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Microsoft Applies to Patent RSS in Vista

Zonk posted more than 7 years ago | from the don't-jump-the-rails-just-yet dept.

Microsoft 119

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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Wheel (5, Funny)

aedan (196243) | more than 7 years ago | (#17349228)

Patent on the wheel can't be long in coming.

Re:Wheel (1)

Spookticus (985296) | more than 7 years ago | (#17349280)

Just wait until someone tries to patent fire :)

Re:Wheel (4, Interesting)

troll -1 (956834) | more than 7 years ago | (#17349324)

You might find this [bbc.co.uk] interesting.

Re:Wheel (2, Funny)

DodgeRules (854165) | more than 7 years ago | (#17349340)

> Patent on the wheel can't be long in coming

... only within Vista and IE7.

I'D LIKE TO PATENT NICOLE BRAZZLE'S VAGINA!1!@! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17349490)

Check it out right here!!1!@ [nicolebrazzle.com]

Re:Wheel (2, Funny)

dascandy (869781) | more than 7 years ago | (#17349694)

Mark that message as a dupe from long ago. The wheel has been patented since 2003 something in Australia.

Re:Wheel (5, Funny)

jinxidoru (743428) | more than 7 years ago | (#17349964)

Patent on the wheel can't be long in coming.

That would save the trouble of having to re-invent it.

Linux ? (3, Insightful)

slashthedot (991354) | more than 7 years ago | (#17349238)

Linus should patent both RSS and Atom in Linux before anyone else does.

Winer claims to have invented RSS.... (4, Funny)

topham (32406) | more than 7 years ago | (#17349242)

and nobody has bothered to dispute it because who the hell would want to claim such a convoluted design as their own?

Re:Winer claims to have invented RSS.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17349922)

who the hell would want to claim such a convoluted design as their own?
Your mother

Aw, but... but..... (4, Insightful)

radarsat1 (786772) | more than 7 years ago | (#17349264)

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

Re:Aw, but... but..... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17349772)

itsatrap!

Oh Yeah?! (4, Funny)

Greyfox (87712) | more than 7 years ago | (#17349268)

Well I'm going to patent the 8.3 naming convention in the FAT filesystem! How do you like THEM apples?

Re:Oh Yeah?! (5, Funny)

leeosenton (764295) | more than 7 years ago | (#17349410)

but them Apples don't even use 8.3 file names...

Re:Oh Yeah?! (1)

geobeck (924637) | more than 7 years ago | (#17350806)

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!

Who has Microsoft actually sued (4, Interesting)

Timesprout (579035) | more than 7 years ago | (#17349274)

over patent infringement? Actual cases and not the 'OMG they might sue us' screeching please.

Re:Who has Microsoft actually sued (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17349374)

This is like some big bank with a bad reputation for being greedy and unwilling to work for people buying up mortgages.

"Actual cases and not the 'OMG they might evict us' screeching please."

Does the "screeching" make a little more sense now?

Re:Who has Microsoft actually sued (2, Insightful)

Osty (16825) | more than 7 years ago | (#17349982)

This is like some big bank with a bad reputation for being greedy and unwilling to work for people buying up mortgages.

"Actual cases and not the 'OMG they might evict us' screeching please."

Does the "screeching" make a little more sense now?

Pay your mortgage on time and you won't have to worry about being evicted. If you can't afford to pay your mortgage on time, it doesn't matter whether or not you have a nice mortgage broker who "understands you" or a big bank who looks at you as just so much $$$, you're in over your head and need to immediately start thinking about selling or declaring bankruptcy. You got yourself into that situation, not your mortgage broker who decided to sell your mortgage to Big Evil Bank Co.

The bank buying your mortgage can't change your terms, so you won't suddenly find yourself with a higher interest rate (or a different ARM schedule) or a pre-payment penalty where you didn't have one before. So no, the "screeching" doesn't make any more sense now.

Re:Who has Microsoft actually sued (0, Troll)

MicrosoftRepresentit (1002310) | more than 7 years ago | (#17349382)

If you're looking for facts, you've come to the wrong place. If it wasn't for Slashdot's pathetic yet consistent dribbling out of tabloid anti-MS propaganda, Christmas for 90% of the Slashdot readership would consist entierly of alternately masturbating to freeze-framed Hentai, and crying into their keyboards. This is all these people have! Please spare a thought for them, don't shatter their dreams. Leave facts out of this discussion, please.

