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Microsoft Lays Claim To Patent On 'Fans'

Soulskill posted more than 3 years ago | from the patent-trolls-are-a-fan-of-this dept.

Facebook 114

theodp writes "A USPTO filing made public Thursday reveals that Microsoft is seeking a patent for something it calls 'One-Way Public Relationships' in social networks and other online properties, lawyer-speak for what's more commonly known as being a 'fan' of something online. It's unclear whether it's a goof on Apple, but Microsoft curiously used the example of a U2 fan named Steve to explain its 'invention' to the USPTO. Purported patent reformer Microsoft, which has called for the US to change from a first-to-invent patent system to a first-to-file system, filed the patent application in July 2009. Microsoft is a partner with and investor in Facebook, which first established its fan pages back in November 2007."

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One-way-public relationships? (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34797024)

I call prior art when I had a crush on this girl who blew me off.

Re:One-way-public relationships? (4, Funny)

ae1294 (1547521) | more than 3 years ago | (#34797070)

I call prior art when I had a crush on this girl who blew me off.

no no you are thinking about the 'stalker patent'.

Re:One-way-public relationships? (1)

ae1294 (1547521) | more than 3 years ago | (#34797122)

p.s. I think that one was held by SCO. I wonder who bought it at their fire sale?

Stalker Patent (1)

clang_jangle (975789) | more than 3 years ago | (#34797262)

"The Stalker Patent" is exactly what I thought when I read

"A USPTO filing made public Thursday reveals that Microsoft is seeking a patent for something it calls 'One-Way Public Relationships' in social networks and other online properties

Re:One-way-public relationships? (1)

JSG (82708) | more than 3 years ago | (#34799124)

No no - in English, being blown off is a sign of endearment and rather pleasurable (for a man).

Its something that probably doesn't often happen with members of the opposite sex for /.s 8)

Re:One-way-public relationships? (1)

ae1294 (1547521) | more than 3 years ago | (#34800084)

No no - in English, being blown off is a sign of endearment and rather pleasurable (for a man).

Its something that probably doesn't often happen with members of the opposite sex for /.s 8)

If it's a sign of endearment then why do I have to pay 40 bucks to the girl down by the overpass?

Re:One-way-public relationships? (2)

davester666 (731373) | more than 3 years ago | (#34800872)

That was NOT a girl.

Re:One-way-public relationships? (1)

Monkeedude1212 (1560403) | more than 3 years ago | (#34797108)

I dunno, a girl you like giving you a blow sounds pretty mutual.

Re:One-way-public relationships? (1)

tverbeek (457094) | more than 3 years ago | (#34797196)

Not if she doesn't call you like she promised.

Re:One-way-public relationships? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34797400)

Not if she doesn't call you like she promised.

Ah hahahahahahahaha... women actually doing what they said they would do. That's a good one. Whew. Thanks, I needed a gutlaugh.

Re:One-way-public relationships? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34797492)

Right, because men never do that, do they?

Re:One-way-public relationships? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34798496)

Right, because men never do that, do they?

Only because women don't respect a guy who keeps his word. They think that's boring. So yeah this also goes back to the way women are. Nice try though.

Re:One-way-public relationships? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34798628)

I think that's called a one-way pubic relationship...

Re:One-way-public relationships? (1)

Nyder (754090) | more than 3 years ago | (#34800492)

I call prior art when I had a crush on this girl who blew me off.

But did she swallow?

Re:One-way-public relationships? (1)

Vitriol+Angst (458300) | more than 3 years ago | (#34802130)

Well, I'm going to Patent the "Fan Restraining Order" -- so Microsoft will have to go before a judge and pay a fine due to Contempt of Court every time their Fan technology "pokes" my "FRO" technology.

They will have to give their Fan patent to some patent free organization, just to remove the billion and one FRO fines I could generate in a day!
It also negates any "Stalker Patents" as you know, they have to be about 500 feet away from any FRO location, and of course, the neighborhood Day Car -- damn creeps.

U2 has a fan? (1)

Timewasted (1731254) | more than 3 years ago | (#34797048)

I figured they could afford air conditioners.

Re:U2 has a fan? (1)

Mitchell314 (1576581) | more than 3 years ago | (#34797178)

Nah, I've heard rumors that there's somebody who likes them.

