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  1. Technology
February 4, 1999


By CBR Staff Writer

US Patent Number 5,860,073, covering style sheets for publishing systems, has been awarded to Microsoft Corp. Longtime industry observers are frankly amazed, citing prior art dating back thirty years and questioning the competence of the US Patents and Trademarks Office to adjudicate in matters of high technology. Glenn Davis, a spokesperson for the Web Standards Project, believes it is quite likely that the PTO would drop the patent in the face of a serious challenge. It’s quite apparent that these things called stylesheets, or something like them, have been around since the 60s, he observed, maybe it’s just a sign that our PTO isn’t quite up to the 20th century yet. For all its claims to having invented the technology, Davis and the rest of the Web Standards Project wish Microsoft would hurry up and implement it. In spite of concerted developer action, Microsoft’s next major release of its Internet Explorer web browser, IE5, going to come out without 100% support for the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C)’s Cascading Style Sheets (CSS). That’s a shame, Davis observes, CSS has been a recommendation since 1996, so they’ve had two whole years to get it right.

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