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Microsoft Pockets Patent for Encouraging TV Viewing

CowboyNeal posted about 10 years ago | from the you-know-you-want-to dept.

Patents 266

theodp writes "Through its WebTV unit, Microsoft was awarded a patent Tuesday for a system and method for encouraging viewers to watch television programs, such as offering viewers frequent-flier miles for identifying the name of a sponsor or the color of an announcer's shirt. In other news, Microsoft took a District Court to task for failing to recognize the existence of prior art for the Eolas web plug-in patent, resulting in a $521 million judgment against the software giant."

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Incentives?? (4, Insightful)

SIGALRM (784769) | about 10 years ago | (#9773960)

methods and apparatus for encouraging viewers to pay attention to television programs, commercials in particular, by offering viewers some incentive to watch
The best incentive would be decent programming.

One more reality show like "Wife Swapping" [] and I'm going to kill my TV...

Re:Incentives?? (4, Informative)

geminidomino (614729) | about 10 years ago | (#9773981)

One more reality show like "Wife Swapping" and I'm going to kill my TV..

Wasn't that originally done by Dave Chapelle as a SPOOF on reality TV? Ugh...

But don't kill your tv. Just cut your cable. If you kill your tv you lose your video games!

Re:Incentives?? (4, Funny)

shadowbearer (554144) | about 10 years ago | (#9774029)

But don't kill your tv.

Letting your tv die of terminal loneliness is much better. :)


Re:Incentives?? (1)

Hogwash McFly (678207) | about 10 years ago | (#9774050)

But don't kill your tv. Just cut your cable

I think the moral of the story here is 'Don't lose your TV, loose it!'

Yes, this is a dig at people who can't tell the difference between the two (worryingly many).

Re:Incentives?? (2, Informative)

Lord Kano (13027) | about 10 years ago | (#9774055)

Wasn't that originally done by Dave Chapelle as a SPOOF on reality TV? Ugh...

Sort of. Dave did a skit about a show called "Trading Spouses" and now Fox has created an actual show with the . []

I hope Dave Chappelle is getting some money out of it.


Re:Incentives?? (1)

cens0r (655208) | about 10 years ago | (#9774106)

Actually CBS (or ABC, I can't remember) created the show calling it the Swap. Fox heard about it and rushed to put the identical show out a few weeks before.

Re:Incentives??-Sorry bad tag last time (1)

Lord Kano (13027) | about 10 years ago | (#9774081)

Wasn't that originally done by Dave Chapelle as a SPOOF on reality TV? Ugh...

Sort of. Dave did a skit about a show called "Trading Spouses" and now Fox has created an actual show with the same title [] .

I hope Dave Chappelle is getting some money out of it.


Re:Incentives?? (1)

TheCyko1 (568452) | about 10 years ago | (#9774287)

It's Fox, they've already proven themselves as morons. What'd you expect? Only Fox can see something that's obviously satire and think it's a good idea. And of course cancel good shows in exchange for crap.

Re:Incentives?? (1)

gravyfaucet (759255) | about 10 years ago | (#9773989)

to the contrary, the shows getting the highest ratings suck. (IMH*O) *more correct than humble

Re:Incentives?? (2, Funny)

Hogwash McFly (678207) | about 10 years ago | (#9773991)

So you have Wife Swap now?

Can't you guys come up with your own programme ideas instead of constantly using ours? :-P

Of course not! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#9774034)

Why take the risk of being original when there is guaranteed money in ripping off?

Re:Incentives?? (1)

Lord Kano (13027) | about 10 years ago | (#9774159)

Can't you guys come up with your own programme ideas instead of constantly using ours? :-P

Well, the original spin that we put on these shows is that the people in them have nice teeth.


Re:Incentives?? (1)

ejaw5 (570071) | about 10 years ago | (#9774051)

I know I've seen this done before, although not as often on TV as radio. But I do remember the local FOX affiliate at one time having a call-in contest which required a clue that was given during a particular program.

