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Microsoft Patents Whacking Your Phone To Silence It

Soulskill posted about 2 years ago | from the until-it-learns-to-fear-you dept.

Microsoft 214

another random user writes with news of a patent application from Microsoft that details a method for silencing your phone by giving it a whack. "There are a variety of circumstances under which it may be desirable to quickly control a device without having to interact with a traditional user interface. For example, often mobile device users forget to set their mobile devices in a silent or vibrate mode and the device rings or makes sounds at an inopportune moment." And yes, 'whack' is the technical term used in the patent (20120231838): "receiving information indicative of acceleration of the mobile communications device; determining correlation between the information indicative of acceleration of the mobile communications device and exemplar whack event data; and based at least on the correlation, controlling an audio signal of the mobile communications device." This method is not recommended for controlling the audio output of animals or children.

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That this is patenteable AT ALL (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41350393)

goes only to show how broken the Patent system is.

Re:That this is patenteable AT ALL (1)

MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) | about 2 years ago | (#41350425)

Yeah, you can tell how obvious this was by the way it turned up only 12 years after Microsoft started working on smartphones.

Possible titles for the patent application (4, Funny)

Cryacin (657549) | about 2 years ago | (#41350475)

1. The three stooges "Shut up you numbskull" patent
2. The whack dat nois - e boid patent
3. The void-your-manufacturer-warranty inoportune phonecall patent

Re:Possible titles for the patent application (1)

MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) | about 2 years ago | (#41350489)

Heh. I would have called it the 'Al Calavicci' patent.

Re:Possible titles for the patent application (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41350681)

Or the Mr. Bean patent

Kick the damn thing patent (0)

Taco Cowboy (5327) | about 2 years ago | (#41350663)

If no one has patented this idea yet, I am going to file a "Kick the damn smartphone to silence it" patent !

It's mine, and Microsoft better don't try to grab that from me !!!

Re:Kick the damn thing patent (1)

jhoegl (638955) | about 2 years ago | (#41350931)

I think its better to stay in the whacking off business.

Re:That this is patenteable AT ALL (4, Insightful)

coastwalker (307620) | about 2 years ago | (#41350631)

In other news a Tech company patents wiping your arse. Seriously these people need to find work as the devil has them realy busy right now. Vermin.

Re:That this is patenteable AT ALL (5, Insightful)

rolfwind (528248) | about 2 years ago | (#41350791)

Just because an idea wasn't implemented before doesn't mean it should be patentable.

Tabs in browsers weren't implemented for a long time. Imagine the slowdown in the industry if it was.

I fail to see the benefit to society for patenting input methods. They'll come regardless of patents. Just with patents, the competition won't be able to incorporate the successes that society agrees upon is a good idea.

Re:That this is patenteable AT ALL (1)

arbiter1 (1204146) | about 2 years ago | (#41350447)

Yea Apple has proven that with massively board patents and stuff that is clear prior art.

Re:That this is patenteable AT ALL (2)

osu-neko (2604) | about 2 years ago | (#41350511)

I dunno... I'm normally skeptical of patents, but if they've come up with a good method of distinguishing a genuine, intentional "whack" from a bit of jostling or other causes of sudden acceleration, which doesn't seem at all obvious how to do, then that strikes me as something that might genuinely be patentable.

Re:That this is patenteable AT ALL (5, Informative)

bmo (77928) | about 2 years ago | (#41350677)

intentional "whack" from a bit of jostling or other causes of sudden acceleration, which doesn't seem at all obvious how to do,

It's only a magnitude. Random jostling is not the same as a good solid whack, which easily can exceed 5Gs. People do not typically experience 5G engvironments unless they are in a jet fighter or an automobile accident. Measure with a phone's built-in accelerometer any 5G thwack = intentional whack.

Bam. Done.

It's an obvious application. It's so obvious that you can buy tags to attach to shipped items that measure whacks, and if it exceeds the whack standard of the tag, then the shipper is at fault for damage.

http://www.drypak.com/shippingHandlingIndicators.html [drypak.com]

This is just using already-built-in accelerometers and doing the exact same thing. Don't forget the standard is supposed to be "nonobvious to someone skilled in the art" and not "nonobvious to a moron."

