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Microsoft's 'IsNot' Patent Continued...

CmdrTaco posted more than 9 years ago | from the but-don't-worry-it's-only-for-basic dept.

Microsoft 566

An anonymous reader writes " According to the patent application--filed in mid-November by Paul Vick, lead architect for Visual Basic .Net at Microsoft; Amanda Silver, a program manager on the Visual Basic team; and an individual in Bellevue, Wash., named Costica Barsan--the IsNot operator is described as a single operator that allows a comparison of two variables to determine if the two point to the same location in memory." This article continues the tale started last november, and here is an eWeek story on the same subject.

cancel ×

566 comments

Oh please! (5, Insightful)

BWJones (18351) | more than 9 years ago | (#11743621)

the IsNot operator is described as a single operator that allows a comparison of two variables to determine if the two point to the same location in memory.

Oh please. I remember our programming instructor in sixth grade teaching us about this logic operator is BASIC. This is simply an effort (albeit transparent) for Microsoft to continue to duplicate pre-existing code for Microsoft specific code to ensure that programs written with Microsoft specific tools will maintain future market share for the company. In other words, the creation of a Microsoft specific "equals" means that code years down the road will require Microsoft specific tools to edit/change/run this code. I call shenanigans! This is not innovation in any technical sense and indeed is not even innovation in a business sense.

Re:Oh please! (4, Insightful)

luvirini (753157) | more than 9 years ago | (#11743638)

But it application of a basic law of monopolies: Lock in customers.

Re:Oh please! (4, Insightful)

ravenspear (756059) | more than 9 years ago | (#11743645)

This is not innovation in any technical sense and indeed is not even innovation in a business sense.

On the contrary, it seems that being able to slip surious patents through the system is an important business skill these days. If something isn't done to clean up the USPTO it might even become an essential skill for any business's survival.

Re:Oh please! (4, Insightful)

luvirini (753157) | more than 9 years ago | (#11743661)

The business plan of this decade:
1) Find something that is well known and patent it.
2) Sue some big company for using your patent.

Re:Oh please! (2, Insightful)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 9 years ago | (#11743704)

You forgot:
3) ???
4) Profit!

Where '???' probably involves ensuring you can pay at least as much for your lawyers as the big company you sued.

Re:Oh please! (2, Insightful)

luvirini (753157) | more than 9 years ago | (#11743729)

BayStar Capital anyone?

Re:Oh please! (1)

gl4ss (559668) | more than 9 years ago | (#11743715)

yes but it's done so much that you can hardly call yourself innovative if you do it.

Re:Oh please! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11743728)

Possibly mallicious, file lots of completely garbage patents so that the pile of patents which would have to be dug though by anyone wanting to clear it up would be virutally impossible?

Re:Oh please! (-1, Redundant)

Shambhu (198415) | more than 9 years ago | (#11743809)

You've found the solution to this whole mess! Quick! Somebody file a patent on the business process of filing bad patent applications. Then they can sue anyone else who tries it.

No "Step 3: ???" here, baby. It's pure PROFIT!!

Re:Oh please! (3, Insightful)

BradleyUffner (103496) | more than 9 years ago | (#11743662)

"IsNot" is different from "Not equal to"

Re:Oh please! (5, Insightful)

ArsenneLupin (766289) | more than 9 years ago | (#11743690)

"IsNot" is different from "Not equal to"

But it is the same as "Not equal to" applied to the address of the variable:

a isNot b
is equivalent to:
&a != &b

So, it's still a pretty trivial concept...

It depends ... (3, Funny)

kkovach (267551) | more than 9 years ago | (#11743850)

... on what your definition of the operator isNot, is. :-)

- Kevin

Re:Oh please! (5, Informative)

WillerZ (814133) | more than 9 years ago | (#11743851)

The IsNot operator described in the patent also differentiates between objects with the same address in different memory spaces. They mentioned running a cluster-aware program which could manage objects on multiple machines simultaneously.

So, it's equivalent to:

((&a != &b) && (a.host != b.host))

Which is yet more complex but still not worth patenting a simplification on.

