It seems that Microsoft is seeking a patent for data migration in the cloud, something which we provided in Zimki back in 2007 and had been publicly talked about by various people for many years before that (though in those days it was called utility computing).
Well, at least the patent adds more weight to the idea that when Azure launches, it will be with a variety of ISP's, a buy your own Azure container and I'd hazard a guess at the illusion of an open marketplace based upon open standards.
The battle for Helms Deep approaches.
As for the U.S patent system, well I would normally argue that patents should be "limited in duration to a timeframe in which society could be reasonably expected to independently create such an innovation" - except of course I'm from the U.K. where we already have more robust view on patenting software.
So please, by all means keep on hampering your technology sector and turn it into a legal quagmire. I'm obviously hoping that the U.K. won't follow suit.