“A content syndication platform, such as a web content syndication platform, manages, organizes and makes available for consumption content that is acquired from the Internet. In at least some embodiments, the platform can acquire and organize web content, and make such content available for consumption by many different types of applications. These applications may or may not necessarily understand the particular syndication format. An application program interface (API) exposes an object model which allows applications and users to easily accomplish many different tasks such as creating, reading, updating, deleting feeds and the like.”
Wow. I had no idea Microsoft invented all that – I could swear some other folks have implemented similar ideas!
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. There are plenty of sleazebags who file patent applications on obvious ideas, and then wait for someone like Microsoft to infringe those patents. In other words, companies like Microsoft often file patents to prevent having to shell out millions of dollars to predatory lawyers who haven’t invented anything other than a legal pain in the ass. And beyond the potential monetary loss, a patent lawsuit can mean delaying a technology that’s critical to a company’s success. Yes, it sucks that the patent process has devolved to such a state, but this is the reality of the environment that today’s businesses have to operate in.
So I’m not going to jump on the “Microsoft is evil” bandwagon about this (yet). However, Microsoft clearly did not invent all the ideas claimed in this patent, so some clarification would be appreciated from Microsoft’s RSS team (several of whom are listed in the patent as inventors). Specifically, what was Microsoft’s purpose in filing this patent? And what exactly did Microsoft really invent here?
Update: 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!