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Microsoft Wins HTML App Patent

timothy posted more than 10 years ago | from the portfolio-whiplash dept.

Patents 404

crataegus writes "'Microsoft on Tuesday won a patent for launching a certain kind of HTML application within Windows. The patent, "Method and apparatus for writing a Windows application in HTML" (Hypertext Markup Language), describes Microsoft's way of opening up HTML applications in a window free of navigation and other interface elements, known as "chrome," and browser security restrictions.' Why does this sound vaguely familiar?"

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PENIS! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7684832)

PENIS PENIS PENIS PENIS PENIS!

Lameness filter encountered. Post aborted!
Reason: Don't use so many caps. It's like PENIS. PENIS PENIS PENIS PENIS PENIS!

This is First Post #4 for me today!

It doesn't bother me! (5, Interesting)

RobertB-DC (622190) | more than 10 years ago | (#7684835)

"HTML Applications (HTAs) are full-fledged applications," the page reads. "These applications are trusted and display only the menus, icons, toolbars, and title information that the Web developer creates. In short, HTAs pack all the power of Microsoft Internet Explorer--its object model, performance, rendering power, protocol support, and channel-download technology--without enforcing the strict security model and user interface of the browser."

So it's yet another way for Microsoft to let people call themselves "programmers", without actually having to write code. Big deal.

I've spent 10+ years writing VB code, and I'm sure everyone will agree that there's a difference -- even in "high level" languages -- between throwing together something that will compile vs. designing a tool that does what your client needs done. Especially when "what your client needs" != "what your client requests".

As for the security issues... when they say "these applications are trusted", the question is "by whom?" I see another way for skr1pt k1dd1es to invade systems, since all you need to do is convince one non-tech-savvy corporate VP to "trust" that message that says "I Love You, click here!". It's not like J0(ann)3 HaXX0r will be deterred by EULAs and patents.

It's VBScript all over again. What good is a programming tool when security best practices suggest you turn it off?

In fact, Microsoft's patent is great news. Hopefully, nobody will be tempted to license the "technology" (read: virus portal) for any other OS.

Re:It doesn't bother me! (5, Funny)

acidboy (242735) | more than 10 years ago | (#7684904)

So it's yet another way for Microsoft to let people call themselves "programmers", without actually having to write code. Big deal.

I've spent 10+ years writing VB code

You're getting on an intellectual high horse sneering down at web monkeys from the vantage point of a VB programmer? Oh the irony.

Re:It doesn't bother me! (5, Funny)

Carnildo (712617) | more than 10 years ago | (#7684949)

With ten years' experience, he's probably reached the point where he can actually force VB to do what he needs it to.

CERT Vulnerabity Notice: 2003 (5, Funny)

Jeremiah Cornelius (137) | more than 10 years ago | (#7685072)

Patent a Turd?

This is a crappy idea. It got kicked to hell on the Full-Disclosure list about 2 Months ago...

VU#865940 [cert.org] - Microsoft Internet Explorer does not properly evaluate "application/hta" MIME type referenced by DATA attribute of OBJECT element IE will execute an HTML Application (HTA) referenced by the DATA attribute of an OBJECT element if the Content-Type header returned by the web server is set to "application/hta". An attacker could exploit this vulnerability to execute arbitrary code with the privileges of the user running IE.

(Other resources: eEye Digital Security Advisory AD20030820, MS03-032, MS02-040, CAN-2003-0532, CAN-2003-0838, CAN-2003-0809)

cnet scooped /. by 10 min (1, Redundant)

randyest (589159) | more than 10 years ago | (#7685155)

google for microsoft html patent [google.com] and you'll see:

News:
Microsoft Wins HTML App Patent - Slashdot - 30 minutes ago
Microsoft wins HTML application patent - CNET News.com - 40 minutes ago


And that earlier CNET story [com.com] has more info.

Re:It doesn't bother me! (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7684956)

You're getting on an intellectual high horse sneering down at web monkeys from the vantage point of a VB programmer? Oh the irony.

He has a secure, most likely well paying job in the IT sector and you're looking down on him because your high school C++ teacher says "VB iz l4me?" Oh, the irony.

Re:It doesn't bother me! (5, Funny)

mugnyte (203225) | more than 10 years ago | (#7684965)

You use languages? Sissy! In MY DAY, we'd plug wires into a wall of vaccuum tubes. Every few hours, we'd shutdown and replace the burnouts. and don't even ASK ME about the BUGS.

Languages are just portals for virii!

