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Surfcast Sues Microsoft Over Tile Patent

Unknown Lamer posted about a year and a half ago | from the smells-like-windows-1.0 dept.

Microsoft 255

An anonymous reader writes with news of a company suing Microsoft for infringing upon a patent for tiles with live content. From the article: "SurfCast, in a complaint filed yesterday in a U.S. District Court in Maine, said Microsoft infringes one of its four patents — No. 6,724,403 — by 'making, using, selling, and offering to sell devices and software products' covered by SurfCast's patent. That includes mobile devices using the Windows Phone 7 and Windows Phone 8 operating systems as well as PCs using Windows 8/RT."

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255 comments

Its not like people havent sued MS b4 (2)

Big Hairy Ian (1155547) | about a year and a half ago | (#41831493)

Apple did it in the 90s

Re:Its not like people havent sued MS b4 (5, Funny)

Jeremiah Cornelius (137) | about a year and a half ago | (#41831733)

Mothafucka's patented the SQUARE

Shit. I'm about to get Platonic on that one, and patent me a CUBE.

Re:Its not like people havent sued MS b4 (3, Funny)

zill (1690130) | about a year and a half ago | (#41831777)

Too late. I already patented the hypercube.

All dots, lines, squares, and cubes are lower dimensional derivatives of my hypercube design and thus require a license from me.

Re:Its not like people havent sued MS b4 (3, Funny)

NatasRevol (731260) | about a year and a half ago | (#41831951)

Also, someone else patented the time cube.

Re:Its not like people havent sued MS b4 (3, Funny)

Githaron (2462596) | about a year and a half ago | (#41832007)

And the companion cube probably has trademarks to deal with.

Re:Its not like people havent sued MS b4 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41831873)

Personally I'm off to patent a novel method of using hexagons to present information from a variety of sources on a display device.

Re:Its not like people havent sued MS b4 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41831899)

Might be worth looking into tessellation.

Re:Its not like people havent sued MS b4 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41831809)

And lost :)

Re:Its not like people havent sued MS b4 (2, Interesting)

aristotle-dude (626586) | about a year and a half ago | (#41831895)

And lost :)

For the look and feel suit but not the one for stolen source code from Quicktime which ended up in Video for Windows. The latter resulted in an out of court settlement where MSFT bought non-voting shares in Apple, made undisclosed payments rumored to be around a billion in the end and a commitment to continue developing MS Office and Internet Explorer for the mac for 5 years. The MS Office commitment was renewed voluntarily by Microsoft a number of times since then.

now a tile with no rounded corners! (4, Insightful)

mhsobhani (2688177) | about a year and a half ago | (#41831495)

so both simple rectangle and rounded rectangle are now patented!

Re:now a tile with no rounded corners! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41832013)

Don't worry, you can always use the hexagon.

Re:now a tile with no rounded corners! (1)

Githaron (2462596) | about a year and a half ago | (#41832043)

I guess now we will have to makes devices with inverted tips.

Not a troll (0, Troll)

gameboyhippo (827141) | about a year and a half ago | (#41831505)

After reading the article, I really think that SurfCast is right in suing Microsoft. It seems to be the same thing and it's a novel way of doing things.

Re:Not a troll (4, Interesting)

JDG1980 (2438906) | about a year and a half ago | (#41831571)

A tile is just a chromeless application window. What's novel about it?

Re:Not a troll (5, Insightful)

ilguido (1704434) | about a year and a half ago | (#41831783)

Dunno, I used dockapps on windowmaker well before they granted the patent to Microsoft.

Tile All? (3, Informative)

malakai (136531) | about a year and a half ago | (#41831831)

Not sure what version of windows had this last, but I remember being bale to tile all open windows, and they would take up all available screen real-estate. It wasn't a horizontal tile, wasn't a vertical tile, and wasn't a cascade. It may have been arrange, but I remember doing it once with 10 excel windows open on like 640x480, and they each took up so little space you could only see the control bars.

