SGML was the original design for all kinds of information interchange. It was specifically designed for documents, then XML as a subset was designed for Internet documents. Because Microsoft neglected to mention the history of XML, it basically was granted a patent for reinventing the predecessor of XML. In fact, XML is considered a subset of SGML designed for the Internet. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SGML

The MS patent is indeed a rehash of the SGML standard, nothing new except they switched the letters SG with X and forgot to mention to the naive patent clerk that there was a 30 year history behind XML. For example patent 4803643 (http://www.freepatentsonline.com/4803643.html). If XML == SGML, then 4803643 is clear prior art. And since this 1987 clearly shows how to implement MS’s new patent that didn’t show how to implement one thing, it makes my eyes bug out my head!

MS pushed ISO to accept OpenOffice XML as the standard version, and now it is revealed that they were squatting on this very awful patent in terms of OOXML.

Microsoft Patents XML Text Documents

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