ID RATHER JACKOFF TO HENTAI (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17349396)

then fuck Steve Ballmer in the pooper.. good day sir

Re:Who has Microsoft actually sued (4, Informative)

thue (121682) | more than 7 years ago | (#17349422)

Here is one, on the ASF video file format: http://www.advogato.org/article/101.html [advogato.org]

Re:Who has Microsoft actually sued (1)

Timesprout (579035) | more than 7 years ago | (#17349518)

Thats a C&D. The guy was not sued, just informed politely he was infringing and provided with an alternative approach when he asked.

Re:Who has Microsoft actually sued (1)

thue (121682) | more than 7 years ago | (#17349680)

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 don't actually cover the subject or are valid, bug free software developers can't afford to defend against them.

and provided with an alternative approach when he asked

What alternative approach was he provided with? To be forced to remove ASF support? That doesn't seem so great an alternative to me.

Re:Who has Microsoft actually sued (1)

bendodge (998616) | more than 7 years ago | (#17351310)

It seems clear to me that the polite request would have a lawsuit if he had not. So the difference is not important.
But if someone would have shared files illegally, but they didn't, it is the same as if they did? That doesn't sound anything like what /.'s say for file sharing lawsuits.

Re:Who has Microsoft actually sued (3, Informative)

kripkenstein (913150) | more than 7 years ago | (#17349424)

"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.

Re:Who has Microsoft actually sued (1)

grcumb (781340) | more than 7 years ago | (#17349864)

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" seems odd.

Fair enough. So perhaps you could further enlighten us as to what is left to patent? Is this just like one of those useless claims staked on the intellectual Commons by adding 'on the Internet' to a process that's been common knowledge since business was first conducted between parties?

What possible improvement of RSS would, in your opinion, justify the title 'invention'? That is, after all, what patents are designed to protect: Invention, not imitation.

you're right (1)

oohshiny (998054) | more than 7 years ago | (#17349906)

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.

Re:you're right (1)

Pictish Prince (988570) | more than 7 years ago | (#17351190)

You're obviously too young to remember the browser wars.

Re:Who has Microsoft actually sued (1)

AlgorithMan (937244) | more than 7 years ago | (#17350794)

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]

Re:Who has Microsoft actually sued (4, Informative)

dattaway (3088) | more than 7 years ago | (#17349440)

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.

Re:Who has Microsoft actually sued (1)

Traiklin (901982) | more than 7 years ago | (#17350082)

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)

Re:Who has Microsoft actually sued (5, Insightful)

Waffle Iron (339739) | more than 7 years ago | (#17349558)

Who has N. Korea actually nuked? Actual cases and not the 'OMG they might nuke us' screeching please.

Re:Who has Microsoft actually sued (1)

Timesprout (579035) | more than 7 years ago | (#17350020)

LOL, funny and probably the most insightful response to my question. Nice one.

Re:Who has Microsoft actually sued (1)

ZachPruckowski (918562) | more than 7 years ago | (#17349606)

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 business people do with this sort of stuff. A .01% chance of a ten million dollar lawsuit is not something that a business wants to get behind.

If you use infringing software, there are two risks - the first is that you get sued (which is very, very unlikely), and the second is that the maintainer of your software folds because of legal pressure. That screws you over pretty badly because you have to migrate somewhere else.

Re:Who has Microsoft actually sued (1)

slashthedot (991354) | more than 7 years ago | (#17349804)

You forget. They sued Sun. Then they also sued Real. Now it maybe Viner boy. Oh, wait ...

they don't have to (0, Flamebait)

oohshiny (998054) | more than 7 years ago | (#17349890)

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 offensively, but they are evidently smart about it by keeping it low profile and negotiating carefully.

Re:they don't have to (3, Insightful)

Timesprout (579035) | more than 7 years ago | (#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.

Re:they don't have to (1)

oohshiny (998054) | more than 7 years ago | (#17350550)

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.

Re:they don't have to (1)

rbanffy (584143) | more than 7 years ago | (#17351660)

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.

Re:Who has Microsoft actually sued (1)

jinxidoru (743428) | more than 7 years ago | (#17349992)

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.

Re:Who has Microsoft actually sued (1)

element-o.p. (939033) | more than 7 years ago | (#17350796)

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?

what if... (1)

rbanffy (584143) | more than 7 years ago | (#17351630)

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.

