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Google Patents Displaying Athletes On Sports Fields

timothy posted about a year ago | from the all-an-elaborate-joke dept.

Google 52

theodp writes "Just about anyone that's familiar with sports has seen position and depth charts, in which athletes are portrayed on the athletic fields their sport is played on. But that didn't stop Google from asking for — and the USPTO granting — a patent on displaying pictures of athletes on the fields on which their sport is played, or in legal-speak, its Method, System, and Graphical User Interface for Personalized Online Sports Team Charts. 'One aspect of the invention,' explains Google, 'involves a graphical user interface on a computer that includes a graphic of an athletic playing field or a portion thereof, and a plurality of player positions on the athletic field. At least some of the player positions contain thumbnail images selected by a first user. The thumbnail images provide links to corresponding profiles in an online social network.' Six Googlers, including Orkut Buyukkokten, were credited as inventors in the 2007 patent application."

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Ambiguous summary (1)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about a year ago | (#44270665)

I was wondering for a while why a software tech giant, of all companies, would file patent applications with sport-themed pictures.

Crap... (1)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about a year ago | (#44270667)

That should have been "Ambiguous headline", of course.

Re:Ambiguous summary (2)

JustOK (667959) | about a year ago | (#44270965)

There's prior art. If had said "on a computer", you'd be RICH!

Re:Ambiguous summary (1)

Ultracrepidarian (576183) | about a year ago | (#44271073)

I'm going to file for a fortune cookie that ends with "in bed".

Re:Ambiguous summary (1)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | about a year ago | (#44271247)

Then I'm filing for the funnier "except in bed".

Re:Ambiguous summary (2, Funny)

Belial6 (794905) | about a year ago | (#44271301)

"except in bed" already ends in "in bed".

Re:Ambiguous summary (1)

maxwell demon (590494) | about a year ago | (#44272461)

It surely would not be the first patent which depends on another one.

Fuck this world and the IP junta (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44270709)

The only way to win is not to play (by their rules).

I'm going to decide on my own which patents merit respect and which don't, and infringe and infringe and infringe....

Re:Fuck this world and the IP junta (1)

RaceProUK (1137575) | about a year ago | (#44282849)

The only way to win is not to play (by their rules).

I'm going to decide on my own which patents merit respect and which don't, and infringe and infringe and infringe....

... resulting in filing for bankruptcy within a couple of years.

Abuse of the patent system!!! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44270731)

Come on fucks. Let's hear it now that it's Google. LET'S HEAR YOU DISCONTENT WITH CORPORATIONS YOU HYPOCRITICAL BITCHES! Come on fucks. Let's hear it now that it's Google. Come on fucks. Let's hear it now that it's Google. Come on fucks. Let's hear it now that it's Google. Come on fucks. Let's hear it now that it's Google.

Re:Abuse of the patent system!!! (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44270779)

Holy shit man what happened to you, it sounds like someone shit in your Wheaties.

Protip: Do not eat Wheaties after someone shits in them.

ridonklous (0)

ed_anger (2982749) | about a year ago | (#44270747)

I am patenting these things called "words" that may be combined to form "sentences" and I expect all of you to be paying me if you are infringing on my patent.

Re:ridonklous (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44276425)

That's ok, with today's education system, you won't have to worry about anyone violating your patent on complete or intelligible sentences. Oops, did I just violate it?

Derivative work (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44270753)

I'm going to patent it for rounded athletes.

Re:Derivative work (1)

Saithe (982049) | about a year ago | (#44271417)

Oh come on, this is comedy gold, mod parent up :)

Fantasy Sports? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44270785)

Based on this phrase in the title - Personalized Online Sports Team Charts - it sounds like they might be making a move into fantasy sports. This would be a way to see your team, instead of as just a list. Taking on Yahoo Fantasy Sports, perhaps?

Slashdot Patent Fail 69105 (4, Informative)

the eric conspiracy (20178) | about a year ago | (#44270809)

The article is wrong.

