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1-Click, Short-Click, Long-Click, More-Clicks (New Microsoft Patent)

P: n/a
Not to be outdone by Amazon's 1-Click patent, Microsoft snagged a
patent from the USPTO Tuesday for a 'Time based hardware button for
application launch', which covers causing different actions to occur
depending upon whether a button is pressed for a short period of time,
a long period of time, or multiple times within a short period of
time. So does pressing car radio buttons for different periods of time
to change or set stations constitute patent infringement?

See the patent at:

http://patft.uspto.gov/netacgi/nph-P...mber=6,727,830
Jul 20 '05 #1
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32 Replies


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"theodp" <th****@aol.com> wrote in message
news:e7*************************@posting.google.co m...
Not to be outdone by Amazon's 1-Click patent, Microsoft snagged a
patent from the USPTO Tuesday for a 'Time based hardware button for
application launch', which covers causing different actions to occur
depending upon whether a button is pressed for a short period of time,
a long period of time, or multiple times within a short period of
time. So does pressing car radio buttons for different periods of time
to change or set stations constitute patent infringement?


Presumably it does it the radio is designed to perform different functions
depending on your interaction with it in the manner you describe.

Jul 20 '05 #2

P: n/a
In article <e7*************************@posting.google.com> ,
th****@aol.com (theodp) wrote:
Not to be outdone by Amazon's 1-Click patent, Microsoft snagged a
patent from the USPTO Tuesday for a 'Time based hardware button for
application launch', which covers causing different actions to occur
depending upon whether a button is pressed for a short period of time,
a long period of time, or multiple times within a short period of
time. So does pressing car radio buttons for different periods of time
to change or set stations constitute patent infringement?

See the patent at:

http://patft.uspto.gov/netacgi/nph-P...mber=6,727,830


Most of the claims in the patent are very specific about the types of
alternate actions. E.g. press-and-hold to start the application and
restore it to a previously saved state, or press-and-hold to start the
application with a default document.

Whether the car radio buttons would be prior art depends on whether a
car radio is considered a "limited resource computing device" and
whether the actions that take place when you press one of the buttons is
considered to include "opening an application". In my opinion, the
radio is a single application, and the only button that "opens" it is
the on-off button -- the station selectors are controls within the
application.

The interesting thing about this patent is that it *only* covers actions
that take place when using the mouse to open an application. This was
probably necessary to avoid prior art problems; double-clicking has been
used within applications for as long as the mouse has been in use, and
Apple has used click-hold for at least 10 years I think (e.g. the
"spring-loaded folder" feature of the Finder). But I can't recall
seeing any operating systems that implement the alternate styles of
application launching that the patent claims.

--
Barry Margolin, ba****@alum.mit.edu
Arlington, MA
*** PLEASE post questions in newsgroups, not directly to me ***
Jul 20 '05 #3

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-----BEGIN PGP SIGNED MESSAGE-----
Hash: SHA1

On Tue, 27 Apr 2004 16:52:32 -0400,
Harlan Messinger <h.*********@comcast.net> wrote:

"theodp" <th****@aol.com> wrote in message
news:e7*************************@posting.google.co m...
Not to be outdone by Amazon's 1-Click patent, Microsoft snagged a
patent from the USPTO Tuesday for a 'Time based hardware button for
application launch', which covers causing different actions to occur
depending upon whether a button is pressed for a short period of time,
a long period of time, or multiple times within a short period of
time. So does pressing car radio buttons for different periods of time
to change or set stations constitute patent infringement?


Presumably it does it the radio is designed to perform different functions
depending on your interaction with it in the manner you describe.


Given that some desktop computers have for several years, turned off, or
rebooted, based on how long you held the power off button down, and many
laptops, suspend if you just push the button, and shut off, if you hold
it down, I'd say that's prior art. Digital clocks that advance the
numbers slowly one press at a time, or fast, if you hold it down, the
list of such prior art is pretty long.
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Version: GnuPG v1.2.4 (GNU/Linux)

iD8DBQFAjzF7d90bcYOAWPYRAiJMAJ4xKA3OotGk/TgWyeSjqiyu3MPBBwCePEPu
W8QtF3CkJk4+eQtsFxrDO5E=
=qbW8
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--
Jim Richardson http://www.eskimo.com/~warlock
A weapon is a device for making your enemy change his mind.
Jul 20 '05 #4

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theodp wrote:

Not to be outdone by Amazon's 1-Click patent, Microsoft snagged a
patent from the USPTO Tuesday for a 'Time based hardware button for
application launch', which covers causing different actions to occur
depending upon whether a button is pressed for a short period of time,
a long period of time, or multiple times within a short period of
time. So does pressing car radio buttons for different periods of time
to change or set stations constitute patent infringement?

