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571 comments

Well... (4, Informative)

Lord Grey (463613) | more than 8 years ago | (#13304494)

OK, I like bashing Microsoft just as much as the next guy. But I just skimmed through the application and they're not simply trying to patent "displaying numbers in a box." The application is for dynamically highlighting (or whatever) all numeric elements within a document, even if the numerics are expressed in words (e.g., "one thousand") in any supported language. While possibly of limited use, this does seem to be a unique feature.

Now, whether Microsoft (or anyone) should be allowed to patent such thing... I don't know.

Re:Well... (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13304540)

IMHO they POSSIBLY could patent their search algorithim to find such numbers, but not the display method of placing a box around them, since that could be considered 'obvious'.

Re:Well... (3, Funny)

Trigun (685027) | more than 8 years ago | (#13304559)

Yep, this is right up there with the Lempel Ziv algorithms, definitely not something that could be done easily with a regex.

Re:Well... (4, Insightful)

RailGunner (554645) | more than 8 years ago | (#13304576)

While possibly of limited use, this does seem to be a unique feature. Now, whether Microsoft (or anyone) should be allowed to patent such thing... I don't know.

No, because I (personally) can implement this in no fewer than 5 seperate programming languages, and literally thousands of different ways. This patent is bullshit. If they want to copyright their implementation of this, that's fine. But a patent? No.

For example, let's say I wrote a perl script that converted a text document to HTML. If I wrapped numbers and words believed to be numbers in bold tags, technically I'd be violating this patent.

Re:Well... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13304657)

Well, it's obvious. You should have patented the idea.

Complaining about Microsoft's patent is just sour grapes.

Re:Well... (1)

schon (31600) | more than 8 years ago | (#13304730)

Well, it's obvious. You should have patented the idea.

Isn't non-obviousness one of the requirements of patentability? :o)

Re:Well... (3, Interesting)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 8 years ago | (#13304714)

For example, let's say I wrote a perl script that converted a text document to HTML. If I wrapped numbers and words believed to be numbers in bold tags, technically I'd be violating this patent.

Actually, you might not. According to the patent, one of the major features of the software is the ability to remove the highlighting. In fact, the highlighting is intended to be temporary, and is not embedded into the document stream. If you wrote software that embedded bold tags into the document itself, you'd be doing something similar yet quite different.

Re:Well... (2, Interesting)

ConceptJunkie (24823) | more than 8 years ago | (#13304600)

Now, whether Microsoft (or anyone) should be allowed to patent such thing... I don't know.

No, this is laughable even among laughable patents. But you can't blame Microsoft, as much as you might want to, you need to blame Congress, which allows this complete farce of a department to slowly undermine the entire economy of the U.S.

It's just a matter of time before something like the alleged patent on hyperlinks by BT actually gets issued and some company decides to hold the entire computer industry hostage. Hopefully, the economic damage won't be too great before our chumpresentatives decide to take a few minutes from their lobbyist-financed caviar and Dom Perignon snack-break and return the implementation of patents to something within the same area code of what was originally intended.

The system is screwed, you can't blame MS for using it. If they don't someone else, like SCO, perhaps, will do it.

MICKELSON'S TEARING IT UP (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13304601)

go, go lefty!! -4 for today, woot!

Re:Well... (2, Interesting)

slavemowgli (585321) | more than 8 years ago | (#13304629)

Being unique is not enough for something to be patentable - it also has to be novel in a non-obvious way, i.e., it has to be something that someone working in the field would not be able to come up with after two seconds.

Take medications, for example. IANAL, but my take on it would be that (for example), if I come up with, say, a new class of painkillers that are different from those we have today, then that's patentable, because it wouldn't be obvious that substances of the new class do function as painkillers, or that if you wanted a painkiller, using that class of substances would be the natural way to go.

On the other hand, if I take an established kind of painkillers and modify it slightly (for example, by replacing a hydrogen atom with a CH3 group somewhere) to get a new substance, then that's not patentable, since I didn't do anything fundamentally new and non-obvious.

The same thing seems to apply here (although it's hard to tell, as the server's currently slashdotted). Even if you take the article summary with a big grain of salt (which is advisable on Slashdot), it's hard to imagine that making numbers stand out in a document is something non-obvious - or, for that matter, something new.

