Title: Understanding RSS Patents And Meta Data

Word Count:
1056

Summary:
There are some issues regarding patent applications of RSS and different aspects of Meta Data and what its overall effects would be. When companies are able to patent obvious technical innovations and successfully prevent other companies from moving forward, an unhealthy situation occurs. So how do patents really work in the software industry?

Are Patents Important?

Some say that the US Patent System has become a murky swamp for the tech industry where only corporations…

Keywords:
Internet, SEO, Internet Business, Technology

Article Body:
There are some issues regarding patent applications of RSS and different aspects of Meta Data and what its overall effects would be. When companies are able to patent obvious technical innovations and successfully prevent other companies from moving forward, an unhealthy situation occurs. So how do patents really work in the software industry?

Are Patents Important?

Some say that the US Patent System has become a murky swamp for the tech industry where only corporations with deep pockets are considered safe. The long standing resistance to patents is based on the belief that it has become a barrier to innovation. The idea that a small firm?s freedom to innovate is curtailed by the existence of so many patents in the software industry persists. At least one research contradicts this premise that large companies use claims of patent infringement to fend-off smaller competitors. It further claims that small businesses can actually use patents to their advantage even in an industry that has seen an explosion of new patents in the past decades.

The experts’ advice to small companies is to come up with a patent strategy before starting operation. Research data would show that there is a significant correlation between the pursuit of patents and the future success of start-ups. It has been found out that start-ups with patents are four times more likely to go public than those without. Only half of this number is expected to fail especially as they receive much more in financing. The people that excel in this area are those that recognize threats to their developed technology as a serious problem. Those that do not bother to take steps for intellectual property protection consistently fared worse.

Newly published patent applications can be searched at the US Patent and Trademark Office. It can be done online by browsing through industry category or by doing keyword search. The site provides searches by keyword and lists of patents applications by location, agent and law firm name, city of the agent and inventor name.

RSS Patents and the Different Aspects of Meta Data

When Apple Computer filed for patents on some uses of RSS as well as patents covering Meta Data management, it gave rise to a prolonged and extended discussion about its probable effects. One applied patent deals with variable length posts. A user can modify how a feed is displayed, in what order and how it is formatted in one embodiment. This also includes how much of a particular content is to be displayed. Another embodiment provides modification regarding how a displayed feed is stored so that it can be used again at a later time.

There is also a filed patent that deals directly with auto-discovery. Disclosure of technique for detecting, managing and presenting syndication XML feeds is done. An embodiment allows a web browser to automatically determine when a web site is publishing feeds and notifies the user for easy access. One other embodiment facilitates browser capability to determine whether a web page or feed is advertising relationship XML while displaying information about the people identified with such.

A series of Apple related patent applications include one that makes some broad claims for a web browser user interface that enables a user to switch between displaying a file and displaying a feed related to the file. There are also applications that make claims on managing Meta Data and indices. These claims are considered incredibly broad as one application basically claim that Apple owns the ability to aggregate Meta Data from two or more programs for searching.

There is a fear that if such application with a very broad coverage is approved, it could effectively lock out all newcomers from the field. It could easily impact other player?s ability to implement its search techniques as well. Whether or not such a scenario is possible, one thing remains clear: users will not appreciate anything that gets in the way of improving the feed-reading experience.

An abstract of a patent application for methods and systems for managing data such as Meta Data appears this way. In one method, Meta Data from files created by several different software applications are captured which is then searched. The type of information in Meta Data from one type of file differs from the type of information in Meta Data for another type of file. Other methods are described as well as data processing systems and machine-readable media.

A patent application for the methods and apparatuses for processing Meta Data is as follows: One embodiment provides that when a file having Meta Data is received, the Meta Data or at least a portion of the content of the file is extracted from the file to generate a first set of Meta Data. An analysis is performed on the extracted Meta Data and the content to be able to generate a second set of Meta Data. This may include Meta Data in addition to the first set. The second set may then be stored in a database suitable to be searched for identification or location of the file. Other methods and applications are likewise described.

For methods and systems for managing an index database, the patent application is as follows: An index database is stored on a machine readable volume with an operating system and the files which have been indexed. After storing, the volume is made available for distribution to licensees or customers. The volume will include a previously created index database which allows the user to begin use of the index database without having to perform an indexing operation.

Another patent application for systems and methods for managing Meta Data provides that a search through the Meta Data database is performed. This is done when a selection of at least one file having Meta Data stored in a Meta Data database is received and a selection of a command to search using at least a portion of the Meta Data is also received. This particular application likewise describes other methods, data processing systems and machine readable media.

It would be very interesting to see if claims such as those mentioned above will survive. The approval of patent applications largely depends on the claim having precedence over the practices of others. Non-obviousness is another consideration which can be used as a main argument against most patent applications.

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