We often cover some of the fights on patents within Maven Mapper’s Information as it is often very important to understand who if anyone owns information.
It has just recently become public that Microsoft filed for a patent back in June of 2005 for technology possibly covering and relating to RSS or really simple syndication.
This has made inventors of the technology, non Microsoft employees and many open source contributors, livid over Microsoft’s claim over the technology rights.
RSS is a technology that enables website owners to rapidly and easily syndicate their content to other sites. Think of it like Jerry Seinfeld spending five minutes to setup a free account on the internet and Walla, the TV show Seinfeld is syndicated around the world instantly through many to millions of sights that Jerry might choose.
Microsoft has apparently along with other large companies including Apple, who has not been attacked in the Blogosphere, attempted to put a patent on this process and technology along with additional improvements that they claim to have designed but again may have been invented in the open source community first. It highlights the extremely complex collision of patent law, intellectual property and the rapid design and improvement of online software code through open source communities.
Many companies attempt to patent open source code so that they can use it in their own technology without receiving lawsuits from multiple designers in the open source community or having to share their own design developments and innovations back to the community as is often required by shareware licensing. This fight could prove to be very ugly as RSS is rapidly becoming a key component driving the internet and the sharing of information around the world, you can find it in use in many major news sites and especially on aggregation sites like a users my.yahoo page.