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Microsoft The Internet Patents

Microsoft Applies to Patent RSS in Vista 119

Posted by Zonk
from the don't-jump-the-rails-just-yet dept.
Cyvros wrote in with a link to Wired's Monkey Bites blog, which is featuring a post on Microsoft applying for a patent on RSS. As the article points out, this isn't as crazy as it seems at first blush. From the wording of the application, post author Scott Gilbertson interprets their move as a patent on RSS only within Vista and IE7. From the article: "The big mystery is what Microsoft is planning to do with the patents if they are awarded them. The sad state of patent affairs in the United States has led to several cases of Microsoft being sued for technologies they did arguably invent simply because some else owned a generic patent on them. Of course we have no way of knowing how Microsoft intends to use these patents if they are awarded them. They could represent a defensive move, but they could be offensive as well -- [self-described RSS inventor Dave] Winer may end up being correct. It would be nice to see Microsoft release some information on what they plan to do with these patents, but for now we'll just have to wait and see whether the US Patent and Trademark Office grants them."
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Microsoft Applies to Patent RSS in Vista

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  • Wheel (Score:5, Funny)

    by aedan (196243) on Saturday December 23, 2006 @03:42PM (#17349228) Homepage
    Patent on the wheel can't be long in coming.
  • Linux ? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by slashthedot (991354) on Saturday December 23, 2006 @03:43PM (#17349238) Homepage
    Linus should patent both RSS and Atom in Linux before anyone else does.
  • by topham (32406) on Saturday December 23, 2006 @03:44PM (#17349242) Homepage
    and nobody has bothered to dispute it because who the hell would want to claim such a convoluted design as their own?

  • by radarsat1 (786772) on Saturday December 23, 2006 @03:48PM (#17349264) Homepage
    Everyone was so *happy* when they decided to actually play nice and use an established icon [slashdot.org] for RSS.

    Why would they turn around and piss everyone off?
    WHY??

    Oh wait... it's MS. Nevermind. Business as usual.

    so hey.. does this mean Firefox will have to exclude that feature in upcoming Vista builds?

    I can see it now:

    #ifndef _MS_VISTA_ // patent crap.
    Links.AddLiveBookmark();
    #endif
  • Oh Yeah?! (Score:5, Funny)

    by Greyfox (87712) on Saturday December 23, 2006 @03:49PM (#17349268) Homepage Journal
    Well I'm going to patent the 8.3 naming convention in the FAT filesystem! How do you like THEM apples?
    • by leeosenton (764295) on Saturday December 23, 2006 @04:13PM (#17349410)
      but them Apples don't even use 8.3 file names...
    • by geobeck (924637)

      I'll see your 8.3 naming system and raise you...

      I'm going to patent the process of issuing exclusive rights to a new invention with the purpose of allowing an inventor to get his invention produced without competition from companies who would otherwise reverse-engineer and sell the same invention without the R&D overhead.

      Guess who I'm gonna sue!

    • by kbg (241421)
      Sorry you are too late, Microsoft already patented FAT:

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File_Allocation_Table [wikipedia.org]

      and unfortunately I am not joking.
      • I think thats kinda the point of his joke - just as MS did not create or otherwise even give a damn about RSS until it became a semi-big buzzword and realized the usefulness of how it could provide up-to date links to news feeds, etc that has become so widespread (such as the FAT system) that MS would be able to sue every web company and end-user/regular joe browsing the net that uses RSS in their site or people that visit sites making some kind of use of RSS - and in the gp's joke, everybody that ever ran
  • by Timesprout (579035) on Saturday December 23, 2006 @03:50PM (#17349274)
    over patent infringement? Actual cases and not the 'OMG they might sue us' screeching please.
    • by thue (121682) on Saturday December 23, 2006 @04:16PM (#17349422) Homepage
      Here is one, on the ASF video file format: http://www.advogato.org/article/101.html [advogato.org]
      • Thats a C&D. The guy was not sued, just informed politely he was infringing and provided with an alternative approach when he asked.
        • by thue (121682)
          Thats a C&D. The guy was not sued, just informed politely he was infringing

          Well, of course they didn't sue because desisted. It seems clear to me that the polite request would have a lawsuit if he had not. So the difference is not important.

