is making the best of a bad situation. Obviously, I'd rather see them both without any patents, like I'd rather not have my thing stolen and have to break into your house to get it back. This is just the next best thing.
      • Actually, the general sentiment I seem to see (and incidentally agree with) is:

        Software, "method", and biology patents are generally bad and subject to a large degree of abuse, and need to be done away with.
        That being said, some holders of software patents (such as patent trolls or MS's threats against open source) are MORE abusive with them than others.
        Seeing a patent abuser getting clubbed over the head by another one is funny, though the assertion remains that neither one should have software patents

    • by rolfwind (528248) on Saturday June 17, 2006 @08:27AM (#15554411)
      In one way, I do agree with you. In another, I have to point out that it is MS that is helping push software patents in Europe, and thus, this is poetic justice. Perhaps they'll reconsider their position if this happens enough (though I doubt it).

      Maybe, in the end, I wish they were getting their poetic justice without a patent troll getting paid off, though.
    • by jkrise (535370) on Saturday June 17, 2006 @08:35AM (#15554423) Journal
      This concerns a patent for a method of shifting data from Excel to Access

      There's no reference, but I'd wager NO PATENT would've been granted on these lines... more like, "a method to move data from a spreadsheet to a database".

      This guy managed to take two packages made by Microsoft and work a way of shifting data between them.
      No evidence to the above. Maybe more generic work.

      I thought we had all agreed that software patents were a bad idea? All of them.

      Agreed. And so, until software patents are declared illegal, any aggrieved party should be able to make the infringer pay.

      Just because its the little guy and Microsoft doesn't make it right.

      How about vice-versa? With WGA, Microsoft checks every small guy every day. Every day, every one is guilty unless a piece of software decides you are innocent. Two wrongs won't make a right.... and yet, the rights of little men MUST be upheld, until the SYSTEM becomes more equitable.

    • by flight666 (30842)
      Oh, yes it does make this right. Very right. You see, strategically, it would be best if the worlds most profitable software company were to lose a bunch of these suits and then decide that they dont like software patents very much. Then they could spend some of their money buying some patent reform laws.
    • No, /. is a much larger and varied crowd than you seem to give it credit for. There are people here who despise all patents under any case, others who despise all software patents or patents on methods or some other subset of patets, some who despise patents that don't harm MS, people who would give there left arm to buy a patent for google, those that would give your left arm to buy a patent for apple, and those that enjoy reading about multi-million dollar lawsuits being flung around by the big boys.

      I co
    • Re:Hang on a minute (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Jason Earl (1894)

      The reason that I don't cry when Microsoft loses a patent case is because Microsoft is one of the prime movers behind expanding America's broken patent system around the world. Besides, in recent years Microsoft has become very aggressive in its efforts to use its patents to generate huge amounts of licensing fees. In essence Microsoft wants to create a world in which large corporations, with large portfolios of patents to trade, are the only folks that can write software. Heck, Microsoft's most effectiv

    • The history of this particular patent was that this guy was able to make Excel and Access work together in 1992. Back then they were two separate programs developed independently at MS and not really designed to interface with each other. He found a way for them to interact together and he patented it. He claims that he showed his method to MS but they didn't want to buy his patent. He claims they then used his technique anyway on subsequent versions of Excel and Access. A court has determined his cla

  • From an article referenced in the link:
    "It was recently decided in a court of law that certain portions of code found in Microsoft Office Professional Edition 2003, Microsoft Office Access 2003, Microsoft Office XP Professional and Microsoft Access 2002 infringe a third-party patent," Microsoft said in an e-mail to customers. "As a result, Microsoft must make available a revised version of these products with the allegedly infringing code replaced."

    Questions that come up:
    1. How could any 3rd party obtain ac
    • Why punish the people who PAID for the product????????

      And people thought just running Windows was punishment enough... /me hugs OpenOffice and teTeX

      Tom
  • Clippy? (Score:2, Funny)

    by mostaphalles (113587)
    So that's the son-of-a-bitch that invented Clippy... Only when pitched his name was El Hungry Clippo, the spelling-error eating robot.
  • Powerful ally (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Gadzinka (256729) <rrw@hell.pl> on Saturday June 17, 2006 @08:42AM (#15554437) Journal
    It's good to have such a powerful ally in fight against software patents.

    After couple of court loses like this, I don't think there's anyone in MS who still believes that their huge patent portfolio will help them. It used to be that you simply amassed patents and when your competition sued you for patent infrigment, you sued them back, finally settled outside of court and signed mututal patent exchange with them.

    Now, there are companies that don't do anything, just sue left and right, so you have no possibility to sue them back for patent infrigment[1]. You might even bankrupt them by prolonged court proceedings, but they are like hydra: those same people, will resurface in some other company and continue to extort money.

    Robert

    [1] unless you own a patent on a business method ,,don't do anything, just sue'' ;)
    • Re:Powerful ally (Score:3, Interesting)

      by pieterh (196118)
      There are a number of inescapable flaws in the software patent 'system'; this is one of them...

