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Google Patents Browser Highlight All Button

CmdrTaco posted more than 3 years ago | from the wish-i-thought-of-that dept.

Google 150

An anonymous reader writes "Google has picked up another patent on a technology that you might think basic to the web: the highlight all button for searches in browsers. The patent will backdate to 1999 and presents an interesting problem for such software as the Firefox browser and FeedDemon RSS reader. And, in an interesting twist, Microsoft uses a similar mechanism in Windows Explorer. But Microsoft itself said that browser technology can't be separated from the operating system. Does that mean the company owes a royalty to Google for all those copies of Windows?"

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Does that mean the company owes a royalty to Googl (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34549098)

No, it means software patents are shitty.

Re:Does that mean the company owes a royalty to Go (5, Informative)

Garridan (597129) | more than 3 years ago | (#34549604)

No, it means y'all need to read the fucking patent. It doesn't patent anything going on in the browser. It patents the feature in Google search where it alters the document to highlight certain words, and then pass that modified document back to the client.

Re:Does that mean the company owes a royalty to Go (2)

beakerMeep (716990) | more than 3 years ago | (#34549814)

Which still seems pretty obvious, even circa 1999. However since MS has been shaking down Android manufacturers with similarly questionable patents lately, I have a hard time getting upset about this. If Google were to go on some kind of suing spree an actually went after Mozilla, then that would be pretty upsetting. Being granted the patent does seems very dumb and it puts the problems of patenting software in stark relief (some may say it highlights them ;) ). But if it's some kind of defense versus MS, then I won't lose any sleep.

Re:Does that mean the company owes a royalty to Go (4, Interesting)

Sarten-X (1102295) | more than 3 years ago | (#34550428)

Claim 1:

...provide a tool bar within a web browser application window, the tool bar including a button, for activating a highlighting operation...

Yep, they're patenting a browser feature. Three slight variations (claims 1, 7, 12), but all browser features.

It appears they're patenting a browser button that will highlight the things you searched for, in any page. I don't use Google Toolbar, but it appears [ehow.com] to be already implemented.

With no browser additions, the user has to search for something with Google, go to a page, then open find and search for the exact same terms to find where the relevant information is on the page. With this patented idea implemented, one only has to search for pages, go to one, then click a single button to go to the information on the page.

The summary is, as usual, misleading. To my knowledge, Windows itself has no such feature, nor any other program I've seen for that matter.

Re:Does that mean the company owes a royalty to Go (2)

makomk (752139) | more than 3 years ago | (#34550618)

With no browser additions, the user has to search for something with Google, go to a page, then open find and search for the exact same terms to find where the relevant information is on the page. With this patented idea implemented, one only has to search for pages, go to one, then click a single button to go to the information on the page.

That might be in some of the dependent claims, though they're unclear. The independent claims are all quite specific - the browser displays a document, then you type some search terms into a text entry field and press a button, then the browser visually highlights those terms in that document. No cleverness involving search results pages is required to infringe the patent.

Re:Does that mean the company owes a royalty to Go (2)

cob666 (656740) | more than 3 years ago | (#34551062)

Hasn't forum software had this for years? I'm not sure how well this would hold up against a REAL defense.

Re:Does that mean the company owes a royalty to Go (1)

Man On Pink Corner (1089867) | more than 3 years ago | (#34550430)

Computer Library did this circa 1993, and I seriously doubt they were the first.

Re:Does that mean the company owes a royalty to Go (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34550440)

I'm sorry you misunderstood. What I meant is all software patents are shitty not just this one in particular.

Re:Does that mean the company owes a royalty to Go (2)

The Moof (859402) | more than 3 years ago | (#34550654)

And you need to remember how Windows help did exactly what you're describing since (at least) Windows 98. A 12 year old features getting patented now seems to support the 'software patents are shitty' theory.

SearchWP for Firefox (2)

TigerTime (626140) | more than 3 years ago | (#34551138)

Curious as to how this affects plugins like FireFox's SearchWP that has been around since Feb 2004

https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/376/versions/ [mozilla.org]

And how did Google get it back dated to 1999? That was before Chrome even existed and we were in the Internet Explorer 4.0 days and Netscape.

