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Microsoft Files for XML Patents

Patents wouldn't immediately affect OpenOffice, say analysts.

Specifically, Microsoft has applied for a patent to cover a word-processing document stored in a single XML file.

"The present invention," it says in its Summary,  "is directed at providing a word-processing document in a native XML file format that may be understood by an application that understands XML, or to enable another application or service to create a rich document in XML so that the word-processing application can open it as if it was one of its own documents."

"According to one aspect of the invention," the claim continues, "a word-processor has a native XML file format. The well formed XML file fully represents the word-processor document, and fully supports the word-processor's rich formatting. Accordingly, one of the goals of such a native XML representation is have no feature losses when saving the word-processor documents in XML according to a defined XSD. According to another aspect of the invention, there is a published XSD file that defines all the rules behind the word-processor's XML file format. The schema describes the word-processor's XML structure. The schema file mirrors the internal word-processor program while still allowing ease of use. Thus, the schema enables third party services and applications to create XML documents understandable by the word processing application."

"According to yet another aspect of the invention, hints are provided within the XML associated files providing applications that understand XML a shortcut to understanding some of the features provided by the word-processor. By using the hints, the applications do not have to know all of the specific details of the internal processing of the word-processor in order to recreate a feature. According to yet another aspect of the invention, the word-processing document is stored in a single XML file. An application will be able to fully recreate the document from this single XML file. This includes all the images and other binary data that may be present in the document. The invention provides for a way to represent all document data in a single XML file. According to still yet another aspect of the invention, manipulation of word-processing documents may be done on computing devices that do not include the word-processor itself."

Reading on in its its filing no. EP1376387,  the list of claims is comprehesive:

1. 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.


2. The computer-readable medium of Claim 1, further comprising a validating component configured to validate the word-processor document.

3. The computer-readable medium of Claim 1, further comprising a fourth component for displaying the word-processor document.

4. The computer-readable medium of Claim 2, wherein the XSD represents a word-processor's rich formatting.

5. The computer-readable medium of Claim 4, wherein the XSD is published and is available to applications other than the word-processor.

6. The computer-readable medium of Claim 4, wherein the word-processor document includes hints to applications that understand XML.

7. The computer-readable medium of Claim 5, wherein the action may be selected from parsing, modifying, reading, and creating the word-processor document.

8. The computer-readable medium of Claim 5, wherein the action may be fully recreating the word-processor document according to a word processor's set of features.

9. The computer-readable medium of Claim 8, wherein the action may be storing an image within the word-processor document as a binary encoding.

10. The computer-readable medium of Claim 9, wherein the action may be storing template information as a binary encoding within the word-processor document.

11. A method for handling a word-processing document, comprising:

parsing the document, wherein the document is contained within a single XML file and includes all of the instructions necessary to display the document according to how a word-processor would display the document; and
interpreting the document according to an XSD.


12. The method of Claim 11, further comprising displaying the document according to the instructions contained within the single XML file.

13. The method of Claim 12, futher comprising modifying the document so as to conform with an XSD file.

14. The method of Claim 13, wherein the XSD includes definitions for all of the features incorporated within the word-processor.

15. The method of Claim 12, wherein displaying the document further comprises formatting the text according to style and properties contained within the singe XML file.

16. The method of Claim 11, further comprising extracting text from the single XML file by searching for single tag indicating that the information following the tag is text.

17. A system for creating, interpreting, and modifying a word-processor document stored as as single WPML file, comprising:

a WPML file;
a validation engine configured to validate the WPML file; and
a word processor configured to read a WPML file created in accordance with a schema.


18. The system of Claim 17, wherein the word processor is further configured to modify the WPML file in accordance with the schema.

19. The system of Claim 17, wherein the word processor is further configured to output the document to a display.

20. The system of Claim 19, wherein the schema is published and is available to applications other than the word-processor.

21. The system of Claim 19, wherein the WPML file includes hints to applications that understand XML.

22. The system of Claim 19, wherein the word processor is further configured to create a document according to the schema.

23. A computer-readable medium having a schema encoded thereon, for a word-processor markup language, the schema comprising:

a properties element;
a styles element;
a body element, wherein the body element comprises:

a paragraph element;
a text run element including text that is the text content of a word-processor document and is defined by a single tag; and

a table element.


24. The schema of Claim 23, further comprising a hints element, wherein the hints element may be used to indicate a meaning for an item.

25. The schema of Claim 23, wherein the styles element comprises a list style, a character style, a paragraph style and a table style.

26. The schema of Claim 25, wherein the properties element further comprises document properties and information properties.

27. The schema of Claim 26, wherein the paragraph element further comprises a properties element.

28. The schema of Claim 27, wherein the paragraph section may default to a predetermined paragraph property.

29. The schema of Claim 28, wherein the text run section further comprises an image section.

30. The schema of Claim 29, wherein the image section stores an image as a binary encoding.

31. The schema of Claim 26, wherein the properties element further comprises template information stored as a binary encoding.

Says Bob Wyman: "My personal feeling is that words like XML, HTML, XHTML, RelaxNG, etc. should simply never appear in the claims of a patent."

"Anytime they do, I think we have an almost primae faciea case for saying that the patent is bogus. To be innovative, one should prove some new and novel benefit of using 'generic data encoding' or 'schema driven something or other,' not merely the application of known techniques to general problems."

 


 

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