Domain Cookies: Microsoft's Obvious Patent
Microsoft was granted patent 7,039,699 today, which on reading the claims appears to be: use a GUID as a database ID, send it back as a cookie, and share usage data between computers within the domain with access to the central database. The entire claim (that's the important part) is obvious "to one of ordinary skill in the art." The only things conceivably unique about this are:
- the choice of a GUID as a database ID, and
- the limiting of database sharing to machines within a single domain, and
- the use of Web bugs to break out of the domain
1 is not just a well-known practice, it was discussed in print (in Software Development, if nowhere else) prior to 2000. The second -- limiting access of a database to a sub-network -- is so absurdly trivial that it may not appear in previous patents. The 3rd was done, by the company I worked for, in 1999 (at least 5 months before the time the patent was orginally submitted) and when I considered patenting it (yes, I considered patenting the Web bug: sorry.) I discovered it was already a somewhat-known practice within the Web development community.