          Free software developers don't have huge amounts of money to defend against lawsuits, so of course patent issues will heavily tend to them desisting before an actual trial is started. That is another reason why patents are so destructive to free software - maybe they
    • by kripkenstein (913150) on Saturday December 23, 2006 @04:16PM (#17349424) Homepage
      "Who has Microsoft actually sued over patent infringement?"

      Why make this a general debate about Microsoft's patents (or patents in general)? The current patent is very specific, and isn't accurately summarized in TFA anyhow, so debate here may be skewed. The actual patent states specifically, in the "Background" section:

      RSS, which stands for Really Simple Syndication, is one type of web content syndication format

      i.e. Microsoft is NOT patenting RSS, which is one possible misconception. Secondly, the patent mentions various problems with RSS (various file formats, lack of a single unified reader for the entire desktop), which they intend to fix. So, they may be looking to patent a system that uses RSS or improves it; presumably this would run on Vista, but to say they are "patenting RSS in Vista" seems odd.
      • by grcumb (781340)

        I'm afraid your point does nothing but weaken any justification Microsoft might have had in applying for an RSS-related patent.

        Microsoft is NOT patenting RSS, which is one possible misconception. Secondly, the patent mentions various problems with RSS (various file formats, lack of a single unified reader for the entire desktop), which they intend to fix. So, they may be looking to patent a system that uses RSS or improves it; presumably this would run on Vista, but to say they are "patenting RSS in Vista

        • by x2A (858210)
          "What possible improvement of RSS would, in your opinion, justify the title 'invention'?"

          Are you seriously asking him to invent an improvement for RSS on the spot, that would qualify as being patentable, and just announce it here? I'd have to say some kind of "really stupid question" filter would be great... maybe you can begin implementing it?

      • Microsoft isn't patenting RSS, they are patenting RSS aggregation and conversion, and they are also trying to cover alternative formats like Atom. That doesn't make the patent less outrageous, it makes it more outrageous. Why are we talking about Microsoft? Because it is Microsoft that filed this patent.
      • the patent mentions various problems with RSS (various file formats, lack of a single unified reader for the entire desktop)

        oh yeah, great... microsofts wants to push one single application for syndication (guess who'll be the author of that one program and which operating systems it will run on)
        it's the same shit as always - embrace, extend and extinguish... http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Embrace%2C_extend_and _extinguish [wikipedia.org]

    • by dattaway (3088) on Saturday December 23, 2006 @04:20PM (#17349440) Homepage Journal
      Who would they sue? I believe everyone they could. IBM used to covertly sue everyone trying to manufacture a competing Personal Computer. They would quietly visit the company with their lawyers and ask them for royalties on several patents. If they balked, they informed them there were several thousand patents they could litigate with. Of course a deal was made and it was all NDA. Most of the companies slowly bled to death. These things rarely make the news.
      • by Traiklin (901982)
        but but, IBM is nice now! they released a ton of patents and are fighting that evil SCO!