See the patent at:

http://patft.uspto.gov/netacgi/nph-P...mber=6,727,830

I note that Microsoft's patent fails to list U.S. Patent 1,647 as a
reference.

JM
Jul 20 '05 #5

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Jed Margolin <ne**@jmargolin.com> writes:
http://patft.uspto.gov/netacgi/nph-P...mber=6,727,830
I note that Microsoft's patent fails to list U.S. Patent 1,647 as a
reference.


As I recall, Claim 8 in patent 1,647 tried to claim the working of the
telegraph in all media to be invented in the future. This claim was
declared by the Supreme Court to be invalid; I believe the Court's
primary concern was that if Claim 8 were to be upheld, this would make
it a lot harder for others to claim the same thing again 160 years later
for, say, mouse clicks instead of telegraph keys. Specifically, here is
what the Court in its wisdom wrote circa 1854:

"If this claim can be maintained, it matters not by what process or
machinery the result is accomplished. For ought that we now know some
future inventor, in the onward march of science, may discover by means
of mouse clicks, without using any part of the process or combination
set forth in the plaintiff's specification. His invention may be less
complicated -- less liable to get out of order -- less expensive in
construction, and in its operation -- or perhaps much more likely to
crash and require a three-finger salute. But yet if it is covered by
this patent the inventor could not use it, nor the public have the
benefit of multiple types of mouse clicks and a multitude of viruses,
worms, and other electronic pestilence, without the permission of this
patentee."
--
Rahul

Jul 20 '05 #6

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In article <s4************@grendel.myth>,
Jim Richardson <wa*****@eskimo.com> wrote:
Given that some desktop computers have for several years, turned off, or
rebooted, based on how long you held the power off button down, and many
laptops, suspend if you just push the button, and shut off, if you hold
it down, I'd say that's prior art. Digital clocks that advance the
numbers slowly one press at a time, or fast, if you hold it down, the
list of such prior art is pretty long.


Do you consider advancing the numbers to be "opening an application"? I
don't think anyone would seriously consider that to be the same thing as
the patented methods.

The patent is very specific that it *only* applies to using the click
timing to vary the way an application is opened. It says nothing about
alternate actions within an application, nor about shutting down an
application or computer.

--
Barry Margolin, ba****@alum.mit.edu
Arlington, MA
*** PLEASE post questions in newsgroups, not directly to me ***
Jul 20 '05 #7

P: n/a
Barry Margolin wrote:
In article <e7*************************@posting.google.com> ,
th****@aol.com (theodp) wrote:

Not to be outdone by Amazon's 1-Click patent, Microsoft snagged a
patent from the USPTO Tuesday for a 'Time based hardware button for
application launch', which covers causing different actions to occur
depending upon whether a button is pressed for a short period of time,
a long period of time, or multiple times within a short period of
time. So does pressing car radio buttons for different periods of time
to change or set stations constitute patent infringement?

See the patent at:

http://patft.uspto.gov/netacgi/nph-P...mber=6,727,830

Most of the claims in the patent are very specific about the types of
alternate actions. E.g. press-and-hold to start the application and
restore it to a previously saved state, or press-and-hold to start the
application with a default document.

Whether the car radio buttons would be prior art depends on whether a
car radio is considered a "limited resource computing device" and
whether the actions that take place when you press one of the buttons is
considered to include "opening an application". In my opinion, the
radio is a single application, and the only button that "opens" it is
the on-off button -- the station selectors are controls within the
application.

The interesting thing about this patent is that it *only* covers actions
that take place when using the mouse to open an application. This was
probably necessary to avoid prior art problems; double-clicking has been
used within applications for as long as the mouse has been in use, and
Apple has used click-hold for at least 10 years I think (e.g. the
"spring-loaded folder" feature of the Finder). But I can't recall
seeing any operating systems that implement the alternate styles of
application launching that the patent claims.


I understand that a long time back somebody put an eraser on the end of
a pencil and tried to patent it. The patent was denied because the
supposed invention was not a new invention---only a combination of old
inventions.