Re: Oh please! (4, Informative)

Black Parrot (19622) | more than 9 years ago | (#11743862)


> But it is the same as "Not equal to" applied to the address of the variable [...] So, it's still a pretty trivial concept...

There's also single-operator prior art in the Scheme neq? operator.
(I don't know whether it's standard, but it is provided by some interpreters.)

Re:Oh please! (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11743763)

"IsNot" is different from "Not equal to"

Actually, depends on your point of view. If I have a pointer A to an object, and a pointer B to an object, then IsNot is simply doing A != B or in VB terms, A B, if we treat A and B as pointers.

Since in object oriented stuff, A and B are references, then equals (and != and ) is an overloaded operator that would, if implemented, return True if the contents of the two referenced objects were equal.

But you can still do IsNot with a != operator - you just have to be careful what you're testing the equality of.

You would think this would apply to Java and Modulo-3 as well... but I don't know them very well. If it existed in those languages, it would be prior art. But so would the fact that someone could write this little routine in their VB app:

Function IsNot(A As Object, B As Object) As Boolean
IsNot = Not A Is B
End Function

Re:Oh please! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11743803)

Actually in java, since it doesn't support operator overloading, if you use the "!=" operator on any two objects you get exactly the IsNot behavior being discussed. That is it tests for pointer equality. IANA(patent)L so I can't say if this constitutes prior art though.

Re:Oh please! (5, Informative)

janoc (699997) | more than 9 years ago | (#11743844)

Well all LISP variants have at least four comparison predicates (and LISP predates Visual Basic by ages):

From Lisp primer [iu.edu] :

= (= x y) is true if and only x and y are numerically equal.

equal As a rule of thumb, (equal x y) is true if their printed representations are the same (i.e. if they look the same when printed). Strictly, x and y are equal if and only if they are structurally isomorphic, but for present purposes, the rule of thumb is sufficient.

eq (eq x y) is true if and only if they are the same object (in most cases, this means the same object in memory).

eql (eql x y) is true if and only if they are either eq or they are numbers of the same type and value.

So what Microsoft is trying to patent is known in LISP as (not (eq a b)) for a long time already :(

Re:Oh please! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11743783)

"IsNot" is a subclass of "Not equal to"

Re:Oh please! (2, Informative)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 9 years ago | (#11743845)

Depends on your language. In a language like Java, all object variables are references, so saying Object1 != Object2 is asking if both variable point to the same object. The same is true in Objective-C, where all object variables are pointers. In these languages, you need to invoke a method defined in the object itself to compare objects by value.

Re:Oh please! (5, Funny)

shenanigans (742403) | more than 9 years ago | (#11743731)

In other words, the creation of a Microsoft specific "equals" means that code years down the road will require Microsoft specific tools to edit/change/run this code. I call shenanigans!

Well I can't help you. Stop calling me!

Re:Oh please! (3, Informative)

berglin (846569) | more than 9 years ago | (#11743746)

> I remember our programming instructor in sixth grade teaching us about this logic operator is BASIC.

Actually, it's not the same operator.

They're talking about creating an operator that can say if two objects are the EXACT same object or not.

In C++ terms this is the equivalent of doing *ptr != *ptr (!=) vs. ptr != ptr (IsNot).
As you all know, int a = 1 and int b = 1 does mean that &a != &b whereas it does not mean that a != b.

So, basically they're trying to patent a new keyword with new functionality in all BASIC-related languages, effectively locking all companies that provide BASIC-interpreters out because they can't provide this functionality.

Re:Oh please! (1)

BorgDrone (64343) | more than 9 years ago | (#11743789)

They're talking about creating an operator that can say if two objects are the EXACT same object or not.
That's basically what == does in java if you apply it to objects.
If you want to compare contents you use the equals() method.

Re:Oh please! (1)

erick99 (743982) | more than 9 years ago | (#11743756)

".....added that neither Microsoft nor anyone else "should be able to patent obvious, fundamental programming operations."

Somehow I think Microsoft is well aware of this but they do just love the gray areas no matter how light the hue. They have little to lose by going for the patent, little to lose if they are unsuccessful and a lot to gain in they win. It's just a cost of doing business, to overwork a cliche.

