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Thursday, December 21, 2006

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> I could swear some other folks have
> implemented similar ideas!

In which case, it should be pretty simple to give an example, yes?

Feedburner for example?

uh, guys - I believe he's referring to Newsgator itself :) - that was intended to be an ironic remark...

Dave Winer says, "Today I received a link to a patent granted to Microsoft, where they claim to have invented all this stuff."

Dave's mistaken use of "granted" instead of "application" is sure to fan the flames.

--rj

Quite possibly ;-)

So if I'm writing a financial management program, can I access a Newsgator API that makes it simple to pick up feeds (or whatever) and will Newsgator enable me to generate feeds from the application on my desktop?

Oh, and I don't want or need an enterprise server.

I'm not getting at FeedBurner or Newsgator -- I've never used either -- I'm just starting from a position of ignorance and trying to figure out whether Microsoft's claim is actually new or whether there is obvious "prior art".

In passing, I did think of trying to figure this out from Newsgator white papers. Unfortunately I can't access them without providing a load of personal information intended to turn me into a sales lead, which is potentially a waste of my time and theirs.

Also in passing, I notice from Ars Technica that Apple has already started patenting a News feed viewer and News feed browser....

http://arstechnica.com/journals/microsoft.ars/2006/12/22/6378

"So if I'm writing a financial management program, can I access a Newsgator API that makes it simple to pick up feeds (or whatever) and will Newsgator enable me to generate feeds from the application on my desktop?"

You should send an email to support@newsgator.com about that.

Nick, My guess is Microsoft is just protecting itself against patent trolls and lawsuits.

I believe Microsoft has no intention of enforcing this patent against anyone, and no intention of collecting royalties on it.

Microsoft is not pretending that they invented RSS...just protecting itself against potential patent infringement lawsuits from "shell companies" and "patent trolls" who do nothing but sue big companies. Sad to say this is the current state of the patent system.

You might recall that Microsoft was sued by a shell company called Eolas for a patent on the embedding and invoking of interactive applications, such as plug-ins and applets, in Web browsers, something every Internet application has done for years.

Google was sued for patent infringement on GoogleTalk. Blackberry was sued, for $612M by NTP. RedHat was sued over Hibernate. All of these patent infringement lawsuits cost millions of dollars to settle. And all of them were about commonly used technologies that were in the public domain for years...until some patent troll popped up and produced an obscure patent.

Time will tell all, but my guess is this is just a defensive move by Microsoft, and RSS usage and innovation can continue on as before.

Don, no need to guess. I have no patents on RSS technology, and therefore have imposed no limits on what Microsoft can do with the technology. Will Microsoft reciprocate, and grant me a non-exclusive, perpetual license to use any of their RSS technology in my own products?

Dave,

Good question. Did you ask them or did you just assume what the answer would be and judge them on their motivations in absentia?

Niall Kennedy has posted an In-depth analysis of Microsoft content syndication platform patent application

http://www.niallkennedy.com/blog/archives/2006/12/microsoft-feed-platform-patent-review.html


Dear "Bob" -- yes I did ask them, Don Dodge works for Microsoft. I asked here, and on his blog, and on my blog.

A question for Bob:

A convicted serial killer is found standing next to a dead body holding a bloody knife. What's your automatic assumption?

Frankly, who can blame Dave for an automatic assumption about MS's motivations.

>But before the geekosphere goes into “patent attack mode,” let’s take a breather and think about why this patent was filed. For example, quite often companies file patents just to protect themselves from lawsuits.


I'd say that this is a *perfect* explanation as to what's wrong with the patent process. It's far more useful for extorting funds than protecting profitability

> Frankly, who can blame Dave for an automatic
> assumption about MS's motivations.

Well, I will, for starters. I'd expect him to try to find out the truth, based on his considerable knowledge and experience, and vast network of contacts. You expect him to behave like an idiot fanboy. Which of us is paying Dave a compliment?

"Some bloggers apparently think that Microsoft is attempting to patent RSS itself, but that's not the case. I don't agree with Microsoft's claims, but they're much narrower than that. Read the application before posting, folks!"

If you really believe they are "much narrower than that", you may be able to help Mr. Lyndersay with the little problem I've set him in his blog: http://xrl.us/tzuc ;-) As I tried to point out in Jack's Guardian blog posts, it is at least as stupid to hallucinate inventions that simply aren't there in the claims of some patent (application), or to pretend specificity, inventiveness and disclosure that is non-existent in them, as it is to /.-ishly misrepresent them and exaggerate their scope.

"Some bloggers apparently think that Microsoft is attempting to patent RSS itself, but that's not the case. I don't agree with Microsoft's claims, but they're much narrower than that. Read the application before posting, folks!"

If you really believe they are "much narrower than that", you may be able to help Mr. Lyndersay with the little problem I've set him in his blog: http://xrl.us/tzuc ;-) As I tried to point out in Jack's Guardian blog posts, it is at least as stupid to hallucinate inventions that simply aren't there in the claims of some patent (application), or to pretend specificity, inventiveness and disclosure that is non-existent in them, as it is to /.-ishly misrepresent them and exaggerate their scope.

> You expect him to behave like an idiot fanboy.
> Which of us is paying Dave a compliment?

Ah... thanks for putting words in my mouth, but they ain't my words. Dave already said he'd tried to find out. I was just pointing out that based on prior 'activities' the first assumption one might make about Microsoft's motivations, is a negative one (I was neither complimenting nor being critical).

Merry Christmas anyway, Mister Anonymous.

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