It isn't much different than some radio contests. IE "Be the n-th caller when you hear the song SomeSongThatIsOnlyPlayedOnceToday between the hours a X and Y" That encourages people to listen to the radio all between X and Y hours.

Re:Incentives?? (1)

SquadBoy (167263) | about 10 years ago | (#9774168)

Cartoon shows did this all the time when I was a kid. MS is insane.

Re:Incentives?? (1)

AuMatar (183847) | about 10 years ago | (#9774244)

CHannel 13 (UPN) San Diego has something called a couch potato code. Go to their website, enter the code, you get some sort of points.

TV outright sucks (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#9774063)

I killed mine a couple of years ago. I have noticed effects on my social life. People will say something that is just slightly out-of-place, such as "can you hear me now?" and everyone else will start laughing for no apparent reason.

After it is explained to me, I still don't find it funny, however. More sheeplike than anything.

Anyway, just be prepared for the social ramifications....

Re:TV outright sucks (1)

SaDan (81097) | about 10 years ago | (#9774117)

Yeah... TV is definately taking up less and less of my time these days. Maybe half an hour a day on average.

Reality shows really need to go.

Help censor the Amercian press (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#9774110)

Support ethnic cleansing in Palestine and help censor the American press! []
If you are an US student we are recruiting active censorship drones [] to spy on fellow students, lecturers and guest speakers on behalf of the Israeli government.
We can stifle democratic thought and criticism of Israeli fascist oppression -But only with your help!

Free housing:In six short weeks we can show you how to build a rogue state [] by demolishing existing homes in Palestine [] and building new houses on top!
We are currently looking for experienced bulldozer drivers [] with a large western bank balance [] to emigrate to the expansionist state of Israel and call it home.
Simply choose a plot of land and start building! Its easy peesy!!
If your chosen plot is currently occupied by a Palestinian family, dont worry
-simply build over them! []
Its as easy peesy as eeny meeny miney mo!

We can protect your residential developments on occupied land with experienced snipers [] in full body armour and appropriately armed Apache helicopters [] kindly donated by the American public.
If you are a US citizen with a view to emigrating to warmer climes along the Med, you may also be eligible for a fraction of the 3,000,000,000 [] (yes thats 3 Billion!) dollars donated yearly by American taxpayers to support our broken-ass state.

Due to our endless appetite for weapons of mass destruction [] our economy is unsustainable and we require your support. WMDs don't come cheap you know. It costs $$$$$$s to terrorise a whole region.
Our military personnel can barely afford to maintain our arsenal of 200 nuclear weapons [] , spy satellites [] and attack submarines. []
Vacancies available:We are currently in construction [] of the world record breaking apartheid wall [] surrounding the largest ethic ghetto since Krakow.
The Israeli military is hiring expatriates preferably with a military background to monitor the prisoners [] and maintain watchtowers. If you are blinded by a covetousness of other peoples land, [] but have a keen eye with a sniper scope you would be the ideal candidate for our border watchtower division.
We need your help. Sponsor an Israeli colonizer today.If anybody criticises you, call them anti-Semitic.
It worked for the Liberty. []

fp (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#9773961)

gnaa fp by snuck

Re:fp (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#9773978)

i fail it hard.

fpfpfp (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#9773963)


So am I still allowed... (1)

djtripp (468558) | about 10 years ago | (#9773965)

to watch TV???? Or is watching subscriber based?

Prior art? (1)

Teddy Beartuzzi (727169) | about 10 years ago | (#9773970)

Tits and ass have been encouraging viewing for years.

Re:Prior art? (1)

Squareball (523165) | about 10 years ago | (#9773983)

Hence Baywatch

Re:Prior art? (1)

PapayaSF (721268) | about 10 years ago | (#9774007)

I'm certain I've heard of contests on old TV shows that use this sort of incentive. Someone with a knowledge of TV history should be able to point to prior art.