Jul 20 '05 #8

P: n/a
Matt wrote:
I understand that a long time back somebody put an eraser on the end of
a pencil and tried to patent it. The patent was denied because the
supposed invention was not a new invention---only a combination of old
inventions.


AIUI, inventions that are merely a amalgam of existing ideas are not
'new' unless the amalgam is 'not obvious'.

Like the guys patent on the motor carriage, he went after Ford, but they
ruled that although the internal combustion engine was new, the process
of bonding it to a chassis to make a motorized carriage was 'obvious'
once the motor was invented, so anyone else could have made it, so his
invention was denied.

I guess you have to not only put things together, but do it in such a
way nobody else had, or 'reasonably' /could/ have in order to get a patent.
Jul 20 '05 #9

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Barry Margolin <ba****@alum.mit.edu> writes:
Do you consider advancing the numbers to be "opening an application"? I
don't think anyone would seriously consider that to be the same thing as
the patented methods.


What does it mean to "open" an "application"?
--
Rahul

Jul 20 '05 #10

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Barry Margolin <ba****@alum.mit.edu> writes:
The patent is very specific that it *only* applies to using the click
timing to vary the way an application is opened. It says nothing about
alternate actions within an application, nor about shutting down an
application or computer.


But shouldn't a patent application that only introduces some minor
incremental difference from some previous technology (i.e., the broader
sense of what action is performed based on the timings of the button
pushes, or whether the button is physical or simulated on a computer
screen, etc.) be rejected anyway, based on the idea that they would be
obvious to competent practitioners in the field?

jwe

--
www.octave.org | www.che.wisc.edu/~jwe | Peace would shock and awe me.
Jul 20 '05 #11

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Philip Callan <ca******@shaw.ca> writes:
I guess you have to not only put things together, but do it in such a
way nobody else had, or 'reasonably' /could/ have in order to get a patent.


Maybe this is the way things are supposed to work, but to this
outsider, there seem to be many patents awarded for "inventions" that
are either obvious or have already been invented, or both.

jwe

--
www.octave.org | www.che.wisc.edu/~jwe | Peace would shock and awe me.
Jul 20 '05 #12

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John W. Eaton wrote on 28 Apr 2004 13:46:00 -0500....
But shouldn't a patent application that only introduces some minor
incremental difference from some previous technology (i.e., the broader
sense of what action is performed based on the timings of the button
pushes, or whether the button is physical or simulated on a computer
screen, etc.) be rejected anyway, based on the idea that they would be
obvious to competent practitioners in the field?


If the minor incremental difference is indeed obvious to competent
practitioners, then yes. [1]

If it isn't obvious, then a patent can be granted, but it should only
be a minor incremental patent (commensurate with the inventor's
minor incremental contribution to the technology). That way, no-one
loses out. The patent will only prevent people doing things which
they wouldn't have thought of doing anyway, had the inventor not made
the invention.

The big issues, of course, are what's obvious and what's not, and
whether the patent is appropriately limited. That's down to how well
the Patent Office is able to do its job. Unfortunately, the US Patent
Office is seriously under-resourced, because for many years Congress
has been skimming off the fees paid by applicants and using them for
unrelated purposes. This has a detrimental effect on all areas of
tencnology, not just computer and software-related subjects.

[1] US patent law actually asks whether the invention "would have been
obvious at the time the invention was made to a person having ordinary
skill in the art...". So if the invention was made several years ago,
you have to be careful not to judge it as to whether it's obvious as
you read about it today. Most inventions seem obvious in hindsight.

--
Tim Jackson
ne**@winterbourne.freeserve.invalid
(Change '.invalid' to '.co.uk' to reply direct)
Absurd patents: visit http://www.patent.freeserve.co.uk
Jul 20 '05 #13

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Tim Jackson <ne**@winterbourne.freeserve.invalid> writes:
The big issues, of course, are what's obvious and what's not, and
whether the patent is appropriately limited. That's down to how well
the Patent Office is able to do its job. Unfortunately, the US Patent
Office is seriously under-resourced, because for many years Congress
has been skimming off the fees paid by applicants and using them for
unrelated purposes. This has a detrimental effect on all areas of
tencnology, not just computer and software-related subjects.


