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Where's your Engineer's Honor?

Stefan Tilkov,

It seems there’s no end to this type of crap. Look at this patent:

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.

I can only hope that you, Gandhi; Amar S.; (Redmond, WA) ; Praitis; Edward J.; (Woodinville, WA) ; Kim; Jane T.; (Seattle, WA) ; Lyndersay; Sean O.; (Redmond, WA) ; Koch; Walter V. von; (Seattle, WA) ; Gould; William; (Redmond, WA) ; Morgan; Bruce A.; (Bellevue, WA) ; Kwan; Cindy; (Redmond, WA), at least feel personally ashamed of having your names on this. As should anybody who agrees to participate in any software patent, especially, but not only those that are as obviously bogus as this one.

[via James Snell]

Other links:

I have no doubt that this is going to get linked to by absolutely everybody who had anything to do with RSS and/or Atom. If only this were the case for all the silly patents out there …

On December 21, 2006 11:57 PM, Doug said:

It’s not like they get a choice. One of the standard documents that you sign when you join a firm like Microsoft is one that requires you to fully support the company in its efforts to patent any “inventions” that you might create for the company in the future. You don’t get to pick and choose what patents will be applied for, nor whether your name will appear on them.

Those people “agreed to participate” in this software patent by joining Microsoft. For all we know, they never even met with the patent lawyer.

On December 23, 2006 12:06 AM, Stefan Tilkov said:

I disagree, Doug. I know they may be “forced” into doing this by their employer, but that doesn’t mean they have some influence, or at the very least the option to simply disagree and take the consequences. It’s not as if they were citizens of a totalitarian state who need to fear to be executed :-)

On December 23, 2006 5:49 AM, Doug said:

They don’t have any influence. Once they signed that agreement when they joined the firm, they gave up their choices. The company is free to file patent applications giving the employees’ names as inventors without even telling them.

On December 23, 2006 8:57 AM, Stefan Tilkov said:

I didn’t know that — that’s even worse … do you happen to have an example of such a clause?