Over 10 years of VB? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7684983)

Over ten years of Visual Basic?

Wow, did you invent it or something?

Is your name Alan Cooper?

Re:Over 10 years of VB? (1)

kubrick (27291) | more than 10 years ago | (#7685014)

Hey, I was using Word Basic back in, oh, 1992 or so, before it became "Visual Basic for Applications". Maybe the OP meant something like that? Or maybe it just *feels* like ten years... :) Thankfully I skipped most of the Win9x era, and only really looked at Windows again when Win2k was released.

Re:Over 10 years of VB? (3, Funny)

RobertB-DC (622190) | more than 10 years ago | (#7685058)

Or maybe it just *feels* like ten years..

Well, I've been at my current job 8 years, exclusively VB. Before that, it was a bit over a year doing mostly VB (along with a proprietary DOS-based language), and for a bit under a year before that I was hacking around in between C on the VAX. So maybe +/-10 years would have been more accurate?

But then, this is Slashdot, not a job interview [techinterviews.com] . On an application, of course, I'd put 15 years VB experience and 5 years using Windows 2000. Since that's what they'd require. :)

Re:Over 10 years of VB? (1)

timjdot (638909) | more than 10 years ago | (#7685109)

I remmeber VB back in 94 but its older still ... March 1988---Microsoft Buys Tripod ... http://www.johnsmiley.com/visualbasic/vbhistory.ht m

BTW, I didn't bother to read the patent but wonder if it mentions hitting the F-11 key to bring the menus back? Maybe someone can patent that :-) I'm pretty sure I figured that one out in 98 while working at an ISP. And how about embeding a little language so it really can be an application as they claim... us maybe AOL should patent that ::-)

Re:Over 10 years of VB? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7685060)

There's an Alice Cooper joke there somewhere, but I just can't find. Feed my Frankenstein, maybe?

Was going to reply... (5, Funny)

iamanatom (700380) | more than 10 years ago | (#7684990)

I was going to type a reply but M$ would probably patent 'ASCII data entry by means of an alpha-numeric input device' before I could hit Post. Darn.

Re:It doesn't bother me! (2, Interesting)

lintux (125434) | more than 10 years ago | (#7685024)

> In fact, Microsoft's patent is great news. Hopefully, nobody will be tempted to license the "technology" (read: virus portal) for any other OS.

Uhm, maybe you're using IE/Opera/Konqueror... But if you run Mozilla, you're already running an "OS" with this technology. The whole user interface of Mozilla is "pure" XUL (some sort of HTML) and JavaScript. It's called, yeah, Chrome.

But you should've known that, because it's in the article.

XUL, JavaScript, etc. (4, Informative)

Ayanami Rei (621112) | more than 10 years ago | (#7685138)

XUL is the eXtensible UI Layout language. It's an XML dialect that describes the layout of widgets on the screen (sort of like what Glade does, or WinForms). These widgets are hooked up with JavaScript to implement the "interactive" component of the interface, and the widgets and display elements themselves are a mix of compiled functionality from the NSPR (which may defer to real OS widgets), but the majority is actually XHTML.

The whole thing gets packaged up in .jar files ala Java, and the URLs are accessed internally by the "chrome" protocol.

It's quite cool. And the technology is old, so I don't see Microsoft's ability to defend its position as strong.

(I believe this is MOSTLY accurate. Someone please correct me who is more familiar with Moz)

I have a patent on First Posts. (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7684839)

All you people getting fps owe me $5 per fp. Thank you.

Re:I have a patent on First Posts. (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7684863)

All you people getting fps owe me $5 per fp. Thank you.

Yeah, but I have the patent on missing fp by two [slashdot.org] or more [slashdot.org] . Pay up, sucka.

Re:I have a patent on First Posts. (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7684938)

Maybe you should patent FAILING IT instead.

XHTML (4, Funny)

conner_bw (120497) | more than 10 years ago | (#7684842)

That's ok HTML is obselete, we use XHTML now.

Move along.

Re:XHTML (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7684870)

Oh "we" do, huh? First line of the source from your website:

<!DOCTYPE HTML PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.01 Transitional//EN">

oh BURN! (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7684978)

BURN!

Re:oh BURN! (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7685004)

Total burn! His anus must be REEMING! I wouldn't want to smell his diherea in the morning.

Re:XHTML (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7684902)

Spoken like someone who doesn't really know what XHTML is.

...XHTML 1.0, a reformulation of HTML4 as an XML 1.0 application....