Seriously (4, Insightful)

TheL0ser (1955440) | more than 3 years ago | (#34549126)

Can we just find every single patent that mentions "on a computer" or "in a browser" and have a bonfire?

Re:Seriously (4, Funny)

SpaceLifeForm (228190) | more than 3 years ago | (#34549554)

That should be easy. They are all 'Hightlighted'.

Re:Seriously (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34551088)

patent trolls (they call themselves lawyers) are a drain on society

Re:Seriously (1)

fahrbot-bot (874524) | more than 3 years ago | (#34549560)

Or patent this one as "browser highlight all button - in one's pants", so when the USPTO eventually has to go looking for their own asses, with two hands and a flashlight, they'll owe *me* money.

Re:Seriously (1)

Albanach (527650) | more than 3 years ago | (#34549594)

Can we just find every single patent that mentions "on a computer" or "in a browser" and have a bonfire?

I agree. It's obvious they were simply copying all the paper books that have a 'highlight all' function.

Re:Seriously (1)

Picass0 (147474) | more than 3 years ago | (#34550436)

I'd like to join that bonfire and bring along the phases "software", "Operation System", and "User Interface"

Re:Seriously (1)

definate (876684) | more than 3 years ago | (#34550646)

Sorry, no can do. There's a software patent on building computer / browser related bonfires, it's owned by IBM though SCO says they actually own it.

I had a hightlight once... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34549140)

But then Hitler stole it and broke my spelchecker.

Re:I had a hightlight once... (0)

Samantha Wright (1324923) | more than 3 years ago | (#34549198)

Sieg heitl!

Microsoft (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34549150)

The Windows Explorer feature is probably older than 1999, so they don't owe Google royalties, it might rather count as prior art.

Re:Microsoft (1)

hazydave (96747) | more than 3 years ago | (#34549254)

The PTO only really searches though the patent database for prior art. This is why all patents ought to be on public display for a year (as in Europe) before being granted.

At least, the 1999 filing date is correct, this will expire in 2019, if it's not struck down before then.

Re:Microsoft (5, Informative)

Ark42 (522144) | more than 3 years ago | (#34549738)

Windows 98 (but not 95 or 95 OSR2) has this feature in the system Help (winhelp.exe). I have every old version of Windows in VMware, in their default install state with auto-revert.
Just load a fresh Win98 install, press F1, and go to the Search tab. Whatever you search for is highlighted in blue in the help topic that appears on the right side.
The Options button at the top can disable this if you select "Highlighting Off" and you can turn it back on by selecting "Highlighting On"
winhelp.exe is dated May 11, 1998. Must be prior art.

Re:Microsoft (3, Funny)

Scootin159 (557129) | more than 3 years ago | (#34550586)

But Google is patenting them in YELLOW, Microsoft did it in BLUE. Clearly not the same thing.

An interesting strategy (2)

KublaiKhan (522918) | more than 3 years ago | (#34549164)

...would be for Google to litigate via this patent to force dissociation of IE from the rest of Windows.

We all win, with that one; the IE/OS intermingling has caused entirely too many security problems for the Windows OS over the years. ...though, ironically enough, that's sort of the same thing that ChromeOS is supposed to accomplish, isn't it?

Re:An interesting strategy (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34549366)

...would be for Google to litigate via this patent to force dissociation of IE from the rest of Windows.

We all win, with that one; the IE/OS intermingling has caused entirely too many security problems for the Windows OS over the years. ...though, ironically enough, that's sort of the same thing that ChromeOS is supposed to accomplish, isn't it?

Umm, no. I wish people would STFU and wake up to 2010. IE7 started to get good, and IE8 was pretty nice. IE9 is on the horizon, and sounding better every day. I remember IE 5.5, and I remember IE6. That's when I started looking at other browsers.