Remember, the purpose of patents is not to give businesses a way of extracting money from everyone; the purpose is to further science and technology by encouraging research. The 20-year monopoly that comes with the grant of a patent is a reward for doing that research, if you will - but that also means that the contribution to science and technology should be big enough to justify this reward.

Re:Well... (1)

John Seminal (698722) | more than 8 years ago | (#13304630)

OK, I like bashing Microsoft just as much as the next guy. But I just skimmed through the application and they're not simply trying to patent "displaying numbers in a box." The application is for dynamically highlighting (or whatever) all numeric elements within a document, even if the numerics are expressed in words (e.g., "one thousand") in any supported language. While possibly of limited use, this does seem to be a unique feature.

Now, whether Microsoft (or anyone) should be allowed to patent such thing... I don't know.

Doesn't the javascript rollover do the same thing? For example, having a white text, but when the mouse rolls over the text, it changes to yellow?

Plus, formatting text as a patent? That is like having a patent for a type of art. I want to patent the use of blue whenever it is used for painting highlights in sky images.

microsoft, WTF!!

Or maybe I should patent the I, or the B. Just imagine how much better the world would be if the people who thought that up made a patent first.

What is next. When I buy my next ink pen, will there be a EULA that states I must pay royalties whenever I make certain pen movements?

Re:Well... (5, Informative)

Tester (591) | more than 8 years ago | (#13304634)

OK, I like bashing Microsoft just as much as the next guy. But I just skimmed through the application and they're not simply trying to patent "displaying numbers in a box." The application is for dynamically highlighting (or whatever) all numeric elements within a document, even if the numerics are expressed in words (e.g., "one thousand") in any supported language. While possibly of limited use, this does seem to be a unique feature.

Actually, you are misreading the patent. In a US patent, each claim stands on its own. If only have to reproduce one of them to infringe on the patent.

And claim 1 is: A method for emphasizing numerical data contained in an electronic document, the method comprising: determining whether a request to emphasize all of the numerical data in the electronic document has been received; and in response to receiving the request, locating all of the numerical data contained within the electronic document and emphasizing the located numerical data.


This is really as ridiculous as we beleive..

Re:Well... (1)

HiyaPower (131263) | more than 8 years ago | (#13304658)

Gosh. That is a real, real, real, real, real breakthrough. Why just think how much that is a leap from any of the systems that highlight all occurances of a regular expression in a document. Why the next thing you know, they will have something as advanced as a "find" to let you tab through these.

Can't this already be done? (2, Insightful)

alvinrod (889928) | more than 8 years ago | (#13304682)

This is almost the same has creating a search that highlights a given word in an article or document, similar to the find feature with Firefox.

They're only extending the search to include all numbers and words representing numbers. Essentially instead of searching for just one word, number, or collection of symbols, they're searching for a whole bunch at the same time and emphasizing the results.

Essentially we get a preprogrammed search to pick out anything that might represent numerical data. I'm certain that something similar to this has been done before in exactness or in a very similar manner. I don't know of many programs that currently support the ability to search as broadly as this (i.e. pick out nouns, verbs, numbers, Names, etc. rather than just one number, word, collection of symbols) especially in terms of word processors and the like. Why not just patent the idea to search and emphasise certain types of symbols (i.e. numbers, Names, places, whatever else) rather than just going after this more specialized case of numbers?

Of course this brings us to wonder, should such an idea outlined above even be patentable? I really don't care much at this point, but it would be a useful feature to see in word processors and other things like this in the future. It would probably be better if it weren't just in one word processor though.

Re:Well... (5, Funny)

JavaTHut (9877) | more than 8 years ago | (#13304735)

I can't really tell if the purpose of this post was actually to bash Microsoft, or an elaborate DDOS plot to take out the Patent system by putting a link to its website labeled "microsoft bad" on slashdot.

Am I dumb? (1)

Nick of NSTime (597712) | more than 8 years ago | (#13304499)

I'm sorry, but I looked at the patent application and I just don't get it. Can someone explain?

Re:Am I dumb? (2, Informative)

Saven Marek (739395) | more than 8 years ago | (#13304527)

what it patents is if there is data in a document that should be brought attention to, microsoft has patented the idea of giving it a standout attribute
like putting a box around it or underlining it or boldening it or making it a brighter color.

so if you have a document with an underlined word in it now you are infringing on microsofts patent. you better pay them your $699 or they will come after you.