This is what Google patented:

1. A graphical user interface on a computer having one or more processors and memory storing one or more programs that when executed by the one or more processors generate the graphical user interface on a display device of the computer, the graphical user interface comprising: a graphic of an athletic playing field or a portion thereof, and a plurality of player positions on the athletic playing field, wherein at least some of the player positions have superimposed thereon thumbnail images selected by a first user, and wherein the thumbnail images provide links which, when selected by a user, provide access to corresponding profiles in an online social network, and wherein the athletic playing field graphic and the plurality of player positions containing thumbnail images selected by the first user are viewable by a second user who accesses a page corresponding to the first user, and wherein the first user and second user are both members of a same online social network.

In other words it's images of athletes linked in a particular way to via a social network.

Re:Slashdot Patent Fail 69105 (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44270861)

Yeah make excuses for your little pet multi-death corporation. Goose step high for der fuhrer google! Sieg Hail!

Re:Slashdot Patent Fail 69105 (0)

Teancum (67324) | about a year ago | (#44270939)

You obviously didn't read a single thing written by eric, and simultaneously invoked the Godwin principle. Way to go!

Re:Slashdot Patent Fail 69105 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44271281)

Its just an Apple-ite who cant stand hearing the word "Google".

I believe its a Pavlovian response, someone says Google and the rage comes forth like slobber from a hound dog at dinner time.

Re:Slashdot Patent Fail 69105 (1)

ahabswhale (1189519) | about a year ago | (#44271485)

I just figured he was another dipshit AC. You know... like you.

Re:Slashdot Patent Fail 69105 (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44270871)

In other words it's images of athletes linked in a particular way to via a social network.

It's far from obvious what Google is claiming based on that paragraph. Do these social profile networks have anything to do with the athlete, or are they avatars for 'friends' of the user? Why does the fact that they are adding the linking a capability to a diagramming convention commonly seen broadcast sports make this a patentable invention? If the linking itself is novel, then why is the invention purportedly about pictures of athletes?

They can go shove this patent in a plurality of the Google employees' arses where it belongs.

Re:Slashdot Patent Fail 69105 (1)

CrankyFool (680025) | about a year ago | (#44271133)

If I read this correctly, this doesn't actually have anything with pictures of athletes. They talk about a picture of a playing field, and "a plurality of player positions on the athletic playing field," but the only person pictures they refer to are thumbnails chosen by the user of their connections in a given social network (and the ability of someone else to see it).

Re:Slashdot Patent Fail 69105 (1)

Zordak (123132) | about a year ago | (#44271207)

In other words it's images of athletes linked in a particular way to via a social network.

It's far from obvious what Google is claiming based on that paragraph. Do these social profile networks have anything to do with the athlete, or are they avatars for 'friends' of the user? Why does the fact that they are adding the linking a capability to a diagramming convention commonly seen broadcast sports make this a patentable invention? If the linking itself is novel, then why is the invention purportedly about pictures of athletes?

They can go shove this patent in a plurality of the Google employees' arses where it belongs.

The links have to correspond to profiles in an online social network. The thumbnails are selected by a first user who is in the same social network as a second user, and the second user can see the thumbnails selected by the first user. It doesn't matter whether the thumbnails link to profiles about the athletes. They could just as well link to pages for friends (like some kind of fantasy sports league).

Re:Slashdot Patent Fail 69105 (5, Funny)

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) | about a year ago | (#44270899)

In other words it's images of athletes linked in a particular way to via a social network.

Haven't porn sites been doing this already for years?

Their definitions of "athletes", "playing field" and "player positions" are just a bit different . . .

Re:Slashdot Patent Fail 69105 (1)

Teancum (67324) | about a year ago | (#44270931)

In other words it's images of athletes linked in a particular way to via a social network.

Haven't porn sites been doing this already for years?

Their definitions of "athletes", "playing field" and "player positions" are just a bit different . . .

That is just another sport played on (usually) an indoor field. Why else do you think Sports Illustrated puts out their swimsuit issue?

Re:Slashdot Patent Fail 69105 (1)

Teancum (67324) | about a year ago | (#44270971)

I suppose this prevents people from playing Facebook games with sports-related themes where FB avatar images and names show up on the screen or having those sports related games link to user profiles.

I can see how this might be of interest to the people who run Google-plus. I am trying to see how this is non-obvious though. It would really surprise me that there is no prior art.

