theodp writes "Embrace. Extend. Patent. On Tuesday, Microsoft was granted US Patent No. 7,571,169 for its 'invention' of the Word-processing document stored in a single XML file that may be manipulated by applications that understand XML. Presumably developers are protected by Microsoft's 'covenant not to sue,' so the biggest question raised by this patent is: How in the world was it granted in light of the 40-year history of document markup languages? Next thing you know, the USPTO will give Microsoft a patent for Providing Emergency Data in XML format. Oops, too late."
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