Re:Prior art? (1)

Gilmoure (18428) | about 10 years ago | (#9774037)

Dialing-For-Dollars? It was on back in the 60's and 70's.

Re:Prior art? (2, Insightful)

ZBM-2 (185783) | about 10 years ago | (#9774038)

What about contests? There have been plenty of TV show contests where you had to watch an episode,or even several,to find clues or code words or answer questions. Wouldn't that count?

Huh? (3, Insightful)

Tsali (594389) | about 10 years ago | (#9773974)

We actually need to encourage people to sit around and watch television? Come on....

Sedentary life is its own reward.

Re:Huh? (2, Funny)

zurab (188064) | about 10 years ago | (#9774215)

We actually need to encourage people to sit around and watch television? Come on....

I was wondering myself: Microsoft patents IE pop-ups on TV - does this count as "progress of science" or "useful arts?" Can someone patent a pop-up blocker for TV too? Ohhh, wait a minute, I'll be back...

Come on (1, Insightful)

pvt_medic (715692) | about 10 years ago | (#9773977)

ITs getting to a point that Microsoft is going to have a patent on everything. THis isnt a groundbreaking idea or concept, there needs to be reforms in how patents are given out. What next we going to see someone patent the idea of having an input device onto a computer?

Try this! (3, Funny)

T-Kir (597145) | about 10 years ago | (#9774021)

He he, it's about time they try and patent 'Dodgy Business Practices' and 'Being a Monopoly'...

At least they'll be part of the prior art on those points. Plus, If they did ever patent those, then they could sue any other company that misbehaves (almost like an immoral moral guardian).

Re:Try this! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#9774093)

In other words, they'd be their own grandpa?

Re:Come on (1)

Jane_Dozey (759010) | about 10 years ago | (#9774122)

Fine the patent office for every patent found to be a load of c**p. That way they'd start thinking twice about the more dodgy looking candidates.

Re:Come on (3, Insightful)

Metallic Matty (579124) | about 10 years ago | (#9774157)

"ITs getting to a point that Microsoft is going to have a patent on everything."

You think Microsoft has a lot of patents? Check out IBM.

I Don't Know ABout You (2, Insightful)

mboverload (657893) | about 10 years ago | (#9773985)

But this sounds like a great idea. When I watch comercials my brain just glazes over but with this it is active mental stimulation. Watch a commercial and get some miles? Pointless but its a REWARD, and everyone loves rewards no matter how useless or stupid they are.

I suppose to tred on the new MS patent... (0, Offtopic)

rusty0101 (565565) | about 10 years ago | (#9773987)

... I could offer to mod up responsed to people who come up with the most creative responses to AC's who begin their post's with "You're an idiot..." (or variations on the theme.)

So I shant...


Re:I suppose to tred on the new MS patent... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#9774218)

You're an idiot...

Oh. :)

Two words (1)

Gleenie (412916) | about 10 years ago | (#9773992)


What the hell next...?

Re:Two words (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#9774030)

Depending on how you count "OMG", that's either five or eight words. Seven or ten if you count "two words" in the title. Happy to help.

Re:Two words (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#9774074)

+1, owned.

Re:Two words (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#9774078)


What the hell next...?

People who can count?

Incentives to watch TV? (2, Funny)

L. VeGas (580015) | about 10 years ago | (#9773996)

We don't need no stinking incentives!

Average Bored Teenager

We award patents (or any type of award) for this? (1)

norminator (784674) | about 10 years ago | (#9773997)

Seems like they should be punished instead. As if we need to encourage people to sit on their duffs and watch the boob tube anymore than they already do. As it is, there's too many channels with nothing good on, and too many people sucking it all in.

So basically... (5, Funny)

Izago909 (637084) | about 10 years ago | (#9774000)

They are trying to play both sides of the field. To me, Microsoft is like watching the homeless guy down the street have an argument with himself. Very entertaining, but it's advisable to keep your distance.