--
BMO

Re:That this is patenteable AT ALL (4, Insightful)

Plunky (929104) | about 2 years ago | (#41350699)

it seems to me (with no time at all spent thinking about it, and I am scarcely skilled in the art) that it is when a device is being alarming that a whack is most significant.. just like a naughty child who knows they are doing wrong, when the 'whack' is applied then they will shut up. If you 'whacked' a child who was just playing peacefully they would justifiably object.. and please, substitute your choice of censure, if 'whacking' a child is distasteful to you.

So, the whack detection becomes more accurate when the current state of the device is accounted for.

USPTO is a joke (5, Insightful)

CuteSteveJobs (1343851) | about 2 years ago | (#41350535)

> goes only to show how broken the Patent system is.


Patents are supposed to be novel, useful and not obvious. This patent seems obvious. According to a law lecturer, the mere fact the USPTO has granted a patent doesn't mean you have a valid patent: It also has to be tested in the courts. Only if it is upheld does this mean you have a valid patent.

The problem is this system is easily exploited. A USPTO examiner is supposed to eliminate patents which fail the above tests, but you can overwhelm a USPTO examiner just by giving them a lot of documentation. I have seen this done. It's easier for the examiner just to grant it and let the courts figure it out. The problem is as we saw in the Apple v Samsung case the jury assumes just because the USPTO has granted the patents they *are* valid. It's also expensive: It costs about $2M to attack or defend a patent and takes a lot of employee time when they could be working instead. In the US even if you successfully defend a patent attack you usually don't get your legal fees reimbursed, so that $2M is gone forever. This will send a smaller businesses broke. Is that really good for innovation?

Microsoft's patent here seems obvious and should have never been granted. The same goes for the intuitive tablet / smart phone operations which Apple patented: Give one of these devices to anyone who hasn't used one before and they quickly figure out which gestures work. The "intutive" nature of this means it is by definition obvious.

The US patent system... now forced down the world's throat thanks to aggressive lobbying of foreign governments by US diplomats bringing shiny beads and mirrors ... means it has been inflicted upon the world, and is hampering innovation everywhere. Even Google has spoken against it, but big companies are forced into a position where they must spent millions on stupid patents (which shouldn't hold up in court) just to get into a better bargaining positions against the patent trolls and Apples of the world.

But make no mistake: The USPTO is the patent troll's friend. Not just due to their lazy examinations, but because they have also increased fee to discourage people from asking for bogus patents to be re-examined. That was the reason they gave when they did this: they are trying to make less work for themselves caused by their own sloppiness in the first place!

The only solution: Tell your congressman and senator to stop this madness now and that there will be consequences at the ballot box if they don't. A tall ask, but they are the only people with the power to change it.

Why not? (1)

aurashift (2037038) | about 2 years ago | (#41350539)

It works for my libido.

...but can they really patent that?

Re:Why not? (1, Redundant)

aurashift (2037038) | about 2 years ago | (#41350553)

Almost a full four minutes later and I regret posting this. Or at least not wording it better.

Re:Why not? (1)

ClickOnThis (137803) | about 2 years ago | (#41350569)

It works for my libido. ...but can they really patent that?

Almost a full four minutes later and I regret posting this. Or at least not wording it better.

Eeww ... I'm not borrowing your keyboard...

Re:That this is patenteable AT ALL (2)

isorox (205688) | about 2 years ago | (#41350679)

goes only to show how broken the Patent system is.

I find giving things a whack often fixes them

Re:That this is patenteable AT ALL (2)

Fjandr (66656) | about 2 years ago | (#41350701)

I'm normally pretty anti-MS and anti-patent, but this isn't actually a bad idea if they've developed a method to do this safely. While there is obviously the analogy to silencing alarm clocks by hitting them or throwing them, it's generally not advisable and will usually void your warranty. There is a clock which was designed specifically to be silenced by throwing it against a wall, and it would not surprise me to see that patented.

Now, if it's the entire concept of "hitting the phone to silence it," I would see that as being overly broad. If it's about a particular method of doing so safely, then I'm all for it being patentable.

