News that the US Patent Office has granted a patent to a software developer that gives him the rights to charge license fees for any application development that uses AJAX has not been well received by developers and others with an interest in this set of technologies.
AJAX is one of the hottest application development areas at the moment, so it’s not hard to see why this news has been greeted with uproar in the developer community:
[…] Potentially tens of thousands of businesses-not only software makers employing its business processes but companies offering rich-media on their Websites-could be subject to licensing fees when they use rich-media technology over the Internet.
[…] How broad is the patent? Here’s what the patent abstract says it covers: A host computer, containing processes for creating rich-media applications, is accessed from a remote user computer system via an Internet connection. User account information and rich-media component specifications are uploaded over the Internet for a specific user account. Rich-media applications are created, deleted, or modified in a user account, with rich-media components added to, modified in, or deleted from the rich-media application based on information contained in a user request. After creation, the rich-media application is viewed or saved on the host computer system, or downloaded to the user computer system over the Internet.
That appears to cover literally everything happening with AJAX development today. It will affect anyone, as noted, not only developers but anyone using the technology on their website. And not only big application developer companies. Put it in perspective: it could affect the developer of the theme I use on this blog, for instance – the search and commenting functionalities are all based on AJAX.
And that would be absurd. It looks like a battle has only just begun.