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Microsoft Applies For Patent On Private Browsing

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  • by AvitarX (172628) <me@brandyHORSEwi ... minus herbivore> on Thursday August 21, 2008 @10:21AM (#24689117) Journal

    best firefox extension ever.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      It would be interesting to see a detailed comparison of the various options.
      Rank at the top of the list something like browsing with Firefox under Ubuntu run from a Live CD (not even VM swap on disk then), and down at the bottom options that remove or prevent only visible-in-browser stuff like the history....

      It has been a while since I looked, but some time ago I noticed that Safari used with some sites had many JPEG images left in the JAVA cache files even in Private Browsing mode, and a surprising amount

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by oakgrove (845019)
        I would suggest http://anonymityanywhere.com/incognito/ [anonymityanywhere.com]. LiveCD based on Gentoo Linux with a KDE desktop featuring TorK for anonymous browsing, instant messaging, torrenting (although running torrent traffic through the onion is a little weak). It has plenty of codecs for multimedia viewing, truecrypt pre-installed so you can just open your own truecrypt volumes. The LiveCD doesn't utilize the swap space already on your hard drive unlike others like Knoppix; I'm not sure about Ubuntu. And for its final
  • Typical .. (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 21, 2008 @10:22AM (#24689137)

    1. Search for useful features already in use by other products
    2. Patent the unpatented
    3. ???
    4. PROFIT $$

    • Re:Typical .. (Score:5, Interesting)

      by DittoBox (978894) on Thursday August 21, 2008 @11:32AM (#24690147) Homepage

      Technically:

      1. Search for useful features (history, cache, saved entries)
      2. Patent the removal of said features
      3. ???
      4. Profit!

      I see the point of removing or disabling histories in a browserâ"it makes senseâ"but these are just added features that some very old or very basic browsers don't have.

      How can you patent the removal of features? It's not "making" anything, it's just tearing down something that already exists and only putting some parts back when you build it again. Obviously not everyone wants those parts, hence "privacy-aware" browsers exist, but you can't patent that!

  • Microsoft: (Score:5, Funny)

    by Inglix the Mad (576601) on Thursday August 21, 2008 @10:23AM (#24689147)
    We didn't make it first, but that won't stop us from trying to patent it!
    • by V!NCENT (1105021) on Thursday August 21, 2008 @10:29AM (#24689247)
      Mister Ballmer, this is our lawyer. Our Lawyer, this is mister Ballmer. (Nice to meat you). Uhhhhh we have this little piece of paper that shows evidence that we made it first. It is called prior art. Something you are probably familiar with. Uhhhhm... err... it basically come down to this -"Hey can I just like... interrupt for a bit? Heh. Can't we make a settlement?" - sure what's on your mind -"Well we, ofcourse, have a lot of money, so if you can keep this, you know... quiet than we are uhm... sort of 'willing' to give you a, what we like to caaaall, compensation of some sort?" - yeah, sure.
  • by LO0G (606364) on Thursday August 21, 2008 @10:23AM (#24689165)

    They aren't patent applications, they're trademark applications. Check the source [istartedsomething.com]

    BIG difference.

    Patents==Bad and subject to prior art.
    Trademarks==Good, and not subject to prior art.

    • by gEvil (beta) (945888) on Thursday August 21, 2008 @10:25AM (#24689189)
      Mod parent up. MS can have "cleartracks" and "inprivate" as trademarks if they want....
      • No, they cannot... (Score:5, Informative)

        by Actually, I do RTFA (1058596) on Thursday August 21, 2008 @12:05PM (#24690671)

        MS can have "cleartracks" and "inprivate" as trademarks if they want....

        There already is a very similar software product called "TracksClear". I would imagine that "ClearTracks" will be sufficently confusing.

        • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

          by GNUALMAFUERTE (697061)

          Actually, you DON'T RTFA

          Karma-whore

        • by legirons (809082)

          MS can have "cleartracks" and "inprivate" as trademarks if they want....

          There already is a very similar software product called "TracksClear". I would imagine that "ClearTracks" will be sufficently confusing.

          There was already a product called OpenOffice, but that trademark didn't stop Microsoft using OfficeOpen

        • by Hatta (162192)

          Given that Microsoft's ClearType makes your fonts more blurry, what will ClearTracks do?

        • MS can have "cleartracks" and "inprivate" as trademarks if they want....