In a Related Story (1)

cosm (1072588) | more than 3 years ago | (#34797062)

Slashdot Lays Waste To Fans of Patents

Ready, aim, fire at foot! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34797124)

I think this is a great step in patent reform. Point out the obvious failings of the system, force a change by embarrassment. Although, if they really are supporting a first-to-invent rather than first-to-patent system, then they're kind of shooting themselves in the foot, giving a perfect example of why a first-to-patent system is a terrible idea (or at least that's the impression I get from this example).

We Live in the World of Unfettered Rent Seekers (5, Informative)

Jeremiah Cornelius (137) | more than 3 years ago | (#34797432)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rent_seeking [wikipedia.org]

Rent seeking generally implies the extraction of uncompensated value from others without making any contribution to productivity, such as by gaining control of land and other pre-existing natural resources, or by imposing burdensome regulations or other government decisions that may affect consumers or businesses.

http://www.friesian.com/rent.htm [friesian.com]

Because rents are the easiest and most secure kind of income, it is natural for people to want income from rents rather than principally from profits or wages, and to want rents that involve the least risk and labor as enterprises. This motive is called "rent-seeking," and there is nothing wrong with it. Indeed, those who collect rents in an economy serve the valuable function of seeking to maintain and preserve capital assets [1]. It becomes wrong when rent-seeking means trying to collect rents off of capital that is not the rightful possession of the rent-seeker. This can be legally accomplished through the means that secure the rights of property in the first place: politics and the law. Through political influence people can be given ownership of things that are not their property, or should not be anyone's property. The theory of rent-seeking began with the economist Gordon Tullock.

"Theft" of intellectual property is in some situations, the proper, sane and moral response to systematised and institutional abuse of the limited monopoly granted to ideas and expressions for the original intent of fostering creativity and innovation. Once "intellectual property" becomes for intents and purposes indistinguishable from real estate, it represents a form of abusive coercion which misplaces rent-seeking behaviour as the objective of granting patent and copyright - not the incidental incentive for works of interest in common.

Re:We Live in the World of Unfettered Rent Seekers (3, Interesting)

Sarten-X (1102295) | more than 3 years ago | (#34798778)

pre-existing... resources

By the time a particular design is patented, it's undergone a lot of refinement from a simple idea. That investment of time and labor is significant, usually taking several years and/or tens of thousands of dollars. It certainly constitutes a "contribution to productivity". The patent holders seek repayment for their work (like wages), rather than "rent", and indeed some don't even seek monetary returns at all (as with Google's MapReduce patent [theregister.co.uk] ). To take your real estate analogy to its logical conclusion, you're assuming that all buildings and landscaping are magically preexisting, and there's no investment in the property. In reality, real estate is sold based on its preexisting natural condition and also whatever improvements have been made. A $100,000-dollar improvement to a home may only raise the value by $75,000. Is it wrong or abusive that those who want to stay in such a building short-term might pay to do so? Is it wrong that by appealing to many people who all want use of the building, a landlord may recoup their investment?

Intellectual property has a significant intellectual component. Nullifying the chance for such an investment to be returned is abusive.

Re:We Live in the World of Unfettered Rent Seekers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34798994)

Nullifying the chance for such an investment to be returned is abusive.

...which is just an opinion.

Re:We Live in the World of Unfettered Rent Seekers (1)

Sarten-X (1102295) | more than 3 years ago | (#34801930)

Once "intellectual property" becomes for intents and purposes indistinguishable from real estate, it represents a form of abusive coercion...

...which is another opinion.

Re:We Live in the World of Unfettered Rent Seekers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34799032)

He didn't give a 'real estate analogy.' That's comparing apples-to-oranges which was exactly his point. There should be no similarity between real-estate rents and intellectual property motives since the intent of intellectual property laws is not to provide a rent but to provide a temporary public contract to benefit the creator of the IP.

Re:We Live in the World of Unfettered Rent Seekers (2)

ushering05401 (1086795) | more than 3 years ago | (#34799528)

First, I don't believe you are actually addressing the point made above. 'Rent' is a commentary on the intersection of interest with the origin/dynamic of capital acquisition/maintenance. A more software relevant example would be in the question of what qualifies as rent now that software is making the final transition to Public Good status.

As far as I can tell, m00t has an idea that rent is paid by originality - see the 4chan cancer problem. Linus feels that rent is paid by people that choose to find their own interest in his company. Taco apparently thinks rent is paid by not abusing his board too heavily. All of these forms of rent have other facets that result in income - the evolution of content through distributed action, large scale data sets demonstrating patterns of attraction, the reputation/rank/tradition that establishes advertising desirability.

