Friday, December 22, 2006

Fear in blogosphere that Microsoft wants to patent RSS

BetaNews: According to patent applications recently made public, it now appears that shortly before Microsoft publicly announced integrated RSS support within Internet Explorer and Windows Vista, it filed for two patents with the US Patent and Trademark Office surrounding Web-based feed readers.

The first patent application covers technologies that will find and consume feeds into a web browser. It will also provide ways to allow a user to organize and view web feeds through an API, as well as methods to discover new feeds.

The first published application (20060288011)is US 11/158911, filed on June 21, 2005. The first claim thereof is

A computer-implemented method comprising:

presenting a user interface having a subscription control to enable a user to subscribe to a feed;

receiving, via the user interface, a user selection of the subscription control;

and responsive to receiving the user's selection, initiating a feed subscription process.

Wired blogs reported:

Microsoft has filed separate patent applications involving RSS technology. The patent applications were originally filed 18 months ago, just days before the company announced RSS support for IE7, but were only released to the public yesterday [via the routine process of publication of filed applications].

Public outcry quickly followed since Microsoft had little if anything to do with the development of RSS. Dave Winer, the self-described inventor of RSS, lashed out via his blog claiming, “presumably they’re eventually going to charge us to use it.”

Jack Schofield at a blog at the Guardian has a more conservative position on Microsoft's efforts:

It's worth a quick scan just to remove the notion that Microsoft "is attempting to patent RSS". It isn't. However, that will probably become the common currency in the echo-chamber of the web, where "the stupidity of crowds" meme generally operates.

There are plenty of things wrong with the US patent system, and there are plenty of things wrong with software patents: some of us think they shouldn't be alowed, and we've given Richard Stallman plenty of space to argue that case in print. There are, goodness knows, plenty of things wrong with Microsoft. However, distorting the facts is not an honest way to attack either of them.

IPBiz notes of Schofield's text -->However, distorting the facts is not an honest way to attack either of them<-- that patent reformers have routinely distorted the facts about a 97% patent grant rate in the US.

The "patenting RSS" folks probably don't pay a lot of attention to "who" writes the applications.

Some recent posts on Lee & Hayes from a board:

One caveat - at Lee and Hayes, independent contractors have the title "associate."


All of the "associates" (i.e. indepedent contractors) at Lee and Hayes sign a statement indicating that they will not divulge their compensation arrangements to anyone, so you will have to contact Lee or Hayes.

The most loved legal doctrine at Lee and Hayes is "employment at will" so beware.

Don't forget to tell Lee and Hayes that you want to become a partner.


Spokane law firm Lee & Hayes has helped launch a 20-person consulting company in India that will provide patent-related services to companies developing new products in that country.

The new firm, called Bluefile, will offer clients a suite of services including analyzing and refining patent applications and reviewing current patents.

Bluefile's staff won't include lawyers, said Lewis Lee, co-founder of Lee & Hayes. The group will mostly be technology specialists and scientists.

Lee & Hayes, which has 28 attorneys in Spokane and about a dozen in offices in Denver and Seattle, is a full-service intellectual property law firm. Its clients include Microsoft, Hewlett-Packard [of pretexting fame], Intel and Texas Instruments.

The new company is being funded in association with Lakshmi Kumaran & Sridharan, a law firm based in India, said Lee.

Based in New Delhi, Bluefile will provide services primarily to companies working in India, using Indian researchers to develop new products.

"We want Bluefile to be known as the one-stop intellectual property solutions office in India," said Mukundan Seshadri, the CEO of Bluefile.

When a U.S. company considers using some innovation developed at a technology research office in India, Bluefile could perform a number of services, Lee said. One is to "map" the patent law area to see how many similar patents have been awarded or which firms are the most active.


Blogger Lawrence B. Ebert said...

From Delhi:

125.19.26.# (Bluefile IP Services Pvt. Ltd.)

5:56 AM  

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