More patenting in the RSS space

As a follow-up to earlier posts on this topic: Microsoft has filed a large-scale patent application related to RSS. (A news story here and Dave Winer’s post on it here.) Microsoft’s patent application, (published on December 21, 2006, filed on June 21, 2005 — though those may not be the most relevant facts in terms of priority), reads:

A content syndication platform, such as a web content syndication platform, manages, organizes and makes available for consumption content that is acquired from the Internet. In at least some embodiments, the platform can acquire and organize web content, and make such content available for consumption by many different types of applications. These applications may or may not necessarily understand the particular syndication format. An application program interface (API) exposes an object model which allows applications and users to easily accomplish many different tasks such as creating, reading, updating, deleting feeds and the like.

As the Guardian notes, Apple applied for RSS-related patents previously. Apple’s patent application, (with a publication date of December 29, 2005 and a filing date of April 13, 2005, i.e., filed and published prior to the MSFT patent application, but not necessarily first in line from an invention standpoint), reads in part:

Techniques for detecting, managing, and presenting syndication XML (feeds) are disclosed. In one embodiment, a web browser automatically determines that a web site is publishing feeds and notifies the user, who can then access the feed easily. In another embodiment, a browser determines that a web page or feed is advertising relationship XML, and displays information about the people identified in the relationship XML. In yet another embodiment, a browser determines that a file contains a feed and enables the user to view it in a user-friendly way. In yet another embodiment, feed state information is stored in a repository that is accessible by applications that are used to view the feed. In yet another embodiment, if a feed’s state changes, an application notifies the repository, and the state is updated. In yet another embodiment, a feed is parsed and stored in a structured way.”

So has Google, (with a publication date of July 28, 2005 and a filing date of December 31, 2003), with respect to including ads in RSS feeds:

Incorporating targeted ads into information in a syndicated, e.g., RSS, presentation format in an automated manner is described. Syndicated material e.g., corresponding to a news feed, search results or web logs, are combined with the output of an automated ad server. An automated ad server is used to provide keyword or content based targeted ads. The ads are incorporated directly into a syndicated feed, e.g., with individual ads becoming items within a particular channel of the feed. The resulting syndicated feed including targeted ads is supplied to the end user, e.g., as a set of search results or as a requested web log. Embedding of targeted ads into syndicated feeds and/or user response to the embedded ads is be tracked in an automated manner for billing. The automated targeting and insertion process allows ads to be kept current and timely while the original feed may be considerably older.”

Small companies, including Technorati, among many others (including Newsilike Media Group, Inc.; for my relevant disclosures, please see this page, updated periodically), have also filed applications against this back-drop. Jim Moore has a great deal of interesting and provocative things to say about this dynamic. Anyone interested in the development of Web 2.0, syndicated media, user-generated content, whatever-you-want-to-call-it, ought to pay attention to this emerging story.

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