A few days ago, bloggers were writing about how Microsoft was planning on patenting Really Simple Syndication technology (RSS). Shortly after, Dave Winer, a chief RSS developer wrote on his blog that “Today I received a link to a patent granted to Microsoft, where they claim to have invented all this stuff. Presumably they’re eventually going to charge us to use it. This should be denounced by everyone who has contributed anything to the success of RSS.”
Monkey Bites, a Wired blog, pointed out that Winer was wrong about the fact the documents were applications for patents and not patents themselves. Monkey Bites also mentioned that they believed that Microsoft is not aiming to patent RSS, but RSS within Windows Vista and Internet Explorer 7.0.
Yesterday an RSS program manager lead named Sean Lyndersay spoke to the Associated Press about the accusations. Sean Lyndersay wrote on his blog that Microsoft is seeking patents for the purose of improving RSS “end-user and developer experience” and not the actual RSS technology. Lyndersay also mentioned that applying for patents are common practices. Microsoft’s filing of a patent does not necessarily mean that license fees would be added.
The whole talk of patenting technology that does not belong to Microsoft reminds me of the iPod patenting story of 2005. The Boston Globe reported “Apple took too long to file a patent on part of its blockbuster iPod music players, so Microsoft beat them to it.”