The good old days (5, Insightful)

filtur (724994) | about 10 years ago | (#9774019)

I remember when good tv shows used to be the incentive to watch tv.

I call shenanigans! (3, Insightful)

DeepHurtn! (773713) | about 10 years ago | (#9774040)

When was TV anything else besides a barren wasteland of corporate-enforced mediocrity?

Re:I call shenanigans! (2, Insightful)

nyrk (779328) | about 10 years ago | (#9774086)

When PBS used to show real science shows NOVA, etc.

Re:I call shenanigans! (1)

ISPpfy (635928) | about 10 years ago | (#9774174)


The Cosby Show (1st version) when the kids were still young enough to be entertaining instead of annoying.

Re:I call shenanigans! (1)

DeepHurtn! (773713) | about 10 years ago | (#9774212)

Yes, there have been individual examples of decent shows, and there still are. But quality TV has always been the exception that proves the rule -- the vast majority of it is and always has been lowest-common-denominator pap.

Re:I call shenanigans! (1)

filtur (724994) | about 10 years ago | (#9774178)

The A-Team, Nuff said :)

Secret Message: (4, Informative)

Bingo Foo (179380) | about 10 years ago | (#9774024)

Lameness filter, here I come:


(please tell me someone get the reference.)

Come on, this kind of encouragement has been going on for DECADES.

Re:Secret Message: (3, Funny)

kfg (145172) | about 10 years ago | (#9774088)

Yes, it does indeed seem that MS has been granted a patent on the Captain Midnight secret decoder ring.


Re:Secret Message: (4, Funny)

ip_fired (730445) | about 10 years ago | (#9774105)

I'm not sure where you might have seen that, but it was in my Discrete Math book in the section about RSA encryption. :)

Re:Secret Message: (1)

n9uxu8 (729360) | about 10 years ago | (#9774137)

Little Orphan Annie would be so proud... Dave

Re:Secret Message: (1)

darth_MALL (657218) | about 10 years ago | (#9774142)

You'll shoot your eye out, kid! A Christmas Story :) []

a christmas story *NT* (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#9774144)


Re:Secret Message: (1)

lordkimbot (631248) | about 10 years ago | (#9774146)



Re:Secret Message: (4, Interesting)

poot_rootbeer (188613) | about 10 years ago | (#9774169)

Come on, this kind of encouragement has been going on for DECADES.

RTFP. No, just skimming the Abstract isn't sufficient.

The patent describes a fairly specific method of encouraging and measuring a viewer's attention to detail. It's not nearly as insidious as the impression one might get from reading nothing but a one-sentence summary of the patent.

This happens with every story about patents on Slashdor. Half the posts are "surely product X constitutes prior art, it's different in concept and implementation but a ten-word summary of it would be mostly the same", and the other half are jokes about patenting the practice of filing junk patents. And both halves are certain they have the answer for reforming the Patent OFfice, which is obviously broken and needs to be replaced because some guy on a web message board, with no formal experience in patent law, doesn't understand it.

I give up. I'm heading over to my Preferences page to filter out whatever category patent stories end up in.

Broadcast? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#9774025)

Looking at the claims they use the word "broadcast", could it be argued that if a signal over a cable system or satellite isn't a broadcast signal? If so that would definitly limit it to I think ABC,NBC,CBS,FOX,PBS.

Prior Art (1)

n6kuy (172098) | about 10 years ago | (#9774026)

Anyone remember "Dialing for Dollars"?

Re:Prior Art (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#9774166)

Get with the times. It should be VOIP for Google shares. w00t! Prior Art! :-P

This Just In! (0)

LabRat007 (765435) | about 10 years ago | (#9774044)

Microsoft has been issued a patent covering the act of patenting something.

But seriously folks, will the madness never end?