I don't think MS is going to have a problem with this: http://asset0.cbsistatic.com/cnwk.1d/i/tim/2012/10/31/SurfCast_patent_application_610x587.png [cbsistatic.com]

Re:Not a troll (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41831901)

A tile is just a chromeless application window. What's novel about it?

Color is information, right? Color represents specific information about light, it's wavelength. So wouldn't any mosaic from ancient times be literally prior art? They are literally tiles. Laying different colored tiles out in a mosaic would be "organizing the simultaneous display of information from a multitude of information sources" then, correct?

Oh wait I see how this patent was allowed, it's different now because it's on a computer . I hope SurfCast goes bankrupt from court fees.

CAPTCHA: mental

Re:Not a troll (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41832005)

A big moneyed corporation is investing loads of money in a product that uses it. That's what's so novel. It's value increased.

Makes me wonder how long it will take, before patents start hurting our society so much, we'll devolve into monkeys, finger paint and throw feces at one another, the only thing to do, because everything else is patented.

Re:Not a troll (2)

bondsbw (888959) | about a year and a half ago | (#41832155)

Tiled applications windows date back to at least 1981 [wikipedia.org] with Xerox Star. And there is plenty of prior art for applications that aggregate information.

Re:Not a troll (1)

dc29A (636871) | about a year and a half ago | (#41832263)

A tablet is just a rectangle with rounded corners. What's so novel about it?

Re:Not a troll (3, Insightful)

godrik (1287354) | about a year and a half ago | (#41831669)

I went through the patent. I will not claim there is anything of value in there. But they actually describe a full architecture of a system with asynchronous event, bandwidth limitations, dynamic refresh rates, multi device displays. They actually did something, they are not trolling. This is one of the most reasonnable patent I read in a long time.

Re:Not a troll (1)

gstoddart (321705) | about a year and a half ago | (#41831721)

Especially, if as the article indicates:

"Microsoft had knowledge of the '403 patent at least as early as April 21, 2009," SurfCast's complaint said, as the software giant referenced the technology as relevant art during its patent application process.

If they actually referenced this patent in their own filing, they can't exactly argue they didn't know about it.

Of course, the nuances of patents makes it awfully difficult for a layperson to know if the resultant thing infringes or not. But it would hardly be the first time Microsoft has looked at someone else's stuff and said "hey, let's make something like that".

Re:Not a troll (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41832309)

I went through the patent and I'm pretty sure the biggest invention there is stretching an application dock to whole screen.

Re:Not a troll (2)

RaceProUK (1137575) | about a year and a half ago | (#41831697)

From TFA, the SurfCast design looks more like Windows 1.0 than WP7. Plus, the existence of '403 is mentioned on page 2 of '632. Therefore '403 must have been considered (don't laugh) when '632 was being assessed.

Without reading the full patents (I have only one life on Earth), I'm not going to say if SurfCast is a troll. However, their website [surfcast.com] doesn't inspire confidence.

Re:Not a troll (1)

Vrekais (1889284) | about a year and a half ago | (#41832003)

Their website does seem to be something of a "we were here all along doing this for ages, no really" sort of quick knock up... I'm leaning towards troll but then again the patent system is getting ridiculous.

Re:Not a troll (1)

muon-catalyzed (2483394) | about a year and a half ago | (#41831741)

The only products they offer are patents, not practicing, not using, not producing anything. Web page has a fishing rod [surfcast.com] in the picture. This must be the epitome of patent trolling.

Re:Not a troll (5, Insightful)

Baloroth (2370816) | about a year and a half ago | (#41831819)

After reading the article, I really think that SurfCast is right in suing Microsoft. It seems to be the same thing and it's a novel way of doing things.

