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Microsoft granted patent on double-click

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  • User profile image
    sbc

    This has to be one of the best examples of a sofware patent that should never have been issued. It shows how rediculous software patents can be - they are patents on ideas so are an easy way of a company getting money without doing any real work.

    http://www.neowin.net/comments.php?id=20862&category=main

    Lets hope that the FAT patent gets overturned as well (as it could be used to cripple Linux based OS's - probably the only real competitor to Windows now, as Microsoft can never buy it for their exclusive use).

  • User profile image
    lars

    I'm not sure if I should laugh or cry. It's just plain nuts.

    /Lars.

  • User profile image
    Shining Arcanine

    sbc wrote:
    This has to be one of the best examples of a sofware patent that should never have been issued. It shows how rediculous software patents can be - they are patents on ideas so are an easy way of a company getting money without doing any real work.

    http://www.neowin.net/comments.php?id=20862&category=main

    Lets hope that the FAT patent gets overturned as well (as it could be used to cripple Linux based OS's - probably the only real competitor to Windows now, as Microsoft can never buy it for their exclusive use).


    In response to your first paragraph, if Microsoft could have gotten it, some 2bit company also could have gotten it and then sued Microsoft for billions of dollars. This is Microsoft's way of defending themselves.

    In response to your second paragraph, Microsoft already owns much fo the FAT filesystem, they should own the rest of it as well. Also, Linux should not have implemented support for something that at the time a company had 7 patents on.

    Even if Microsoft didn't have any FAT patents, they could still ruin Linux with their NTFS patent (you can't argue that they do not have a right to that) as Linux has illegally added support for the NTFS filesystem. So in other words, complaining about Microsoft's patents is a waste of your time as either they should have had the patent a long time ago (FAT) or someone else could have gotten the patent (double click, CSS, etc) and sued them giving them a huge legal bill.

  • User profile image
    Manip

    That's enough! It's time to kill Bill! Tongue Out

    [Goes back under the bridge]

  • User profile image
    sbc

    The problem is that FAT is the only filesystem that can be used to transfer files between systems (to SuSE or MAC OSX). The patent on it could really damage competition - no Linux based system could really use it unless no fees were required for Open Source development.

    However, if they only went after hardware makers (for USB flash disks or floppy disks) and not software developers it will be less of an issue. 

    What would be good is if Windows could somehow be extended to support other file systems (like Linux does). That way you could have a non-FAT formatted disk and still use it on Windows. Unlikely to happen as it will only be practical if Windows had built-in support for systems other than FAT or NTFS.

  • User profile image
    lars

    Shining Arcanine wrote:

    Even if Microsoft didn't have any FAT patents, they could still ruin Linux with their NTFS patent


    They could probably get people to remove that driver. Not all distros ship with it for that exact reason. Besides, it's not that big of a deal. It's basicly read-only if you want to be certain that the harddrive won't get corrupted.

    /Lars.

  • User profile image
    Shining Arcanine

    lars wrote:
    Shining Arcanine wrote:
    Even if Microsoft didn't have any FAT patents, they could still ruin Linux with their NTFS patent


    They could probably get people to remove that driver. Not all distros ship with it for that exact reason. Besides, it's not that big of a deal. It's basicly read-only if you want to be certain that the harddrive won't get corrupted.

    /Lars.


    They can still do damage. They can also do damage with their 7 existing FAT patents, whether or not they have a patent for the entire thing.

  • User profile image
    amotif

    So, are you guys assuming "double click" in this case has to do with the mouse?  The patent doesn't even mention the mouse, as it addresses PDAs and such, specifically the Pocket PC.

    Think, then google. Smiley

  • User profile image
    lars

    It says "limited resource computing device". That is a PDA, Phone or something like that. And I don't think it makes any difference at all.

    /Lars.

  • User profile image
    pond0123

    Actually "limited resource computing device" says nothing more than there's a computing device, and it has limited resource. That means any and all computing devices, since there's no such thing as a computing device with infinite resource.

    Whilst the patent gives examples involving palmtop computers and suggests that an OS might be Windows CE, these are not the basis for the patent. In court, it would be easy to imagine a lengthy debate about what exactly "limited resource" defines. For example, amongst other machines at home, I've an old desktop computer based on a 200MHz StrongARM chip. It's still a useful machine for me from time to time and there's still an active development community for it, but overall, it has considerably less CPU power than some 400MHz XScale-based PDAs.

    Times change, and so does what one might infer from the word "limited" in this context.

    With regards to the "2bit company suing Microsoft for billions", this patent seems to have plenty of prior art; but whilst the 2bit company quite possibly couldn't afford to defend itself against Microsoft in court, Microsoft certainly can afford to defend against other lawsuits - they have, what, about $56 billion dollars in the bank. That's why, fair or unfair, there's always so much interest when Microsoft gets a stupid patent, amongst all the other companies getting stupid patents.

    I'm not trying to say that MS will attempt to use this patent to force smaller companies out of business. Nonetheless, I can't help but think that, amongst so much precise language in the patent text, the ambiguity of the phrase "limited resource computing device" is quite intentional.

  • User profile image
    jj5

    Two words: MORSE CODE.

    John.

  • User profile image
    Jaz

    morse code doesn't launch an application though. and 2 taps of morse = I

    http://www.babbage.demon.co.uk/morseabc.html

  • User profile image
    Steve411

    haha, the next patent may be on the amount of time a user can spend on the internet, HAHA!

  • User profile image
    lars

    I'm not saying Microsoft is any better or worse when it comes to grabbing stupid patents. But this wild wild west of software patents is counterproductive, and will hurt the US economy in the long run. Patents are there to encourage innovation. Not feed lawyers.

    Patents like this one is bad press for Microsoft. Microsoft would benefit more from taking this patent, the FAT patents and others like it and making sure that everyone can use it for free. I'm sure the Microsoft PR-department can turn that idea into good business.

    /Lars.
     

  • User profile image
    Jeremy W

    I really don't understand how this can be bad press, but Apple gets good press for patenting 'transparent windows'... I know it's not anyone here's fault, but they seem like the same kind of thing to me: frivolous patenting.

    I completely agree that the current patent system is one that's meant to be secretive, difficult, cumbersome and focussed on stifling innovation (if you don't have a patent, you can't innovate... getting a patent is so difficult that it's enough to suffocate a fish).

  • User profile image
    lars

    Jeremy W. wrote:
    I really don't understand how this can be bad press, but Apple gets good press for patenting 'transparent windows'...


    I think the transparent Window patent is just as stupid.

    /Lars.

  • User profile image
    Jeremy W

    lars wrote:
    Jeremy W. wrote:I really don't understand how this can be bad press, but Apple gets good press for patenting 'transparent windows'...


    I think the transparent Window patent is just as stupid.

    /Lars.


    hehe, fair enough then Wink

  • User profile image
    Tom Malone

    Is linux really adding ntfs + fat support illegal, as linux does not use fat or ntfs, as you might in a flash drive or digital camera, etc. just allows access.

    Software patents are a waste of time they harm consumers, but if the US goverment insists on using them couldn't they find a better system to choose who gets them.

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