On the IP side of things a more accurate translation to real estate terms would be that your $100,000 home improvement only costs that much because of collusion between the builder, the material suppliers, and the governing authorities. IMHO the IP players are price fixing in an attempt to keep their industry from collapsing into Public Good status. I can prove this by the fact that the cost to infringe upon a lot of IP is sitting down in front of your computer and programming something in an obvious way, then finding out via a lawyer that you have violated IP rights. With a cost of infringement that low the IP is demonstrating its invalid nature.

Until I really got involved in Linux I was more tolerant of tech IP. When your base OS is only a suggestion of packages that work well together, and it is your job to customize the computer, you end up realizing just how many patents you are violating with nothing more that custom configuration of existing libraries and basic knowledge common to the field.

Long story short, Rent becomes a metaphysical concept where we are going. There isn't much to do about it, people want to eat and more are learning to grow their own every day. Did that even address the point? Not sure. Hope so.

Re:We Live in the World of Unfettered Rent Seekers (1)

Jeremiah Cornelius (137) | more than 3 years ago | (#34799586)

By the time a particular design is patented, it's undergone a lot of refinement from a simple idea.

You seem to be rooted firmly in the 1970's.

Animation delivered in the context of HTML/HTTP
One-Click
Dating via photos
"One Way Public Relationship"

Also, duration. Patents were 12 years, when I were young. No one owns an idea. It is the distorting cult of narcissism, which has eaten a hole through the middle of this civilisation, to believe such.

Re:We Live in the World of Unfettered Rent Seekers (1)

Sarten-X (1102295) | more than 3 years ago | (#34801894)

What does the 1970's have to do with wanting returns on my investments?

Animation delivered in the context of HTML/HTTP

I honestly don't know what this is referring to. Perhaps it's the LZW patent, representing 6 years of theoretical work into compression algorithms, and only coincidentally used for GIF images. If it's something else, please let me know.

One-Click

Upon re-examination by the USPTO, Amazon's patent covering placing an online order by a single action was determined to have about a quarter of its claims novel. Upon resubmission, the revised patent, including methods for client identification and authentication, were accepted. The patent also includes specific designs and workflows for storing credentials securely on a server for use later, without violating security policies.

Dating via photos

It's not just dating via photos. It's psychological research into what features people tend to find physically attractive, combined with the latest research into facial recognition algorithms. Rather than saying "Find me a girl who describes herself as pretty", you can pick a few girls you like, and the software will find others with similar features, including other preferences as well. Sure, it's shallow and biased, but it's much closer to how humans themselves behave. An important milestone in digital image processing has been reached, as the result of many many hours of research. Should that not be rewarded?

One Way Public Relationship

The important part of this patent is not the "relationship" aspect. It's actually the "one-way" part. Particularly interesting is claim 15:

15. A method as described in claim 14, wherein the one or more one-way public relationships enable the user to express interest in the objects without establishing mutual friend relationships with owners of the objects.

Facebook and Twitter have taken the approach of showing mutual relationships (or at least they did when I last paid attention to them). A college kid with more alcohol than intelligence sets their profile picture to be an obscene gesture. They like a well-known children's book. When some other user goes to the book's page, they are shown the list of fans, complete with obscene gestures.

Even without showing that mutual relationship on the company's page, the information is still stored internally, and may be easily accessible to third-party applications. That's a bit of a privacy problem, isn't it?

Microsoft's technique sidesteps the privacy and reputation issue completely, by only building a list of one-way relationships, and never a reversal (as in claim 18). Is it obvious to a software engineer? Sure, in retrospect. Every time a Facebook user annoys a Facebook employee, what stands in the way of a conveniently embarrassing leak?

There is no requirement that patented solutions be particularly difficult. Even the simple realization that relationships should be stored one-way brings a slew of problems. Popularity can no longer be directly measured (without making the database uglier). Sending notices to a particular entity's fans becomes much harder, since there's no central list of users. There's effort involved, and such effort should be rewarded.

Patents were 12 years, when I were young

And what country was that in, out of curiosity?

Patents were 12 years, when I were young. No one owns an idea. It is the distorting cult of narcissism, which has eaten a hole through the middle of this civilisation, to believe such.

