Microsoft defends its patents

Microsoft defends its patents

Summary: The software giant claims its innovations are 'among the most significant across any industry', after the award of a patent for XML serialisation sparked anger

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TOPICS: Apps
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Microsoft defended its patent portfolio on Friday in the face of criticism for a recently granted patent for the conversion of objects into XML files.

The patent, which was granted by the US patent office on Tuesday, is for XML serialisation and deserialisation — the conversion of a programming object into an XML file and vice versa. It was criticised by software developers as it is a basic programming concept that is essential for applications using XML to share data.

But Microsoft denied that any of its patents are of low quality and claimed that its patents have been praised in research studies.

"As a result of our industry leading commitment to research and development, Microsoft maintains thousands of patents," said the spokesperson. "Studies routinely rank our innovations among the most significant across any industry. A study by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2003, which provided an overall assessment of Microsoft’s intellectual property, found that Microsoft continues to develop relevant patents and gave us one of the highest scores on the list of technology companies in that category."

Microsoft did not provide more details on the MIT report, and didn't say why it believes the XML patent is innovative.

Various ZDNet UK readers were angered by the news that Microsoft had been granted a patent for XML serialisation. One reader pointed out that Microsoft should not have been allowed this patent as it is obvious.

"XML was born as a particular format for data storage. A programming object is made up of data. Where is the patentable 'innovation' in using XML for the purpose it's born for?" said one reader.

Software developer Roderick Klein laid the blame at the door of the US patent office. "It just seems people who review patents at patent offices seem to have no skill sets at all when it comes to IT... when you see the incredible amount of crap that gets approved," said Klein.

The US patent office was unable to comment in time for this article.

Topic: Apps

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4 comments
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  • "Studies routinely rank our innovations among the most significant across any industry. A study by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2003, which provided an overall assessment of Microsoft
    anonymous
  • This is a strong example of why sw patents are bad idea. Basic concepts and common methods should not be patentable retroactively.
    anonymous
  • It's become clear that 'Innovation' is a Microsoft code word for "bogus patenet".
    anonymous
  • Microsoft has historically been a follower in terms of features and technological innovation, not a leader.

    WIth the market and mindshare lock-in they've had over the past ten years, they really don't have to innovate in order to impress a large portion of their user base, since most of their users have never used a competing desktop operating system or office product.

    I personally would love to see a list of technologies that Microsoft has claimed they have invented.
    anonymous