XHTML(TM) 1.0 The Extensible HyperText Markup Language (Second Edition) [w3.org]

Re:XHTML (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7684930)

Replied like somone who doesn't get the joke.

Re:XHTML (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7685146)

Apparently, spell-check is 'obselete'

familiar (1)

bertrandom (224870) | more than 10 years ago | (#7684849)

Why does this sound vaguely familiar?

Well, if you follow the links in the words vaguely familiar that you posted, that might shed some light. Why do we have to have commentary in every news post?

Re:familiar (1)

azzy (86427) | more than 10 years ago | (#7684866)

Because /.ers don't actually follow and read the links.

Re:familiar (3, Insightful)

avi33 (116048) | more than 10 years ago | (#7685029)

Why do we have to have commentary in every news post?

Because this is an open forum, a discussion, not a journalistic media outlet where every "story" has to be vetted for signs of opinion.

Don't like the submitter's slant? Then you are perfectly free to rebut it with your own comment. But why would you expect someone to post a story without counterpoint, incidental links, or personal opinion, if every other visitor is afforded these options.

Prior Art (2, Funny)

BenBenBen (249969) | more than 10 years ago | (#7684854)

Every fscking porn popup ever, c.1995 onwards.

Re:Prior Art (2, Interesting)

racas (633636) | more than 10 years ago | (#7685033)

Perhaps it'll work in reverse order? Don't you think maybe Microsoft did it before the porn popups did? Perhaps it's another one ploy to get a legal ground against popups, like AT&T did with spam.

Re:Prior Art (1)

kramer2718 (598033) | more than 10 years ago | (#7685149)

What about kiosk mode (I think that's what it's called) where a browser runs as a full screen app. Lots of businesses already run them. I'm sure that Netscape has been able to do this for a while...

Well.. (5, Interesting)

NotAnotherReboot (262125) | more than 10 years ago | (#7684855)

Before anyone says anything about when they actually filed it being important, the patent [uspto.gov] was filed May 20, 1999 while that Mozilla page [mozilla.org] on Chrome says it was last modified April 7, 1999.

Re:Well.. (1)

The Unabageler (669502) | more than 10 years ago | (#7684864)

IANAL but I believe patents are applicable from invention date, not filing date.

Re:Well.. filign date!! (1)

cdn-programmer (468978) | more than 10 years ago | (#7684913)

This is why Bell held the patent for the telephone.

Re:Well.. (1)

Hi_2k (567317) | more than 10 years ago | (#7684918)

Patents are applicable from the Invetion date till 20 years after the award date. This has lead to some odd stuff as patents have been set on the backburners for 20+ years and backroyalties have added up for companies who have inadvertantly created something that falls under that patent and who have to pay after the award.

Re:Well.. (4, Informative)

Carnildo (712617) | more than 10 years ago | (#7684996)

That's the reason for the latest change to the patent laws. It used to be 17 years from date of award. Now it's 20 years from date of filing -- and you need to file within one year of publication.

Re:Well.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7684939)

HTAs were available long before '99 though, as early as win95 IIRC.

Re:Well.. (1)

kilgore_47 (262118) | more than 10 years ago | (#7684952)

One wonders what exactly happens during patent reviews.

Re:Well.. (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7685036)

naked twister

Re:Well.. (2, Informative)

spectecjr (31235) | more than 10 years ago | (#7685027)

You do realize that Mozilla's Chrome and the use of the term "chrome" by Microsoft to describe UI widgets are not actually related? And that the patent doesn't actually talk about anything even close to Mozilla's use of the term?

Please. RTFP.

Re:Well.. (1)

Qzukk (229616) | more than 10 years ago | (#7685047)

Well, if the chrome page existed before May 20, 1998 then it can be introduced as prior art (as long as that covers the actual claims in the patent). Patents in the US are granted from the date of filing, and it is assumed that the invention was invented up to a year prior to that. (This assumption comes from the fact that you cannot patent something that has been in use for more than a year.)

The US uses a first-to-file method for solving disputes, not first-to-invent. This is how Elisha Gray lost the title of inventor of the telephone by a matter of hours [about.com] .

Re:Well.. (1)

jizmonkey (594430) | more than 10 years ago | (#7685156)

No, the U.S. looks at who reduced the invention to practice first (basically, "built it and knew it worked for its intended purpose") unless the junior inventor can show that he conceived of the invention first and worked diligently to reduce it to practice. In that case, the person who reduces the invention to practice second wins the priority contest.