Re:Am I dumb? (1)

Mind Booster Noori (772408) | more than 8 years ago | (#13304628)

...on numbers. If it wasn't, Google (for instance) had prior art.

Re:Am I dumb? (1)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 8 years ago | (#13304653)

what it patents is if there is data in a document that should be brought attention to, microsoft has patented the idea of giving it a standout attribute
like putting a box around it or underlining it or boldening it or making it a brighter color.


Actually, no. Mr. Hope's patent (which he assigned to Microsoft) is for a method of scanning through text and auto-highlighting numbers (e.g. 1,2,3,4), numerals (e.g. I, II, III, IV), numerical text representations (e.g. "one", "two", "three"), and mathematical formulas (e.g. "e=mc^2", "f=ma", etc.). Its function is intended to be more like that of a spell checker than a highlighting tool, with the difference that it only assists the user in finding the information, not changing it.

So you don't have to pay Microsoft $699 for using bold or highlighted numbers. However, I do charge a $699 fee for my services as a legal document interpreter. You can remit payment to: 1 Batcave Lane, C/O Alfred, Gothom City 55555.

Re:Am I dumb? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13304685)

Hi batman!

Re:Am I dumb? (1)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 8 years ago | (#13304530)

Lord Grey (first post) already gave a fairly good description, but I'll repeat it here. Basically, the patent is for software that can detect all manners of numbers (e.g. 1, II, "three", etc.) and highlight them in a given document. Contrary to the explanation given in the summary, the method of highlight is not actually specfied. There is, however, a B&W drawing that uses a line box as a standin for highlighting (most likely yellow-marker style highlighting). My guess is that the submitter looked at the pretty pictures and jumped to conclusions.

Re:Am I dumb? (1)

dattaway (3088) | more than 8 years ago | (#13304611)

Basically, the patent is for software that can detect all manners of numbers

so . . . they have patented synaesthesia?

Re:Am I dumb? (4, Funny)

kwiqsilver (585008) | more than 8 years ago | (#13304620)

My guess is that the submitter looked at the pretty pictures and jumped to conclusions.

No /. poster would ever do such a thing! Especially not if his first glance at the story could show microsoft in a bad light.
And even if a poster did such a thing, it would never get through /.'s fact checking department.

Re:Am I dumb? (0, Flamebait)

digidave (259925) | more than 8 years ago | (#13304531)

I can explain: story submitters are unable to link to the correct patents. Don't worry, some Slashdotter with time to search will post a link to the correct one. It will then be revealed that the patent is not at all similar to the Slashdot blurb, but is very stupid anyhow.

Re:Am I dumb? (1)

It doesn't come easy (695416) | more than 8 years ago | (#13304565)

What, can someone explain the patent or why you don't get it?

Just kidding...

Re:Am I dumb? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13304571)

I don't get it either. I was interested in seeing what a "bold patent movie" would look like, but it doesn't seem to animate or anything. Maybe I need to upgrade my web browser.

Re:Am I dumb? (1)

foobar_fred (658686) | more than 8 years ago | (#13304662)

I can't see the drawings, maybe USPTO has been slashdotted. But from the abstract,

A determination is made as to whether a request to emphasize all of the numerical data in the electronic document has been received. If such a request is received, all of the numerical data within the electronic document is located and emphasized.

Sounds a lot like Google desktop. Hey, isn't that PRIOR ART????

I'm not quite sure how this is newsworthy...

Re:Am I dumb? (1)

Knossos (814024) | more than 8 years ago | (#13304729)

The article contains the words "Microsoft" and "Patent" automatically making this story newsworthy :P

Hey... Microsoft? (0, Offtopic)

bigwavejas (678602) | more than 8 years ago | (#13304501)

01000110 01110101 01100011 01101011 00100000 01111001 01101111 01110101 00101100 00100000 01001001 00100111 01101101 00100000 01110101 01110011 01101001 01101110 01100111 00100000 01000010 01001111 01001100 01000100 00100000 01101110 01110101 01101101 01100010 01100101 01110010 01110011 00100001 00100000 01101101 01110101 01101000 01100001 01101000 01100001 01101000 01100001

Re:Hey... Microsoft? (0, Troll)

Knight Thrasher (766792) | more than 8 years ago | (#13304518)

