Tuesday, October 28th, 2008p>I just stumbled across an interesting/scary patent (via JSONet). It looks like someone has tried to patent using the SCRIPT tag to invoke web services:
element to pass data to the server and execute a remote procedure, receiving the resulting output to the same displayed Web page. The present invention can be used to build a lightweight Web page that offers real-time data and interactivity.
Ah, software patents. Remind me again how these actually help the industry (using actual data and real world use cases, not theory)?
Reading through the patent, it also appears that they are trying to patent using the IMG or EMBED tags as well to invoke a service!
7. A method as defined in claim 1, wherein said first HTML element in the transmitting action is an HTML IMG element.
8. A method as defined in claim 1, wherein said first HTML element in the transmitting action is an HTML EMBED element.
The patent dates from September 2005. If you click through the patent you will see it link to other silly web patents, such as one from IBM around using DTDs. Right now as an industry we’ve been able to co-exist pretty well with software patents, a sort of uneasy peace. However, at some point we might have a serious meltdown which will then spur reform, but might take down lots of important things (such as many startup companies, large swaths of open source projects, and perhaps the American software industry) just like we are seeing right now with the markets. It would be nice to reform things now without having to wait for such a meltdown, just as there were hints many years ago around reforms for the markets that might have been able to forestall what we are doing now.
Posted by Brad Neuberg at 7:00 am