The telephone cases are a bad example, because there neither of the inventors had reduced the invention to practice. In that scenario, the patent office indeed looks at who files first, as a form of "constructive reduction to practice." The usual scenario involves an inventor who actually reduced his invention to practice. (For instance, how would you file a drug patent without making and testing the drug first?)

The U.S. is relatively rare in having a first-to-invent system.

need to copy (1, Insightful)

frazzydee (731240) | more than 10 years ago | (#7684860)

Obviously Microsoft does not have the intellectual capacity to come up with their own ideas, ergo, they have to revert to 'stealing' open-source ones. They've done this kind of copying before, especially with Mac. I just hope that Mozilla can still use Chrome.

Re:need to copy (0)

OverclockedMind (730057) | more than 10 years ago | (#7684935)

didnt they steal from KDE/Gnome for Longhorn? I have heard of "virtual desktops" in longhorn where you can switch between two desktops. Wallow bill gates, while you still control your flock. It wont be long now!

Re:need to copy (2, Interesting)

fputs(shit, slashdot (645337) | more than 10 years ago | (#7684940)

Obviously Microsoft does not have the intellectual capacity to come up with their own ideas, ergo, they have to revert to 'stealing' open-source ones.
XAML is MS embrace and extended XUL, they'll be add full png support to their browser next! petition MS financially support Mozilla Foundation, it's main source of innovative idea!

Re:need to copy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7685123)

HTA, 1998 [google.com]

[google.com]
No reference to XUL before 1/1 1999

Besides "who's stealing from who", if you have not been living under a stone you should be able to understand Microsofts urge to patent. I can give you 251 million reasons that is not related to "gotta crush mozilla".

Re:need to copy (1)

ucblockhead (63650) | more than 10 years ago | (#7685134)

Why wouldn't Mozilla be able to use Chrome? Chrome doesn't use HTML.

Re:need to copy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7685158)

kinda like how linus torvalds "borrowed" unix code?

Windows applications... (4, Insightful)

Eudial (590661) | more than 10 years ago | (#7684874)

Method and apparatus for writing a Windows application in HTML.

So, everyone using Mac and Linux are free to use chrome?

Re:Windows applications... (1)

gid13 (620803) | more than 10 years ago | (#7684973)

Uh... Correct me if I'm wrong, but the post says "in a window FREE OF...". Doesn't that mean that it's full-screen browsing they're talking about?

Also, does "Windows application" refer to MS Windows specifically or just the concept of windowing generally? The capitalization in the post would seem to suggest the former.

Assuming I'm reading it correctly, the News.com article isn't actually all that related. It would be nice to have a link that clarifies these questions.

Re:Windows applications... (1)

ArmorFiend (151674) | more than 10 years ago | (#7685039)

Frankly, such windows annoy me. If MS forces everyone else to stop using such techniques, I'll be overall happy. My (unuser)friedly local bus company pops up lots of windows sans chrome, and they're just annoying. (not the popups themselves, but the lack of buttons)

SCO wet dream (1)

twitter (104583) | more than 10 years ago | (#7685091)

So, everyone using Mac and Linux are free to use chrome?

Sure, so long as you use a text based browser that can't call another x-window for a trusted jvscript popup advert without any deactivating buttons and less "security" than IE, you don't owe anything to SCO^H^H^HMicfosoft.

New "Features" (3, Insightful)

Hi_2k (567317) | more than 10 years ago | (#7684876)

in a window free of navigation and other interface elements, known as "chrome," and browser security restrictions .
So now we have microsoft with patenting a new way of creating macicious popups with windows. Knowing Microsoft, stuff like Gator and Eyeblaster ad's will soon show up in this space and, without my usual restrictions, everyone who uses Internet Explorer will soon have spyware again. While it'll be quite profitable (for me too, I do computer repair and tune ups), This could easily become a HUGE annoyance for systems administrators around the world. Time to switch everything to Mozilla and Opera.

Re:New "Features" (1)

John Seminal (698722) | more than 10 years ago | (#7684985)

I agree. The navigation buttons should not be removed, along with security settings. Will you be able to right click on the window to get the "back or source"?

Bill Gates is the devil (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7684878)

And GWB like his anal starfish

Another Bonehead Patent. (1)

deadmonk (568008) | more than 10 years ago | (#7684885)

Yawn.

Let me guess, since this is specific to launching "windows apps" the parts of the world that isn't "windows" doesn't really care.