          There already is a very similar software product called "TracksClear". I would imagine that "ClearTracks" will be sufficently confusing.

          TracksClear? ClearTracks?

          OK, I'm starting to fall behind in knowledge of Windows stuff since going Windows-free a while back, but I have to admit I'm surprised they have spent so much effort developing not one, but two technologies to help junkies hide the evidence of their addiction.

          What's next? Patenting between-the-toes injections?

      • Neither one of those are super-enforceable. Unique names in sound and spelling are worthy of a truly enforceable trademark.

        These trademarks are not unique in as much they ram two common words together. I know it's done "all of the time" but that doesn't mean they are perfectly defensible.

        Trademarks like this are commonly used to drown your smaller competitors in legal bills by filing infringement claim after infringement claim. Nothing else.

        • by mea37 (1201159)

          So it's ok with you if MS comes along with a new browser product called FireFox? After all, that's just two common words rammed together, so you seem to be saying that it can't be a defensable trademark...

          Trademark is always a little tricky, but the fact is it is intended to provide protection for marks that are distinct in a particular context, and there's no reason such marks cannot be made entirely of common elements. Creativity is not required for a trademark. To copyright something you (theoreticall

    • by falcon5768 (629591) <Falcon5768 AT comcast DOT net> on Thursday August 21, 2008 @10:32AM (#24689297) Journal
      while your right, I would hardly consider Trademarks good too, especially when its often used to Trademark very common things like colors, common words, etc, which it is not supposed to be used for, and like Patents very hard to overturn.

      A good example would be the non-profit org who where sued by Miracle Grow for using GREEN and YELLOW on their package of fertilizer despite the package it's self looking NOTHING like a Miracle Grow package at all.

      • Trademarks can be very valuable, not just to the company, but to the consumer - if I go to BestBuy to buy a television, I can only see the feature list and the picture quality. They tend to frown on me cracking it open and seeing what quality of components were used in the power supply, for instance.
        The trademark identifies the manufacturer, and their reputation gives me an indication of the quality of hidden components. If it's a Sony, it'll probably hold up for a while - if it's an apparently-identical Daewoo, it'll probably die the day after the warranty runs out.

        Your point about common words and colors is valid, but that just means there needs to be better inspection, auditing, and reexamination procedures - not that trademarks aren't good in general.

        • by poetmatt (793785)

          Trademarks are not okay when they are basic vocabulary words. That becomes quite stifling of freedom of speech.

          Hows that mention of the phrase the olympics been ....$$#####&AT

          LOST CARRIER

          • Trademarks are not okay when they are basic vocabulary words. That becomes quite stifling of freedom of speech.

            Yes, but you notice my examples didn't use those. So... your point?

            Hows that mention of the phrase the olympics been ....$$#####&AT

            LOST CARRIER

            And I see you're making a joke here, but it's pretty damn obscure due to your poor grammar. Could you try again?

            • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

              by poetmatt (793785)

              You haven't heard about the olympic committee going ballistic on anyone who uses the phrases or shows the rings?

              It has the same problems as the DMCA: it's easier to stifle someone's freedom/speech [techdirt.com] than it is to fight back such situations.

              • by Firehed (942385)

                That's no different than the NFL going people who don't license their use of "Super Bowl" - douchey, but very typical of sporting organizations. I expect that "March Madness" incurs the same wrath, among others.

                Of course that doesn't make it OK, but neither is the assumption that the organizer owns the copyright on players' actions and thus ban the use of "professional" cameras from the games by non-press.

                FWIW, I wouldn't be at all surprised for there to be some sort of revolt against copyright in its curr

          • by HUADPE (903765) on Thursday August 21, 2008 @11:12AM (#24689851) Homepage
            Trademarks are limited in their scope, but can be used for common words. E.g. Apple is a trademark in reference to computers, but not in reference to fruit. You cannot trademark a word for it's dictionary definition usage. For example, if I were selling printer ink, I couldn't trademark "Ink" or "Printer Ink," but I could trademark "Bob's Printer Ink."
            • by Tenrosei (1305283) on Thursday August 21, 2008 @11:43AM (#24690307)
              HUADPE thank you! People are idiots even if you trademark a word like yellow to a new watch. Your trademark is limited to the product you are calling yellow so someone else can still have a yellow trademark on a new type of telephone, or trademark yellow as a new type of hat.Also, "If a court rules that a trademark has become "generic" through common use (such that the mark no longer performs the essential trademark function and the average consumer no longer considers that exclusive rights attach to it), the corresponding registration may also be ruled invalid." http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trademark [wikipedia.org]
              • someone else can still have a yellow trademark on a new type of telephone

                Not they cannot. Certainly a watch can have a phone function. Yellow(tm) would sue the telephone maker into oblivion.

