Microsft Wins HTML App Patent

posted Dec 10, 2003

Slashdot - Microsoft on Tuesday won a patent for launching a certain kind of HTML application within Windows. The patent, "Method and apparatus for writing a Windows application in HTML" (Hypertext Markup Language), describes Microsoft's way of opening up HTML applications in a window free of navigation and other interface elements, known as "chrome," and browser security restrictions.'

Wow, I haven't written on a specific patent in a long time, because there's nothing much new to say. But this time there is: This is the first patent I've seen that isn't even in theory a patent on a new piece of technology, or even a new application of an old technique. It's a patent on not applying technology! It's a patent on not surrounding an HTML document with browser chrome and not forcing the embedded Javascript to be as secure as a browser normally does.

Putting aside the obvious nature of this patent, since it's literally a handful of parameters to the window.open call of Javascript and not applying the security every browser since the introduction of Javascript has at least attempted to apply, since when has simply turning off pieces of machinery been patentable?

The canonical patent joke on Slashdot has been "patenting breathing". Perhaps now it should be "patenting not breathing".

Wierd. The more I think about it, the less I understand what is patented; I'm not even completely certain how to violate it other then precisely duplicating the HTML Application architecture.

 

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