Oh wait, isn't this going to put a notoriously nasty HTML-esque interface in front of even *more* apps? The limitations of HTML were one of the many reasons that boatlaods of "web apps" haven't come out of nowhere like (almost) everyone wanted.

Indeed. Move along.

ALL patents are bad (4, Insightful)

argoff (142580) | more than 10 years ago | (#7685137)


IMHO, the issue isn't that this is a bonehead patent it is that all patents are inherently burdensome to society, and this patent sillyness is just a symptom of a poor belief system taken to it's logical conclusion.

Yeah, I've heard it all before .... "the system just needs a little tweaking", ... Please tell that to a child in Africa dying of AIDS who isn't allowed to buy generics because of patents. .... and Yeah I know, the theory goes that these drugs would never have been invented anyhow without patnets ... . It's sorta like saying, slavery was justified because those barbaric Africans were far more brutal to each other than the plantation masters were to them.

hah. (2, Funny)

sirReal.83. (671912) | more than 10 years ago | (#7684886)

As long as the patent has "Windows" in it, I'm unfazed. That whole platform is a (slooowly) sinking ship. They're just repeatedly carving their name on the hull.

Microsoft's Legal Team... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7684888)

Is, suprisingly, only made up of two [yahoo.com] people. [yahoo.com]

Re:Microsoft's Legal Team... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7684984)

I want to see a Saturday morning cartoon for kids starring Goatse Man as he fights his arch nemesis, Tubgirl! I'm sure we could get Nickelodeon to air it. Then when the kids are hooked, we start the MERCHANDISING! Goatse Man TV-Dinner Trays and Tubgirl Action Fun Lawn Sprinklers! OK I'm done.

that's right... (1)

potpie (706881) | more than 10 years ago | (#7684893)

from the article:
"In short, HTAs pack all the power of Microsoft Internet Explorer"

That's right- because as we all know, Microsoft invented HTML and Internet Explorer is the only web browser in existence.

more info here:
http://www.ideasatthepowerhouse.com.au/05_i deas_online/ideas_online_whose.asp

Strict security model? (1)

OutRigged (573843) | more than 10 years ago | (#7684896)

"In short, HTAs pack all the power of Microsoft Internet Explorer--its object model, performance, rendering power, protocol support, and channel-download technology--without enforcing the strict security model and user interface of the browser."

Yeah, right..

Companies Today (1)

TSage (702439) | more than 10 years ago | (#7684916)

What is wrong with companies these days? All they do is patent everything under the sun and reap the royalties. *cough*SCO*cough*

Although I guess we should expect this from the demonic MS corporation. I think they should next patent viruses to get a piece of the action there. Then after that they could buy a virus protection company and be made for life. (can you say infinite income stream?)

Re:Companies Today (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7684947)

SCO doesn't collect patent royalties on anything and they only have two patents.

Re:Companies Today (2, Insightful)

arkanes (521690) | more than 10 years ago | (#7685115)

In fairness, Microsoft has never, and has never shown any indication that it will, used its patent portfolio to squish competition. This may be because they have far more reliable methods at thier disposal, but they certainly do have the patent resources to make life really, really difficult for Mozilla and Linux developers (to say nothing of Samba), all of which they detest with a passion.

WTF? (1)

twitter (104583) | more than 10 years ago | (#7684919)

Microsoft describes their "technology":

In short, HTAs pack all the power of Microsoft Internet Explorer--its object model, performance, rendering power, protocol support, and channel-download technology--without enforcing the strict security model and user interface of the browser.

Anyone want to offer a explaination of that means and why any of it deserves a patent? From hear it looks like a standard web browser with "channel-download" with even lower security than IE. What, besides the buzzword jargon, is non obvious?

Re:WTF? (1)

xswl0931 (562013) | more than 10 years ago | (#7684970)

HTA are local run apps that use vbscript or jscript and html. Since they are treated as locally run apps and not remote apps, they have complete access to the system (within limits of scripting) as any other binary would have. You can sign HTAs so they are trusted.

Re:WTF? (1)

jrc313 (168973) | more than 10 years ago | (#7685080)

Yet this is still no different from running a local webpage/app in IE with security settings set to low.

You could indeed open a popup with no toolbars or status bar (chromeless as well if you really want) as well and hey presto - infringement!

I followed HTA for a while (4, Funny)

DeltaSigma (583342) | more than 10 years ago | (#7684928)

Its biggest use?

Really fancy about pages.

So they have a patent (4, Insightful)

pvt_medic (715692) | more than 10 years ago | (#7684953)

Can we now hold them accountable for any problems, viruses, spyware, annoyances that use this?