        IBM would never sue people or use patents again small companies!
        ,br> (Yes this was ment as a joke)
    • by Waffle Iron (339739) on Saturday December 23, 2006 @04:46PM (#17349558)
      Who has N. Korea actually nuked? Actual cases and not the 'OMG they might nuke us' screeching please.
      • LOL, funny and probably the most insightful response to my question. Nice one.
      • by a.d.trick (894813)
        Which makes me wonder why we haven't banned these patents altogether. It's not like it's difficult or anything. They don't seem to really serve any purpose besides promoting fear.
    • Well, you see, that whole "FUD" thing is sort of a big deal. We may just dismiss FUD as spouting, but "OMG they might sue us" is going to scare the crap out of potential inventors, and also can dissuade people from taking on a browser or OS that they could get sued over. Just because we know that there's likely little to worry about doesn't mean that the Pointy-Haired Boss in the corner office knows that. It also has a level of risk-taking involved. Slashdotters have a higher risk tolerance than busines
    • You forget. They sued Sun. Then they also sued Real. Now it maybe Viner boy. Oh, wait ...
    • by oohshiny (998054)
      Microsoft doesn't have to sue, they merely have to threaten to sue. In practice, they tend to settle for things like "if you commit to licensing Microsoft Windows and Office, then all your patent worries will go away". Because every large corporation has a significant number of Microsoft zealots inside anyway, such a settlement isn't difficult to achieve. Usually, such settlements are covered by non-disclosures, so you never find out about them.

      Make no mistake about it: Microsoft is using their patents o
      • by Timesprout (579035) on Saturday December 23, 2006 @06:17PM (#17349996)
        So you are saying your inability to cite an instance of Microsoft suing, or even threatening to sue is clear evidence that this is exactly what Microsoft are actually doing. Thats just fucking brilliant. Rumsfeldian logic at its best.
        • by oohshiny (998054)
          So you are saying your inability to cite an instance of Microsoft suing, or even threatening to sue is clear evidence that this is exactly what Microsoft are actually doing.

          No, I'm saying that the small number of lawsuits and threats we know about is only the tip of the iceberg.

          Thats just fucking brilliant. Rumsfeldian logic at its best.

          By "Rumsfeldian logic", you're apparently referring to your own cynical manipulation of facts and statements.
        • by rbanffy (584143)
          The fact that Soviet Union actually never nuked anyone would never convince the US to drop the production of nuclear bombs during the Cold-war.

          They have the capability to threaten other companies - that's enough for me.

    • by jinxidoru (743428)
      Very good point. I hate MS as much as the next guy, but I don't like them being attacked for things they have no business being attacked for. We do this a lot as humans. We take a group that has done something legitimately wrong. We then blame them and accuse them of every other wrong thing in the world regardless of their connection. MS has done and is doing a lot of bad things, but, apart from saber-rattling, they have been largely innocent in the patent wars of late.
    • As I understand, it's the letter from their lawyers claiming that you are infringing upon their IP that allows MS to get what it wants most of the time. Let's face it, who can afford the better lawyers, Joe User or Microsoft? Who can better afford a protracted legal dispute with years of appeals and such?

      So, no, there aren't very many lawsuits because even the *DOJ* couldn't change MS's business practices; what chance would you or I have?
      • Just an idea: what if you could level the playfield by requiring both sides to have state appointed lawyers with limited assistance from company lawyers upon request from one party?

        If such a mechanism did exist, a small company could require this to avoid some of the costs of a legal battle without giving tha larger fish an undue advantage.

        If both companies are big enough, say, IBM and Microsoft, they could give up such protection and have their own lawyers fight.
        • I would be thrilled by such a law...but can you say "Political Action Committe?" Maybe I'm just a cynical old sourpuss, but somehow I don't think such a law would get very far in Congress :(
    • by _Sprocket_ (42527)
      Actual cases and not the 'OMG they might sue us' screeching please.


      Would that be a quote from those who listen to Ballmer when he makes nebulous comments about "IP" in Linux. I mean sure - it's not like Microsoft has actually sued anyone. But you should look in to indemnification. Not for any particular reason, of course.
    • by killjoe (766577)
      Yes they sued somebody over the FAT patent. Just check with google and you will get tons of details.

      MS has also sued people lots of times for other types of IP infringement including suing 16 year olds for owning a domain name with his name on it.

  • by jmcharry (608079) on Saturday December 23, 2006 @03:51PM (#17349282)
    If you want only to defend your right to use something patentable, you just publish in a journal held by a number of libraries. IBM's Invention Disclosure Bulletin is an example of this. They publish everything they think might be patentable, but not worth the time and expense to patent.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by jfclavette (961511)
      This provides only single defense, as opposed to a MAD system.