To believe what? That patents lasted 12 years? I don't see the point you're trying to make.

It's irrelevant to the current issue, but I think software patents should have shorter life spans [slashdot.org] . Of course, that has its own problems.

Re:We Live in the World of Unfettered Rent Seekers (1)

Vitriol+Angst (458300) | more than 3 years ago | (#34802170)

So what you're saying is;
The Microsoft "Fan" technology,
and Amazon.com's patent on "single-click purchases", was this HUGE investment in time and labor, and if they couldn't patent these things, we would not be creating an incentive for such geniuses to spend the 5 minutes on the toilet coming up with them?

I think perhaps, we should ACTUALLY have patents that require at least three trips to the toilet in Labor before we allow a patent -- otherwise we lower the bar, so to speak.

>> Facts destroy so many good opinions, and you know, some of those facts get destroyed because they are based on theories -- so then we get new facts to destroy new opinions. In Fact, all our scientific Facts started out as opinions -- it's kind of like how the adult fish all eat the baby fish if you leave them in the same tank.

Re:We Live in the World of Unfettered Rent Seekers (1)

Bob9113 (14996) | more than 3 years ago | (#34801762)

Very well formed and supported post. Thank you!

They must think their chances are good (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34797128)

They appear to be filing patents of prior art with the intention of getting patent law changed to a first-to-file system in the future.

If they succeed in getting the law changed, they then get to sue the inventors of the technology for violating their patents.

Re:They must think their chances are good (1)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 3 years ago | (#34797648)

If they succeed in getting the law changed, they then get to sue the inventors of the technology for violating their patents.

That's exactly why a first-to-file system would be worse than what we have now. I could file a patent on, say, "system of transportation involving round things mounted on a spindle" and totally pwn the entire auto industry, having invented exactly nothing.

Just what we need, a patent system that makes more money for lawyers.

America (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34797152)

making itself globally irrelevant 1 patent at a time

Re:America (2)

Jeremiah Cornelius (137) | more than 3 years ago | (#34799758)

"In the 1980s capitalism triumphed over communism. In the 1990s it triumphed over democracy."
--David Korten

patently (1, Funny)

tverbeek (457094) | more than 3 years ago | (#34797160)

The one phrase that best describes this is "patently obviously".

steve? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34797176)

It's unclear whether it's a goof on Apple, but Microsoft curiously used the example of a U2 fan named Steve to explain its 'invention' to the USPTO.

It's too bad there aren't any "Steves" that have some sort of close relationship with Microsoft...

"Like" (5, Funny)

MrEricSir (398214) | more than 3 years ago | (#34797188)

Steve Ballmer and 2 other people like this.

Re:"Like" (1)

Dolphinzilla (199489) | more than 3 years ago | (#34797256)

I wish I'd hung onto those mod points !

Re:"Like" (1)

Monkeedude1212 (1560403) | more than 3 years ago | (#34797258)

Oh come on people, we saw this joke coming a mile away.

Bury it.

Re:"Like" (1)

93 Escort Wagon (326346) | more than 3 years ago | (#34797414)

Speaking seriously (although I liked the joke) - I wonder, if Facebook and Microsoft are partners, why Facebook made the change from "Fan" to "Like" last year?

Re:"Like" (2)

masterwit (1800118) | more than 3 years ago | (#34800510)

Personally I just want the "Hate" button. So I can show my hatred for all the stupidity on the web without having to comment. Would save us all a little bit of stress/work eh?

If This Gets Rejected... (3, Insightful)

Scarletdown (886459) | more than 3 years ago | (#34797212)

If this patent gets rejected, will Microsoft and the Patent Office find themselves on each other's Freaks list?

Re:If This Gets Rejected... (0)

Stregano (1285764) | more than 3 years ago | (#34797554)

I am more curious to see the relationship of M$ and FB after this. M$ has money invested into FB, so it obviously knows about what FB is and has had ample time to sue them (the patent was filed in 2009, and it is 2011 now), but chose not to. Obviously the wait was to get more money, but why doesn't M$ just be a douche and threaten to pull out from FB and stop investing? Unless M$ is suing for the 450mil they put into FB, then it is going to hurt FB much less hitting them with a lawsuit. FB/Zuck are too big of money whores to push M$ away, so there is no need to think about that.