ChromeOS is supposed to accomplish stealing all your data. What better way to steal all your data than to never let you actually have possession of it? How is relinquishing control of your data a solution to IE6's security problems? Seriously, I want to know.

Irony would be Microsoft suing Google to disassociate the cloud from the OS. Because isn't that exactly what ChromeOS is: OS/browser/cloud bundle?

Meh.

Re:An interesting strategy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34549608)

Reading comprehension for the Win!

They stated that ChromeOS was supposed to accomplish the same style intermingling and security leaks as the IE/Windows intermingling.

Not that ChromeOS is supposed to be a solution to the IE5 security problems...

Stop being an IE fanboy for a moment and learn to read.

Re:An interesting strategy (1)

Bucky24 (1943328) | more than 3 years ago | (#34549648)

Irony would be Microsoft suing Google to disassociate the cloud from the OS

I don't think Microsoft has managed to patent the cloud...

Re:An interesting strategy (1)

Happler (895924) | more than 3 years ago | (#34549706)

Irony would be Microsoft suing Google to disassociate the cloud from the OS

I don't think Microsoft has managed to patent the cloud...

But they may believe that if they use it enough in adverts, people may think that they patented it....

Re:An interesting strategy (1)

KublaiKhan (522918) | more than 3 years ago | (#34549650)

I think this is more an opportunity than anything else. Mandatory strong encryption of cloud contents, together with strongly encrypted connections, would go a long way towards assuaging people's fears of their data being 'stolen'.

I think that that would also go a long way towards getting proper encryption and data access controls to become available in other places as well. ...and I'm sorry, but I think that IE's a piece of crap. I'd rather use lynx than IE.

What a Mess.... (3, Insightful)

Haedrian (1676506) | more than 3 years ago | (#34549172)

Wasn't there ever a clause in patents SOMEWHERE, which said you couldn't patent something which an 'average expert in the field' could come up with?

Because there are quite a few 5 year olds who could have thought this up.

Re:What a Mess.... (4, Insightful)

Sonny Yatsen (603655) | more than 3 years ago | (#34549242)

That'd be the "Person of Ordinary Skill in the Art" standard for obviousness. Of course, that standard is applied to a POSITA at the time of invention (i.e. 1999) rather than a POSITA today.

Re:What a Mess.... (2, Informative)

gstoddart (321705) | more than 3 years ago | (#34549360)

That'd be the "Person of Ordinary Skill in the Art" standard for obviousness. Of course, that standard is applied to a POSITA at the time of invention (i.e. 1999) rather than a POSITA today.

So, in 1995 I had a shell script which ran grep recursively over a file structure and listed the matching files and highlighted the term.

I'm pretty sure you don't need to look very far for other things that could "search and highlight" a term across multiple documents.

Am I missing something?

Re: am I missing something? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34549614)

> am I missing something?
Yes. Deep pockets.

prior art: man pages. (1)

goombah99 (560566) | more than 3 years ago | (#34549692)

Patents usually cover the implementation. that is the method for doing something. But the question is what is the something. For example, perhaps google is patenting a method for highlighting words (e.g. applying colors via html tags). That would probably not be an amazingly troublesome patent as it would be easy to evade, and would be patentable if no one had thought of the method they used. But maybe the something is more basic. Perhaps it's the very idea of allowing a user to find the words he searched for quickly by means of highlighting. That would be troubling. And also seemingly idiotic since word highligting in search has been around for ever: for example man pages in unix. The idea of extending it to the web is not original.

So my guess is that it's a particular method for doing the highlighting. Maybe it's some AJAX protocol or something specific. Or some step in a giant map reduce that allows scaled delivery of colorized web pages..

I tried reading the patent but the boiler plate made me think that they are trying to make this a general and patenting the idea of highlighting. But there's too much prior art for that to hold.

Re:What a Mess.... (1)

Lumbre (1822486) | more than 3 years ago | (#34549862)

The irony behind this is, the Patent website does the same thing in its patent searches (try it), except it bolds instead of highlight and it's on a web page and not on a "tool bar". Can the PTO hire competent employees to determine 'prior art'?