      Tech A by company A
      Tech B by company B

      Now, suppose both companies use both technologies.

      Case 1: A has patented, B has released in the wild. A sues B for tech A. B can't do anything.
      Case 2: A has patented, B has patented too. A sues B for tech A. B asks them to drop the lawsuit or they'll sue for use of B.

      Quite frankly, I've never seen MS abuse any of their patents.
      • You are right, but I was initially confused, too.

        In case 1: A has patented, B has released in the wild. A sues B for tech A. B can't do anything.

        What the parent proposes is that B publish the details of tech B. This prevents A from getting a patent on tech B, true, so there is the slight improvement that A can't sue for both tech A and B.

        But it has no effect on the patent for tech A.

        So getting a patent on tech B is a defensive move.

      • I seem to remember our good friend Steve Ballmer attempting to extort people through patents fairly recently (the Novell thing). I don't know about you but I count that as abuse.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by jbf (30261)
      That's only a defense if you publish more than a year prior to the offender's date of invention, or as long as you're still working on the invention. See 35 USC 102(b) and (g).
      • 35 USC 102(a) says you can't patent something if it was known or published by someone else before you invented it. I think (b) means you can publish the invention up to a year before you apply for the patent. Otherwise, what would be the point of public disclosure if others could patent your ideas so easily?
    • by davidsyes (765062)
      That is interesting because I am developing a screenplay application that does things I think the others do NOT do.

      I cannot afford to patent it (unless I win a lotto), but if I don't patent it I cannot sue for infringement. Even if I don't CARE to pursue infringement suits, I would lose the ability to collect for damages, right?

      I am considering taking all my little snippets of code and macros and formulas and publishing them in a book, providing a book to the Copyright and Trademark office (copyrighting it)
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 23, 2006 @03:59PM (#17349332)
    I quick read the application through. It is more about a system that aggregates RSS content further to other applications. Think of refactoring your RSS reading application into background daemon and sending the content via D-Bus to all subscribers. Something like that but it is definitely NOT a patent application for RSS itself, the main article is ignorant and written by someone really stupid.

    I'd mod the main article as -1: Troll if I could. It's just anti-microsoft FUD.
    • by reynaert (264437)
      It is more about a system that aggregates RSS content further to other applications.

      Wow, just like rss2email [infogami.com]!

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by mavenguy (126559)
      Correct, this is NOT claiming RSS; in fact it contemplates being used for Atom, too.

      It's just providing a system-wide API for syndicated content, which might be any source, RSS only being one. Not saying it's patentable, of course, just that it is not intended to cover RSS itself.
    • Something like that but it is definitely NOT a patent application for RSS itself, the main article is ignorant and written by someone really stupid.

      Thank you. Nothing in that patent application says MSFT is making a claim on RSS.

    • by Colin Smith (2679)
      Nah, it's a patent for usenet.

       
  • by Anonymous Coward
    From my reading it looks like they are going to provide an object model that stands between RSS providers and RSS and non-RSS consumers. MS wants clients to access their proprietary object model in which feed subscriptions are modeled as a hierarchy of folders, and wherein the object model provides access to a shared list of feed subscriptions and they can populate from standard RSS and other sources.

    Sounds like the proprietary extension of public standards thingy they've been doing for a while. A good or b
    • by painQuin (626852)
      it's as bad a thing as directx - if people start relying on it, it makes porting more difficult
      how many directx games get ported? how many opengl games?
  • Dave is not amused (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward
    Dave is not amused by the sly implication contained in that description of him:

    http://www.scripting.com/2006/12/23.html#anatomyOf AHack [scripting.com]

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by ortholattice (175065)
      Others, on the other hand, are not amused that he describes himself as its "co-inventor". While Dave Winer made important contributions to RSS, it was created by Netscape. See What is RSS [xml.com]:

      The original RSS, version 0.90, was designed by Netscape as a format for building portals of headlines to mainstream news sites. It was deemed overly complex for its goals; a simpler version, 0.91, was proposed and subsequently dropped when Netscape lost interest in the portal-making business. But 0.91 was picked up

    • Re: (Score:1, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward
      He could also be described as a self-described Winer.
  • by WED Fan (911325)

    MS is patenting their implementation of RSS in IE. Not RSS. If you want to come up with a way of interacting with MS SQL server that is novel, you can patent it. If you want to patent a novel way of attaching a wheel to a car, you may. Remember, it doesn't have to be useful, the best way, or practical, it just has to be novel, or an improvement upon an method.

    While I love RSS and all, Winer has a history of being a whiner in this matter when it comes to ATOM and RSS. Almost as bad as Reese Sellin was with

    • "MS is patenting their implementation of RSS in IE. Not RSS"

      It seems that they are patenting API calls that provide RSS functionality to applications. As such the effect of the patent will be to lock out third party developers from using them. After all how many different ways can this be implimented. Do these API calls currently exist in Vista. Are the specs published.

      "While I love RSS .. Almost as bad as Reese Sellin"

      I don't understand how you can love a a content format and what relevency does
  • by jbf (30261) on Saturday December 23, 2006 @04:26PM (#17349468)
    I've been really annoyed lately at how bad patents get awarded and then litigated...

    In real patent litigation, the main way to claim invalidity is 102(b). This says that if the work was published in a printed publication, or for sale in this country, more than one year prior to the filing date, then the patent is invalid. There are other grounds for invalidity, such as 103 (obviousness), but because of bad case law, obviousness is a very slight extension to 102(b) (hopefully this will be fixed with KSR v Teleflex, currently before the US Supreme Court). This one-year bar essentially means that as long as I'm within one year of being the first to do it, and I'm the first to file for a patent for it, then I'll win as long as no previous inventors filed for a patent. (We're a first-to-invent system with some caveats; if the first inventor doesn't try to patent it, he can lose his patent rights to a later inventor).

    In technology, one year is a really long time, so its important that everyone files for patents lest something "obvious" be granted, and your competitor take away all your customers by claiming that your technology infringes their patent. Its way easier to solve this problem before the Board of Patent Appeals and Interferences than it is before a judge and jury who have no technical knowledge whatsoever (and probably try patent cases once in a blue moon). Sure, if you lose in district court, you can always appeal to the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, but by the time the appeal is litigated, you may have lost most of your customers.

    Microsoft's doing the smart thing by filing for this patent. Hopefully they'll also do the right thing by not abusing it.
  • by Jugalator (259273) on Saturday December 23, 2006 @04:38PM (#17349522) Journal
    I can't say I'm sure why Microsoft patent RSS-in-IE7, but I still hear Admiral Ackbar breathing behind me...
    • I can't say I'm sure why Microsoft patent RSS-in-IE7, but I still hear Admiral Ackbar breathing behind me...

      Dude, you really ought to turn off the 5 way Dolby sound. Or at least face towards the screen.

  • I fail to see any positive outcomes for any party for Microsoft patenting RSS for IE only. It's not like anybody else develops IE or something. The only way to infringe it would be to make a plugin for IE7 to do something it already does by itself.
    • Except the way that IE handles RSS feeds in brain dead. Correct me if I am wrong, but to see the rss feeds in IE you have to open the RSS feed page, as opposed to the live bookmarks in Firefox or the newsticker in a hundred other rss readers.
      • by prshaw (712950)
        So they need to rename the page you open?
        • by Belial6 (794905)
          None of the other options require you to open a page to read the feed. If you must open a page, it might as well be a standard HTML page.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      I think they're trying to patent the system wide RSS API that Vista provides and that IE7 on XP provides. The API allows apps to hook into a "common feed" for all their RSS/Atom needs. So any app that supports RSS show the same feeds (if they use the api), allowing for easy switching of RSS readers, browsers, etc.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by oohshiny (998054)
      There is no such thing as "patenting RSS for IE only". This patent is trying to cover a lot more, and you can bet that they are going to use this patent, if granted, to go after competitors.
  • Could I apply for and get a patent on door-knobs or maybe lightbulbs that only applies to items within my home? I own the home which is the same as owning an OS then patenting software that runs within that OS?