From: http://nickciske.com/tools/binary.php [nickciske.com]
For: Everyone else too lazy to look it up =)

bigwavejas: Fuck you, I'm using BOLD numbers! muhahaha

Re:Hey... Microsoft? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13304572)

01010100 01101000 01100101 01111001 00100000 01110100 01101111 01101100 01100100 00100000 01101101 01100101 00100000 01110100 01101111 00100000 01110100 01100101 01101100 01101100 00100000 01111001 01101111 01110101 00100000 01110100 01101111 00100000 01100111 01101111 00100000 01100110 01110101 01100011 01101011 00100000 01111001 01101111 01110101 01110010 01110011 01100101 01101100 01100110 00100001 00100001

Re:Hey... Microsoft? (1)

Master Ben (811962) | more than 8 years ago | (#13304584)

:o

Easy on the Language!

Re:Hey... Microsoft? (2, Funny)

thc69 (98798) | more than 8 years ago | (#13304603)

Great...thanks a lot. Now I've got the new Clutch song, "10001110101" stuck in my head...

Wow (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13304513)

Couldn't even copy-paste the text right. Here, I'll help ya out:

"A method and apparatus are provided for visually emphasizing all of the numerical data contained in an electronic document."

Sheesh!

Don't get out of hand... (-1, Flamebait)

someonewhois (808065) | more than 8 years ago | (#13304515)

Queue the line of idiots who don't understand the meaning of a defensive patent... now!

Re:Don't get out of hand... (2, Insightful)

hosecoat (877680) | more than 8 years ago | (#13304569)

defensive patents are ridiculously stupid

Re:Don't get out of hand... (1)

digidave (259925) | more than 8 years ago | (#13304573)

Patents are supposed to give you the right to exclusively use, market, sell, ignore, etc your invention.

This is not a ball game and you shouldn't require a defensive strategy. The patent system is seriously broken.

Re:Don't get out of hand... (1)

Trigun (685027) | more than 8 years ago | (#13304650)

I would think that prior art would be defense enough. But I guess not.

Why did we things so convoluted that we need to have interpreters for the rules?

Re:Don't get out of hand... (1)

pete6677 (681676) | more than 8 years ago | (#13304701)

Interpreters for the rules are called lawyers, and they've been around since the beginning of the legal system. It's not just patent law that is this complex. A simple but effective legal system which could be understood by the common person is a nice idea, but would not actually work for many reasons.

Re:Don't get out of hand... (1)

toddbu (748790) | more than 8 years ago | (#13304607)

And that's the reason people hate software patents. I can patent a whole bunch of really obvious stuff, and when someone tries to build virtually any piece of software then they're sure to run afoul of at least on of them. I swoop in, and either offer to license my technology for way more than it's worth or maybe, just maybe if you're nice then I'll offer to buy your company.

Yeah, we all understand the concept of defensive patents. We just don't agree with it.

Re:Don't get out of hand... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13304651)

There is no such thing as a defensive patent. A patent is a patent. Period.

Re:Don't get out of hand... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13304659)

Queue the line of idiots who don't understand the meaning of a defensive patent... now!

No. Queue the line of idiots who has forgotten just how mean and nasty Microsoft has played in the past.

Anyone that thinks Microsoft is only filing 1000's of patents for "defensive" purposes and will never use them to squash competing companies or technologies is an idiot or has severe Alzheimer's!

Next: Microsoft patents the patent (3, Funny)

venicebeach (702856) | more than 8 years ago | (#13304522)


I'm sure they are working on a patent that covers the process of applying for a patent.

Prior art (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13304529)

In vim, just type :set hls and then : /[0-9]\+

This will highlight all numeric data. Navigate those using 'n' or 'p'. You can also type the same stuff in less.

Re:Prior art (3, Funny)

exp(pi*sqrt(163)) (613870) | more than 8 years ago | (#13304615)

Does it highlight the word 'thousand'. You young whippersnappers, you think you know it all. But it took billions of dollars for MS to figure out how to highlight numbers written as words.

Re:Prior art (1)

mzwaterski (802371) | more than 8 years ago | (#13304679)

The patent also discuses highlighting the words that represent numbers: One thousand, five, etc..

Not saying that makes it patentable, just clarifying.