Re:That this is patenteable AT ALL (1)

Joce640k (829181) | about 2 years ago | (#41350797)

Its just another gesture really. Gesture interfaces are nothing new, even for silencing phones [androidzoom.com] .

It's not just phones either. My CASIO watch has an arm gesture to turn the backlight on, etc.

Re:That this is patenteable AT ALL (1)

Altanar (56809) | about 2 years ago | (#41350741)

No, Patent D618677 [google.com] shows how broken the patent system is.

Re:That this is patenteable AT ALL (1)

Cyberllama (113628) | about 2 years ago | (#41350785)

This is almost the least stupid software patent I've ever seen. I mean, all great ideas look obvious in retrospect, but I can't tell you how many times I've been embarrassed that I forgot to silence my phone and had to fumble with it to try to silence it without removing it from my pocket. If could just give my thigh a light slap and silence it mid-ring, that'd be awesome.

Still, I'm not sure I like the idea of a patent protecting something like this, even if it hasn't' been done before and would be useful. I think there's enough benefit in simply being first to do something like this to justify the minimal R&D required to come up with something like this (which is to say, none, just a neat idea that popped into some engineers head). We don't need to nurture this level of innovation along with the promise of a monopoly on the idea. It simply doesn't rise to that level nor does it require such incentive to happen.

Re:That this is patenteable AT ALL (1)

Cochonou (576531) | about 2 years ago | (#41350845)

It has been done to death for snoozing alarm clocks. I fail to see what is new in this idea. Has this really never been implemented in mobile phones ?

Geeze.. (3, Interesting)

ibsteve2u (1184603) | about 2 years ago | (#41350399)

Talk about an obvious use for a g-force sensor...what's next? Somebody patenting using a screwdriver for a chisel or to open paint cans?

Re:Geeze.. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41350449)

Quite obvious NOW isn't it. After the event it's obvious with the use of 20/20 hindsight

Re:Geeze.. (5, Informative)

gl4ss (559668) | about 2 years ago | (#41350667)

Quite obvious NOW isn't it. After the event it's obvious with the use of 20/20 hindsight

it's pretty fucking obvious.

it's so obvious it's been used already - in a more sophisticated form too, Nokia has had "turn over on table" silence for ages - turning it into a whack isn't really that much of a thing.

what's more, the feature appeared on phones just about when the hw started featuring accel sensors. it's the second most obvious use after automatic screen rotation.

Re:Geeze.. (4, Insightful)

man_of_mr_e (217855) | about 2 years ago | (#41350487)

If it's so obvious, why has nobody yet done it with more than 5 years of smartphones on the market.

I actually like this idea. If my phone is in my pants and i'm in a movie theater and I forgot to silence it.. just whack my pocket and it stops ringing, rather than fumbling in my pocket to get it out, and find the buttons.

Re:Geeze.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41350519)

Because most smartphones don't like impacts.

Re:Geeze.. (3, Insightful)

maxwell demon (590494) | about 2 years ago | (#41350671)

That brings me to this new idea: Silence a phone by breaking it.
Maybe I should patent that? :-)

Re:Geeze.. (2)

cps42 (102752) | about 2 years ago | (#41350531)

If it's so obvious, why has nobody yet done it with more than 5 years of smartphones on the market.

My Samsung G2 supports muting the ring by turning the phone over. Using the accelerometer isn't unique. Whacking it is pretty clever, though.

Re:Geeze.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41350589)

If you whack it hard enough, the acceleration is enough to make it think it is upside-down. At least I have found that to be the case with my S2.

Re:Geeze.. (1)

FireFury03 (653718) | about 2 years ago | (#41350547)

If it's so obvious, why has nobody yet done it with more than 5 years of smartphones on the market.

They sort of have. Not by looking for a whack, butby other accelleromete based gestures. For example, I can silence an incoming call by turning my phone face-down.

Re:Geeze.. (5, Interesting)

stephanruby (542433) | about 2 years ago | (#41350597)

If it's so obvious, why has nobody yet done it with more than 5 years of smartphones on the market.

Actually, my Nexus S (which is already a two year old model I think) has been doing this ever since I can remember.