It doesn't even matter how valid the patent is, really (although given it is software and... well, a tile display is not novel no matter how you dress it up), what really makes a troll a troll is that they have no products. Surfcast has none, and from what I understand, never did. Therefore, they are patent trolls.

Re:Not a troll (4, Interesting)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about a year and a half ago | (#41831833)

It seems to be the same thing and it's a novel way of doing things.

Exactly, it's not like it is similar to an airplane dashboard, right? And did anyone notice the timing? Coinciding a lawsuit with an OS release, that's not suspicious at all, tsk tsk tsk...

Re:Not a troll (1)

ByOhTek (1181381) | about a year and a half ago | (#41831985)

Maybe novel 80s. Pretty sure you could achieve this effect with TWM.

Good (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41831507)

Eventually even the big boys will see the insanity of these patents of they feel the bite hard enough.

Patent Law? (2)

Shadyman (939863) | about a year and a half ago | (#41831515)

How long as Windows Phone 7 had tiles? (honest curiosity)

IANAL, but if it's been a while, one might assume that SurfCast has been sitting on the lawsuit, waiting for Microsoft to roll tiles out into more and more products so that they could reach a bigger settlement, though that might have to be weighed against the notion of "not defending one's patents".

Thoughts?

Re:Patent Law? (0, Troll)

Dog-Cow (21281) | about a year and a half ago | (#41831629)

If the patent is valid and not expired, it can be enforced. It does not matter when you become aware of the violation, nor how much time has elapsed between awareness and filing of a suit.

Re:Patent Law? (2)

Quanticfx (2443904) | about a year and a half ago | (#41831655)

That's the way I see this, WP7 has been out for quite a bit and only now they are filing the suit?

If MS violated the patent than SurfCast should certainly get some money out of them, but if I was the judge I'd have some questions as to why they filed now and not when the tile interface was first released in WP7.

I know next to nothing about court procedures or trials so I'm not even sure if that's within the judge's purview though.

Re:Patent Law? (1)

RaceProUK (1137575) | about a year and a half ago | (#41831713)

WP7 was released Feb 2010, and probably previewed in the months leading to that point.

Re:Patent Law? (1)

nonsequitor (893813) | about a year and a half ago | (#41831739)

Also not a lawyer, but I'm pretty sure defend it or lose it just applies to trademarks.

Re:Patent Law? (1)

HPXX (1189589) | about a year and a half ago | (#41831853)

Isn't this what usually happens? And yes, I think that is how they work. The companies holding the patents wait for the rivals to generate revenue and then enters the battleground in order to take a piece of the money through settlement.

I have not looked into it, but it sounds a lot like what happened between Seagate and STEC.

That's a new level of ugly (3, Interesting)

jader3rd (2222716) | about a year and a half ago | (#41831527)

I can see why SurfCasts tiles didn't take off. That's beyond ugly. Since Microsoft referenced SurfCasts patent in their patent, I suspect Microsoft determined that they were different enough to not require a licensing deal.
The Microsoft Live Tiles use data that's been curated for the purpose of a tile. SurfCasts is making little windows onto programs that have no idea their being ran in a little window.

Re:That's a new level of ugly (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41831705)

Doesn't matter, read the independent claims. They are broad enough to read on MS Tiles. However, MS can argue that their tiles update concurrently rather than simultaneously.

Re:That's a new level of ugly (1)

Microlith (54737) | about a year and a half ago | (#41832103)

Since Microsoft referenced SurfCasts patent in their patent, I suspect Microsoft determined that they were different enough to not require a licensing deal.

Precisely why software patents are a huge hazard. Even if you do a patent search and your lawyers say that you don't infringe on a patent, you can still be sued by the patent holder and be dragged through court to defend it.

Patent trolls suck but.... (-1, Troll)

DL117 (2138600) | about a year and a half ago | (#41831529)

I'm in favor of anything that harms Windows 8.

Re:Patent trolls suck but.... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41831617)

Scheudenfreude is not an admirable trait... hopefully you're not passing that on to children.