Re:Oh please! (1)

dacaldar (614951) | more than 9 years ago | (#11743786)

> I call shenanigans!

People of Microsoft.... Do you accept this declaration of shenanigans?
...
Alright everybody, it's shenanigans. Get your brooms!

Re:Oh please! (0)

Procrastin8er (791570) | more than 9 years ago | (#11743838)

On the same note I am currently applying for a patent on the passing of urine through the penis. Pretty ground breaking stuff.

PATENT MY CACK (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11743626)

But.. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11743628)

The GNAA owns you.

I am drunk, areems fails.

so Microsoft is not patented? (1)

coolcold (805170) | more than 9 years ago | (#11743629)

I better go and patent it now

Re:is not (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11743660)

is too!

is not!

is too!

hey, this gives me an idea...if two variables are equal in value, then I can invent an new keyword, the "ISTOO" relational operator! I'll copyright/patent/trademark it right away and make millions (billions!?). Why heck, I could probably sue M$ for the use of the equal sign operator...obviously it infringes on my idea.

isNot isNot patentable (1)

essreenim (647659) | more than 9 years ago | (#11743732)

Ok, Bill prove its patentable using _ONLY_ the isNot operator:

isNOt isNot isNOTTTTTTTTTTTTTTT, Agh.

101101 + basic context (4, Funny)

Council (514577) | more than 9 years ago | (#11743634)

So what's the smallest pattern of bits that Microsoft can fairly claim to hold a patent on?

Re:101101 + basic context (2, Funny)

gmuslera (3436) | more than 9 years ago | (#11743671)

So what's the smallest pattern of bits that Microsoft can fairly claim to hold a patent on?

Hey, they could patent 0 and 1, and anything derived from there could be covered by that patent.

Re:101101 + basic context (2, Funny)

kaellinn18 (707759) | more than 9 years ago | (#11743689)

I'm sorry, everyone... it's too late [funehumor.com] .

Re:101101 + basic context (0)

RoceKiller (699407) | more than 9 years ago | (#11743736)

1? Oh, sorry. You said fairly, I read "can somehow manage to get a patent on"

In other news, English patented by MS (2, Funny)

IdleTime (561841) | more than 9 years ago | (#11743641)

We will all have to pay royalties to MS when using the English language. The fees are based on Scrabble's point system, with 1 cent per point. Pls. sign up at www.microsoft.com with your bank-account or credit card information and will send you our patented verbal-word-counter to be attached to your brain.

Thinking the words are discounted at 10% over spoken words!

Re:In other news, English patented by MS (1)

earthman (12244) | more than 9 years ago | (#11743691)

Now would be a great time to switch over to Esperanto.

Re:In other news, English patented by MS (3, Informative)

gowen (141411) | more than 9 years ago | (#11743720)

The fees are based on Scrabble's point system, with 1 cent per point.
So that's why the cheat code in MS Minesweeper is "XYZZY". [gamespy.com] They're working on the principle that people won't share information that costs the $0.36 for everyone they tell.

Re:In other news, English patented by MS (1)

Redwin (805980) | more than 9 years ago | (#11743828)

So people thinking in real UK English instead of Microsoft US English are still safe, thats good to hear. :-)

Also today... (4, Funny)

Thyamine (531612) | more than 9 years ago | (#11743648)

MS announced today their plans to patent the string object, the ampersand, coffee, comfy chairs, and the letter 'T'.

Actually.... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11743699)

and the letter 'T'.

Sesame Street beat Micro$haft to the punch on that one.

Uh, oh. (5, Funny)

WebMasterJoe (253077) | more than 9 years ago | (#11743651)

I'd better finish filing out my patent application for "Is" before MS finds out. It's pretty brilliant, if I do say so. "Is" compares two pointers and returns "true" if they contain the same value.

Re:Uh, oh. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11743680)

Wasn't that covered by Bill Clinton with ambiguaty of the meaning of "is"? Oh yeah, that wasn't patent office, that was under oath in court.