Mod parent down user is another twitter sockpuppet (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34799238)

<nt>

Not a fan (4, Insightful)

Andy Smith (55346) | more than 3 years ago | (#34797254)

I really, really, really, from the bottom of my heart, with a stomach-churning sickness and bile rising in my throat, hate this trend of trivial and obvious technology patents. They all boil down to the same thing: "We saw someone else doing this, and we think it's a good idea, so we want to be the only people that are allowed to do it from now on."

You'll need a licence to do that (1)

Crudely_Indecent (739699) | more than 3 years ago | (#34797338)

In other news:

Microsoft files patent for 'One-Way Public Malice' in social networks and other online properties, lawyer-speak for what's more commonly known as 'hating' something online.

Re:Not a fan (1)

Zumbs (1241138) | more than 3 years ago | (#34797418)

We saw someone else doing this, and we think it's a good idea, so we want to be the only people that are allowed to do it from now on.

Quick! Patent that idea before someone else beat you to it!

It's as if... (1)

Rob Y. (110975) | more than 3 years ago | (#34798464)

It's as if they were trying to file the most ridiculous patent they could think of just to prove the system's broken, and it got accepted. Because the system's so broken it doesn't even get the joke.

Re:It's as if... (2)

ushering05401 (1086795) | more than 3 years ago | (#34798882)

The system gets the joke. They also have to live with the consequences of change. At this point any IP changes will make a global impact, and must be considered both as Domestic and Foreign Policy.

I hate it too. Find thanks in the fact that we are not waking up to this steaming pile on our plate each morning. Someone is, though.

Boo (1)

RManning (544016) | more than 3 years ago | (#34797266)

That's it, I'm going to go unfan Microsoft in Facebook.

Re:Boo (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34797462)

...so you're admitting to being a fan of Microsoft, or you didn't lock your screen and a colleague pulled a prank on you?

Whew (2)

rossdee (243626) | more than 3 years ago | (#34797294)

I was getting worried they were patenting a rotating device used to blow air to cool things. Essential for modern computers...
(BTW most air conditioners use fans too.

Re:Whew (1)

X0563511 (793323) | more than 3 years ago | (#34798788)

No shit.

Some obvious prior art (3, Informative)

dkleinsc (563838) | more than 3 years ago | (#34797322)

Right here [slashdot.org] .

Mod Parent Up (1)

PhrstBrn (751463) | more than 3 years ago | (#34797580)

This is the first thing that came to my mind...

Re:Mod Parent Up (1)

sconeu (64226) | more than 3 years ago | (#34798090)

[AOL] Me too [/AOL]

How much do I owe Ballmer? According to my Fans tab [slashdot.org] , I have 38 fans (as of this post).

I claim Prior Art from Deep Purple (2)

WillAffleckUW (858324) | more than 3 years ago | (#34797342)

As I recall, I was a member of their online Fan Club, and the software for that was copyright.

More prior art than you can shake a stick at (0)

Spectre (1685) | more than 3 years ago | (#34797444)

How long has Twitter been around? Wouldn't that be one of the most obvious and huge users of this idea?

Re:More prior art than you can shake a stick at (1)

blair1q (305137) | more than 3 years ago | (#34797618)

People have been subscribing to mailing lists a lot longer than that.

(N.B.: This patent isn't really about the relationship. It's about the method for causing the relationship to occur such that the information can subsequently flow, and a particular method at that, and a particularly confusing one at that.)

Patent algorithm (1)

Andy Smith (55346) | more than 3 years ago | (#34797446)

public static void patentIdea(Idea i) {
  // if (!i.ours) return;
  i.ours=true;
  if (i.hasMoneyMakingPotential)
    i.patent();
  else
    i.patentAnyway();
}

(What's really sad is that I pasted the code in to Eclipse to check for syntax errors.)

Re:Patent algorithm (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34797626)

why? Eclipse has a very robust java syntax check.

I'm more wondering why you are using a public static function for what is clearly a private operation.

You also don't define Idea or enclose your code in a class.

Also, why is Idea used for both data storage [hasMoneyMakingPotential] and execution [patentAnyway]?

You should also define a getter for hasMoneyMakingPotential.

Clearly, you need to refactor your code more.

Re:Patent algorithm (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34797654)

Don't you need to wrap that in an IdeaPantenter Class that inherits from an AbstractIdeaPatenter that is then built by the PatentIdeaBuilder. I mean this is Java. Have some self respect!