                And what if Yellow(tm) decided to come out with a line of hats with a built in watch? Or even just a "hat clip" for their watch?

                • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

                  by JohnBailey (1092697)

                  Not they cannot. Certainly a watch can have a phone function. Yellow(tm) would sue the telephone maker into oblivion.

                  And what if Yellow(tm) decided to come out with a line of hats with a built in watch? Or even just a "hat clip" for their watch?

                  Ahh.. like apple (fruit) Apple (computers and music players and now phones) And Apple (Records).. One is a fruit, another sells consumer electronics,and the other publishes music, and so long as Apple consumer electronics don't get into the music business, everything is ok..

                  Oops.....

            • Its funny you should mention Apple...because, while your basic point is correct, many corporations these days just competing in one event, but trying to compete in as many events as they are able to.

              This makes the whole issue of Trademarks much more complex, and blurring markets and international exposure increase conflict exponentially. Just take a look at DNS.

              Etoys vs Etoy http://yro.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=99/12/29/1538212/ [slashdot.org]
              Nissan Motors vs Nissan Computers http://www.ncchelp.org/The_Story/the_story [ncchelp.org]

          • by ettlz (639203)

            Hows that mention of the phrase the olympics been ....$$#####&AT

            What's AT&T got to do with anything?

        • by hellwig (1325869)
          Oh sure, let them trademark something as common-place as Cleartracks, and next thing you know they'll be trademarking letters of the alphabet.

          Seriously though, MS does have a bad habit of trademarking words they find in a See Dick Run story-book, but if they want to trademark crap like Cleartracks and Inprivate, I suppose we can let them have those. Now, if they had tried to trademark Microsoft Browser, that would have been a different story.
          • Common on now lets not call Microsoft out on this alone.
            When you were learning the alphabet and they had the picture next to the letter. What picture did they use for the first letter A-a (apple). I agree with the original parent grand parents etc. Trademarks aren't bad in my book by and large, granted they do have some problems. It's nice that I can buy a product at the store that claims to be LG and it's actually LG or my AMD chip is actually AMD.

        • by AK Marc (707885) on Thursday August 21, 2008 @11:22AM (#24689989)
          Trademarks can be very valuable, not just to the company, but to the consumer

          Go read up on the nut trademarking "stealth" and tell me whether you think they are so good. He's trying to own the word, performing a DOS on the word itself. Trademarking a company name makes sense. Trademarking every single feature with a different name is a useless practice. It's easy to realize that "word processor" means different things if made by Microsoft vs IBM. If there was a shelf in a store with "Microsoft Word" next to "IBM Word" I do not think that a significant number of people would be confused, yet trademark law protects "word" from being used by anyone else. That's where it loses its usefulness.

          The trademark identifies the manufacturer, and their reputation gives me an indication of the quality of hidden components.

          And everyone tries to trademark every little feature. I've even seen marketing material with "The only Car/TV/chair/whatever with XXX" when XXX is nothing more than a trademarked name for a feature everyone else had. That's deceptive and works to harm the consumer's choice and knowledge, not add to it. Like copyrights, trademarks are a good idea that manages to fail in implementation. Yet no one seems the least bit interested in fixing it.
          • Are you kidding? I hear people speak in nonsense terms like "Microsoft Google" all the time. Almost nobody can remember the difference between the same *thing* with two different *brands*, especially when the brands covers more than one product.

            I agree that "The only XXX with YYY" is stupid and wrong if ZZZ has WWW, and WWW is exactly the same as YYY.

        • by GuyverDH (232921) on Thursday August 21, 2008 @12:33PM (#24691127)

          Actually, if you're at Best Buy, and it's a Sony, then it's probably their Sony "Express" line for big retailers, high on features, low on quality.

          If you go to a mom and pop, or custom shop and buy a Sony, then it's of the "We stand behind what we sell" product line and the quality is higher.