    Then I could sue all the manufacturers of door-knobs and lightbulbs that I use in my home.... how could they dispute my claims? They don't have a patent for door-knobs "in my home" do they? I could even manufacture a door-knob and install it in my home as proof of concept.... they'd be infringing on m
  • by melikamp (631205) on Saturday December 23, 2006 @05:22PM (#17349732) Homepage Journal

    The big mystery is what Microsoft is planning to do with the patents if they are awarded them.

    Wow. [pause] Wow. I'll take a stab at this one. They'll use it to... mmm... patents, patents... Ah! They'll use them to prohibit some party or parties to manufacture the software which is described in the patents' claims? Can I get a golden star for this one, please? It's long overdue.

  • by adwb (778985) on Saturday December 23, 2006 @05:48PM (#17349854) Homepage
    It seems to me after reading the patent application that they are trying to patent the API they created for allowing different programs within Vista (IE7, Outlook, etc) all share the same collection of feeds in various formats.
    • by mugenjou (912908)
      I made a simple cronjob some time ago that gathers items from various feeds and puts them into a mysql database. I can access this database from multiple applications (ircbot, website). prior art?
    • by Jerf (17166)
      So, the patent boils down to "Instead of doing this thing five ways in five programs, we're going to do this in one way."

      If only programmers around the world had this idea to do things in one way, instead of many different ways, before...
  • by oohshiny (998054) on Saturday December 23, 2006 @06:07PM (#17349950)
    Second of all, from my reading anyway, Microsoft is not patenting RSS, but RSS within Vista/IE7. Of course I'm not a patent lawyer, I could be wrong about that.

    You couldn't patent "RSS within Vista/IE7" if you tried. This patent looks like it's trying to cover broadly RSS syndication, RSS aggregation, RSS feed conversion, and object-oriented libraries for working with RSS feeds. The fact that it's beating around the bush and not patenting the RSS format itself is simply patent strategy: Microsoft's lawyers are trying to "build a fence" around RSS, leaving the open core open, but patenting everything around it so that you can't use RSS without infringing on their patents.

    Make no mistake: if this patent gets granted, most RSS software will be infringing.
    • by robmered (178318)
      And if that's the case, then "most RSS software" will stand as prior art.
      • by oohshiny (998054)
        You'd think so. In practice, that can be a difficult and costly argument to make because there are lots of conditions to be met for something to count as prior art.
    • by appavi (679094)
      MS Patent covers a central system that will be responsible for aggregating various feed formats (RSS, Atom, RDF) and provide a common interface to other programs for using the feed information. Availability of several feed formats and the errors in them makes a nightmare for the applications that need to use feeds. So a common system will be helpful. Several parsers available today to parse RSS and Atom feeds. The most popular one is Universal Feed Parser [feedparser.org] parses all known web feeds and presents, feed data i
      • by oohshiny (998054)
        So Microsoft's patented process is nothing new. Most of it can be claimed as prior art.

        Of course, it's nothing new. The point is that Microsoft deliberately applied for this patent despite knowing that there is prior art. Furthermore, getting a patent struck down based on prior art is hard, so if this patent gets granted, it is a problem.
      • by udippel (562132)
        So Microsoft's patented process is nothing new. Most of it can be claimed as prior art.

        This leaves me baffled, after your thorough analysis.
        Firstly, it is not patented; though that's minor.
        What I'd like to know, though, is your 'Most'. What is novel in the application ? Is it patentable ? Do you think it is 'nothing new' or 'most not new' ? And no, I am not counting peanuts. That's how patent life is.