As a programmer (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34797468)

  I'm starting to get worried. If I feel like making a small application at home for my Android and then wanting to give it out as a Lite or Pay version, that there is a chance part of the program is using some simple logic that is patented by some big corporation like Microsoft. And I'll end up getting asked to pay them for something that pretty much is "d'uh".

  This patent trend needs to get stopped before we can't do anything without it cost everyone an arm and a leg for stupid reasons.

Mod Points to Burn (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34797556)

God, do none of you understand patents? I've got 15 mod points and I'm going to make it my mission to burn them all on modding down all you idiots who comment on this patent without having one bit of knowledge how they work and don't even bother to read the damn claims.

One-Way False Information Relationships (1)

handy_vandal (606174) | more than 3 years ago | (#34797562)

My patent for "One-Way False Information Relationships" amounts to "I'm lying to all of you."

Just ask my ex-wives and -girlfriends -- they'll tell you all about my "One-Way False Information Relationships".

Oh dear (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34797592)

US the drain of your patent system is going to help fuck up your competitiveness.

Patent idea for microsoft (3, Insightful)

xednieht (1117791) | more than 3 years ago | (#34797600)

"'One-Way Public Relationships' in social networks and other online properties, lawyer-speak for what's more commonly known as being a 'fan' "

Microsoft should patent assholes too, layman-speak for what's more commonly known as being a lawyer.

Enough is enough already: abolish the USPTO

Re:Patent idea for microsoft (1)

Dachannien (617929) | more than 3 years ago | (#34800880)

Enough is enough already: abolish the USPTO

This is still just an application. It hasn't even been examined yet. If you're going to spew hate over this, point it at Microsoft, and give the USPTO a chance to do its work.

Re:Patent idea for microsoft (1)

MadMaverick9 (1470565) | more than 3 years ago | (#34801186)

USPTO a chance to do its work

You call reading stuff like this, "work" ??

people who make cars, work.

people who make houses, work.

people who read stuff like this patent ... foobar.

I invented myself a sandwich this morning. (-1)

Senes (928228) | more than 3 years ago | (#34797602)

Now I demand that McDonalds, Burger King, Carls Jr, and all the small business delis in the western hemisphere pay me royalties.

First Call on this Patent (1)

foolish_to_be_here (802344) | more than 3 years ago | (#34797684)

Your all witnesses. I wish to lay claim to patenting the act of patenting the obvious. While at it I wish to patent the act of posting to Slashdot. Pay up my pretties.

Nice (1)

thestudio_bob (894258) | more than 3 years ago | (#34797694)

All the Andriod, Apple, Linux, etc. fanbois are going to have to start paying MS.
Pure genius Mr. Ballmer, pure genuis!

p.s. If you can't beat em, patent their fanbois.

Patenting Fans? (2)

Jahava (946858) | more than 3 years ago | (#34797760)

Patenting fans? Not cool, Microsoft... not cool.

first-to-file system? (1)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 3 years ago | (#34798036)

So in effect, cementing the power for the people with the money.

Microsoft doesn't have any fans. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34798040)

So, having fans is merely a theoretical exercise dreamed up by Microsoft's R&D department. Boy won't Microsoft be surprised when they grow up to realize that other people and companies have had fans for ages?

Quick, someone patent 'hate' (0)

Craig Maloney (1104) | more than 3 years ago | (#34798056)

I'm starting my patent application for a one-way relationship where I intensely dislike a particular entity for their ass-hat methods of scooping up obvious, real-world-inspired situations and turning them into something it calls "intellectual property".

fuckmicrosoft.com (1)

xjlm (1073928) | more than 3 years ago | (#34798248)

Unfortunately, the domain is dead. You can still see its former glory on archive.org though.

Re:fuckmicrosoft.com (1)

Jerry (6400) | more than 3 years ago | (#34798658)

The archive for that web site is here [archive.org]

That's it. (1)

interval1066 (668936) | more than 3 years ago | (#34798260)

My patent cortex just hemorrhaged. I'm dead. Bury me in a Microsoft-shaped box.

sure, they can have it (1)

n_djinn (1883738) | more than 3 years ago | (#34798276)

Yeah, I would have to agree Microsoft does have a "One-way Public Relationship" with it's customers (how could I let that one go?).

Not A Fan of this (1)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 3 years ago | (#34798288)

And I think I need to patent that before all you cheese weasels cheat me out of my due lucre.