Re:What a Mess.... (1)

goombah99 (560566) | more than 3 years ago | (#34549902)

Note that Bolding is covered too. the patent just says a "characteristic" of the searched item is changed. Presumably it applies to even images.

Re:What a Mess.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34549916)

The problem with many (or should I say most) inventions is that they become obvious the minute someone tells you what it's about.

Now, there are some that seem really obvious at some point but someone beats you to it. I had thought of regenerative breaking looong time ago. Now every automotive company thinks it's "THE THING".

Re:What a Mess.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34551098)

And *NO* one would hit ctrl-a in windows. Been doing that since win3.0...

Re:What a Mess.... (1)

jgtg32a (1173373) | more than 3 years ago | (#34551176)

Then why didn't someone come up with it before? It seems like most patents are patently obvious after the fact.

In particular, (1)

sammysheep (537812) | more than 3 years ago | (#34549244)

it is high-lighting all terms in all documents received from an internet search. How is that the same as a "highlight all button?" Whatever the case, highlighted searches have existed for a while, so why should this be patentable just because they batch the highlighting to all search results in a "network search"?

Re:In particular, (3, Informative)

Meshach (578918) | more than 3 years ago | (#34549636)

it is high-lighting all terms in all documents received from an internet search. How is that the same as a "highlight all button?" Whatever the case, highlighted searches have existed for a while, so why should this be patentable just because they batch the highlighting to all search results in a "network search"?

What this patent actually is for (from my reading) is a system that highlights the search terms in every page that a user loads. So if I am on the NYT and I do a page search (ctrl-f) for "Julian Assange" it will highlight all the occurrences. The patent is for the notion that when I transfer to the Washington Post all the instances of "Julian Assange" will be highlighted in the new page.

Still pretty weak but not the head slapping obvious it initially looks like.

What happened to prior art? (0)

LongearedBat (1665481) | more than 3 years ago | (#34549258)

How can existing ideas be legally patented? They can't, right? So unless you're a patent troll, then why bother?

It appears one can, seeing as this seems pretty common. So what am I missing?

Re:What happened to prior art? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34549418)

> How can existing ideas be legally patented? They can't, right? So unless you're a patent troll, then why bother?

try debating that 75 years from now when the actual details are sketchy, no one is around to remember and the patent details become 'fact'.

Re:What happened to prior art? (1)

Oxford_Comma_Lover (1679530) | more than 3 years ago | (#34549456)

Actually, ideas aren't patentable, though methods or processes can be.

"Existing" inventions may still be patentable if they only exist in secret, for example; and the question of *when* the invention exists is relevant, too. For example, the summary suggests the relevant date here is 1999. So the question would be whether it existed, or was obvious, in 1999. (It gets more complicated, but that's the basic idea.) Merely because other people have developed the same invention since the patent application was filed doesn't mean the patent is invalid or pre-existing.

Re:What happened to prior art? (1)

Mashiki (184564) | more than 3 years ago | (#34549660)

Both Lynx terminal sofware(1992), and Skylink custom terminal software(AKA skyterm) for BBS's had a 'highlight all' button. This has literally no legs to stand on.

Hightlight? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34549318)

Google Patents Browser Hightlight All Button

Is that what you do when your LCD's backlight is flickering or something, hit the thing? I'm confused.

Re:Hightlight? (1)

calgar99 (856142) | more than 3 years ago | (#34550538)

It's what you do when you're going gray.

No. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34549338)

Does that mean the company owes a royalty to Google for all those copies of Windows?

No. And don't start giving them any ideas.

If it's OBVIOUS it's not patentable (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34549344)

Jeez. Why not patent the displaying of text on a monitor?

Re:If it's OBVIOUS it's not patentable (1)

LocalH (28506) | more than 3 years ago | (#34549444)

Shut the fuck up, quit giving them ideas!