Re:Who has Microsoft actually sued (1)

_Sprocket_ (42527) | more than 7 years ago | (#17351194)

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.

Patents are Never Defensive (4, Interesting)

jmcharry (608079) | more than 7 years ago | (#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:Patents are Never Defensive (2, Interesting)

jfclavette (961511) | more than 7 years ago | (#17349368)

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.

Further clarification (1)

spitzak (4019) | more than 7 years ago | (#17350066)

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.

Re:Patents are Never Defensive (1)

Ansoni-San (955052) | more than 7 years ago | (#17351284)

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:Patents are Never Defensive (2, Informative)

jbf (30261) | more than 7 years ago | (#17349502)

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).

Re:Patents are Never Defensive (1)

Programmer_Errant (1004370) | more than 7 years ago | (#17349818)

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?

Mod parent down -1, Stupid. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17350370)

A little knowledge is a dangerous thing--particularly to unthinking troglodytes like the parent. Mod him back to the Stone Age before he can do any further damage to the state of human knowledge.

Linux freedom hippies posts in (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17349300)

3, 2, 1...

That is not patent for RSS (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#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.

It's still obvious, YOU are the troll (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17349484)

Please, mods. Don't mark this shit as "informative" just because it tries to distract the issue with petty details.

Re:That is not patent for RSS (1)

reynaert (264437) | more than 7 years ago | (#17349510)

It is more about a system that aggregates RSS content further to other applications.

Wow, just like rss2email [infogami.com] !

Re:That is not patent for RSS (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17350110)

That's what I was thinking, there have to be several programs out already that provide prior art for this. Here's Claim 1. (the rest pretty much expand on this one in various ways)

1. A system comprising: one or more computer-readable media; computer-readable instructions on the one or more computer-readable media which, when executed, implement: an RSS platform that is configured to receive and process RSS data in one or more formats; and code means configured to enable different types of applications to access RSS data that has been received and processed by the RSS platform.

So yes, the article is a bit off base in claiming that it attempts to patent rss, but what it does do is attempt to patent a very fundamental application for manipulating RSS feeds.

This is the kind of thing that pisses me off about patents, as a programmer I consider this very obvious, especilly considering apps like the one parent mentioned, which does a similar service for rss feeds as fetchmail does for email.
tech guy "we have this awesome new kind of service"
boss "can we make it work with the programs I use now, because you know how much everyone hates using new programs"

seems pretty obvious to me, but then again I'm not a patent clerk.

Re:That is not patent for RSS (3, Insightful)

mavenguy (126559) | more than 7 years ago | (#17349624)

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.

MOD UP!! Read the claims!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17349634)

Hurrah, you read the claims and a good chunk of the description (unlike everyone else). It's a shame you are likely to be ignored or worst marked a troll.

Re:That is not patent for RSS (1)

JamesOfTheDesert (188356) | more than 7 years ago | (#17349790)

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.

Further clarifications (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17350000)

In case you people don't read the parent post, the replies, or this one http://yro.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=213356&cid =17349376 [slashdot.org]

The claim is an aggregator, which is capable of reading RSS 0.91, 0.92, 1.0, 2.0 and Atom, and probably a few more formats not mentioned (I suspect a proprietary version as well).

Specifically, it aggregates the RSS feeds into one single common XML format, which is exposed in an object model with the folder hierarchy metaphor from Windows Explorer. Applications can reach subscriptions through the aggregator, without having to subscribe directly to the feed, and without having to parse the feed's format directly.

There is also a publishing aspect of the aggregator which is not clearly described. It hints at cutting out the 'publish' part of publishing a blog, so users may create in whatever application they want to, and publish through this aggregator (as opposed to opening a web browser, going to a bookmark, logging in, typing crap, and clicking OK, which is apparently a burden for some people).

And of course feed management so you can choose what you are subscribed to.

Oh yeah, and the corresponding API. And it will probably be for Office but usable by every MS program under the sun:

18. The system of claim 10, wherein said at least one application comprises an email application.

19. The system of claim 10, wherein said at least one application comprises a web browser application.

20. The system of claim 10, wherein said at least one application comprises a media player application.


[0029] Looking more specifically at the different types of applications that can interact with the platform, collection 104 includes a web browser application 122, an RSS reader application 124, a digital image library application 126, a media player application 128 and a blog service 130.