Re:Slashdot Patent Fail 69105 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44271203)

In other words, its panoramio for the field of play instead of earth? How is this not obvious?

Re:Slashdot Patent Fail 69105 (1)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | about a year ago | (#44271255)

So in the near future when people watch sporting events on a tablet in their laps, live, they can just touch on the athlete and pull up this or that link, I suppose.

Funny, I thought dynamic tagging like that had already been invented.

Re:Slashdot Patent Fail 69105 (2)

Dachannien (617929) | about a year ago | (#44272015)

The most hilarious thing about TFS was the part where he says, "or, in legal-speak," and then quotes from the part of the patent that arguably has the least impact on claim scope.

Re:Slashdot Patent Fail 69105 (1)

serviscope_minor (664417) | about a year ago | (#44275569)

Often the articles are a bit wrong about the patents. The thing they are -never- wrong about is the utter crapness of the patent. This is no exception.

In other words it's images of athletes linked in a particular way to via a social network.

Ah! Social Networks! The new o the internet/on a computer/on a steam engine.

AR systems have been adding accessible URLs to augmentations for ages. The fact that it it linked into a social network or profile or whatever is really not new in any way. If it's not even augmentations, then it's just a GUI with links.

But if they're of SPORTS PLAYERS linking to SOCIAL NETWORKS then it's special and needs patenting.

In other words it's images of athletes linked in a particular way to via a social network.

i.e. <a href="..."><image src="http://arsebook.com/..."></a>

But you see... (4, Funny)

scotts13 (1371443) | about a year ago | (#44270819)

The pictures will contain links, which means it's ON A COMPUTER - which as we all know makes it inherently patentable.

Re:But you see... (1)

serviscope_minor (664417) | about a year ago | (#44275583)

ON A COMPUTER

I know I'm new hear abut clearly you dodn't RTFA.

It's not on a computer, fool, it's on a social network which makes it... uh... um... er... patentable?

On-line depth charts with photos (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44270831)

On mlb.com.

Yankees [mlb.com]
St Louis Cardinals [mlb.com]
Dodgers [mlb.com]

etc.

Of course, Google can say that the patent was filed in 2007. But this is one of the problems with these patents. What they're claiming is obvious, but by the time the patent is granted, everyone has to scramble to prove that prior art existed many years ago, which can be very inconvenient. And of course, that's one of the things the patent hoarding companies are banking on.

Re:On-line depth charts with photos (1)

theodp (442580) | about a year ago | (#44277985)

Spot-on examples!

What we need (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44270837)

What we desperately need is some new group that monitors the patent orifice (I hesitate to call it an office considering what they have been putting out recently) like the Electronic Freedom Foundation does for Internet rights. It would be tasked with taking the USPTO to court to present "overlooked" prior art and otherwise invalidate such ridiculous patents before they become part of a patent troll's arsenal. I would also suggest a hefty fine be imposed against the personal assets of the patent examiner that approved it, this is needed to supply an incentive for other patent examiners to actually do their homework before rubber stamping corporate patents that should never exist.

Ah, no worries. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44270845)

It is just some social-connected trash that will never be used by anyone anyway.
You can still make your fantasy football games or whatever else.
Still, fuck you Google even then.

They are becoming the next Microsoft, while Microsoft become the next... uh... grave filler? They'll kill themselves sooner or later at the rate they are going.
"Hey, let's shaft our major business users and focus on morons that only buy cheap worthless apps and pictures to use in said apps, yeeaaaah, best idea ever." -Steve Ballmer, on... last week or something, whenever that conference was.
'Hardware and Services' Microsoft will get Steve Ballmer chucked out the company. I can assure you.

Can I patent the (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44271001)

Do No Evil on a Compter?

Oh silly me, Google took that one years ago. Sad that they don't abide by it any longer....

WGN likey has old broadcast of cubs games that (1)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | about a year ago | (#44270869)

pre date this by years. But then you need to view years of shit baseball as well.

Prior Art: Me? (3, Interesting)

InfinityWpi (175421) | about a year ago | (#44271003)

Christ, I did this for a startup back in 2000. You've got to be freakin' kidding me. It's not even an invention! It's a way of doing things! Just because it's done on a screen doesn't make it brand new!