Re:Uh, oh. (1)

phoenix321 (734987) | more than 9 years ago | (#11743735)

German ex-monopolist Deutsche Telekom already copyrighted that "T" and the color "magenta". And won lawsuits defending them. We're already there, folks...

Re:Uh, oh. (1)

geordie_loz (624942) | more than 9 years ago | (#11743779)

if you get that through soon enough, you could sue MS on their IsNot as it's a derivative of Is, and can't be used without Is, therfore yours must be prior art (it comes before the Not), and they owe you money big style.

Re:Uh, oh. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11743835)

Are you sure it's not already patented? It could be and you could be sued soon!!!!!

Re:Uh, oh. (1)

The-Bus (138060) | more than 9 years ago | (#11743871)

Ok, so... what now?

We're going to have a Supreme Court case arguing either what Is is?* Or, to be more direct, you need to argue that Is is not IsNot? But then if IsNot is something, then it Is something?

Yes, this makes perfect sense.

* See Clinton's Grand Jury testimony.

as was testified under oath (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11743652)

It all depends on what the meaning of the word IsNot, is not.

Here we go again (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11743655)

I would tell them to bite me, but I think they own that too

Ridiculous IP claims have been the death of SCO... (3, Insightful)

bigtallmofo (695287) | more than 9 years ago | (#11743656)

...Ridiculous IP claims will be the death of Microsoft.

When they're resorting to patenting what appear to me to be boolean operations with an object-oriented twist, that's a bad sign about what real plans the company doesn't have.

Changing code again (-1, Redundant)

phikapjames (811889) | more than 9 years ago | (#11743659)

I'm guessing I can't finish my school project anymore. It involves two memory location comparisons. if(*ptr1 != *ptr2) { PayMicrosoftPatentFees(MoneyAmount); } I could be wrong, but isn't that what they want to patent?

Re:Changing code again (3, Informative)

ZigMonty (524212) | more than 9 years ago | (#11743710)

No, they want to patent: if (ptr1 != ptr2) ...

Re:Changing code again (1)

gedhrel (241953) | more than 9 years ago | (#11743734)

Well, it offers a simple rebuttal to Microsoft's whinging about software patents in Europe.

"Protecting development, blah blah, investment, blah blah, we'll take our ball away, whinge..."
"IsNot, Bill."

Re:Changing code again (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11743712)

besides the fact that you're comparing the values the pointers are pointing to, not the memory location...

Re:Changing code again (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11743744)

Only if ptr1 and ptr2 are pointers to pointers as you are comparing the contents of the memory locations, not the locations itself.

Re:Changing code again (-1, Redundant)

n0dalus (807994) | more than 9 years ago | (#11743748)

not having RTFA, I think that what they are trying to patent is something like:
if ( val1 isNot val2 ) {...
to be interpreted as:
if ( *val1 != *val2 ) {...

I really don't see how this is a problem, since I doubt people are really stupid enough to type a whole extra character. It's just the Microsoft way (TM) of making things more complex.

All the books, all the online guides, all existing source code and all the lecturers will still teach pointers the good ol' fashion way.

If Microsoft wants to waste money on something that nobody will ever want, use or need, that's fine with me, as long as they then don't go on to say "Hey, you stole our isNot code and made it better, then made it available to the general public without giving us money, expect a C&D notice from our lawyers."

Re:Changing code again (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11743815)

your talkin g C-code, M$ hoever patented it for BASIC like languages. "if MyObject1 isNot SomeOtherObject then ..." is the typical BASIC way of comparison. It already has IsEmpty IsNull IsNothing too etc.

Re:Changing code again (1)

millwall (622730) | more than 9 years ago | (#11743859)

not having RTFA, I think that what they are trying to patent is something like:

Thanks for your (qualified?) guess on what the article reads.

But instead of accepting your guess what the patent is, I think I'll go ahead and RTFA. ;-)

Patent schmatent (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11743665)

If I patent XOR does that make me a great hax0r?

Re:Patent schmatent (1)

phats garage (760661) | more than 9 years ago | (#11743685)

The act of xor'ing a cursor against its background is patented, sorry.