Familiar Sight? (1)

BigBitch (1958882) | more than 3 years ago | (#34549368)

I'm seeing more and more dumb patents being filed in the past few weeks. It seems like this is only a beginning to an IP war.

Filed in the past few weeks? (1)

DragonWriter (970822) | more than 3 years ago | (#34549492)

I'm seeing more and more dumb patents being filed in the past few weeks.

FTFPatent: "Filed: October 18, 2004"

That would only fit a rather expansive definition of "the past few weeks."

Re:Filed in the past few weeks? (1)

TheL0ser (1955440) | more than 3 years ago | (#34549526)

That would only fit a rather expansive definition of "the past few weeks."

It's ok, we're measuring in Valve time.

How is this different? (1)

wcrowe (94389) | more than 3 years ago | (#34549370)

What I want to know is, how is this different than highlighting searched words in word processors and other types of editors? This is something that has been around since computers were the size of deep freezers.

Re:How is this different? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34549514)

This one is ON THE INTERNET! therefore it's new and novel and we'll have all sorts of big government sycophants crawling out of the woodwork to defend it.

The State is the true source of these problems (0)

Beautyon (214567) | more than 3 years ago | (#34549408)

Not only is this Patent patently insane, but that it is retroactive is completely unacceptable.

Anyone building software in 1999, who assumed that there was no patent on this particular piece of 'Intellectual Property' was acting in good faith, now the State says that they are liable to pay, or be put out of business, fined or put into gaol. Give me a break.

Absolutely disgusting, and of course, the whole Patent debacle is an excrescence of the predatory and mafia like state; the sooner we are rid of it the better.

In a single moment, when the State is removed, the Software Patent regime will cease to exist, and all the benefits we can expect (as detailed in 'Against Intelectual Monopoly') will begin to emerge, starting with the new software that will start to flow freely, unencumbered by the monopolies granted by criminal and inherently violent governments. Medicine will be cheaper, engines more efficient; everything will improve and the pace of innovation will increase by orders of magnitude.

Death to the State and its evil Patents!

Re:The State is the true source of these problems (1)

Amorymeltzer (1213818) | more than 3 years ago | (#34549528)

Wouldn't a retroactive patent be, by its very nature, either pointless or irrelevant? I mean, if there's anything in the past that could infringe on the backdated patent, then it should invalidate that very patent. And if there's nothing historical, then what's the point of backdating? Just say "your term is ten years shorter" and call it a day.

Re:The State is the true source of these problems (1)

Albanach (527650) | more than 3 years ago | (#34549698)

Anyone building software in 1999, who assumed that there was no patent on this particular piece of 'Intellectual Property' was acting in good faith, now the State says that they are liable to pay, or be put out of business, fined or put into gaol. Give me a break.

Much as I dislike the patent, they did apply for the patent in Dec 1999, and it would have been available on the patent office database since then. I don't think you can claim good faith by ignoring an existing, published, patent claim.

Re:The State is the true source of these problems (1)

Beautyon (214567) | more than 3 years ago | (#34549822)

I don't think you can claim good faith by ignoring an existing, published, patent claim.

That only makes the crime of Patents even worse.

It means that every imbecile that is applying for a Patent is suppressing the free flow of ideas, without even having been awarded a Patent and its protection.

Theoretically, this means that you might not have rolled out some software because someone has applied for a Patent, the applicant fails to be granted the monopoly protection of the State, and then all the years that the software has been less than what it could have been are lost forever, including all the cumulative iterations and user feedback etc etc. that you would have gained had you put the idea in the builds. This is not the way things should be. People should not have to be constantly looking over their shoulders or worrying that one day, years down the line they will be sued by some behemoth.

Complete insanity. No doubt about it.

Re:The State is the true source of these problems (1)

infalliable (1239578) | more than 3 years ago | (#34550404)

So you have sit on the product that includes a similar feature for 11 years?!?

For 11 years, you have no way of knowing if it's valid and the fact that it wasn't granted "quickly" would normally be a dead giveaway that it's crap. It's a completely unworkable system.