In fact, that's probably why Microsoft used the word "whack", and not "shake" or "move". If they had used any of those other words, a simple bing search [bing.com] (yes, even a bing search I tell you) would have uncovered multiple instances of prior art on both Android and on the iPhone.

No doubt, they'll try to use this little play on words in their commercials to say how unique the feature is, and how they're the only one who have it because they patented the idea.

Re:Geeze.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41350707)

Is each different action initiated by a accelerometer event individually patentable?
The Bump app that initiates peer-to-peer connections when you bump phones together has been around for a while now.

Excuse me, I'm going to go patent my app that screams bloody murder when the device is dropped.

Re:Geeze.. (2)

DarwinSurvivor (1752106) | about 2 years ago | (#41350725)

I consider accelerometer events (drop, whack, hit, turn, rotate, flip, shake, bounce, etc) analogous to keyboard shortcuts. Now excuse me while I patent using Alt+B to launch my browser, I mean I haven't seen any computers yet that do it, so it CAN'T be obvious, thus it must be a valid patent!

Re:Geeze.. (2)

kenorland (2691677) | about 2 years ago | (#41350727)

If it's so obvious, why has nobody yet done it with more than 5 years of smartphones on the market.

Smartphones have been around for more than 15 years.

And, yes, there have been plenty of phones that have done this for years, including Nokias and Android phones.

Re:Geeze.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41350835)

Really? citation needed I think, I have been using smartphones of various sorts for more than a decade and I have never seen one that does this, apart from those that permanently silence when you whack them too hard.

Re:Geeze.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41350811)

Yep, a really smart idea. I'm jumping around (eg. from one step to another) and the phone turns to silence. Need that like a hole in the head...

I'm with the masses on this one, the IP system is broken. Apple most probably needs another billion for patenting some rounded rectangles again - so Microsoft have come up with a stupid work-around to avoid being sued into oblivion.

Re:Geeze.. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41350855)

Sony Ericsson already had a phone you could "shake" to skip music on your phone. You could also "Whack" it for the same effect.

Re:Geeze.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41350909)

perhaps because encouraging people to hit their phones is a stupid idea and will guarantee a large statistical increase in the number of warranty claims on any phone that implements it?

Re:Geeze.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41350959)

If it's so obvious, why has nobody yet done it with more than 5 years of smartphones on the market.

Because people were busy with other shit. There are approximately a zillion reasons apart from non-obviousness why something might *not* be done. The fact that you automatically non-obviousness is the only possible reason says more about your reasoning skills (such as "proving" a negative) and your inability to judge creativity than anything else.

I actually like this idea. If my phone is in my pants and i'm in a movie theater and I forgot to silence it.. just whack my pocket and it stops ringing, rather than fumbling in my pocket to get it out, and find the buttons.

The patent is unreadable but appears to say nothing about accidentally pressing a button while whacking. If the patent were implemented as-is your action might press a button and trigger another function at the same time.

Re:Geeze.. (2)

BadDreamer (196188) | about 2 years ago | (#41350971)

My HTC Android works this way. it has a "shake off" function when it rings or the alarm goes off, and just whacking it activates that.

Re:Geeze.. (1)

guardiangod (880192) | about 2 years ago | (#41350495)

That gives me a patent idea:

A patent on using a smart phone device as a chisel to open pain cans. After the phone is inserted into the crack, the vibrator would turn on rhythmically and attempt to loosen the lid.

I am sure this idea is novel, and is about as obvious as the patent mentioned in the summary.

Re:Geeze.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41350549)

If it were so obvious why isn't it implemented in iPhone or an Android phone?

Re:Geeze.. (1)

lxs (131946) | about 2 years ago | (#41350763)

It's not implemented because it is a bad idea.

Wacking the phone on purpose is not a good habit to teach users. Even without this, every other iPhone on the planet seems to have a cracked screen. Imagine what would happen if people get into the habit of slamming their phone against a table or wall at the slightest annoyance.

Re:Geeze.. (4, Funny)

Mr0bvious (968303) | about 2 years ago | (#41350567)

Much better title - Microsoft patents whacking off..

I dunno, but I think it deserves the name Whack Off...