Hooray for Javascript! (2, Interesting)

freeweed (309734) | more than 10 years ago | (#7684955)

HTML applications in a window free of navigation and other interface elements, known as "chrome," and browser security restrictions.' Why does this sound vaguely familiar?"

Yeah, it sounds very familiar. Thanks to Opera I no longer see this sort of bullshit, but it sounds like those wonderful popups that you can't do anything with. You can't go back, you can't close them, you can't resize them, nothing. Add that to the automatic execution of ActiveX (free of browser security restrictions, remember) and you make me one more step closer to a dartboard with Bill's face on it.

I couldn't give a shit if someone patents this, although it would be nice if they did it just to prevent anyone from actually using it in the field. I do however think anyone who thinks taking CONTROL of a computer away from USERS should be tied up and shot. This would be like creating a road that, when you drove on it, disabled the brakes in your car. No friggin thanks.

Re:Hooray for Javascript! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7685055)

Altough the I agree more or less with your frist paragraph you take your anti-MS anger too far and make an over-reaching generalization in the second paragraph.
Selective CONTROL is the most important tool that an OS has for being usable.
It may seem counter-intuitive but this applies to computing in general. The largets problem in computing is unmastered complexity. This why OOP was such a big jump, this is why more people can use Windows vs Linux (Linux/Unix have a lower level of selective control)

You may disagree with their selection of the control that they allow, but to say that taking control away from the user in general is bad is an overgeneralization.

Buh? (1)

ProtonMotiveForce (267027) | more than 10 years ago | (#7684960)

Vaguely familiar? They didn't patent the word 'chrome' or anything, nimwit, so why the link to a Mozilla page defining chrome with the vague implication that it's been done? The page you refer to has nothing to do with this patent other than the word "chrome".

Let's face it, everything's been done - companies get patents like this so they won't be sued by some pissant company with a patent portfolio (read: recent issue they had with some such company and web plugins). Also note, it specifies "Windows".

Short answer: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7685089)

Mozilla XUL and chrome are potential prior art. Mozilla runs on Windows, and so does XUL, therefore Microsoft can technically sue for patent infringement authors of XUL applications should the patent be held to be valid.

IANAL.

Good to see (4, Interesting)

randall_burns (108052) | more than 10 years ago | (#7684962)

what Microsoft is gettin for their money [opensecrets.org]

Re:Good to see (-1, Flamebait)

greygent (523713) | more than 10 years ago | (#7685132)

It's also good to see what the world is getting with Gates' donations in billions of dollars.

You aren't donating tens of billions of dollars to good causes, are you? Thought not.

Your confusion (4, Interesting)

FreeLinux (555387) | more than 10 years ago | (#7684977)

Why does this sound vaguely familiar?"

The Mozilla page that you cited does not prove precedence in this case. The patent was filed for in May of 1999 and whom ever developed this (Microsoft or Mozilla) obviously did it before then. The Mozilla page has a Last modified date of April 1999 (as well as a last modified date of March 2000, WTF?). The close proximity of these dates would require greater proof of who exactly was first with this.

In the CNet article it says that Microsoft has no intention of enforcing the patent. I find that interesting since I seem to recall them saying the same thing about FAT up until their recent "licensing" scheme for FAT.

Re:Your confusion (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7685116)

The better proof would probably be the discussions for the early planning of XUL on any public mailing list. The posting date of a page has very little to do with an invention date when an invention is discussed publically long before someone mocks-up a page describing it.

Re:Your confusion (4, Informative)

DrXym (126579) | more than 10 years ago | (#7685122)

Chrome has its roots in earlier work than that.

Remember Netcaster [netscape.com] ?. Netcaster might have been a heinous abomination but it was still an app written in HTML, JS etc. as the link makes pretty clear.

Or perhaps MS thinks that the patent only covers Win32-only HTML apps. In other words cripple your HTML based app so it only runs on their platform and infringe on their patent. It makes sense to someone I'm sure.

The Mozilla thing is completely different (4, Informative)

Dorktrix (148287) | more than 10 years ago | (#7684995)

I haven't read the Microsoft patent, but it is not just "configurable chrome" like the Mozilla link in the post. Essentially, Microsoft applications like the "Add/Remove Programs" control panel applet are normal Windows applications that use HTML for their interface rather than normal Win32 widgets.

The patent (I presume) is on this method, where a browser control is pointed at a DLL rather than a web server speaking HTTP. This is completely different than skinning, as it is a way of running a dynamic, HTML-based application locally without a web server.