Hasnt Radio Been doing this... (1)

MrFlannel (762587) | about 10 years ago | (#9774046)

... for a while now? Sign up, listen for "passwords", turn in for points, redeem for prizes, yadda yadda yadda? Or does that not count because its not the television?

Re:Hasnt Radio Been doing this... (1)

Jane_Dozey (759010) | about 10 years ago | (#9774160)

I'm pretty sure kid's TV stations have been doing this for a very long time. Aswell as my local radio station ("The first person to call in when you hear this song wins the prize...").

Philip K DIck did it best (2, Informative)

DrSkwid (118965) | about 10 years ago | (#9774057)

From the bedroom Iran's voice came. "I can't stand TV before breakfast."

"Dial 888," Rick said as the set warmed. "The desire to watch TV, no matter what's on it."

"I don't feel like dialing anything at all now," Iran said.

"Then dial 3," he said.

"I can't dial a setting that stimulates my cerebral cortex into wanting to dial! If I don't want to dial, I don't want to dial that most of all, because then I will want to dial, and wanting to dial is right now the most alien drive I can imagine; I just want to sit here on the bed and stare at the floor."

Her voice had become sharp with overtones of bleakness as her soul congealed and she ceased to move, as the instinctive, omnipresent film of great weight, of an almost absolute inertia, settled over her."

Philip K. Dick - Do androids dream of electric sheep ?

The /. MS Icon... (0, Offtopic)

Donoho (788900) | about 10 years ago | (#9774058)

seems uncannily appropriate.

Where's the Beef? (0)

eamacnaghten (695001) | about 10 years ago | (#9774065)

This is ridiculous. Where is the beef in this? What exactly is the invention? It is like patenting the concept of advertising - or the concept of discounts ot bonuses. These are not inventions.

The USPO seem to be in the process of removing the freedoms of the US citizen that the constitution is designed to protect! I hope this silly patent frenzy is not exported any more to here in Europe, I hope the EU parliament will chuck out the concept of software/method patents (again).

TV for fools (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#9774070)

This time the bullet cold rocked ya
A yellow ribbon instead of a swastika
Nothin' proper about ya propaganda
Fools follow rules when the set commands ya
Said it was blue
When ya blood was read
That's how ya got a bullet blasted through ya head

Blasted through ya head
Blasted through ya head

what will the mass media think? (1)

sumdumass (711423) | about 10 years ago | (#9774085)

doesn't mass media do this with programs to encourage vewing? it would be interesting to find out how well they would be willing to pay microsoft a royalty for having a contest to watch a certain program for the hidden clue and then call the 900 number with the answer to the secret question. The 99th caler will wind a bycicle. I remeber stuff like this from way back in the 70's (due to my age) I also remeber getting forms and having to fill with stuff like this in order to enter a contest through the mail.

Maybe the inclusion of the internet is the big difference? Sometime you just have to wonder w ho was smoking what and why they won't share.

Monopoly (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#9774089)

The joys of being a Monopoly!

bad dog (0, Offtopic)

Alien Being (18488) | about 10 years ago | (#9774095)

They do this SHIT for the same reason a dog licks his balls. What we need is for someone to hit Bill Gates with a rolled-up newspaper.

Re:bad dog (1)

njfuzzy (734116) | about 10 years ago | (#9774145)

For those of you not yet getting this, that's:
Because They Can.

Re:bad dog (1)

poohsuntzu (753886) | about 10 years ago | (#9774258)

Funny, I could have sworn it was because they enjoyed the sensation of that contact, not just for the hell of it.

Local News... (3, Insightful)

changa (197280) | about 10 years ago | (#9774107)

I thought local shows have been doing this for years with contests?

"Just write down the the name of the visitor in today's show and send a postcard to Win a CAR P.O. blah blah..."

I seem to remember these as far back as the 80's.