There are also aspects of downloading feed data on-demand as opposed to actually subscribing to it. And you can change the name of the feed from "New York Times" to "NYT" [0039].

And a bunch of scheduling mumbo jumbo, so that everyone gets a say in how often the feed is checked. And the sync engine schedules itself via Task Scheduler if needed. And it mentions this cool thing called HTTP, I need to read more about that.

Now for the moment you've all been waiting for: the security vulnerability. If the feed contains an attachment, it gets run automatically and roots your windows box (were that possible I mean). I guess it 'Administrator's your box.


[0098] With regard to providing security in the enclosure download process, consider the following.

[0099] In accordance with one embodiment, downloaded enclosures use the Windows XP SP2 Attachment Execution Service (SP2 AES) functionality. This functionality can provide file-type and zone based security. For example, provided with a file name and zone information (i.e. where an enclosure came from), AES can indicate whether to block, allow or prompt.

[0100] With regard to zone persistence, when saving a file, AES can persist the zone information so that, when it is subsequently opened, the user can be prompted.

[0101] The table just below describes AES risk-level/zone to action mapping: TABLE-US-00004 Risk Levels Restricted Internet Intranet Local Trusted Dangerous, e.g. Block Prompt Allow Allow Allow EXE Moderate/Unknown, Prompt Prompt Allow Allow Allow e.g. DOC or FOO Low, e.g. TXT or Allow Allow Allow Allow Allow JPG


And in true microsoft fahsion, it will store everything you dever downloaded in compound files (.stg)

I got bored at this point, basically some blah about Win32 COM objects and available by scripting languages.

Re:That is not patent for RSS (1)

Colin Smith (2679) | more than 7 years ago | (#17350598)

Nah, it's a patent for usenet.

 

perhaps ?? (-1, Troll)

drpimp (900837) | more than 7 years ago | (#17349348)

Perhaps let M$ keep the really simple syndication and have the open source community create a true rich syndication for the masses that will surpass the short comings of RSS. It's known that M$ just takes other peoples creations, patents them, and turns them into something just short of widespread hate right? Is this the final blow to Netscape that M$ is taking a stab at? After all, they did created the first derivative of the RSS, formerly known as RDF.

Sounds like an sort of ODBC for RSS (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17349376)

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 bad thing depending on if you are a hater or not.

Re:Sounds like an sort of ODBC for RSS (1)

painQuin (626852) | more than 7 years ago | (#17350566)

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 (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17349398)

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:Dave is not amused (2, Informative)

ortholattice (175065) | more than 7 years ago | (#17349688)

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 by another vendor, UserLand Software [i.e. Dave Winer], which intended to use it as the basis of its weblogging products and other web-based writing software.

Re:Dave is not amused (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17350146)

He could also be described as a self-described Winer.

Why the hullabaloo? (2, Insightful)

WED Fan (911325) | more than 7 years ago | (#17349464)

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 his ill conducted projected [wikipedia.org] .

Patent Interference, Litigation, and 102(b) (3, Informative)

jbf (30261) | more than 7 years ago | (#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.

Hmm, I wonder... (2, Funny)

Jugalator (259273) | more than 7 years ago | (#17349522)

I can't say I'm sure why Microsoft patent RSS-in-IE7, but I still hear Admiral Ackbar breathing behind me...

Re:Hmm, I wonder... (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 7 years ago | (#17349748)

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.

Why? (1)

The Real Toad King (981874) | more than 7 years ago | (#17349584)

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... (1)

Belial6 (794905) | more than 7 years ago | (#17349726)

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.

Re:Except... (1)

prshaw (712950) | more than 7 years ago | (#17349794)

So they need to rename the page you open?

Re:Except... (1)

Belial6 (794905) | more than 7 years ago | (#17351384)

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:Why? (2, Informative)

I'm Don Giovanni (598558) | more than 7 years ago | (#17349860)

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:Why? (2, Insightful)

oohshiny (998054) | more than 7 years ago | (#17349916)

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.

I think I'll patent the door-knob in my house (1)

foniksonik (573572) | more than 7 years ago | (#17349604)

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 my design.

Weakened Arguments (0, Troll)

WED Fan (911325) | more than 7 years ago | (#17349642)

Come on, folks. You knee-jerk, anti-MS folks jumping on this really weaken your own arguments. There are serious issues with MS and reasons to be anti. But, this is a nothing-burger compared to that. But, by focusing on this, you marginalize the real arguments. You make yourselves look like Republicans taking Bill Clinton to task for lying about a blow job.