But as we have discussed before, Tim, the USPTO being under-resourced
(is that even a word?) is not by itself the problem. Rather, the
problem is that, even knowing full well that the USPTO is under-
resourced and unable to properly determine whether or not a certain idea
is truly new, both the USPTO and the courts continue to treat published
and granted patents as if the USPTO was indeed doing thorough searches
of prior art. It would not be that hard for the USPTO to classify
published patents as "thoroughly investigated, almost certainly valid"
or "not thoroughly investigated, might not be valid"; though not
necessarily in those words -- they could be just classified as "prime",
"second-grade", etc., instead.

Right now every patent implicitly bears an undeserved "prime" rating.
--
Rahul

Jul 20 '05 #14

P: n/a
In article <c6**********@blue.rahul.net>,
c.*******@1-ClickXXS.usenet.us.com (Rahul Dhesi) wrote:
Barry Margolin <ba****@alum.mit.edu> writes:
Do you consider advancing the numbers to be "opening an application"? I
don't think anyone would seriously consider that to be the same thing as
the patented methods.


What does it mean to "open" an "application"?


Since the patent doesn't bother to define them, I assume they're being
used in their normal sense when discussing computer use.

--
Barry Margolin, ba****@alum.mit.edu
Arlington, MA
*** PLEASE post questions in newsgroups, not directly to me ***
Jul 20 '05 #15

P: n/a
Barry Margolin <ba****@alum.mit.edu> writes:
In article <c6**********@blue.rahul.net>,
c.*******@1-ClickXXS.usenet.us.com (Rahul Dhesi) wrote:
Barry Margolin <ba****@alum.mit.edu> writes:
>Do you consider advancing the numbers to be "opening an application"? I
>don't think anyone would seriously consider that to be the same thing as
>the patented methods.


What does it mean to "open" an "application"?

Since the patent doesn't bother to define them, I assume they're being
used in their normal sense when discussing computer use.


In other words, there is no clearly-defined meaning. Presumably whoever
drafted that patent carefully selected ambiguous terms that could later
be interpreted to mean lots of things.
--
Rahul

Jul 20 '05 #16

P: n/a
Rahul Dhesi wrote on Wed, 28 Apr 2004 20:10:43 +0000 (UTC)....
But as we have discussed before, Tim, the USPTO being under-resourced
(is that even a word?) is not by itself the problem.
It's not the whole problem, but it's a significant part of it. To be
fair, it does seem as if the Bush administration is starting to try to
do something about this aspect.
Rather, the
problem is that, even knowing full well that the USPTO is under-
resourced and unable to properly determine whether or not a certain idea
is truly new, both the USPTO and the courts continue to treat published
and granted patents as if the USPTO was indeed doing thorough searches
of prior art. [snip] Right now every patent implicitly bears an undeserved "prime" rating.


Yes. In fact, it's explicit, not implicit. It stems from the
statutory presumption in US patent law that a patent, once granted, is
valid.

As I've argued before, I believe that presumption should be abolished.
No other country has such a presumption. They recognise that no
matter how good their patent offices are, there will always be prior
art that they are unable to find.

It would still be up to a challenger to show invalidity, but he would
only have to do so on the normal standard for civil litigation, by the
"preponderance of the evidence". He wouldn't have to climb the
mountain of showing "clear and convincing" evidence, which currently
makes it very difficult to overturn a bad patent in court.

In addition, as I've also argued in the past, the US needs more
effective procedures for third parties affected by bad patents to
oppose them. Again, many other countries do this rather better. At
present in the US, the only possibilities are to apply for re-
examination (a procedure with a built-in bias in favour of the
patentee, so few people use it). Or to wait until the patentee
sues you, or threatens to do so, so that you can take action in court.
That's not good enough (and court action is very expensive).

I noted a few months ago that a recent report by the FTC made similar
recommendations. See <http://tinyurl.com/3cg24>.

--
Tim Jackson
ne**@winterbourne.freeserve.invalid
(Change '.invalid' to '.co.uk' to reply direct)
Absurd patents: visit http://www.patent.freeserve.co.uk
Jul 20 '05 #17

P: n/a
In article <c6**********@blue.rahul.net>,
c.*******@1-ClickXXS.usenet.us.com (Rahul Dhesi) wrote:
Barry Margolin <ba****@alum.mit.edu> writes:
In article <c6**********@blue.rahul.net>,
c.*******@1-ClickXXS.usenet.us.com (Rahul Dhesi) wrote:

Barry Margolin <ba****@alum.mit.edu> writes:

>Do you consider advancing the numbers to be "opening an application"? I
>don't think anyone would seriously consider that to be the same thing as
>the patented methods.