Re:Prior Art: Me? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44271131)

Unless you have an extra few million$ for attorney fees to fight your case?
Just bend over and say it was their idea and move along.

Re:Prior Art: Me? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44272519)

Every developer has had that moment of "But I invented it first!" more than once. In fact, if it hasn't happened at least once or twice a year, you're not really doing a good job at being innovative. The difference here is that they have lawyers working on salary and you have nothing. I've created social networks and apps during R&D that were flikr, groupon, foursquare, that coursera website that tracks your progress in a mindmap, and a few other things... If I had gone with these ideas and got up and found the right people I could have easily made billions. But I didn't, and while it was depressing at first, I've realized that it's just how I am. I can create things that are ahead of its time, sometimes by 10 years, but I can't get myself to get up and find whomever I need to get these things done and make it profitable. These "R&D" projects to me were mostly just out of practice and to see where they go. It's not a big deal, life is just that way and if you have a problem with that then on your next great idea go out and patent it and make a killing.

Re:Prior Art: Me? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44274637)

even more pathetic the morons in the patent office will grant this idiotic patent..

Madden? (2)

gallen1234 (565989) | about a year ago | (#44271265)

I'll admit up front that I haven't read the article but, based just on,

"'involves a graphical user interface on a computer that includes a graphic of an athletic playing field or a portion thereof, and a plurality of player positions on the athletic field. At least some of the player positions contain thumbnail images selected by a first user."

isn't this Madden NFL?

More Prior Art? (1)

CaptainOfSpray (1229754) | about a year ago | (#44271661)

Pretty sure IBM was doing stuff like this for Wimbledon on the BBC 20 years back...Can anyone else remember what Wimbledon broadcasts looked like? My memory glitches a lot these days...need more parity checking...or less alcohol...

Re:More Prior Art? (1)

ikaruga (2725453) | about a year ago | (#44274671)

I'm not sure if that really counts as prior art, but another Lab(sorry Japanese only, but with pictures) [kameda-lab.org] from the university I graduated from already had a system that displayed both 2D and 3D sprites of real players on soccer field in real time on a interactive 3D soccer field with tons of real time information about them. They also had tons of similar systems not only for soccer and sports but also classrooms, training facilities, theaters etc. And that was like, 2005, back when I was in my first semester of the Bachelor course.
I guess using a profile thumbnail instead of a 3D model is innovation.

Prior Art is Old Fashioned and (1)

fullback (968784) | about a year ago | (#44272023)

the U.S. patent process has become a farce, backed up with a cartoon-like court in eastern Texas.

Once more, with feeling (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44272085)

For what seems like the thousandth time, let's try to get this into our heads:

A patent on a process *involving* something is *not* a patent on that thing.

A patent on a process that involves a wheel is not a patent on a wheel.

A patent on a process that involves two things is not a patent on the number two.

Google is not patenting putting pictures of athletes of playing fields. They are patenting a rather
involved networking application that happens, like many other applications, to incorporate
such an element.

The USPTO is not totally ignorant of patent law. However, many Slashdot submitters and posters are.

Re:Once more, with feeling (1)

Shavano (2541114) | about a year ago | (#44273315)

In what way is this different than a MPORG, such as Call of Duty or World of Warcraft?

F**king obvious (1)

MrL0G1C (867445) | about a year ago | (#44275781)

This is not an invention, it's simply doing something, there's nothing whatsoever clever about it.

An invention is supposed to be a non-obvious (to those in the relevant profession) way of getting something done. This clearly does not meet that criteria.

Post also applies to most other software patents.

Does Google initiate frivolous lawsuits? (1)

walterbyrd (182728) | about a year ago | (#44276211)

I cannot think of any. As such, it's hard for me to condemn Google for filing frivolous patents for self defense.

I feel certain that MS, Apple, and Oracle have been conspiring against Google with frivolous patent lawsuits.

Idea for patent troll corporations (1)

eyenot (102141) | about a year ago | (#44277793)

Whoever can patent firing a gun at your own skull first, wins. The trick is to show prior art, so hurry before you opponent gets it done.

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