Re:Patent trolls suck but.... (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41831679)

Scheudenfreude is not an admirable trait... hopefully you're not passing that on to children.

Oh, but wouldn't it be just great if he did?

Re:Patent trolls suck but.... (0)

DL117 (2138600) | about a year and a half ago | (#41832195)

It's schadenfreude....if it makes Windows 8 harder to sell, then MS makes less money on it and might not force this bullshit on us all.

Re:Patent trolls suck but.... (1)

lilfields (961485) | about a year and a half ago | (#41831623)

Glad to see how level headed you are, patent trolls harm everyone.

Re:Patent trolls suck but.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41831645)

Why?

Re:Patent trolls suck but.... (1)

Joe U (443617) | about a year and a half ago | (#41831649)

You forgot the M$ in your quip.

Re:Patent trolls suck but.... (1)

Big Hairy Ian (1155547) | about a year and a half ago | (#41831675)

I'm in favor of anything that harms Windows 8.

You mean MS's least bloated OS in over a decade?

Are you sure?

Re:Patent trolls suck but.... (-1, Troll)

DL117 (2138600) | about a year and a half ago | (#41832011)

Who cares about bloat? Win 8 is a scheme against open computing, against consumer choice. It has a goddamn app store, for fucks sake.

Re:Patent trolls suck but.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41832399)

And yet I'm still able to install any software I want on it...

Re:Patent trolls suck but.... (1)

Nerdfest (867930) | about a year and a half ago | (#41832051)

Windows 7 + Metro = More bloated, in my opinion.

Re:Patent trolls suck but.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41831789)

Why?

Re:Patent trolls suck but.... (0)

DL117 (2138600) | about a year and a half ago | (#41832305)

Wow, did MS get sold a bunch of mod points?

Re:Patent trolls suck but.... (1)

galabar (518411) | about a year and a half ago | (#41832347)

I've never been overly positive or negative of Microsoft. However, having just installed Windows 8, I can say that it is seriously good. If that kills my geek street cred, then so be it. If you are worried about Windows 8, you should be. This is the first time I've really "liked" an operating system UI.

Merchandising is not engineering (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41831545)

I wish Congress would update the patent laws to expressly prohibit patents covering the presentation and packaging of products to the user which do not rely of fundamental scientific or engineering advances. These merchandising ideas are trendy and tend to occur to many product designers and marketers at about the same time, who employ them in mashup fashion along with a few ideas of their own. None of that should be patentable.

Xerox (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41831547)

Why doesn't Xerox just sue the crap out of everyone who sells "devices" that except user input and have a gui. Are they still around (outside the copier market)?

Re:Xerox (1)

Big Hairy Ian (1155547) | about a year and a half ago | (#41831597)

When apple sued MS in the 90's MS just turned around claiming prior art and pointed out Xerox among others.

Looks like... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41831555)

Windows to me.

Seriously?! (4, Insightful)

oPless (63249) | about a year and a half ago | (#41831587)

A computerized method of presenting information from a variety of sources on a display device. Specifically the present invention describes a graphical user interface for organizing the simultaneous display of information from a multitude of information sources. In particular, the present invention comprises a graphical user interface which organizes content from a variety of information sources into a grid of tiles, each of which can refresh its content independently of the others. The grid functionality manages the refresh rates of the multiple information sources. The present invention is intended to operate in a platform independent manner.

Seriously?

A) How was this even granted a patent in 2000? It's really obvious, to anyone with a computing degree.

B) How it wasn't picked up on a patent search.

C) Why didn't they sue two years ago when WP7 was released?

Software patents are fundamentally wrong :(

Re:Seriously?! (0)

c (8461) | about a year and a half ago | (#41831665)

> C) Why didn't they sue two years ago when WP7 was released?

Because nobody in their right mind wanted to buy a WP7 phone?