Re:Geeze.. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41351043)

Uh no, I think I whacked it off too hard. I've activated the squirt feature.

Re:Geeze.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41350617)

No, their next patent is for throwing chairs.

Prior art? SleepCycle app (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41350405)

And it's been around for a while. You hit the phone to silence the alarm and do the snooze action. I would think it qualifies as prior art.

Whacking (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41350407)

It done controls the audio output on my woman!

Re:Whacking (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41350559)

What do you tell a girl with two black eyes?

Nothing. You already told her twice.

Groan! (2, Insightful)

Ian.Waring (591380) | about 2 years ago | (#41350409)

Prior art city: hitting an alarm clock. If Americans are so intelligent, why have such an outrageously dumb patent system? It's meandering stories for profit rather than any reward for innovation these days...

Re:Groan! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41350427)

Americans are only intelligent because they lowered the bar for intelligence... to grab your ankle level.

Re:Groan! (1)

jimmydevice (699057) | about 2 years ago | (#41350509)

Once you're bent over, grabbing your ankles, you know what happens next.

Re:Groan! (1)

guttentag (313541) | about 2 years ago | (#41350635)

Once you're bent over, grabbing your ankles, you know what happens next.

We only know what happens next because Microsoft patented a system and method for bending people over and making them grab their ankles back in '95. Without their documentation in the patent we wouldn't know what happens next. See how patents benefit society?

Re:Groan! (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41350443)

One doesn't "hit an alrm clock". One presses a button that is wide and shallow enough that a blow from one's hand will activate it. This patent suggests that the phone's internal accelerometer will detect short, sharp motions and communicate them to the ringer. While I don't think patenting such small details is healthy, this invention isn't so comparable to an alarm clock.

Re:Groan! (3, Interesting)

guttentag (313541) | about 2 years ago | (#41350655)

One doesn't "hit an alrm clock". One presses a button that is wide and shallow enough that a blow from one's hand will activate it.

In theory one presses a wide button. In practice millions of people hit their alarm clocks. This creates the pretense that the device may be silenced in a non-destructive manner, while ensuring continued regular demand for new alarm clocks. It's really quite brilliant on Microsoft's part. By encouraging this model of behavior they can inflate their sales figures and retention percentages ("9 out of 10 Windows Phone owners buy another Windows Phone each year").

Re:Groan! (2)

vux984 (928602) | about 2 years ago | (#41350661)

You are describing -your- alarm clock.

There are any number of alarm clocks that do in fact just let you "whack" them anywhere.

Hell, there's even ones designed to be thrown...

http://www.coolest-gadgets.com/20080429/throw-alarm-clock/ [coolest-gadgets.com]

Re:Groan! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41350451)

I would say that certainly my ipod is prior art, I believe it can go to the next song when you shake it (or whack it). Which can be annoying when running.

Re:Groan! (1)

sodul (833177) | about 2 years ago | (#41350459)

My alarm clock actually has no Snooze button but has Slap! To snooze [philips.com] .

The Microsoft patent is 'interesting' but I do not really find it practical unless you have to start switching modes all day long: when running where the simple fact that you are running would make it misbehave, probably similar on my bike (SF streets are badly maintained), or worse on the train (I had to disable 'shake to skip' on my iPhone, CalTrain got to be the worse train tracks in the western world).

Something more useful would be to cross reference the ring mode with your calendar. If in a meeting, at the dentist, etc ... switch to silent mode. The calendar could even have an option to make the phone super silent and not even vibrate (meeting with CEO).

Should I patent this idea?

Re:Groan! (1)

jimmydevice (699057) | about 2 years ago | (#41350515)

Too late, I already did.

Re:Groan! (1)

CodeheadUK (2717911) | about 2 years ago | (#41350555)

I had a sports ball alarm clock that you could throw against a wall to snooze the alarm. I'd like the see that implemented on a Windows phone.

Re:Groan! (3, Funny)

snikulin (889460) | about 2 years ago | (#41350465)

People for the Ethical Treatment of Smartphone

Re:Groan! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41350523)

Even more prior art: my three year old Nokia stops ringing loud when you flip it upside down.