Re:The State is the true source of these problems (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34550686)

Developers have to ignore all existing, published, patent claims, since there is a triple damage award for knowingly infringing patents (lawyer speak for you conducted a search so you are liable for reading our obfuscated claims).

Re:The State is the true source of these problems (1)

Dachannien (617929) | more than 3 years ago | (#34551122)

Actually, in this case, the earliest publication was the issuance of the patent on the parent application in January 2005, and the claims in that patent are different from the ones in the most recent one. Automatic publication of applications at 18 months after the effective filing date didn't start until late 2001.

Re:The State is the true source of these problems (1)

node_chomsky (1830014) | more than 3 years ago | (#34550218)

the whole Patent debacle is an excrescence of the predatory and mafia like state; the sooner we are rid of it the better.

In a single moment, when the State is removed, the Software Patent regime will cease to exist

Death to the State and its evil Patents!

So...

I should overthrow my government because a broken patent system?

Re:The State is the true source of these problems (1)

istartedi (132515) | more than 3 years ago | (#34550292)

In a single moment, when the State is removed, the Software Patent regime will cease to exist, and all the benefits we can expect (as detailed in 'Against Intelectual Monopoly') will begin to emerge, starting with the new software that will start to flow freely, unencumbered by the monopolies granted by criminal and inherently violent governments. Medicine will be cheaper, engines more efficient; everything will improve and the pace of innovation will increase by orders of magnitude.

In a single moment, when the State is removed, the Software Patent regime will cease to exist, and all the benefits we can expect (as witnessed during the French Revolution) will begin to emerge, starting with new leaders that will start the blood to flow freely, unencumbered by conscience. Medicine will be cheaper until the supplies are exhausted, engines will be available if you grease the right palms, everything will degrade and innovation will be the least of your concerns as your wealth will decrease by orders of magnitude.

But hey, at least we got rid of those lousy software patents.

Ever heard of the baby and the bathwater?

No? How about the frying pan and the fire?

s/Hightlight/Highlight/ (1)

seebs (15766) | more than 3 years ago | (#34549472)

Please fix the title of this article, typos are annoying. Thank you.

Heightlight (1)

beakerMeep (716990) | more than 3 years ago | (#34549556)

This is a patent for a lightbulb appearing over your head indicating how tall you are.

Re:s/Hightlight/Highlight/ (1)

julesh (229690) | more than 3 years ago | (#34550236)

Please fix the title of this article, typos are annoying. Thank you.

Actually, please fix the whole article. Blatantly misleading information is even more annoying.

(For reference: this is not a patent on any button in a browser. It's a patent on a server-side function for highlighting search terms in documents based on proxying the request for the user. Totally different.)

Google?! I'm appalled... (1)

wholestrawpenny (1809456) | more than 3 years ago | (#34549498)

Whatever happened to "don't be evil?"

Huh? This is pure innovation!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34549564)

Google just invented pressing CTRL-A

Brilliant!

Re:Huh? This is pure innovation!! (1)

MetalliQaZ (539913) | more than 3 years ago | (#34549622)

Not CTRL-A, reread description. It's more like grep.

don't beevil (1)

goombah99 (560566) | more than 3 years ago | (#34549760)

Whatever happened to "don't be evil?"

it turns out we have been reading that slogan wrong. it should read "don't beevil" but no one is quite sure what the word "beevil" means. But they definitely try not to beevil at google.

Re:don't beevil (1)

goombah99 (560566) | more than 3 years ago | (#34549812)

Whatever happened to "don't be evil?"

it turns out we have been reading that slogan wrong. it should read "don't beevil" but no one is quite sure what the word "beevil" means. But they definitely try not to beevil at google.

Perhaps it's bee toxin [urbandictionary.com] or maybe the power ranger's foe Beevil [wikia.com]

Re:Google?! I'm appalled... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34549966)

It's only evil if they start suing. Otherwise, the more defensive patents they have, the better (for them).

It'd be nice if Google made an Open Source patent pledge like IBM (kind of) did.