What does it mean to "open" an "application"?

Since the patent doesn't bother to define them, I assume they're being
used in their normal sense when discussing computer use.


In other words, there is no clearly-defined meaning. Presumably whoever
drafted that patent carefully selected ambiguous terms that could later
be interpreted to mean lots of things.


Does the information given in the Description section of the patent
count? It uses the verb "launch" rather than "open", but it's pretty
clear what common computer activity is referred to.

--
Barry Margolin, ba****@alum.mit.edu
Arlington, MA
*** PLEASE post questions in newsgroups, not directly to me ***
Jul 20 '05 #18

P: n/a
Barry Margolin <ba****@alum.mit.edu> writes:
>> What does it mean to "open" an "application"?
>....I assume...


In other words, there is no clearly-defined meaning....

Does the information given in the Description section of the patent
count? It uses the verb "launch" rather than "open", but it's pretty
clear what common computer activity is referred to.


But you haven't been able to define it or point to a definition.

Most Microsoft users use "open" to mean "whatever happens after I click".
--
Rahul

Jul 20 '05 #19

P: n/a
In article <c6**********@blue.rahul.net>,
c.*******@1-ClickXXS.usenet.us.com (Rahul Dhesi) wrote:
Barry Margolin <ba****@alum.mit.edu> writes:
>> What does it mean to "open" an "application"?

>....I assume...

In other words, there is no clearly-defined meaning....

Does the information given in the Description section of the patent
count? It uses the verb "launch" rather than "open", but it's pretty
clear what common computer activity is referred to.


But you haven't been able to define it or point to a definition.

Most Microsoft users use "open" to mean "whatever happens after I click".


I doubt anyone thinks that when they click on a link in a browser and it
goes to another page or submits a form that this is "launching an
application".

--
Barry Margolin, ba****@alum.mit.edu
Arlington, MA
*** PLEASE post questions in newsgroups, not directly to me ***
Jul 20 '05 #20

P: n/a
Barry Margolin <ba****@alum.mit.edu> writes:
In article <c6**********@blue.rahul.net>,
c.*******@1-ClickXXS.usenet.us.com (Rahul Dhesi) wrote:
Most Microsoft users use "open" to mean "whatever happens after I click".


I doubt anyone thinks that when they click on a link in a browser and it
goes to another page or submits a form that this is "launching an
application".


Are web-based email services applications?
--
bl*@cs.stanford.edu - bl*@gnu.org - pf******@debian.org - bl*@acm.org
Jul 20 '05 #21

P: n/a
In article <87************@blp.benpfaff.org>,
Ben Pfaff <bl*@cs.stanford.edu> wrote:
Barry Margolin <ba****@alum.mit.edu> writes:
In article <c6**********@blue.rahul.net>,
c.*******@1-ClickXXS.usenet.us.com (Rahul Dhesi) wrote:
Most Microsoft users use "open" to mean "whatever happens after I click".


I doubt anyone thinks that when they click on a link in a browser and it
goes to another page or submits a form that this is "launching an
application".


Are web-based email services applications?


Possibly. But the individual operations within the email service aren't.

BTW, rather than harping on the phrase "open the application", I'm more
concerned about "limited resource computing device". This is used in
just about every claim, but I'm not sure what it means. The Description
refers to PDAs, and explains that the reason this method is needed is to
make up for the lack of a keyboard -- i.e. instead of holding down
modifier keys like control or shift while you click, it uses the length
of the click.

--
Barry Margolin, ba****@alum.mit.edu
Arlington, MA
*** PLEASE post questions in newsgroups, not directly to me ***
Jul 20 '05 #22

P: n/a
Barry Margolin <ba****@alum.mit.edu> writes:
In article <87************@blp.benpfaff.org>,
Ben Pfaff <bl*@cs.stanford.edu> wrote:
Barry Margolin <ba****@alum.mit.edu> writes:
> In article <c6**********@blue.rahul.net>,
> c.*******@1-ClickXXS.usenet.us.com (Rahul Dhesi) wrote:
>
>> Most Microsoft users use "open" to mean "whatever happens after I click".
>
> I doubt anyone thinks that when they click on a link in a browser and it
> goes to another page or submits a form that this is "launching an
> application".


Are web-based email services applications?

Possibly. But the individual operations within the email service aren't. BTW, rather than harping on the phrase "open the application", I'm more
concerned about "limited resource computing device"....


