US Patent Law and Microsoft – Jeez!!!

I found this link in an article entitled “Microsoft’s Advertising Framework” on Glyn Moody’s blog.

I have been following the Patent saber-rattling by Microsoft and their simultaneous attempt to own the world’s data by trying to force through impossible document standards with feelings of unease, hilarity and cynicism… All at the same time.

The Patent to which Glyn’s article refers is – in my humble and non-legal opinion – complete hogwash. It reads just like a description of any page in any of the world’s advertising driven content networks like Google’s for instance.

How this could be:

  • An Invention
  • Unique
  • Innovative
  • Unlikely to come about by evolution
  • Having no prior art

is a complete mystery to me. What is the US Patent Office thinking it is doing by approving such things?

There is a cracking bit of typical Microsoft legalease at the bottom of the page too; it’s a bit like a disclaimer and catchall rolled into one and basically seems to allow them to use this patent for pretty much anything to do with advertising presented on-screen…

[0038] Although the forgoing text sets forth a detailed description of numerous different embodiments of the invention, it should be understood that the scope of the invention is defined by the words of the claims set forth at the end of this patent. The detailed description is to be construed as exemplary only and does not describe every possibly embodiment of the invention because describing every possible embodiment would be impractical, if not impossible. Numerous alternative embodiments could be implemented, using either current technology or technology developed after the filing date of this patent, which would still fall within the scope of the claims defining the invention.

[0039] Thus, many modifications and variations may be made in the techniques and structures described and illustrated herein without departing from the spirit and scope of the present invention. Accordingly, it should be understood that the methods and apparatus described herein are illustrative only and are not limiting upon the scope of the invention.

The US is a very mysterious place sometimes…

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