Re:Seriously?! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41831807)

Didn't they kinda forfeit this 'IP' when they did not sue over WP7?

Re:Seriously?! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41831857)

Because nobody in their right mind wants to buy a W8 phone?

Fixed

Re:Seriously?! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41831959)

Because nobody in their right mind wants to buy a W phone?

Fixed

Fixed, this time for realsies!

Re:Seriously?! (1)

tuppe666 (904118) | about a year and a half ago | (#41832401)

Because nobody in their right mind wants to buy a W8 phone?

Fixed

If only Microsoft had done that with their [that is right not your] phones Nokia would have been better off now.

Re:Seriously?! (1)

jeti (105266) | about a year and a half ago | (#41831993)

B) How it wasn't picked up on a patent search.

Microsoft has been aware of the patent. It's even referenced in Microsofts own patent on displaying tiles on mobile devices [uspto.gov] .

Software patents are fundamentally wrong :(

No kidding.

Re:Seriously?! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41832193)

And the patent explain the result of an idea but don't explicit the howto (algorithm).

It's like an Edison patent what ("some system to produce light") and not howto ("using carbon wire in empty glass contenant.").

Re:Seriously?! (2)

aliquis (678370) | about a year and a half ago | (#41832345)

Once I ran Winamp and Firefox in these things we call windows.

win big, buddy (0)

swschrad (312009) | about a year and a half ago | (#41831591)

time for Microsoft to admit they are not bigger than law, truth, and the American way.

Another point against software patents (1)

GeekWithAKnife (2717871) | about a year and a half ago | (#41831601)

I'm going out to patent a user interface with rounded tile corners. Also straighten circle angles and any sort of triangle in a GUI.

Re:Another point against software patents (2)

mfwitten (1906728) | about a year and a half ago | (#41831879)

"Software" patents aren't magical; it's just that a piece of software is a phenomenon in the Universe that can be constructed with little capital.

In the not so distant future, when everyone has access to cheap custom-fabrication machines and labor (for CPUs, metal parts, whole devices, whatever your mind can come up with), people like you will be saying: "Another point against <insert some type> patents!"

Hmmm... One purpose of the patent system is to protect the little guy from having his hard work stolen by those who already have the massive capital that is required to produce the idea as a product; perhaps the solution is to define a phenomenon as patentable based on the capital requirements for producing that phenomenon.

Re:Another point against software patents (2)

idontgno (624372) | about a year and a half ago | (#41832235)

Interesting. I'm trying to figure out if your idea would incentivize or disincentivize the already huge capital and market barriers to entry to new players in a system. Also, why I'm talking like a brain-damaged MBA when I'm supposed to be an engineer. Sigh. Intellectual property makes everyone stupid.

Andriod Widgets next? Or iOS notification nums? (1)

Zenin (266666) | about a year and a half ago | (#41831631)

How is this functionally any different then many Android Widgets? They often display partial information and are clickable to launch a full app?

Or iOS notification numbers, which display partial information about the app while also allowing you to use the icon as a selector?

Or Photoshop file icons, which show an icon version of the current state of the file while also allowing you to use the icon as a selector?

Re:Andriod Widgets next? Or iOS notification nums? (2)

timeOday (582209) | about a year and a half ago | (#41831749)

Actually I think the basic prior art here is "windowing." And I don't even mean Microsoft Windows; the basic idea of having multiple programs on the screen, all running concurrently but each using only part of the screen, was novel in the late 1960s. "Overlapping" windows, like MS Windows and everything since then, is actually a refinement of that concept. Emacs, for example, just partitions the screen into nested rectangles. Just like "tiles."

Re:Andriod Widgets next? Or iOS notification nums? (1)

Githaron (2462596) | about a year and a half ago | (#41832175)

Android widgets don't have to be tiles?

Uh oh should have used "concurrently" instead (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41831635)

In claim one, the word "simultaneously" will diminish their chances of winning.