Re:Google?! I'm appalled... (1)

DragonWriter (970822) | more than 3 years ago | (#34550656)

Securing a patent is not evil.

The use of the protection afforded by the patent may or may not be evil.

Re:Google?! I'm appalled... (1)

jgtg32a (1173373) | more than 3 years ago | (#34551220)

Am I the only one who when they first found out that google's motto was "Don't be evil" they immediately suspected them of actually being evil?

Brilliant (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34549548)

We'll call it the "triple-click" if it's on a single word and "double-click" if the cursor is at the end of the string.

didn't MS preempt this in 1998? (1)

snookerhog (1835110) | more than 3 years ago | (#34549570)

what about this patent? [theonion.com]

Up next... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34549612)

a patent that describes how to display text on a screen.

Technology? (2)

serutan (259622) | more than 3 years ago | (#34549632)

The term "technology" nowadays means "a few trivial lines of code."

Re:Technology? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34550192)

mod you to my personal jesus, i would

Pay up VIM! (2)

matunos (1587263) | more than 3 years ago | (#34549768)

The authors of vim know they copied Google's highlight all idea. I hope they do the honorable thing.

Re:Pay up VIM! (1)

Java Pimp (98454) | more than 3 years ago | (#34550466)

This is the first thing I thought of. How long has VIM been doing this?

Re:Pay up VIM! (1)

dejanc (1528235) | more than 3 years ago | (#34550664)

This is the first thing I thought of. How long has VIM been doing this?

At least since 1998 (version 5.3), perhaps even earlier. Go here [vim.org] and download vim-5.3-src.tar.gz. Then grep -Rn "hlsearch". It was there.

Re:Pay up VIM! (1)

fred fleenblat (463628) | more than 3 years ago | (#34550574)

and VIM should pay interest retroactive to when they incorporated the feature, which will be a lot since that goes back even further than the patent.

Dear Santa Google, (1)

xanthos (73578) | more than 3 years ago | (#34549974)

All I want for [holiday of your choice] is for you to not be evil.

In fishing (yes with an f) there is movement called catch and release. The idea is to go out and fish, take pictures of what you catch, and then release them back into the environment.

I would love for some of these software companies to start practicing catch and release with some of these obvious patents. Fine, get them issued so no one else can troll with them, but then release them to the general public.

Don't get me wrong, software patents are stupid, especially for generic trivial ideas, but if they are going to hang around we need to encourage good stewardship.

-Xanthos

Prior Art? (1)

jwiegley (520444) | more than 3 years ago | (#34550002)

Wait, hasn't emacs and unix's "man" pages been doing this forever? In emacs I can type ctrl-s and then a search term and all instances are highlighted. In man I can type /searchterm and all instances are highlighted.

And both of these existed LONG before 1999. How the hell did this get a patent?

Re:Prior Art? (1)

drb226 (1938360) | more than 3 years ago | (#34550228)

And both of these existed LONG before 1999. How the hell did this get a patent?

The highlight all feature has existed nearly as long as (if not longer than?) the founders of Google have been alive.

Re:Prior Art? (1)

DragonWriter (970822) | more than 3 years ago | (#34550910)

Wait, hasn't emacs and unix's "man" pages been doing this forever?

No, emacs and unix's man pages have not been doing what is claimed in this patent forever, which relates to browser based tools that coordinate with a remote search engine to both execute a search and highlight the terms from that search in results documents. (The function is somewhat similar to what a variety of simple local tools have done for quite some time, but the invention claimed is essentially a specific method for implementing that in a non-local system with a search engine back-end and a web-browser front-end.)

Stupid, totally stupid... (1)

TechNit (448230) | more than 3 years ago | (#34550068)

I wish they would stop this stupid shit. Seriously. It's getting beyond ridiculous.... sigh

Patents... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34550250)

They need to go away, or be changed.
About 50 years ago they made sense.
But in this day and age, we're progressing to fast, and these patents do nothing but line pockets, stifle progress, and cause tons of BS lawsuits.