I'm concerned about both. These are all very vague terms with
potentially unlimited domains of use -- the sort of terms that are ideal
for use in defining the claims in a patent.

But unlike me, you seemd to imply, several times, that "open" and
"application" had obvious common meanings -- which meanings you have yet
to state with any prevision.
--
Rahul

Jul 20 '05 #23

P: n/a
theodp wrote:

When I make toast, sometimes I will put the plate
with the butter on it in the microwave for a
few seconds to soften it up. I think I will go
get a patent for that.

I am not a lawyer. I do not even see email sent to this address, due to
past DOS attacks. If you wish to respond, do so through this newsgroup.
Jul 20 '05 #24

P: n/a
>>>>> On Thu, 29 Apr 2004 15:21:51 -0400, Barry Margolin ("Barry") writes:

Barry> In article <87************@blp.benpfaff.org>,
Barry> Ben Pfaff <bl*@cs.stanford.edu> wrote:
Barry Margolin <ba****@alum.mit.edu> writes:
> In article <c6**********@blue.rahul.net>,
> c.*******@1-ClickXXS.usenet.us.com (Rahul Dhesi) wrote:
>
>> Most Microsoft users use "open" to mean "whatever happens after I click".
>
> I doubt anyone thinks that when they click on a link in a browser and it
> goes to another page or submits a form that this is "launching an
> application".


Are web-based email services applications?


Barry> Possibly. But the individual operations within the email service aren't.

Barry> BTW, rather than harping on the phrase "open the application", I'm more
Barry> concerned about "limited resource computing device". This is used in
Barry> just about every claim, but I'm not sure what it means. The Description
Barry> refers to PDAs, and explains that the reason this method is needed is to
Barry> make up for the lack of a keyboard

I've never seen a PDA with a mouse, though. Or, what means it, to "click"?
Jul 20 '05 #25

P: n/a
>>>>> On Wed, 28 Apr 2004 20:10:43 +0000 (UTC), Rahul Dhesi ("Rahul") writes:
Rahul> both the USPTO and the courts continue to treat published and
Rahul> granted patents as if the USPTO was indeed doing thorough
Rahul> searches of prior art.

As far as I can tell, USPTO will grant a patent for any damned
ridiculous thing now, without any consideration as to whether
it's a new idea, an obvious idea, or whatever. For example,
I did some work for a company a little while back that had been
recently patented the following: a database representing customers,
where each customer has a unique ID number ("PIN") that will be
issued to them for use as their email address.

Once fully granted, is it possible for a patent like the one above
to be somehow overturned? (If this is even possible, I am sure
that it costs big bucks.)

Patents today are issued willy-nilly today, because there is just
no hope that the Government could ever actually do the work to
determine if the patent is reasonable. And nowadays you can even
patent the mere idea of how to operate a business, for example.
It's totally out of control, in so many ways.
Jul 20 '05 #26

P: n/a
In article <c6**********@blue.rahul.net>,
c.*******@1-ClickXXS.usenet.us.com (Rahul Dhesi) wrote:
But unlike me, you seemd to imply, several times, that "open" and
"application" had obvious common meanings -- which meanings you have yet
to state with any prevision.


An application is a computer program that performs a distinct activity.
Opening it is starting it running.

These are common terms in the computer industry. Since a patent is
supposed to be understandable by an industry professional, how far does
it have to go in defining common terms?

--
Barry Margolin, ba****@alum.mit.edu
Arlington, MA
*** PLEASE post questions in newsgroups, not directly to me ***
Jul 20 '05 #27

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In article <uo***********@news.dtpq.com>,
cs****@news.dtpq.com (Christopher C. Stacy) wrote:
>> On Thu, 29 Apr 2004 15:21:51 -0400, Barry Margolin ("Barry") writes:
Barry> In article <87************@blp.benpfaff.org>,
Barry> Ben Pfaff <bl*@cs.stanford.edu> wrote:
>> Barry Margolin <ba****@alum.mit.edu> writes:
>>
>> > In article <c6**********@blue.rahul.net>,
>> > c.*******@1-ClickXXS.usenet.us.com (Rahul Dhesi) wrote:
>> >
>> >> Most Microsoft users use "open" to mean "whatever happens after I
>> >> click".
>> >
>> > I doubt anyone thinks that when they click on a link in a browser and
>> > it
>> > goes to another page or submits a form that this is "launching an
>> > application".
>>
>> Are web-based email services applications?