Re:Patent schmatent (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11743764)

Is it that, or undoing the xor'ing using the inverse operation of xor'ing?

Re:Patent schmatent (1)

scenestar (828656) | more than 9 years ago | (#11743725)

i hereby patent JMP,TEST,CMP,PUSH

Any infringing individuals or organisations will be sued Under the DMCA

Re:Patent schmatent (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11743726)

If I patent XOR does that make me a great hax0r?

XOR?! Ha!

I don't see... (3, Insightful)

xbrownx (459399) | more than 9 years ago | (#11743666)

...why any rational company would actually be afraid of this.

People didn't take the hyperlinking patent seriously did they?

Microsoft patents patenting... (1, Funny)

OwlWhacker (758974) | more than 9 years ago | (#11743669)

I'm surprised that Microsoft hasn't tried to patent patenting itself.

That would be no more absurd than some of its other patent requests.

Re:Microsoft patents patenting... (1)

luvirini (753157) | more than 9 years ago | (#11743684)

While I doubt that patent would work.. hmm.. how about patenting a "a computer program to faciliate creating patent applications" while explaining the use of makros and templates in a word prosessor to make patent applications. Then Sue everyone who files 2 or more patent applications that seem to have the same template.

double-you tee eff dawgs (1, Funny)

nil5 (538942) | more than 9 years ago | (#11743670)

If my patent application for the BitwiseIsNot operator says anything, this one will be rejected. My idea was pretty novel at the time, though.

BitwiseIsNot: a binary bit-level operation that returns 1 in the bits where the two numbers differ and 0 else. I call it BitwiseIsNot.

e.g. 0110 BitwiseIsNot 1111 = 1001.

For each bit you can write it A BitwiseIsNot B = AB + A'B'

If I h ad a patent lawyer and a few million dollars, then I'd surely have gotten that patent.

XOR (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11743730)


For each bit you can write it A BitwiseIsNot B = AB + A'B'

Most people call this as "XOR".

Thats nothing! (4, Funny)

CrazyTalk (662055) | more than 9 years ago | (#11743672)

I used to work for a company that trademarked the word "xor" (that was the name of the company, now defunct, 450 souls at the height of the dot-com boom). BTW no one (outside of the computer industry) knew how to prononunce xor, so they ran a full-page ad in the Wall Street Journal explaining that it is prononuced "X like the letter, or like the word"

Re:Thats nothing! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11743836)

Shesh, appending that line to all company email leaving the email servers would be a much cheaper and much more effective way to spread the news. But then what do you expect to happen when a bunch of liberals get their hands on money? It gets wasted. The liberals in congress keep sending money to their pork projects busting Bush's balanced budget. It happens all the time.

Feh, meh and other sheep noises (3, Insightful)

Willeh (768540) | more than 9 years ago | (#11743674)

I'm not much of a BASIC programmer, but i fail to see how this would seriously worry the people that make RealBasic. If they don't want to see the patented operator in their language, then I'm guessing neither willmost of the other BASIC vendors. Hence, Microsoft will have built another one of their famous Islands (word macro language, implementations of various standards in IE being other islands) that won't be so easy to turn into a Continent (the dominance of IE in the browser market) of Vendor Lock-in.

And thus Microsoft will have another patent paper to toss onto the pile like so many unwanted gelatine Desserts.

please clrify the purpose of this all (1)

scenestar (828656) | more than 9 years ago | (#11743676)

software licenses don't make sense in any form.

If i had patented the technique of "fire". i could sue every company utilizing its benefits such as people who produce stoves.

Protecting a line of code GNU/GPL/whatever is fine with me, but patenting a function doesnt make sense.

Whatif for some reason someone would patent the ASCII chart. we'd bescrewed.

Question (1, Funny)

Loundry (4143) | more than 9 years ago | (#11743683)

Will the outcome depend on what the definition of 'IsNot' is not?

Microsoft Patenting Non-Existence? (4, Funny)

WombatControl (74685) | more than 9 years ago | (#11743700)

Rumor has it that Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, the Honest Politicians Society and Slashdotters with girlfriends are all filing suit claiming that they're proof of prior art...