Tiles vs Portlet? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41831639)

How are Tiles any different than a Portlet which exists in a Portal?

Just waiting... (1)

lilfields (961485) | about a year and a half ago | (#41831685)

I'm just waiting on someone to violate the patent I filed to put "images that represent programs or their activities" on "computing devices."

Surfcast's future (1)

zeroryoko1974 (2634611) | about a year and a half ago | (#41831701)

I see an out of court settlement, and then getting bought by Microsoft. Or put out of business and then Microsoft buys up the pieces.

Active Desktop (3, Informative)

Jason Levine (196982) | about a year and a half ago | (#41831773)

So the patent is for blocks of active information in boxes? Filed in 2000? Microsoft was doing this with Active Desktop back in 1997 and I'm sure they weren't the first.

In general... (1)

jlv (5619) | about a year and a half ago | (#41831781)

Software patents are BOGUS.

They forgot the XBox 360! (1)

Coldeagle (624205) | about a year and a half ago | (#41831787)

Wow they actually forgot to include the XBox 360's tile system which does the same thing...Still, I can't believe this kind of obvious stuff is still getting getting patented! "Box Ads" have been around for years, I'm shocked they're targeting Microsoft. Google would have made a much bigger target with Google IG, and Google has a lot more $$ than Microsoft at the moment. Also, this Patent was granted in 2004 and Google IG came along shortly there after (2006 or so?)...wow this is ridiculous.

How much is this prior art? (1)

serviscope_minor (664417) | about a year and a half ago | (#41831803)

The ICCCM (from 1985) specifies the icon_window field of the WM_HINTS property. This tells the windowmanager that an application won't display a static pixmap when iconified, it will instead be given a small window which it can animate.

xterm can do this.

Honeslty I haven't read the patent. I've read through about 3 or 4 software patents which have appeared on /. before. The language is dense, nearly impenetrable and horrible repetitive. Neverltheless, every patent I've read through which has appeared has turned out to be completely vapid. I'm fairly disinclined to read more carefully since it is very unrewarding.

Re:How much is this prior art? (2)

JaredOfEuropa (526365) | about a year and a half ago | (#41832133)

The language is dense, nearly impenetrable and horrible repetitive.

This is on purpose. Patent lawyers are like any other lawyer in that they want their little priesthood to remain protected. If anyone can draft and interpret a patent application, what need for their expensive services?

OT but along the same vein: when people complained about certain bits in the new EU "constitution", those bits were rewritten in horribly obfuscated language that boils down to more or less the same meaning. Another reason for using legalese.

Re:How much is this prior art? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41832217)

Prior art obviously don't count for shit in software.

No Xbox 360? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41831827)

They forgot to list Xbox 360 in their patent suit.

Re:No Xbox 360? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41831887)

Xbox 360 tiles aren't "live".

Re:No Xbox 360? (1)

Githaron (2462596) | about a year and a half ago | (#41832211)

What do you call the ad tiles then?

Figure 1 (1)

ChasmCoder (1818172) | about a year and a half ago | (#41831839)

Among other things, I find it humorous ( for some definition of humorous ) that in Figure 1 they show "Tiles" of Outlook Express and Explorer.

Re:Figure 1 (1)

tuppe666 (904118) | about a year and a half ago | (#41832375)

Among other things, I find it humorous ( for some definition of humorous ) that in Figure 1 they show "Tiles" of Outlook Express and Explorer.

From the document. (Page 33) "FIG 1 shows an illustrative configuration of the graphical user interface of the present invention. A grid 1 consisting of 3 by 3 matrix of nine tiles demonstrates some of the different contents that tiles can display. Tile 10 points to a database of stock quotes. Tile 20 displays active folders in an electronic mail utility. Tile 30 displays a position of an alphabetic list of quoted companies.Tiles 40,50,60,70 and 80 point to websites displaying, respectively, high technology news, electronic goods for sale, categories of business news, items available for auction and Wall Street Journal. Tile 90 points to the file-viewer of a windows-based operating system, such as Microsoft Windows, and displays the accessible disk drives"

What you are talking about are tiles 20/90 and I have to say there is nothing funny about it at all. In fact its a eerily similar to the default screen in windows 8.

