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Look and Feel Legality

P: n/a
I work for a software company who develops a Microsoft Access based
application. I am currently in the process of designing a scheduler
for this application and really like the design of the recurrence form
in Microsoft Outlook. What is the legality of mimicking this form in
our own application? In the course of researching other scheduling
software, I have come across software that almost completely
replicates this form. If there are any Microsoft employees out there,
is there a way I could receive formal approval for using the design of
this form? After all, for every copy of our software that is sold, a
copy of Microsoft Office is sold as well. Any comments or direction
on this matter would be appreciated. Thank you.

Vincent

Mar 14 '07 #1
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3 Replies


P: n/a
Hi, Vincent.
I am currently in the process of designing a scheduler
for this application and really like the design of the recurrence form
in Microsoft Outlook.
I haven't got a clue what an Outlook recurrence form looks like. I suspect
many of the other folks who frequent this newsgroup are in the same boat,
because they work with database applications, not E-mail applications.
What is the legality of mimicking this form in
our own application?
Microsoft has put beaucoup bucks into designing and testing the "look and
feel" of its Office software products, so you'll likely land in legal hot
water for copying it without their permission.
In the course of researching other scheduling
software, I have come across software that almost completely
replicates this form.
Perhaps they've signed an agreement with Microsoft to license the "look and
feel." Did you ask either company if they did, or are you assuming that the
scheduling software authors didn't?
If there are any Microsoft employees out there,
Don't hold your breath. I think you're talking to a wall if you expect a
Microsoft employee to find your question in this newsgroup and answer it.
This is a newsgroup for peer-to-peer assistance from users of the Microsoft
Access database product. This isn't even a newsgroup that's sponsored by
Microsoft.
is there a way I could receive formal approval for using the design of
this form?
It's unlikely very many Microsoft employees outside of the legal department
would know the answer to this question. Microsoft now licenses the design
(i.e., the "look and feel") of Microsoft Office 2007, but I don't know about
their stance regarding earlier versions of Office.
After all, for every copy of our software that is sold, a
copy of Microsoft Office is sold as well.
That's not the incentive you may think it is. For the most part, the
required Windows operating system and Office version or Access version
already exist on the destination workstation of an installed Access database
application, or else a free Access Runtime license can be installed, so sale
of a copy of your software is no guarantee of additional revenues for
Microsoft Windows Vista or Microsoft Office 2007. If you're planning to
have an earlier version of Access run your application, I believe Microsoft
has already received its payment from the wholesaler or retailer. I believe
there's no new revenues headed towards the Microsoft bank vault when one
purchases a version of Microsoft Office older than the current one. Of
course, I'm willing to be corrected on this belief if anyone else knows the
Microsoft distribution channels.

HTH.
Gunny

See http://www.QBuilt.com for all your database needs.
See http://www.Access.QBuilt.com for Microsoft Access tips and tutorials.
Blogs: www.DataDevilDog.BlogSpot.com, www.DatabaseTips.BlogSpot.com
http://www.Access.QBuilt.com/html/ex...ributors2.html for contact
info.
"Vincent" <an**********@verizon.netwrote in message
news:11**********************@e1g2000hsg.googlegro ups.com...
>I work for a software company who develops a Microsoft Access based
application. I am currently in the process of designing a scheduler
for this application and really like the design of the recurrence form
in Microsoft Outlook. What is the legality of mimicking this form in
our own application? In the course of researching other scheduling
software, I have come across software that almost completely
replicates this form. If there are any Microsoft employees out there,
is there a way I could receive formal approval for using the design of
this form? After all, for every copy of our software that is sold, a
copy of Microsoft Office is sold as well. Any comments or direction
on this matter would be appreciated. Thank you.

Vincent

Mar 15 '07 #2

P: n/a
"'69 Camaro" <Fo**************************@Spameater.orgZERO_SP AMwrote
in news:12*************@corp.supernews.com:
Microsoft has put beaucoup bucks into designing and testing the "look
and feel" of its Office software products, so you'll likely land in
legal hot water for copying it without their permission.
Do you think Microsoft's theft of the Apple-Mac OS "look-and-feel" has any
bearing on this? I wonder that if one copied "the look and feel" of
whatever Outlook utility this is, with a clean-room procedure the process
might not be entirely legal.
(Off-topic), I rolled my eyes when I read that someone wanted to emulate
something, anything from Outlook. It seems masochism is alive and well and
living among software developers.

Mar 17 '07 #3

P: n/a
Hi, Lyle.
Do you think Microsoft's theft of the Apple-Mac OS "look-and-feel" has any
bearing on this?
It's been quite a while, but as I recall Microsoft won that court battle.
But anyone can see it was Apple's original design.
(Off-topic), I rolled my eyes when I read that someone wanted to emulate
something, anything from Outlook. It seems masochism is alive and well and
living among software developers.
In some circles, Microsoft products are held in high esteem. Or so I hear.
I was a Unix system administrator and then later an Oracle DBA, so I only
hung out with the Unix crowd until fairly recently. The Unix crowd doesn't
have much use for Microsoft products.

HTH.
Gunny

See http://www.QBuilt.com for all your database needs.
See http://www.Access.QBuilt.com for Microsoft Access tips and tutorials.
Blogs: www.DataDevilDog.BlogSpot.com, www.DatabaseTips.BlogSpot.com
http://www.Access.QBuilt.com/html/ex...ributors2.html for contact
info.
"lyle fairfield" <ly******@yahoo.cawrote in message
news:2o****************@read1.cgocable.net...
"'69 Camaro" <Fo**************************@Spameater.orgZERO_SP AMwrote
in news:12*************@corp.supernews.com:
>Microsoft has put beaucoup bucks into designing and testing the "look
and feel" of its Office software products, so you'll likely land in
legal hot water for copying it without their permission.

Do you think Microsoft's theft of the Apple-Mac OS "look-and-feel" has any
bearing on this? I wonder that if one copied "the look and feel" of
whatever Outlook utility this is, with a clean-room procedure the process
might not be entirely legal.
(Off-topic), I rolled my eyes when I read that someone wanted to emulate
something, anything from Outlook. It seems masochism is alive and well and
living among software developers.

Mar 17 '07 #4

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