Re:Groan! (1)

guttentag (313541) | about 2 years ago | (#41350629)

The brilliance of our patent system is that it can occasionally be used to entrap mega-corporations when they do stupid things (whether we are smart enough to utilize it in that way is another matter). In this case, call MSFT's bluff: Declare Stephen Elop's tenure at Nokia to be prior art. Either MSFT acknowledges the prior art by Nokia and abandons this claim, or it claims ownership of said prior art by acknowledging that it sent Elop there to whack the phone company and silence it.

Re:Groan! (1)

Osgeld (1900440) | about 2 years ago | (#41350657)

I have never had a hit to disarm alarm clock

3 slide switch models and a specific button to press model in my 33 years I have never whacked an alarm clock, as in my entire life they have not operated that way

and if your country is so innovative why dont we hear about your invaluable inventions every day?

Interesting (1)

kiriath (2670145) | about 2 years ago | (#41350413)

That might be Microsoft's "must have" feature!

I can see the commercials now... "This phone is whack! Boyeee!"

nice (0)

binarylarry (1338699) | about 2 years ago | (#41350415)

So your zune squirts and your WP8 device whacks off.

Microsoft. What will they think of next?

Re:nice (3, Funny)

cffrost (885375) | about 2 years ago | (#41350705)

So your zune squirts and your WP8 device whacks off.

Microsoft. What will they think of next?

Rubbing a phone's little pink silicone nub to turn it on?

Already done with Nokia phone (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41350439)

My Nokia 6600 fold already had this feature for years. You just tap it twice and it silences alarms and calls. And shows the current time on the front panel. Where's the actually new stuff in this patent because everything else seems like an obvious extension to that?

Re:Already done with Nokia phone (1)

SpzToid (869795) | about 2 years ago | (#41350769)

Microsoft is using the word 'whack' in their patent application. That part is unique.
What is a whack really? Could be The Killer feature in Windows Phone 8.

When did they lower the bar for patents? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41350463)

Honestly, their method is so trivial - it pretty much just looks for a spike on a sensor input. How is "do something when a number jumps up and back down" worthy of a patent?

Prior art: Mafia (3, Funny)

Calydor (739835) | about 2 years ago | (#41350471)

The mafia has been whacking people for decades to silence them.

Phew (2)

JohnboyHolmes (743838) | about 2 years ago | (#41350481)

As long as they don't Patent dropping annoying phones in a glass of water, I think there might be some prior art on that one.

Re:Phew (3, Funny)

stephanruby (542433) | about 2 years ago | (#41350625)

Not me, I actually like the Microsoft patent.

It just gives me one more excuse to whack some people on the side of their head while they're on their phone.

Microsoft patent? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41350503)

Or an idea from Nokia which that shameless Redmond stooge Elop had claimed for Microsoft?

Patents are the devil. (1)

pwnstar23 (2717703) | about 2 years ago | (#41350507)

these patents are stupid they are more about patenting a VERB than any actual schematic or plan for something. Next up: Microsoft patents whacking off. That's right every time you stroke the one-eyed monster you owe microsoft a royalty check because they thought of it first.

Re:Patents are the devil. (1)

DarwinSurvivor (1752106) | about 2 years ago | (#41350739)

I feel sorry for the person that has to count those checks.

dumb and prior art. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41350525)

The simple alarm clock that every one whacks in the morning. Except the clock is more durable.

Trying To Patent The Snooze Button? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41350541)

STAMPED and APPROVED!

Internal competitions ? (1)

Alain Williams (2972) | about 2 years ago | (#41350573)

I wonder if engineers at companies like Microsoft have informal competitions to see who can get the most wacky patent accepted.

Prior art (1)

maxwells_deamon (221474) | about 2 years ago | (#41350599)

There are many examples I have seen on TV shows clear back in the 70's. But this is the first one I could find on youtube:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wYr4-vtBBRo [youtube.com]

Oh, you want to use that phone again later? :-)

Throwing it against a wall (1)

Tim12s (209786) | about 2 years ago | (#41350637)

Can I patent throwing a mobile device against a wall to silence it?