Re:The Mozilla thing is completely different (1)

NanoGator (522640) | more than 10 years ago | (#7685117)

"The patent (I presume) is on this method, where a browser control is pointed at a DLL rather than a web server speaking HTTP. This is completely different than skinning, as it is a way of running a dynamic, HTML-based application locally without a web server."

Reminds me of how Windows Update knows what you have installed so it can package up the new things you need. I guess the idea that Microsoft developed a new service and patented a key component of it is too hard to believe next to an accusation that they stole it from the Open Source Community.

Prior art thread.... (5, Interesting)

ChangeOnInstall (589099) | more than 10 years ago | (#7685008)

Reply to this post if you wrote a web application that used this technique on or before May 20, 1998 (one year before the patent application date).

(I did, and I'm pretty sure I still have a few of 'em laying around here somewhere).

And this brings up one more question: Why the F*** did Netscape and MSIE include this capability but for providing developers the ability to do exactly what is described in this patent?

Sooo... (1)

ihummel (154369) | more than 10 years ago | (#7685009)

Is mozilla going to have to be overhauled or pay exorbitant patent fees to MS?

Was this part of the patent application? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7685015)

Did they patent running this application in windows? Vibrant Logic [vibrantlogic.com]



[html]
[form]
[input type crash]
[/form]
[/html]

Replace the square brackets with carets.

Re:Was this part of the patent application? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7685136)

> Replace the square brackets with carets.

Uh...right, so do you mean like this?

^html^
^form^
^input type crash^
^/form^
^/html^

Okay, whatever...

It bothers me, and it should bother you as well. (2, Interesting)

i_r_sensitive (697893) | more than 10 years ago | (#7685017)

Given the language of the patent seems to delimit it out of significance, but I would suggest if that is what it looks like... ...HEADS UP! EYES OPEN! JUST WTF DOES THIS SERVE?

I would suggest this is just an opening gambit of some sort. Where the end play is directed... well take your pick. But, given the Eolas issue, given the recent brou-ha-ha with Sun, given M$ history and preference for co-opting standards, I don't think dismissing this as irelevant as being the most prudent move.

Ultimately, if M$ looks like it is going to lay some cards on the table, look under the table for what is really going on.

Re:It bothers me, and it should bother you as well (1)

i_r_sensitive (697893) | more than 10 years ago | (#7685083)

Moderated: +1 Paranoid

What's next? (2, Interesting)

Ricin (236107) | more than 10 years ago | (#7685021)

MSN Explorer-XUL with ..gasp.. Bayesian spam filters (use mssb-setup.ini)?

Are they afraid that they'll wind up not embracing standards or at least its vocabulary... Can you hear them argue in 2006 "well we had these same webapplications through out chrome.NET interface which was largely compliant with Java script".. or something along those lines.

I sense that they are getting a teeny lil bit scared that they might get too detached from OSS tech and so they try to at least grab buzzwords from over the fence, always leaving a full jump-into-the-pool or hostile takeover of a certain tech field (or attempt) possible, even logical.

I've never seen MS talk about "chrome" before, and Firebird == Mozilla + more XUL and it's geared mostly towards Windows it seems (which might explain why as nice as it may be, it runs quite badly on my freeBSD box). Moz/FB is getting increasingly popular with Windows users if what I hear and read is true.

Just some thoughts.

XAML (4, Insightful)

silkySlim (565600) | more than 10 years ago | (#7685028)

I believe this is related to XAML [microsoft.com] which is designed to take the nightmare out of windows UI coding.

Re:XAML (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7685070)

XAML is embraced & extended XUL! XUL is cross platform, so it's a no-brainer really unless you're sold on .NET

This is the solution to Microsoft's security probs (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7685053)

Microsoft on Tuesday won a patent for launching a certain kind of bastard application within Windows.

The patent, "Method and apparatus for writing a Windows application in bastardry" (a frequently-employed Microsoft method), describes Microsoft's way of opening up malicious applications in a window free of uninstall software and other interface elements, known as "options," and operating system security restrictions.

One example of a bastard application at work in Windows is the "MIDI" feature in DirectX.

On a page about bastard applications on its Developer Network site, Microsoft described the technique as a way to harness a virus's power while bypassing its network and interface-related restrictions.

