Software patents — the reality

The New Zealand Herald

If you wondered how Bill Gates topped the Forbes rich list for the 11th year with a personal fortune of US$46.5 billion ($63 billion), look no further than the New Zealand Intellectual Property Office.

Patent 525484, accepted by the office and now open for objections until the end of May, says Microsoft invented and owns the process whereby a word-processing document stored in a single XML file may be manipulated by applications that understand XML.

It is one of a raft of patent applications Microsoft has dumped on the overworked staff of the office, and on patent offices worldwide.