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Patents Software

WordLogic Patented the Predictive Interface 173

Posted by kdawson
from the make-sure-that-software-infers-nothing dept.
Packetl055 writes "Have any of you heard anything about this company, WordLogic, with a soon to be granted/issued patent with 117 claims for predictability software? They recently received a patent approval/allowance letter from the US Patent and Trademark Office. Their patent application was submitted in March 2000. If I read this correctly, any software that gives you any prediction after you type something is infringing on their patent — e.g. vehicle navigation systems, cellular telephones, PDA's, Google with their 'Did You Mean' when using Google for a search, the new Apple I-Phone, Blackberry, Sony Playstation-3, etc., etc. If true, this is going to be huge: lawsuits after lawsuits." Their stock trend over the last few days suggests that somebody was paying attention to the the USPTO news from August 9. WordLogic makes products (assistive input software) and doesn't seem to be merely a patent troll.
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WordLogic Patented the Predictive Interface

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  • by Scareduck (177470) on Friday August 24, 2007 @01:31PM (#20346629) Homepage Journal
    It's just too easy to create infringing code. I don't much like FDR's administration (there's a decent argument [mises.org] that he actually prolonged the Great Depression by his attempt to ram a centralized economy down the country's throat), but one of the good things he did do was to radically cut back the number and scope of patents on the theory that handing out monopolies was a bad idea.
  • Hmmm...... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by 8127972 (73495) on Friday August 24, 2007 @01:33PM (#20346675)
    "WordLogic makes products (assistive input software) and doesn't seem to be merely a patent troll."

    Just because they make products doesn't mean that they aren't a patent troll.
  • Prior Art (Score:5, Interesting)

    by SheldonLinker (231134) <sol@linker.com> on Friday August 24, 2007 @01:38PM (#20346725) Homepage
    Eeco flight navigation system, some time in the '80s or '90s. Contact me at mailto:sol@linker.com [mailto] for expenses-only expert or factual testimony if anyone sues you on this nonsense. I've been sued on this sort of nonsense before (and won), and I'll do whatever I can to abate it. Maybe /. can set up an area where patent-fighting experts can help out /.ers on this stuff.
  • Like a spellchecker? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Just Some Guy (3352) <kirk+slashdot@strauser.com> on Friday August 24, 2007 @01:39PM (#20346727) Homepage Journal

    In what way would this differ from a spellchecker, said technology being available since at least the 1970s?

  • Re:Hmmm...... (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 24, 2007 @02:28PM (#20347233)

    Let's look at their latest quarterly report (SEC filing) and pick a few bits:

    Good catch! This company does not seem to sell much for the moment.

    Is it surprising that they issued a press release related to that patent a few days before issuing their quarterly report?

    Could this announcement on /. be just a way to get attention and increase their stock value?

    I mean, it wouldn't be the first time that /. relays some slashvertisements or pump-and-dump scams...

  • by Geof (153857) on Friday August 24, 2007 @03:03PM (#20347563) Homepage
    I met with them earlier this year. I don't think they're patent trolls. They develop and sell products; though nothing came with it, they were interested in technical cooperation. For the businessman I spoke to, the patents were evidence of their technical innovation and a point of pride. Most of us on Slashdot see patents differently, but his perspective is how they have been seen in other industries and in the past. Of course, this was just one guy (though senior) and may not reflect the company as a whole - or their lawyers. I don't mean to defend the patents (I would be happy to see software patents abolished), but the company I saw was a technical firm, not a legal one.

    The product they showed me lets you create a dictionary of common phrases (which can be very long), then retrieve and input them easily using their predictive input algorithm to drill down through multiple possibilities. The software sits on top of Windows, essentially between the keywoard and whatever app you're using. It reminded me somewhat of Stephen Hawking's system (which I vaguely recall having seen on TV once) or Chinese word processor software which allows you to type in a syllable, then pops up a list of matching characters and lets you pick one by typing a number (though the fellow I spoke with wasn't familiar with this). Example uses described to me included lawyers, who might want to pull up whole paragraphs of boilerplate text, and students (I don't recall the use case for this).
  • Re:obvious (Score:2, Interesting)

    by realthing02 (1084767) on Friday August 24, 2007 @03:16PM (#20347711)

    It's interesting that we don't really have any idea what their patent actually says yet we all know it's incredibly obvious! Why wasn't it patented earlier? Maybe they do something differently? Maybe it's not that fact that they can do it, but rather how they accomplish it that is patented.

    You can patent dropping rocks on the ground if your method is new, better, or improved upon the earlier design. a catapult would be a terrific way of "dropping" rocks on the ground.

    I won't even get into how the rest of your analogy doesn't apply in the slightest. Plus, it doesn't involve cars.

What this country needs is a dime that will buy a good five-cent bagel.

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