I am still waiting for their 'Channels' patent (1)

netsavior (627338) | more than 10 years ago | (#7685065)

we are all screwed when that is issued [end sarcasm]

Doesn't Turing have prior art?! (5, Interesting)

bshuttleworth (178787) | more than 10 years ago | (#7685077)

OK - Maybe I'm just a cynical b----rd, but at least half the patent refers to storing the HTML and then reading it back. I didn't realise they were hiring MUPPETS at the USPTO.

The patent [uspto.gov] basically covers: (from the claims)

  1. Read the file, check it is HTML. If so, then turn in into a bunch of rendering instructions. Otherwise, don't. (seriously - that's 1(a)-(iv))
  2. Claim 2 is claim 1 - nothing to see here.
  3. A computer-readable medium having computer-executable instructions for performing the method recited in claim 2.
  4. See above, only for claim 1.
  5. Identical to claim 1, more or less. Only this time its an "apparatus", not a "method". Whoopdy-freaking-do.
  6. Claims 7-9: Continue based on what this computer or another computer says. Sometimes write data to a storage medium.


The BULK of the patent is the idea that HTML can contain Javascript that does stuff. Doesn't everyone and their kitten have prior art on this?



As if it isn't obvious enough, Claims 1-6 are covered by HTML 2.0. Claims 7-9 are covered (and this is a trivial example, others will surely find better ones) by HTML 4.0 [w3.org] and cousins. And the only reason I don't have earlier references is that they're so bleeding obvious!

Sigh. Muppets from space.

virus in HTML (3, Funny)

cyfer2000 (548592) | more than 10 years ago | (#7685088)

I am not sure if those virus in OE could be classified as HTML. But if yes, will those virus writers be sued as "patent infringment"?

HTML vs. XUL (4, Insightful)

ucblockhead (63650) | more than 10 years ago | (#7685094)

XUL isn't HTML, and therefore wouldn't be covered by this patent.

Sure, given that XUL already existed when this was filed, you could make the claim that using HTML instead was "obvious", but it isn't, strictly speaking, the same.

Perhaps the Mozilla people should patent XUL. For defensive purposes, if nothing else. But the conspiracy theorists should look elsewhere for Microsoft threats to open-source browsers.

Sigh... (5, Funny)

DroidBiker (715045) | more than 10 years ago | (#7685100)

I want to patent "a method for limiting the decay of society by kicking the crap out of idiots at the patent office"

"Chrome" isn't the technology (4, Interesting)

mnemonic_ (164550) | more than 10 years ago | (#7685118)

From http://www.mozilla.org/xpfe/ConfigChromeSpec.html
"The chrome is that part of the application window that lies outside of a window's content area. Toolbars, menu bars, progress bars, and window title bars are all examples of elements that are typically part of the chrome."

From http://msdn.microsoft.com/workshop/author/dhtml/re ference/methods/showmodaldialog.asp
"Specifies whether the dialog window displays the border window chrome. This feature is only available when a dialog box is opened from a trusted application. The default is no."

The cnet story seems to be passing off the word "chrome" as some sort of new technology name, when it seems that both Mozilla and Microsoft developers refer to it as a generic term for describing application window adornments.

What's the significance of this? Well, this "chrome" itself isn't a part of Microsoft's patent. It's existed in almost every window in almost every application made by any developer. Microsoft's HTML application technology removes the window chrome, but the "meat" of the patent is the ability to use HTML and Internet Explorer to create an application.

The only thing this has in common with Mozilla is that it also deals with window chrome.

Microsoft isn't copying Mozilla by using the same software term.

html applications? (1)

endx7 (706884) | more than 10 years ago | (#7685125)

Umm...what is an html application? html is a -formatting language-. Either this is a really hard patent to infringe on, or they now have a patent on having html stuff displayed without any browser features (it's still a browser, since something has to display it). When I put opera into full screen, things like back and forward go away. Is this what they mean?

But than again, it sounds like they are talking a bunch of junk to let it have purty menus and other widgets, which mean it isn't really just HTML, since HTML doesn't have that stuff. So...why call it HTML? It's obviously not.

Naive question on patent law (2, Insightful)

howlatthemoon (718490) | more than 10 years ago | (#7685141)

Can you patent an idea and then release it into the public domain or put it under a Creative Commons [creativecommons.org] license (or something like it)? It seems like this might head off some of the prior art arguements, and even if some other entity breaks the patent because of other prior art, it still is better than it moving into a single group's hands. I know it is more work, but I am tied of getting screwed-over because someone comes up with something "innovative*".

Just wondering....

* Innovative (MS, SCO, et. al definition) - scouring the world for ideas for which they can claim ownership.
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