Re:Prior art (1)

thc69 (98798) | more than 8 years ago | (#13304711)

Sorry, this patent includes roman numerals and words spelled out in common languages.

Quick, lets patent DNA! (3, Insightful)

elucido (870205) | more than 8 years ago | (#13304534)

The sooner we patent the building blocks of life, the sooner we own life. This is the ownership society, so lets own stuff!

Already been done... (1)

Run4yourlives (716310) | more than 8 years ago | (#13304564)

Serveral patents exist for this already.

Re:Quick, lets patent DNA! (1)

alexandreracine (859693) | more than 8 years ago | (#13304587)

Actually, the humain DNA is the only thing that can't be patented. (I think)

But here is something that you would give you more details. Rent The Corporation [imdb.com] . Pretty good movie!

Re:Quick, lets patent DNA! (1)

sqlrob (173498) | more than 8 years ago | (#13304724)

There's a certain group of people that have to pay extra for a genetic test because the genes they carry are patented.

next up: EMPHASIZING TEXT (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13304544)

BY TYPING IT IN ALL CAPS

Uh oh! (2, Insightful)

bahwi (43111) | more than 8 years ago | (#13304545)

Slashdotting a US Gov't website? Some pent up anger people?

Post Text Missing? (5, Informative)

SwornPacifist (121005) | more than 8 years ago | (#13304546)

Shouldn't the link text be Microsoft has a patent pending for displaying numbers in a box?

Not trying to be a grammar nazi, but there's a whole friggin' word missing there...

Re:Post Text Missing? (1)

Roofus (15591) | more than 8 years ago | (#13304670)

I didn't think you were being a Nazi. I read the writeup, and I couldn't figure out what the hell he was talking about.

Displaying what in a box? Since the website seems to be Slashdotted, it seems I won't know for at least several hours. What a useless story.

Re:Post Text Missing? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13304681)

You highlighted "numbers"!

You're gonna be sued!

patent for displaying in a box? (1)

1336.5 (901985) | more than 8 years ago | (#13304548)

Maybe they got tired of re-inventing the wheel?

Context highlighting? (3, Interesting)

Limburgher (523006) | more than 8 years ago | (#13304550)

Wouldn't the context highlighting capabilites of, say, Emacs, Joe, and countless others be considererd prior art? It couldn't be that hard to created An Emacs Major Mode that did this, if there isn't one already. I don't see anything worthy of a fresh patent here. That it's MS doing it is irrelevant.

Re:Context highlighting? (1)

BoRegardless (721219) | more than 8 years ago | (#13304699)

Don't forget Google searches & their highlighted words in cached docs at least.

From the patent application: (5, Funny)

Stanistani (808333) | more than 8 years ago | (#13304551)

One of the inventors is named -

Thiti Wang-Aryattawanich

I'd just like to know his nickname, is all...

Re:From the patent application: (1)

Divide By Zero (70303) | more than 8 years ago | (#13304617)

Hell with his nickname, I want to know his ancestry! Indian/chinese/nativeamerican/sandwich?

Re:From the patent application: (1)

Roofus (15591) | more than 8 years ago | (#13304702)

Hey, that's Earl of Sandwich to you buddy!

Re:From the patent application: (1)

drxenos (573895) | more than 8 years ago | (#13304660)

Ichy Wang

Re:From the patent application: (1)

p3d0 (42270) | more than 8 years ago | (#13304678)

Judging by his hotmal address [tsunamihelp.net] , I guess it's Thitiwang.

Re:From the patent application: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13304727)

Aren't those all the same names as the 9/11 terrorists?

The topic text needs adjustment (1)

doc modulo (568776) | more than 8 years ago | (#13304553)

Quote from the topic:
"displaying in a box to make them stand out. ""

Display what in a box? I'm guessing numbers looking at the other posts but I can't reach the linked text.

Nice summary. (4, Insightful)

daniil (775990) | more than 8 years ago | (#13304554)

Is it really that hard to write a three-line summary that actually says what the patent is about? I actually had to read the patent application to find out what the article is about.

Re:Nice summary. (2)

MrAnnoyanceToYou (654053) | more than 8 years ago | (#13304578)

Not to mention that I would definitely moderate the entire summary as flamebait. Come the heck on, at least give objectivity a shot.

Umm (1)

mikes.song (830361) | more than 8 years ago | (#13304558)

So, there's no new art on a tag like the one below?