Yea, that's all we was talkin' about (1)

frovingslosh (582462) | about 2 years ago | (#41350649)

So them rats in the F.B.I. thought they had us when they taped us about wackin; someone to silence him. Be wes got our sources and wes pay good dough for our snitches inside the F.B.I. So now wes got this cool patent on wackin to silence, and whats our lawyers call "Plausible Deniability". Suck it Feds, we're Microsoft, yous can't touch us!

funny (1)

Osgeld (1900440) | about 2 years ago | (#41350651)

my windows 5 phone just has a easy to find physical button that requires nothing more than a press of the thumb

Re:funny (1)

maxwell demon (590494) | about 2 years ago | (#41350685)

my windows 5 phone just has a easy to find physical button that requires nothing more than a press of the thumb

But that doesn't allow you to easily silence other people's phones. They'll not let you press the button. However if you are quick enough, you may be able to whack it.

Re:funny (1)

isorox (205688) | about 2 years ago | (#41350703)

my windows 5 phone just has a easy to find physical button that requires nothing more than a press of the thumb

Same with my iphone and ring finger.

something is wrong with the patent system (1)

seeker_1us (1203072) | about 2 years ago | (#41350653)

they patent a sensor that responds to a whack? Fine. They patent the idea of whacking the phone? Not fine. Patents are supposed to cover IMPLEMENTATIONS, not ideas.

Re:something is wrong with the patent system (1)

isorox (205688) | about 2 years ago | (#41350697)

they patent a sensor that responds to a whack? Fine.
They patent the idea of whacking the phone? Not fine. Patents are supposed to cover IMPLEMENTATIONS, not ideas.

I've silenced a phone before by whacking it.

The novel part is having it carry on working after the whack.

Re:something is wrong with the patent system (1)

thatskinnyguy (1129515) | about 2 years ago | (#41350737)

What is the running patent life of an idea these days? Used to be until you got off your ass and built it and others imitated.

Is there one for throwing a chair at a phone... (0)

Simon Rowe (1206316) | about 2 years ago | (#41350673)

or should I patent that before Ballmer does?

For the naysayers out there... (1)

thatskinnyguy (1129515) | about 2 years ago | (#41350723)

This is an elegant use for an accelerometer. Obvious? Now it is after they said it. But imagine being able to punch your pocket to shut your phone up. Really the guy that came up with this needs more than the $1 he will get from Microshaft for the patent.

FF (1)

Altanar (56809) | about 2 years ago | (#41350733)

Fun fact: Windows Phones already have a feature where if the phone is ringing and you pick it up (say, to see who's calling) and put it back down, the phone recognizes this and turns down the volume of the ringing for that call. Found that out by accident. Heh.

I've used both ME and Windows Vista (2)

Grayhand (2610049) | about 2 years ago | (#41350795)

Beating an electronic device to death makes perfect sense to users of ME and Vista. This falls under a common sense patent. This must be a defensive patent before the new OS comes out given their history of every other release sucking. I'm still waiting for them to announce the "AX Back Up System". The hard drive backs up before you take an ax to it!

AlarmDroid: Prior Art? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41350799)

AlarmDroid has an option to enable snooze mode by:
  * flipping the phone around
  * shaking it
This sounds pretty similar to silencing a device by whacking it, nest'ce pas?

Microsoft patents new feature that's whack? (1)

hack slash (1064002) | about 2 years ago | (#41350817)

Nothing new there then.

I think its been done before (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41350907)

http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_hLiKoBbYLjs/TT7zNz7j9pI/AAAAAAAAALY/uEpnCsMWzfw/s1600/vintage-ck-clapping-monkey-w-cymbals_270672956315.jpg

Prior art (1)

Rob Kaper (5960) | about 2 years ago | (#41350953)

HTC lets you do this already by flipping your phone. Both are just a motion sensor output value linked to operating state.

Re:Prior art (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41351009)

Flipping is not whacking.
When HTC does it by flipping and patented that, Microsoft cannot use that method and has to invent something else.

Patent the Obvious (1)

CrackP0t (2518624) | about 2 years ago | (#41351123)

It is a good thing we have a provision in our patent law to not allow for the patenting of the obvious. Who would ever have thought of hitting something to make it quiet!!! DOH!
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