That and local news pulling similar tricks to get you to watch.

skinner box (1)

ch-chuck (9622) | about 10 years ago | (#9774115)

if the consumer pushes the right buttons it gets a piece of cheese! Squeak!

Re:skinner box (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#9774242)

Not quite... It's a slightly less expensive piece of cheese.

Saturday Morning TV (2, Interesting)

Alaren (682568) | about 10 years ago | (#9774119)

I thought maybe this was another of those, "no, what Microsoft patented sounds obvious but really it's different..." But I followed the link and sure enough:

"For example, viewers who watch the commercial may be entered in a prize drawing..."

Apparently no one at the Patent Office ever watched Saturday Morning Cartoons. In the eighties particularly, but even today...

"Be sure to watch all morning long for the FoxBox secret codes! Collect them all and win a prize!"

I don't even see this as a borderline case. Saturday morning cartoons have had prior art on this patent since the seventies at least. The people at the patent office aren't just asleep at the wheel. They're dead, buried, and blindfolded in hell.

Re:Saturday Morning TV (1)

HermanZA (633358) | about 10 years ago | (#9774252)

To the patent office, the only prior art is prior patents. They do not look at anything else. Therefore, your example of 1970 TV cartoon competitions is not a concern to them, since it wasn't patented...

I just took the blue pill (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#9774120)

5mgs of Xanax, that is. I'm pro-patent (cause I have two pending), but this is truly whack.

Re:I just took the blue pill (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#9774200)

There's nothing wrong with patents aslong as your invention is something novel, non-trivial, and non-obvious.
I'm anti-software patent but I don't see much problem in actual, solid innovations getting patented. Good for you.

Arrrghhh IRONY! (1)

Richard W.M. Jones (591125) | about 10 years ago | (#9774121)

Isn't that supposed to be a British thing???


You have to admit it's innovative (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#9774128)

Well, you have to admit it's a pretty innovative idea: offering something to somebody, in order to get them to do something. Would someone trained in the art of getting people to do things, have ever thought of that?

Up next... (2, Funny)

ender1598 (266355) | about 10 years ago | (#9774130)

Patents encouraging people to:

Surf the internet
Go to school
Raise children
Listen to the radio
and to leave the toilet seat down when finished!

Re:Up next... (2, Insightful)

phiala (680649) | about 10 years ago | (#9774236)

and to leave the toilet seat down when finished!

You could make money off that one!

It's true? (1)

Nate B. (2907) | about 10 years ago | (#9774150)

I'm wondering, did I oversleep and it's really April 1? Nope, Firefox clock says its July 22, 2004.

How much more stupid of a patent can the USPTO grant? Surely they were laughing down there when they issued this one. I hope so at least.

TV vs CRT (1)

storem (117912) | about 10 years ago | (#9774172)

No time to watch TV. Must configure Linux box! Must configure Linux box!! Must configure Linux box!!!

TV Contests (1)

kooshvt (86122) | about 10 years ago | (#9774173)

This has been going on for years. Local television channels have you watch one program for a secret password and then later watch another program with the number to call and try and win some silly prize. It has been used on radio for many more years, as another poster pointer out the Christmas Story's Orphan Annie Secret Decoder Ring.

Positive Anger Management (2, Insightful)

pandrijeczko (588093) | about 10 years ago | (#9774179)

Let me make a suggestion to everyone out there in Slashdotland who uses a Microsoft product in any way.

Whether you love or hate Windows, whenever you read an article like this about more Microsoft stupidity, rather than venting your anger on your monitor or even on Slashdot, turn it into something positive & deny Microsoft just a little bit of the power they have over you.

No, I'm not talking about fdisk-ing your hard drive and diving manically for the nearest Linux distro - instead, have a scout round all your Windows applications and spend an hour or two downloading and playing with an Open Source or free equivalent application, just to see what that little bit of your life will be without Microsoft.

