UPDATE: I might not have understood the patent entirely, as Michael points out in the comments. I will get some more information and update the post accordingly.
UPDATE: Did some more reading and found more links that clarify some things. There are in fact two patents around RSS that Microsoft has applied for. The content syndication platform mentioned in this post is about breaking down the feeds into a format that can be accessed and managed by many different types of applications and users. I still did not understand everything, but I was wrong in saying that the patent was on RSS and stand corrected. The patents are on technologies around RSS. Techdirt has a round up.
Yes, Microsoft has applied for a patent on RSS. It says Content Syndication Platform, but mentions Really Simple Syndication (RSS) specifically. However, I think other formats like Atom Syndication Format will also infringe on it, if the patent is awarded. David Berlind has a roundup on this.
It sounds unbelievable! I wish feed formats were already under the sphere of organizations like W3C. It is necessary to keep such technologies apolitical, free of vendor locks and in fact out of the business realm. Such technologies can create an entire industry around them. I wonder what Technorati, Feedburner or even companies like Google have to say about this.
There have been a lot of individuals who have contributed to feed formats. Look at Dave Winer’s Curriculum Vitae and you will find his name across all the RSS entries. Individuals like Sam Ruby have been at the heart of Atom development. There is no way to attribute one company for such participation. Dave calls for denouncing this. I sincerely hope that this patent is not awarded.