<div style="border:1px black;">12<em>34</em>56</div>

Re:Umm (1)

spot35 (644375) | more than 8 years ago | (#13304721)

No, because that doesn't highlight after a request received from the user.

The application stipulates a request received from the user first and then all numerical data is then highlighted. Prior art was hinted at by a previous post by using vim.

How about patenting these images too? (1)

schestowitz (843559) | more than 8 years ago | (#13304560)

When someone puts images under a heading called 'Images', you expect it to contain images, not a plug-in that Firefox is unable to install.

I am sorry, but I think the USPTO is committing a crime greater than that of Microsoft by disallowing me to read patents (government-supported service) on a modern Linux system.

Re:How about patenting these images too? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13304641)

Firefox on Windows 2000 Pro wouldn't view the images either.

Re:How about patenting these images too? (1)

uits (792760) | more than 8 years ago | (#13304642)

"I am sorry, but I think the USPTO is committing a crime greater than that of Microsoft by disallowing me to read patents (government-supported service) on a modern Linux system." Exactly what crime is this? Should they print the image out and hand it to you if you happen to not have a computer? It's accessible, and that is what matters.

Re:How about patenting these images too? (1)

mzwaterski (802371) | more than 8 years ago | (#13304644)

Whose fault is it that your browser can't display TIFFs? Last I checked, TIFF was a very universal format. Check out internetiff or alternatiff for free tiff viewers that work in Firefox.

Re:How about patenting these images too? (1)

mboos (700155) | more than 8 years ago | (#13304671)

It's not working on the Windows version Firefox either. I even tried IE *shudders* No luck.

The patent office is in fact asking if it's OK if they only support IE for the time being [groklaw.net] . All I can say is, I'm glad it's not my government doing this.

Re:How about patenting these images too? (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13304672)

It's a tiff image, which is a pretty standard and pretty default way to store scanned images, so it's Firefox (gasp) rather the USPTO. Fetch the thing manually and try opening it in the GIMP.

As usual, nothing new (2, Insightful)

SpacePunk (17960) | more than 8 years ago | (#13304563)

Highliting (or otherwise bringing attention to) data (numeric or otherwise) has been done since the old DOS days, and probably before. This certainly isn't new, and isn't unique by a stretch of the imagination.

Of course, by filing the patent, they want it to seem that Microsoft is the originator if this technique. If the rules the USPTO seems to apply to software patents were applied to 'real world' patents, you'd see the whole lot of them thrown out on their asses, and the whole office revised from the janitor on up to the chief.

I read the entire patent application. (2, Funny)

mikeophile (647318) | more than 8 years ago | (#13304583)

I am now dumber for the effort.

Don't dis this! (1)

swelke (252267) | more than 8 years ago | (#13304605)

Okay, whoever wrote the headline, I think you owe Microsoft an apology. This is a major breakthrough! Not only does their new magical machine check to see whether it's supposed to emphasize numbers, it also then emphasizes them:

Emphasizing may include adding a highlighting attribute to the located numerical data or adding other formatting to visually distinguish the numerical data from the remainder of the electronic document.

Now say you're sorry or you don't get any ice cream.

Why not patent this: (2, Funny)

rscrawford (311046) | more than 8 years ago | (#13304610)

Has anyone come up with a patent for bringing down a website by posting a link to it on another website and counting on thousands and thousands of people to click through, thus generating high but perfectly legal traffic?

If not, I'm filling out my forms right now, and someone around here's gonna owe me a lot of money.

Amazing the number of words it requires (1)

mustafap (452510) | more than 8 years ago | (#13304626)

to explain 'bold'

Good old patent lawyers, paid by the word.

What? (0, Redundant)

jdavidb (449077) | more than 8 years ago | (#13304627)

Microsoft has a patent pending for displaying in a box to make them stand out

To make who stand out? Microsoft?

Another Idea (2, Funny)

$RANDOMLUSER (804576) | more than 8 years ago | (#13304631)

I wish Slashdot would put a "Fuck Microsoft" button on the comment submittal page - it would save sooo much time for all of us.

Re:Another Idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13304740)

Nah, that would take away from people writing custom Mozilla user.js files.