Barry> Possibly. But the individual operations within the email service
aren't.

Barry> BTW, rather than harping on the phrase "open the application", I'm
more
Barry> concerned about "limited resource computing device". This is used in
Barry> just about every claim, but I'm not sure what it means. The
Description
Barry> refers to PDAs, and explains that the reason this method is needed is
to
Barry> make up for the lack of a keyboard

I've never seen a PDA with a mouse, though. Or, what means it, to "click"?


I don't think the patent ever uses the word "click". In the
Description, it describes pressing a screen button with a stylus -- I
think most PDAs have that. The claims use a more generic phrase that I
don't remember, to refer to choosing an on-screen button or icon.

--
Barry Margolin, ba****@alum.mit.edu
Arlington, MA
*** PLEASE post questions in newsgroups, not directly to me ***
Jul 20 '05 #28

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In article <uk***********@news.dtpq.com>,
cs****@news.dtpq.com (Christopher C. Stacy) wrote:
Once fully granted, is it possible for a patent like the one above
to be somehow overturned? (If this is even possible, I am sure
that it costs big bucks.)


I think there's a relatively inexpensive way to request that the PTO
review a patent. The expensive way to challenge a patent is to wait to
be sued for patent infringement, and go to court to defend yourself.

--
Barry Margolin, ba****@alum.mit.edu
Arlington, MA
*** PLEASE post questions in newsgroups, not directly to me ***
Jul 20 '05 #29

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<th******@cotse.net> wrote in
news:dG******************************************* @1083270775.nulluser.com:
theodp wrote:

When I make toast, sometimes I will put the plate
with the butter on it in the microwave for a
few seconds to soften it up. I think I will go
get a patent for that.

I am not a lawyer. I do not even see email sent to this address, due to
past DOS attacks. If you wish to respond, do so through this newsgroup.


Even supposing your toast patent issued, how would you propose to find
prospective infringers?

Alun Palmer, US Patent Agent

Jul 20 '05 #30

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Barry Margolin <ba****@alum.mit.edu> writes:
In article <c6**********@blue.rahul.net>,
c.*******@1-ClickXXS.usenet.us.com (Rahul Dhesi) wrote:
But unlike me, you seemd to imply, several times, that "open" and
"application" had obvious common meanings -- which meanings you have yet
to state with any prevision.

An application is a computer program that performs a distinct activity.
Opening it is starting it running. These are common terms in the computer industry. Since a patent is
supposed to be understandable by an industry professional, how far does
it have to go in defining common terms?


So now you see how that patent is disastrously broad -- it covers any
activity on a device that the user wishes were more powerful, caused by
a long press, that starts a distinct computer program. If that isn't a
stupid patent, I don't know what is.

As to your comment about "common terms", did you know that "stuff" is
also a very common term?
--
Rahul

Jul 20 '05 #31

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Barry Margolin <ba****@alum.mit.edu> wrote in news:barmar-
D0*******************@comcast.ash.giganews.com:
In article <uk***********@news.dtpq.com>,
cs****@news.dtpq.com (Christopher C. Stacy) wrote:
Once fully granted, is it possible for a patent like the one above
to be somehow overturned? (If this is even possible, I am sure that
it costs big bucks.)


I think there's a relatively inexpensive way to request that the PTO
review a patent. The expensive way to challenge a patent is to wait to
be sued for patent infringement, and go to court to defend yourself.


It is indeed cheaper to file a reexamination than to wait to be sued. In
the past all reexaminations were ex parte, meaning that you filed it and
then couldn't participate, which was not ideal. It is now possible to
choose an inter partes reexamination, in which you can take part. No one
much has taken advantage of this new procedure (if anyone?). I would find
it an interesting experience, or perhaps even experiment is a better word?

Alun Palmer, US Patent Agent

Jul 20 '05 #32

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Oy! Listen to Alun's latest shpiel!
When I make toast, sometimes I will put the plate
with the butter on it in the microwave for a
few seconds to soften it up. I think I will go
get a patent for that.

Even supposing your toast patent issued, how would you propose to find
prospective infringers?


Wait until MICRO$~1 innovates embedded devices and installs spyware on
people's toasters?

- --
mark allen adams, jr.
usenet (at) mark (hyphen) adams (dot) com
Internet Explorer: the world's most standards-complaint web browser

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Jul 20 '05 #33

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