Patent Wars = Reduced Profits (1)

lasermike026 (528051) | about a year and a half ago | (#41831865)

I get a kick out of these short sited corporations handing their profits to lawyers. Good luck with that. Fork war anyone?

Words words words... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41831929)

It seems to me we've gone into patenting words again. How is a "Tile" any different from a "Window"? How are any of these any different from a rectangle or a block or anything else. The only thing in this patent that gives it any credibility whatsoever is the grid layout concept, but I'm pretty sure most people do that at least twice a day with postit notes on a whiteboard.

The patent system has turned into a lottery. Think about it: You present a patent which covers X criteria, you pay for your ticket (e.g. filing), then if some company violates your patent you get a mega payout.

It just so happens this time the numbers were: "Tiles", "Grid", "Animated".

Fuck the US companies & patents (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41832091)

Patents for software are stupid. Kill yourselves!

Remember the good ole' days? (1)

sl4shd0rk (755837) | about a year and a half ago | (#41832163)

When Microsoft was the one doing the suing? Oy, the irony of being flogged with your own club.

Re:Remember the good ole' days? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41832393)

I don't see them bitching about it.
The only difference I noticed is here on Slashdot, there is are lot less anti-software-patent posts and a lot more "not a troll, this patent is valid" posts.

Forbidden from researching internall (1)

CokoBWare (584686) | about a year and a half ago | (#41832209)

MS employees are forbidden from researching other technologies and patents by other parties when "inventing" something. They build it straight-up, and if their invention collides with another invention that's patented, they have to sort it out through legal.

Likely the folks in MS who designed the Live Tiles didn't know StreamCast had a patent on this tech.

Prior art goes back hundreds of years ago (1)

jd659 (2730387) | about a year and a half ago | (#41832249)

If you have a clock on your desk -- this is your tile that updates automatically. If you have a calendar next to it -- it's a different tile that updates at different intervals. Glue them together and you have an interface with two tiles. Add a light switch -- and you have a control surface tile. Add a radio and you get a large tile that that "displays controls and emits sounds".

How can this be novel? Ah, it's for mobile!

Wii Channels (2)

Parker Lewis (999165) | about a year and a half ago | (#41832351)

To me, Tiles are more close to Wii Channels than Android Widgets, etc.

Patenting tiling window managers? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41832353)

Holy shit, america fuck yeah!

What about all those tiling window managers for Xorg? It means then when I use tiler on OpenMoko phone I am infringing SurfCast patents? What about systems like Oberon from 1985. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oberon_%28operating_system%29 Seriously no prior art? How shit this vague could even get patented?
Holy fuck USA. Fuck judge, jury, SurCast, Microsoft, US president, US government and mostly US patent office.

NeXTstep Preferences.app had a clock face (1)

WillAdams (45638) | about a year and a half ago | (#41832361)

in 1989, ~11 years before this patent was granted.

I call prior art.

William

The whole purpose of patents... (1)

TsuruchiBrian (2731979) | about a year and a half ago | (#41832403)

The only purpose of patents is to drive innovation by giving people a financial incentive. Things like drugs, which take decades of R&D and clinical trials, would not be possible without patents or some other way to make developing them profitable. Things like square UI gadgets on a phone should not be patentable. It's not like society would be denied the advent of squares if surfcast or microsoft hadn't researched squares.

There would be no problems with patents if we simply used them correctly and only allowed "true" (i.e. non-obvious and non-trivial) innovations to be patented, and even then adopting reasonable expiration times for patents. We are wasting a good chunk of our GDP litigating that could be spent innovating.

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