Wow (1)

smoondog (85133) | more than 8 years ago | (#13304633)

I guess I'm not surprised though. Things are getting really competitive for MS right now, with Apple, Google, Yahoo, Linux, etc. If things start really going south for this company, however, expect to see all of those dumb MS patents get pushed upon other companies.

BAH (1, Insightful)

rwven (663186) | more than 8 years ago | (#13304638)

It's pretty obvious, since MS started this patent craze after being sued over ridiculous overbroad patents, that they are just doing things like this to cover their butt. They've NEVER sued anyone over a patent. I highly doubt they ever will unless it's a blatent and public rebellion or something...

Images (1)

sigaar (733777) | more than 8 years ago | (#13304652)

What plugin do I need to view the images?

I wonder... (1)

ckaminski (82854) | more than 8 years ago | (#13304654)

With all the brouhaha about simpleminded patent examiners and useless patents being granted, I'm wondering if it isn't all deliberate?

If after a few stupid examples a number of patent examiners have gotten it into their heads to sabotage the whole process by granting increasingly more moronic patents? All being done in hopes of getting the whole process fixed...

what the hell... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13304655)

are we in the middle of some sort of patent war...??

Don't forget MSFT patented the iPod (1)

WillAffleckUW (858324) | more than 8 years ago | (#13304667)

guess they've never heard of Prior Art or Chutzpa.

Is it just me? (3, Insightful)

kinglink (195330) | more than 8 years ago | (#13304675)

I mean the stuff that you can patent now is getting really ridiculous and you know who gets hurt? The small guy? Microsoft can make a million patents and then ride off the tithes from them, and an independant person will have to dodge through a mine field of patents to make a product.

I'm all for the Office of Patents, which was an idea to show who was the first with the idea, granted there's some flaws, (Bell is created with created the phone while there's a good amount of evidence where he's not the originator)

But the original idea was for people to get credit for their ideas, and be able to own them.

However The Corporate world we live in today, has made patenting a game almost. You can patent any abstract idea, and even if your version completely fails and you couldn't program for crap, you can sue anyone else who succeeds at your worthless attempt even if it takes them 10 years, because you own the patent?

I think we need to revise the patent system to at least show that head way is made or such and if the system never gets implemented, the patent is worthless.

Re:Is it just me? (1)

mzwaterski (802371) | more than 8 years ago | (#13304739)

You can attempt to patent any little thing you want. This is not a patent that has issued. If you check the link that I've provided below, you can see that the application hasn't even been looked at by an examiner yet. At least wait till the thing issues to determine whether you think it should be patentable... A lot can/will change between then and now.

http://portal.uspto.gov/external/portal/!ut/p/_s.7 _0_A/7_0_CH/.cmd/ad/.ar/sa.getBib/.c/6_0_69/.ce/7_ 0_1ET/.p/5_0_18L/.d/1?selectedTab=ifwtab&isSubmitt ed=isSubmitted&dosnum=10776431#7_0_1ET [uspto.gov]

So when will it be rejected? (1)

Chemisor (97276) | more than 8 years ago | (#13304690)

So why is it that we never get headlines like "stupid patent rejected" on Slashdot? Do all these "inventions" get the patent granted or what?

newsflash (1)

tomstdenis (446163) | more than 8 years ago | (#13304693)

Patents, like gasoline are just something kids two generations from now will be talking about in history class.

The end is near! Front row tickets still available!

Tom

Enough. Please. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13304718)

I just did a quick search of the past month's stories, and noticed that there have been on average 2.77 stories per day that mention Microsoft. This is only 1/2 a story per day less than the number of stories that mention Linux.

Why is Slashdot so obsessed with Microsoft?

Slashdot's Bold Writeup (1)

TomorrowPlusX (571956) | more than 8 years ago | (#13304722)

So, I there's this revolutionary idea: we call it language. It allows one to serialize a concept into "words" using a "grammar" to tie them together into meaning. Unfortunately, the writeup doesn't seem to take this into consideration. I see all these words, but they make no sense. I read the damn writeup here three or four times, assuming I missed the noun referred to by "make them stand out". I gave up. Then I read the last sentence and wondered "That's 'That's'" referring to? I know we grouse and moan about bad grammar her, but come on. That writeup doesn't even make sense.

Wow! Innovative! (4, Funny)

rlp (11898) | more than 8 years ago | (#13304723)


+----------+
| Amazing! |
+----------+
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