Re:Weakened Arguments (0, Offtopic)

radarsat1 (786772) | more than 7 years ago | (#17349836)

this is a nothing-burger


I'll have ketchup, and relish, and... oh hell, just make it all-dressed please. :)

Oh, the mistery (2, Funny)

melikamp (631205) | more than 7 years ago | (#17349732)

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.

They aren't patenting RSS (4, Interesting)

adwb (778985) | more than 7 years ago | (#17349854)

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.

Re:They aren't patenting RSS (1)

mugenjou (912908) | more than 7 years ago | (#17349994)

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?

Re:They aren't patenting RSS (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17350108)

Windows doesn't include mysql and this cronjob you speak of...

Re:They aren't patenting RSS (1)

Jerf (17166) | more than 7 years ago | (#17350984)

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...

not Vista/IE7-specific (4, Informative)

oohshiny (998054) | more than 7 years ago | (#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.

Re:not Vista/IE7-specific (1)

robmered (178318) | more than 7 years ago | (#17350100)

And if that's the case, then "most RSS software" will stand as prior art.

Re:not Vista/IE7-specific (1)

oohshiny (998054) | more than 7 years ago | (#17350134)

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.

Re:not Vista/IE7-specific (1)

appavi (679094) | more than 7 years ago | (#17350508)

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 in usable form that can be used by the application developers. UFP is part of popular open source feed based applications like Planet Feed reader [planetplanet.org] and Democracy Player [getdemocracy.com] . So Microsoft's patented process is nothing new. Most of it can be claimed as prior art.

Also Read
Niall Kennedy's wonderful analysis of the MS feed patent [niallkennedy.com] .
Blog post by Microsoft Program Manager Lead for RSS Sean Lyndersay defending this patent [msdn.com] .

Re:not Vista/IE7-specific (1)

oohshiny (998054) | more than 7 years ago | (#17350564)

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.

MSDN Blog Response (2, Informative)

omicronish (750174) | more than 7 years ago | (#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.

Holy Silme, Batman! (1)

KwKSilver (857599) | more than 7 years ago | (#17350478)

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?

On the not-quite-so-paranoid hand... (1)

LordLucless (582312) | more than 7 years ago | (#17350552)

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.

How Microsoft Does Patents (1)

segedunum (883035) | more than 7 years ago | (#17350642)

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 those people at all. Microsoft has patented, or applied for patents, to a lot of concepts, technology and APIs that the patents make clear are specific to .Net - that can be implemented in the CLR and are applicable to the ECMA specs they laid down. This means that if you were to pull some concepts and ideas out of .Net and apply them to Java, you'd be OK, but woe betide you if you want to try and make anything compatible with what Microsoft is doing.

DEAR GOD! (0, Redundant)

Stevecrox (962208) | more than 7 years ago | (#17350798)

Company A develops a process to do a particular thing, this process isn't that obvious (well it ain't to me) they apply for a patent. People cheer as a patent goes through and uses the US patent system properly (unlike the overbroad and ambigious patent descriptions which are rife in the system.)

Now lets try that again, Microsoft develop a way of dealing with RSS feeds for Vista its new and their patented process. It's very specific, people begin a fud campaign and start talking about the evil empire. I just don't get how this is news, unless people using the system properly is so unusual over the pond.

Wake up, & smell the prison-coffee (1)

KwKSilver (857599) | more than 7 years ago | (#17351600)

Hope you didn't want to use anything but IE-7 for RSS under VISTA. Looks to me like Opera, Firefox, and everything else will be legally locked out. Or looked at the other way if you want to enjoy RSS you will have to use IE-7. If MS gets the patent(s) they are not required to license them to anyone for any price --any price whatsoever. That's the minimum. The worst-case scenario is to make it illegal to access RSS with anything but VISTA & IE-7. Of course, such an abomination won't bother the Microsoft-worshipers, will it?

Ulterior motive / cynical conspiracy theory post (2, Insightful)

chiller2 (35804) | more than 7 years ago | (#17351198)

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.

Re:Ulterior motive / cynical conspiracy theory pos (1)

udippel (562132) | more than 7 years ago | (#17351706)

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 /.

Some clarification about the matter (2, Interesting)

udippel (562132) | more than 7 years ago | (#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.
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