In all seriousness, the fact that a patent like this is even entertained is a more than a bit disturbing. How in the world one can patent a logical operator is simply beyond me...

Wow, nice bias (5, Informative)

rabtech (223758) | more than 9 years ago | (#11743723)

I like how the submitter conveniently left out Paul's blog entry on the subject:

http://www.panopticoncentral.net/archive/2004/11 /2 0/2321.aspx

He says, among other things that software patents are a "bad idea" and that he did not "feel particularly proud of my involvement in the patent process in this case".

So there you have it, from the horse's mouth.

Re:Wow, nice bias (1, Insightful)

radja (58949) | more than 9 years ago | (#11743825)

he thinks it's a bad idea, but did it anyway. He could have refused. he didn't. that's like saying: well, I don't like murder.. but I did it anyway.

Re:Wow, nice bias (1)

gl4ss (559668) | more than 9 years ago | (#11743870)

isn't that even worse?

"hey, i thought it was something that one shouldn't even have been able to do with good intentions.. but well, you know.. i did it anyways. helps my bonuses you know. then i procedeed to sue the orphanarium because that was also a bad idea but hey, it was worth some bucks and technically legal"

totalitarianism (1)

know1 (854868) | more than 9 years ago | (#11743724)

gah! another example of evilness. it's just this kind of thing that makes the teachers on my course only let us use visual c++ compilers (i got banned from using knoppix's g++). hopefully this won't progress mind you these are the same people that wouldn't let me install firefox for "security reasons"

this specific patent application is (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11743755)

Freaking lame as all hell. Atleast the swing side-ways on a swing is funny. Talk about patent abuse. It's when idiotic managers file moronic patents that give patents a bad name.

Patenting != (0)

herwin (169154) | more than 9 years ago | (#11743762)

Henry IV's cry of the heart...

Dear Microsoft, you have competition!!11 (2, Funny)

tod_miller (792541) | more than 9 years ago | (#11743767)

Dear MS (can I call you MS?)

I heard about your new IsNot, I think it is so elloquent and r33t, but someone has gone and copied you with a '==' object comparator that decides if the references point to the same memory area!

I say sue!

Yours,

A Microsoft Fan-Boy

Sue the Patent Office? (4, Interesting)

wren337 (182018) | more than 9 years ago | (#11743770)


Let's pretend this patent goes through; could RealSoftware Inc. sue the patent office for failing in it's duty? I mean, there has to be some liability here. If Microsoft can start patenting any crazy thing with their immense resources, and then everyone else has to scramble to get these patents knocked down, something has really gone wrong. Raise the patent fees so the USPO can really examine these patents. Make them liable for costs when a patent gets stricken for being obvious.

And that's not all... (4, Informative)

Michalson (638911) | more than 9 years ago | (#11743778)

In the last month alone the software patent bastards also gained patents on:

Network drives and folder mapping [uspto.gov]
The Photo Album Software that came with your digital camera [uspto.gov]
The clickable progressbar found in all video and music playing software [uspto.gov]
The "recent" menu [uspto.gov]

Europe (3, Funny)

photonic (584757) | more than 9 years ago | (#11743785)

It is about time that Europe puts some tough law on software patents in place. Otherwise I fear that VB programmers will emigrate en masse to Europe. Please keep them over there!

Re:Europe (0, Offtopic)

gnuLNX (410742) | more than 9 years ago | (#11743855)

LOL Wish I had mod points to give!

While I do understand your worry...you surely can understand why I would love them to leave here and head your way!

Friends don't let friends code VB.

Prior art? (4, Funny)

mrogers (85392) | more than 9 years ago | (#11743790)

Can anyone explain why IsNot != !=?

Maybe... (2, Insightful)

Netsensei (838071) | more than 9 years ago | (#11743791)

They should try patenting Boolean logic and affiliates in one big go instead of doing it one operator at a time.

Regarding the (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11743794)

The "IsNot" operator has been around for a very long time - only it's expressed in mathematical notation !=.