Slashdot's take (1)

gringer (252588) | more than 3 years ago | (#34798442)

From what I gather from the /. user page, friends are people who you think you like, and fans are people who think they like you. For example, I currently post on /. using a two-fan system.

Re:Slashdot's take (1)

Johann Lau (1040920) | more than 3 years ago | (#34798636)

Here, have one more! =D

Our tax dollars at work... (1)

johosaphats (1082929) | more than 3 years ago | (#34798942)

I think US citizens should have the right to sue assholes that steal our tax dollars by doing stupid crap like this. Of course, I'm claiming the patent on that one.

Re:Our tax dollars at work... (1)

Dachannien (617929) | more than 3 years ago | (#34800900)

Actually, the USPTO is entirely funded by the fees it collects from those seeking and holding patents, so your tax dollars don't get involved.

In fact, potential and current patentees have more justification to complain, because Congress routinely takes a portion of those fees and diverts them to other miscellaneous purposes unrelated to examining patent and trademark applications.

You can tell Microsoft must be desperate... (1)

avatar139 (918375) | more than 3 years ago | (#34799052)

...If the only way they can get fans is by filing a patent claim!

First to file patenting (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34799088)

I don't think I understand the First-To-File patent system (at least I hope I don't.)

Can someone explain how it accomplishes anything besides handing the USPTO over to companies that are big enough to afford lots of filings? Already we have little or no recourse that doesn't involve millions in legal fees.

It sounds like an innovative piece of software could be disassembled and its algorithms patented by someone else, legally, as long as they had the money to win a legal challenge (which they wouldn't even have to spend, as long as the inventor knew it.)

First to file ? Then microsoft should be first to (0)

unity100 (970058) | more than 3 years ago | (#34799128)

file 'bullshit'. for, that is what they are saying.

basically, if the patent goes first to file, i can patent wheel. or, arithmetic. or, logic. because, i would be the first to file. no no, dont worry whether there would be 'prior art' or anything - i assure you if i can file it, i will find the lawyers to argue for it.

Re:First to file ? Then microsoft should be first (1)

Dachannien (617929) | more than 3 years ago | (#34800928)

You misunderstand "first-to-file", then. The term is only applicable to using other patent applications to reject claims based on the filing dates of those applications, under 35 USC 102(e), and for interference purposes under 35 USC 102(g). Regular published prior art would still work the same way it does now.

Don't Worry... (1)

IonOtter (629215) | more than 3 years ago | (#34799420)

Once Microsoft and Facebook find out that the furries are also known as "furry fans", they'll drop the claim.

And run away, screaming.

Kill Kill Kill Bill - more than a movie (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34799840)

Time to kill the trolls.

Hopelessly stupid.... (1)

TechNit (448230) | more than 3 years ago | (#34800380)

Our patent system is hopelessly fucked up. I am going to patent "submitting hopelessly stupid patents" then sue all these lazy/greedy trolls!

Re:Hopelessly stupid.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34800780)

Too Late IBM already did.

Oh, so now it begins (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34800808)

Let all the Fan boys come out and astroturf all over this one. They are a patented entity now. But only microsoft can have Fan boys (the patent says so). Linux users can only be enthusiasts. Mac users are yuppies. Bring it on you patented entities.

Douchebag CEO Steve Jobs (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34801346)

Douchbag band U2.

I thought they'd only be fans of themselves.

New and Novel (1)

sincewhen (640526) | more than 3 years ago | (#34801534)

I can see how having people like you could seem new and novel to Microsoft.

Directed Graph... With Humans! (2)

Bob9113 (14996) | more than 3 years ago | (#34801814)

'One-Way Public Relationships' in social networks and other online properties, lawyer-speak for what's more commonly known as being a 'fan' of something online.

This is also lawyer-speak for what is more technically known as a directed graph [wikipedia.org] .

I thought the patent system was broken for allowing any half-wit to staple "... on the Internet!" onto an existing idea and be granted a patent. Now they're giving patents for "A directed graph... with humans!" The user interface, storage, and processing of directed graphs are a significant part of computer science history, and trace their heritage to before the Unix epoch. There is no technical invention here, nor by Facebook in 2007. You should as easily be allowed to patent "1 + 1 = 2... with humans!" and go sue anyone who is married for infringement.

Wow MS!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34802530)

This is just grosse... what a new low.

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