  • MSDN Blog Response (Score:3, Informative)

    by omicronish (750174) on Saturday December 23, 2006 @07:43PM (#17350372)

    Microsoft PM Sean Lyndersay posted a response [msdn.com]:

    First, these patents describe specific ways to improve the RSS end-user and developer experience (which we believe are valuable and innovative contributions) -- they do not constitute a claim that Microsoft invented RSS.
  • Where's the guy who was asking why people hate MS? link [slashdot.org]. Case in point. Dave Winer post a question on the "personal blog" of MS's Emerging Business Team asking if MS would promise not to sue him if it gets these patents. As you can see here [typepad.com], there's no response. Silence is golden?
  • Microsoft is probably trying to avoid another Eolas fiasco. Microsoft has already been stung by the US patent insanity, and with their patent tied explicitly to Vista and IE, there's not really much harm they can do with it. And as a web developer whose had to deal with the fallout of the Eolas case, I actually find myself supporting Microsoft when they're trying to avoid it happening again. I certainly don't want to have to find another crappy javascript hack to work around a stupid, obvious patent.
    • "with their patent tied explicitly to Vista and IE, there's not really much harm they can do with it"

      Like how so, doesn't this mean no one else can impliment RSS functionality in their applications without violating this patent.

      'the APIs are implemented as COM dual interfaces which also makes the APIs useable from scripting languages, managed code as well as native Win32 (C++) code'

      was Re:On the not-quite-so-paranoid hand...
  • This is how Microsoft does patents. They don't file for a generic patent that covers everything for every purpose of a technology, but they file patents for this that are specific to the technology that they have produced - be it IE, Windows or .Net. This seems to be a defensive play to protect what they see as their IP, and anyone who may try and implement their technology away from Windows.

    The hoo ha over patents with Mono is a good example, and is something that just hasn't been taken into account by
  • by chiller2 (35804) on Saturday December 23, 2006 @11:28PM (#17351198) Homepage
    I'll work off the assumption there has to be some financial and or control related gain to this or they wouldn't do it.

    MS's market dominance will ensure Vista and IE7 will become the majority OS & browser rig over time this patented RSS aggregation / delivery API system will be part of it.

    The patent states "the platform can acquire and organize web content, and make such content available for consumption by many different types of applications" so it would be fair to assume that over time more Windows applications will work with the feeds via this mechanism. I'm sure they'll do their utmost to make it nice and easily accessible through development tools, etc.

    MS are setting themselves up as a vital link in the RSS supply chain; the toll bridge troll as it were. With sufficient install base and support by Windows applications there are lots of things Microsoft could do. This being /. I'm obligated to mention the evil ones I've thought of so far.

    1. Microsoft don't own the RSS format and can't dictate how it's run. After a while of this mechanism being in place a new patented and big media friendly format could be introduced and promoted to the detriment of RSS. To the applications using the mechanism, and thus the end users, all this is transparent. MS then have a format they can control.

    2. They could throw lawyers at anyone who produced a similar system for other operating systems.

    3. They could add to this mechanism a way to make some feeds chargeable through a standard payment system.
    • You're a good guy. You try your best. You also don't understand the patent system.
      It is *not* a patent. Yet.
      The decription is irrelevant, still you bold a passage from there.

      Your 'evil ones' are spot on, though. Nothing to do with being on /.
      • by chiller2 (35804)
        "You're a good guy. You try your best. You also don't understand the patent system.
        It is *not* a patent. Yet."


        I shouldn't feed the trolls but I'm bored! Surely whether it's a patent yet or not is irrelevent. The points I made were based on the possibility that it could become one. Admittedly I used 'the patent' rather than 'the patent application' but given the way USPTO seem to rubber stamp anything these days it may as well be a patent. You admit as much with the 'yet' so it seems to me though you're bein
        • by udippel (562132)
          I am sure you read everything; and I am sure you understood everything. Therefore I am sure that you noticed that I had not written anything, would it not have been about your main argument, when you used part of the description to assess legal aspects. One of the items being preached on Slashdot over the years, is to understand the difference between the claims and description in a patent. Legally binding are only the claims.