Take something simple, like the Notepad text editor. If you're feeling really brave, you could go try out Vim if you want to do vi-type editing in Windows, otherwise, go try Textpad++ for a more traditonal-style editor. (I won't put links here, just Google for them, you'll find them.) Spend a couple of hours just trying to wean yourself off that little piece of Microsoft dependency, you will feel better for it, believe me!

Others you could try are Thunderbird for email, Ethereal for network sniffing, Firefox as a web browser, Filezilla as an FTP client, ExactAudioCopy (with Lameenc) for ripping MP3s... the list is endless.

Just make sure you do something positive with your anger. It may well be that the day you ditch Windows is a long way off (perhaps never) but at least you'll feel a little more confident that if and when that day comes, you'll be just that one step closer to an easy transition.

Re:Positive Anger Management (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#9774214)

Hey that's a great idea!

I'm going to do that as soon as I finish watching this show. I don't know what it is, but if I watch and collect the codes, I can win a free Coke! AWESOME!!

It sounds more like they've patented,,, (1)

alex_ware (783764) | about 10 years ago | (#9774191)

the way teachers make kids watch the videoes at school: "encouraging viewers to pay attention to television programs,.....To verify that the viewer paid attention to the commercial, the answer to the question may be based on the content of the commercial. A sponsor might ask, for example, that the viewer identify the name of the sponsor or the color of an announcer's shirt"
the reward being not having to copy a transcript of the program at breaktime/lunch

prior art (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#9774194)

Heck, this has been going on in radio for the last 40 years at least. Isn't this obvious?

Prior arts? (1)

Eudial (590661) | about 10 years ago | (#9774199)

Would call prior arts =P

The Ultimate MS Patent (1)

spirit_fingers (777604) | about 10 years ago | (#9774210)

I dare them to patent the Blue Screen of Death. No wait... they'd probably charge a fee every time some old PIII running WinME crashes.

Yuo Fail I7 (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#9774221)

practical p0rposes, anotherq cunting

Incentive of a different sort (1)

raider_red (156642) | about 10 years ago | (#9774239)

Can I get frequent flyer miles if I trade in my TV? There's nothing good on, and I think it would be nice to go somewhere else.

Drat... (1)

SeaFox (739806) | about 10 years ago | (#9774250)

I have no incentive to continue my Hit-remote-button-get-a-piece-of-cheese machine.

Prior Art Exists.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#9774257)

Though I didn't RTFP, I do remember this sort of thing on the local Fox station... "watch Simpsons all this week, and if you see Bart skateboard along the bottom of the screen, call 1-800-... to win a free to trip to Hawaii"

Seems a little scary how Patent crazy people and corporations are getting considering how long those suckers last. I guess the cyberpunk movies and books were right... information is worth more than gold...

Public Domain?? (1)

John.P.Jones (601028) | about 10 years ago | (#9774259)

"The Viola browser is not the same as the 906 invention," said Trey Davis, UC's director of special projects and new media. "Neither browser was in the public domain, so neither can invalidate the 906 invention."
Wait a darn minute...

According to Wikpedia...

Prior art is all information that has been disclosed to the public in any form before a given date.
So where does Trey Davis get off talking about public domain (a MUCH stronger burdern than necessary)???

Oops I am an employee of the University of California, I retract this post =)

I've just patented... (1)

pandrijeczko (588093) | about 10 years ago | (#9774271) CEOs (with far too much money and too little common sense) a good thump.

My patent is free to use by all as long as I can hold them down while you do the thumping.

The only exceptions are Gates, Ballmer, McBride & Fiorina where I get to poke them each in the eye once halfway during the thumping session.

Prior Art (1)

mrmike37 (673587) | about 10 years ago | (#9774277)

Prior Art:
Radio Stations that have contests for remembering the last X songs.
Radio Stations that have give-aways for those who register, and have to listen to hear their name called.
TV Shows that allow you to play along at home and win prizes.

This is hardly new or even novel.
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