from the well-i'm-patenting-table-layout-then dept.
ewhac writes "In the current issue of The Bulletin (an email newsletter, pricey subscription required), it is reported that, in mid-January, Microsoft was awarded patent #5860073 on, "The use of style sheets in an electronic publishing system." The Seybold article casts doubt on the validity of the patent, citing prior art back to the 1960's, and on the competence of the US Patent and Trademark Office for awarding it. The article also calls Microsoft's motives into question for failing to mention this patent application to the World Wide Web Consortium, with whom it has been working for some time to develop a style sheet standard. Thomas Reardon, director of standards at Microsoft, claims that it will offer a "free and reciprocal" license to anyone wishing to use the technology, adding, "These are the most liberal licensing terms out there." (It would seem Reardon is not aware of the GPL.)
Whenever a system becomes completely defined, some damn fool discovers
something which either abolishes the system or expands it beyond recognition.