An email was sent to some folks saying that they needed to ensure they were on a certain Office service pack…. and it looks like it’s another case of Lawyers and Patents going overboard again….

Thanks to Mr. Amado, you can’t link Access and Excel one way, you have to go back to Excel and change things.

From the listserve…. 

I believe this might stem from the Carlos Amado vs. Microsoft patent case
( It’s US
patent # 5,293,615 for those so inclined to read the volumes of legalese
abut it on

Microsoft has KB article 904953 (
which is titled:

“You cannot change, add, or delete data in tables that are linked to an
Excel workbook in Office Access 2003 or in Access 2002”

This is the “More Information” section of that article:

“Because of legal issues, Microsoft has disabled the functionality in Access
2003 and in Access 2002 that let users change the data in linked tables that
point to a range in an Excel workbook. However, when you make changes
directly in the Excel workbook, the changes appear in the linked table in


One Response to So what’s the ratio of Lawyers to Software Engineers these days?

  1. Alun Jones says:

    It’s unfortunate that the best method we have for rewarding people who have great ideas is also the best method for extorting money from people who are second to think of an idea – if that idea is sufficiently complex that it fools a patent engineer that it is “not obvious”.

    My favourite example of bad patentage is that of the “XOR-cursor”. I implemented my first XOR-cursor when I was twelve, not because I had read it in a book, but because it was “bleedin’ obvious”.

    To a non-programmer, it’s not obvious; indeed, to many programmers, it’s not obvious, because XOR isn’t an operation they think of using very often. To me, and hundreds of other programmers, it’s blindingly obvious, and it’s a huge surprise that anyone would agree to approve a patent application.

    There’s the problem with patents – if I come up with a “clean-room” implementation that just happens to match a patent, I am liable for lawsuits and penalties if the patent officer (who is not as good a developer as me) and the judge (who is not a developer) decide that the process or device is not obvious to them.