          Plus, your first sentence started off analytically, and you finished by pointing o
    • by Keeper (56691)
      I'll work off the assumption there has to be some financial and or control related gain to this or they wouldn't do

      How is this for your financial incentive: Not getting sued 5 years from now because some nutjob managed to get a patent granted for some basic RSS functionality. (see Eolas vs Microsoft)
  • by udippel (562132) on Sunday December 24, 2006 @12:34AM (#17351532)
    For the I-never-read-the-source-luke-department members, I add here what I deposited on the original site; hoping to clarify the matter:

    "Second of all, from my reading anyway, Microsoft is not patenting RSS, but RSS within Vista/IE7. Of course I'm not a patent lawyer, I could be wrong about that."

    I am very unclear what makes the author of the blog think this ? I read the claims - and that is what counts in a patent, only - and can't find anything that points to Vista. The only technical feature the claims talk about is the feature mentioned mainly in claim 10: reading RSS by an application that generically cannot read it. That is meant with the plurality of applications in claim 1.

    Therefore what the patent proposes is *not* to patent RSS, but to patent the rocket-science-like concept of getting the RSS as is (that is, again, *not* patenting it), and miraculously translate it ('API') to be used in other applications.
    To me, the patent is written very clearly and rather concisely. If you now read the blog again, alas, it doesn't really hit the problem and the consequences right between the eyes.

    The question are basically two:
    1. For patentability, it must be made sure, that nobody has proposed to use RSS for a plurality of 'drains', applications, that do not natively 'speak' RSS, before the filing date, June 21, 2005.
    2. For business reasons, one needs to evaluate the value of a patent that prevents others from using RSS for other applications; like importing it into a media player. Obviously, there is a nice stranglehold that the patent offers to the owner against competitors.

    And let me add some more remarks here for Slashdot raeders:

    Sure, the whole thing is probably crap. As much crap as the Slashdot title "Microsoft Applies to Patent RSS in Vista". AFAIK, there are browsers (claim 19), media players (claim 20) and e-mail (claim 18) in non-Microsoft products as well ;)
    Dave Winer is wrong just as well; there is no single attack on RSS in the patent. Anyone who just reads RSS in an RSS-reader will be able to do so in future. But beware the patent is granted (and I bet the dimwits in USPTO will grant it), and you write and sell an application that extracts RSS feeds into a set of hierachical folders (claim 8), that reside on the machine and are queried by a browser, media player or e-mail client; and you'll be tossed.
    Actually, the only thing that I personally find 'clever' in this application (and I am *not* an RSS person), is the setup of these hierarchical folders. Because one can mirror RSS-content locally, any content, within topical folders, and then query these folders for content; like media player for latest on movies (and then offer the movie through your media player); browser for news (and then offer the news feeds contained in the RSS); and so forth.
  • If things keep going like this they'll end up patenting peanut butter and jelly sandwiches! [itworld.com]

  • Urm . .forgive my poor understanding (1 module of a multi-dispicplinary degree) of Law, and patent law in particular but

    1) You can't patent something that is already in the public domain (as Vista is)
    2) You can't patent something that is already in the public domain (as RSS is)

    So how the heck do they expect to be able to patent an application of two specific items?

    Oh .. of course I forgot. Those nice people at the US Patent Bureau.
  • IANAL, but this sounds like they are planning to make an API for "msRSS", that is: to embrace&extend RSS into a patented, proprietary, "common format" for IE/Outlook/WMP/etc... This would of course lock in their "email/web browser/media player applications", which could help in squashing Firefox,Eudora/Thunderbird,VLC and other "pests", not to mention that it could harm the real RSS because everyone's using msRSS.

    How's this for a conspiracy theory?
    Some key points from the patent, severely stripped:
    1. ..
  • http://magpierss.sourceforge.net/ [sourceforge.net]

    From reading the patent it seems to me Magpierrs is prior work.

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