Today’s Overbroad Patent Story

Because my weather report in the left column is not customized for every user, I feel pretty confident that it's not covered by the latest over-the-top Microsoft patent. So, the scare headline over at Slashdot: Microsoft patents your local weather report, is slightly exaggerated—but only slighlty. This does seem like a radically over-broad patent. There must surely be tons of prior art on per-user customization using state information

Assuming that there is prior art on the use of user-set state info in a network (and UIDs?), I'll venture a guess that the patent isn't saved by narrowing its subject matter to applications with “topical groupings of customization options [that] relate to one or more of: news, sports, financial matters, entertainment, science and technology, life, and weather” if only on the grounds of obviousness. But I should say that I'm emphatically not a patent lawyer….

Note that the ICANNWatch site which I co-edit runs on the Slash: engine and does allow per-user customization of which RSS feeds you'd like to read. So it's probably at risk in the unlikely event this patent were (a) valid and (b) asserted against it…

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