Another patent related article

Another Microsoft software patent fiasco had recently hit the fan with Microsoft trying to patent a new Visual Studio feature which was knowingly copied from a freely distributed, university developed, object oriented teaching software… and retracting it as soon as the patent application was made public.

Nothing new here (except the retraction – that’s new, but this case has prior art so obvious that a blind judge on sedatives would have kicked it out of the court with prejudice). But it got curious, so I looked up the individuals named in the patent application using Google’s patent search. Here are some interesting results:

1997:
Microsoft invents viruses
.

1997: (granted, they did this before Amazon. IIRC).

2000:
Microsoft invents peer to peer networking
(Remarkably close on the heels of Gnutella – these guys are quick!). Probably related to this –
Distributed network games
, which is cool, but predated by this by about 5 years.

2000:
Microsoft patents HTTP’s “Accept-Language” header
(defined by HTTP/1.0 in 1996).

2002:
Microsoft patents ACLs

There are plenty more where that came from, some I don’t understand enough to criticize (lots of GPS navigation stuff) or just so generic that they relate to any computerized networking.

Software patents are bad, and if Microsoft isn’t the worst transgressor, it probably ranks somewhere in the top 5. But then again – nothing new, right ?

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