      1. Owning patents does not protect you from a non-producing entity (NPE, a firm that owns patents but makes nothing, so infringes nothing and cannot be sued).

      2. It is impossible to define new software standards that cannot be undercut and held hostage by NPEs.

      3. It is impossible to build new software products that cannot be undercut and held hostage by NPEs.

      4. It is impossible to define software patents that canno
      • The irony (sweet or not) is that it is those firms lobbying hardest for wider and stronger software patents (IBM, Microsoft, Nokia, Sony, Siemens, SAP) which end up paying the biggest bills. It's true that software patents provide temporary and lucrative monopolies - see the GSM market, based on some of the heaviest-patented standards ever - but in the end the patent trolls will always find a way to turn it around.

        Can you clarify how GSM standard is a software patent and if it really is patented. AFAIK,

        • Software patents are granted by the tens of thousands in Europe by the EPO and it's just national courts that tend (but not always) to reject them. Telecoms patents have tended to be upheld by courts much more often because they have (superficially) a industrial character that makes them different from 'pure software' patents. This is the rationale. Of course GSM is pure software.

          Simply do a Google search for "gsm patent", it's pretty clear the impact these patents have, which is mainly lawsuits.

          The GSM
    • The court, which in many ways were the last ally of the individual against corporate and governement greed, are quickly losing thier power. The drive again liberal activist judges, and replacing them with corporate activist judges, kills the opportunity to gain reasonable recompense for damages.

      For instance, insurance companies routinely offer minimum settlement knowing that one of two things will happen. Either the claimant is poor and must accept the substandard settlement, or the claimant has means a

  • The High Price of Innovation!
  • Let's hope that maybe now, Microsoft will put all it's weight behind scrapping software patents altogether???
  • by BlueScreenOfTOM (939766) on Saturday June 17, 2006 @09:28AM (#15554534)
    When reached for comment, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer stated "Carlos Armando Amado is a fucking pussy. I've done it before and I'll do it again... I'm going to Fucking Kill(TM) Carlos Armando Amado!" He then hurled a chair in the general direction of Guatemala.
  • If they would have licenced this, he would be looking at a hell of a lot more than $9m since '93...$9m is nothing when they are making a few billion on Office each year!
  • The summay isn't accurate. FTA:

    The appeals court said it would let the lower court decide how much, if any, of escrow funds should go to Amado. ...

    Morrison & Foerster said it is hoping that the federal court will award Amado further damages for continuing infringement, out of an escrow account that now has more than $65 million in it.

    "We are hopeful that the District Court will now award Mr. Amado substantial monies from that escrow account when the matter is returned to the court."
  • evil yet good (Score:3, Informative)

    by m874t232 (973431) on Saturday June 17, 2006 @11:27AM (#15554844)
    I think the patent [uspto.gov] is of dubious validity; it's basically a patent on applying a class of welll-known technologies to relational databases instead of in-memory databases. It doesn't contain any significant intellectual insights.

    Microsoft got targeted by this patent because they have money. But, in the end, that's good: Microsoft has been such a big proponent of "intellectual property protection" in recent years that they should realize that they have a lot to lose themselves from bogus patent claims, probably more than any of their competitors. Let's hope they'll change their lobbying as a result of such claims.

    (Incidentally, this is a US patent case; the only thing Guatemalan about it is the inventor.)
  • by Myria (562655) on Saturday June 17, 2006 @12:41PM (#15555107)
    Ready to get -1 flamebait...

    Nobody should get pushed around by stupid patents, and that includes your enemies. Don't side against someone simply because you don't like them. It's in your best interests to defend Microsoft here...

    Melissa
    • The best way to get rid of software patents is for those who generate a lot of them to get burned many, many times until their own patents make them significantly less than they lose in cases such as these. They're pushing software patents in Europe, and they're not exactly trying to get rid of them here. It's not strictly speaking because some people don't like Microsoft, although I'll admit I'm not fond of Windows. I like and use Amazon.com, but I think the one click patent is just ridiculous.
  • by magicchex (898936) <mdanielewicz.gmail@com> on Saturday June 17, 2006 @02:24PM (#15555474)
    FTFA:
    Morrison & Foerster said it is hoping that the federal court will award Amado further damages for continuing infringement, out of an escrow account that now has more than $65 million in it.
    and
    In June 2005, an Orange County, Calif., jury awarded Amado $6.1 million, ruling that Microsoft's method of linking its Access database and Excel spreadsheet infringed on Amado's technology.
    The original fine was 6.1m, not 9m, while the current one has NOT been set at 65m. Seems "Spy Der Mann" didn't read the short article before submitting.
  • by fatdog789 (982614) on Saturday June 17, 2006 @02:27PM (#15555480)
    Let me get this straight: the guy patented a method of using the MS APIs to move data between two of their own products? So...basically, he used another companies intellectual property to create his own intellectual property of a feature they were probably going to add themselves later? This ranks up there with patenting business ideas. If Apple had been on the losing end, this place would be filled with outrage at the patent system (ie, the Creative suit).

  • This is just the cost of doing business.

panic: kernel trap (ignored)

Working...