Select All (1)

bullet618 (1036750) | more than 3 years ago | (#34550276)

Is this somehow different than "Select All" that has been around for decades?

Re:Select All (1)

bullet618 (1036750) | more than 3 years ago | (#34550318)

Oh, I get it now, it means Select all items at once when you search on a page... sounds familiar...

patently (1)

greghodg (1453715) | more than 3 years ago | (#34550326)

ridiculous! I swear, I thought of this long ago, I just didn't bother to write it down or anything. I was kind of busy pirating warez on usenet at the time. But it's clearly an obvious feature that a five year old could come up with - at least that's what it sounds like from the slashdot summary, and those are always correct! Apple and Google are bad! If this patent hadn't been granted, we'd all have hoverboards and no terrorism! Waaaaaaaah!

Patents (2)

pleasegetreal (744605) | more than 3 years ago | (#34550328)

If I were in the same position, I would be patenting everything I could afford to just as these companies are. The reason would NOT be to sue others, but rather to avoid having my company being sued by the patent trolls.

More imaginary property (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34550368)

Keep moving, nothing to see. If Google should ever sue anyone, especially Microsoft, and particularly when it's done in retaliation, then we can finally lay the "do no evil" motto to rest.

VIM has had highlight all for quite awhile (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34550500)

I find references back to 1994 for a highlight all feature in VIM, not that it's a browser, but it's clearly a feature that's been around before.

USPTO: please hire grammar trolls (1)

drb226 (1938360) | more than 3 years ago | (#34550536)

A device, comprising: a memory to store instructions; and a processor to execute the instructions in the memory to: provide a tool bar within a web browser application window, the tool bar including a button, for activating a highlighting operation, and an input box, present a document within the web browser application window, receive a search term within the input box of the tool bar after presenting the document within the web browser application window, receive selection of the button to activate the highlighting operation after receiving the search term within the input box, change, without user intervention and in response to receiving the selection of the button, a characteristic of the search term in the document, presented within the web browser application window, to form a modified document, and present the modified document, where an occurrence of the search term, within the modified document, has the changed characteristic.

All that text, with just one period.

Want your patent granted? Just write a mind-numbingly long description (with one large run-on sentence) that sounds intelligent and unique.

I should patent that technique.

A patent application, comprising: a sentence to store commas; and an unintelligibly simple concept to: be placed within the description of the patent, including words of such quality which, when read by common English-speakers, produce the numbing of minds, a characteristic of confusingly long sentences, for feigning the appearance of intelligence, wherewith to produce uniqueness, in an illusion of the mind, rather than the reality of ubiquity, to procure the granting of the patent, where the USPTO, within the scope of software patents, has not as of yet, hired grammar trolls.

I was going to check and make sure... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34550714)

... that no one had already posted a comment like this, but I was afraid that I'd wind up owing Google money...

Warning: recursive call will lead to infinite recursion....

Wrong summary (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34550896)

If you read the patent, you will notice that Google has filed a patent not for higlighting documents in general, but for highlighting documents retrieved from a network, which is precisely what happens when you ask for a document from Google's cache.

it's not what you think (1)

milkmage (795746) | more than 3 years ago | (#34551016)

it's not like the browser making the occurrences of a word a different color when you search for something. it sounds more like it modifies actual documents (like those on a network share) and modifies those documents before sending them back to to the user.

In accordance with the purpose of the invention as embodied and broadly described herein, a system highlights search terms in documents distributed over a network. The system generates a search query that includes a search term and, in response to the search query, receives a list of one or more references to documents in the network. The system receives selection of one of the references and retrieves a document that corresponds to the selected reference. The system then highlights the search term in the retrieved document.

In another implementation consistent with the present invention, a web browser includes instructions for obtaining a search term; instructions for generating a search query from the search term; and instructions for obtaining a list of one or more references to documents distributed over a network using the search query. The web browser further includes instructions for retrieving a document corresponding to one of the one or more references; instructions for highlighting each occurrence of the search term in the retrieved document; and instructions for displaying the highlighted document to a user

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