Consider the following conditional statement:
if (n != 0)

A typical programmer would read the above statement as "if the variable n is NOT EQUALS to 0 then..." A regular Joe will tell you that NOT EQUALS are synonym of IsNot.

And besides, ain't the "!=" operator doing the same thing as this "unique" ISNOT? What I meant is, the != operator can be used to compare two pointers to see if both occupies the same memory space.

Another example of absurd patent.

Full Story? (1)

Tom (822) | more than 9 years ago | (#11743797)

Ok, what's the full story on this? I personally think the USPTO has been out-sourced to the ape cages of the Washington zoo in 1997 or so, but they can not really have patented what's essentially &a!=&b, can they?

Good decision. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11743802)

Microsoft is a corporation which exists solely to make money. If this will help them make money then they have an obligation to their stockholders to do it.

If you haven't learned this by now then you never will.

wtf... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11743805)

I'm going to try and patent the alphabet...

I'm all for it! (5, Insightful)

Weaselmancer (533834) | more than 9 years ago | (#11743806)

Go IsNot patent, go!

The sooner the industry is choked with these obvious lock-out bullshit patents, the sooner development will grind to a total stop for fear of litigation. And as soon as that happens, the system will have to be reformed.

Well, either that or we all give up tech completely and be farmers. It's in the court's hands now.

Insanity (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11743808)

I welcome ridiculous MS patent claims, as it will one day (soon) make tech patents in the US defunct by reason of insanity. Europe, this is what you have avoided (so far) well done.

what's sad... (1)

Alberic (777137) | more than 9 years ago | (#11743818)

Is that they will probably have this patent, since the patent office of Seattle just stamps
"OK -- MICROSOFT PATENTED" on everything it gets.
Remember that story with the apple (the fruit) they patented to Microsoft? It was filed by a farmer, but they did not even read it, just *stamp*.

Sad, sad world.

Makes sense to me. (3, Funny)

windowpain (211052) | more than 9 years ago | (#11743831)

Microsoft IsNot sane.

Microoft IsNot reasonable.

Microsoft IsNot ethical.

Why shouldn't they get to patent "IsNot"?

Competition (1)

RasendeRutje (829555) | more than 9 years ago | (#11743837)

I think that within M$ they're having some sort of internal competition on which employee can get the dumbest patent imaginable...

LISP, anyone? (1)

the packrat (721656) | more than 9 years ago | (#11743839)

Of course, anyone with a little sense of history might have a thoughtful expression as they try to remember the nuances of the various LISP equality operators.

One of them, eq, was exactly what was described here. Of course, given that the USPTO don't feel that they're in the business of digging out prior art, preferring instead to let their friends in the courts profit from the resulting mess.

Madness.

Re:LISP, anyone? (1)

argent (18001) | more than 9 years ago | (#11743863)

That was my first reaction as well.

And don't forget, God Wrote in Lisp [vub.ac.be] .

Grab your Aristotle and run to the patent office (1)

DingerX (847589) | more than 9 years ago | (#11743848)

I found some M$ notes inside a copy of Book Delta of the Metaphysics:

1. beginning (//START)
2. Cause
3. Element (+Arrays)
4. Nature (tyupe)
5. Necessary
6. One (probably prior art here)
7. Being (perfect! self-evident, but not obvious!)
8. Substance
9. The Same (PENDED: IsNot)
10. Opposite (Not)
11. Prior and Posterior: (patent this one first to protect against "Prior Art"))
12. Potency
13. Quantity
14. Quality (no rush on this one)
15. Relative ($$$)
16. Complete (n.b., get 'perpetual beta' first and nail those Google geeks).
17. Limit
18. Substrate (if we can't patent embedded apps, amybe we can patent the hardware they're embedded in)
19. Disposition
20. Habit (Eventhandlers!)
21. Passion
22. Privation
23. Possession (think those subclasses are obvious? think again!)
24. generation
25. Part
26. Whole
27. Corrupt (strong case)
28. Genus (class)
29. False

All we need now (5, Funny)

ch-chuck (9622) | more than 9 years ago | (#11743856)

is for the Linux Corporation to patent the IsTo operator and the competition can devolve to a completely childish level.

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