          ^^^^^^^^ Stuff I've learned being in a family with retail shop owners...

      • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 21, 2008 @10:44AM (#24689479)

        Sure, you can argue that some trademarks are stupid. You have to remember that trademarks are context sensitive, though, so even if the trademark is a common word the question is it's use in the context of the product in question. This is how "Linux" can manage to be both a kernel and a laundry detergent.

        In this case, the two words "ClearTracks" and "InPrivate" are not obvious common words. In fact, there are only two other live trademarks for "ClearTrack", one applied to golf putter training rails and the other applied to software to track packages in transit. A search on UPSTO for "InPrivate" only brings back the application from Microsoft, so it apparently has never been used before.

        I would say that these are good and valid trademark applications. They don't imply invention, they don't attempt to hijack common parlance and they are quite narrow in scope.

      • by DriedClexler (814907) on Thursday August 21, 2008 @11:04AM (#24689751)

        Let's not be so black and white: Patents AND trademarks can be very good; it's just that they've been abused to the point that they've gone way beyond their original purpose.

        When an organization can get a patent on a drug it developed that no one else could (and yes this happens a lot), a patent is good.

        When an organization can patent a long-known remedy or long-used functionality, that is very, very bad.

        When an organization can keep others from selling fake versions of its products as if they were the real thing, that is good.

        When that organization uses trademark law to keep ANYONE from making unapproved references to it (like when Ford sues to stop publication of the Black Mustang Club's calendar even if it has a disclaimer saying it's not an official Ford product) that is very, very bad.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by jelton (513109)

          When an organization can keep others from selling fake versions of its products as if they were the real thing, that is good.

          When that organization uses trademark law to keep ANYONE from making unapproved references to it (like when Ford sues to stop publication of the Black Mustang Club's calendar even if it has a disclaimer saying it's not an official Ford product) that is very, very bad.

          I agree with this, but will take it one step further.

          The origin of federal trademark law is in fair trade law (no use of similar marks to confuse customers). When a trademark is used to protect consumers from harm, it is fulfilling its purpose; when it is used to provide an undue and/or unfair business advantage to the holder, it harms consumers and is operating counter to its intended nature.

      • by nametaken (610866) on Thursday August 21, 2008 @11:08AM (#24689787)

        While there are always cases of people/co's being ridiculous, I think there's a very good argument for trademarks.

        I don't want to pick up a Coke and get a Pepsi, an eee PC and find out it's not made by Asus, or buy an iPhone online and find out it's not the Apple iPhone.

        Ok... that last one is a bad example. ;)

      • Another Example (Score:3, Informative)

        by ISoldat53 (977164)
        The IOC suing businesses on the Olympic Peninsula in Washington State for having "Olympic" in their names.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by skeeto (1138903)

        I would hardly consider Trademarks good too, especially when its often used to Trademark very common things like colors, common words, etc

        Microsoft is one of the guilty companies in this case (ie. Word, Windows, Works, etc.). However, when the "Windows" trademark was tested in court in Microsoft vs. Lindows (now Linspire), Microsoft almost lost it because of how general a word "windows" is. To avoid losing it, Microsoft ended up settling with Linspire, paying Linspire $24 million dollars [wikipedia.org]. That's a pretty happy ending :-).

    • by Dancindan84 (1056246) on Thursday August 21, 2008 @10:37AM (#24689373)
      Yeap. Nothing to see here. Why BBC would translate trademark->patent for no apparent reason is a good question though.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by wild_berry (448019) *

        It's a mistake. The blog they cite (istartedsomething.com) has it as trademark too.

      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        Apparently BBC reporters are like us, and don't necessarily feel the need to RTFA before writing and publishing some reporting or opinion about it.

        Glad to see the mainstream media is finally getting with it and learning how to properly make use of the Interweb!

      • by Macthorpe (960048)

        Not sure myself, but I've sent an email telling them so.

        Hopefully it'll get corrected.

      • Why BBC would translate trademark->patent for no apparent reason is a good question though.

        A single government agency [uspto.gov] handles U.S. patents and U.S. trademarks. Might that have something to do with it?

    • by purpledinoz (573045) on Thursday August 21, 2008 @11:05AM (#24689771)
      If this is just a trademark, then what's the big deal? Everyone will just use another name.
    • by jellomizer (103300) on Thursday August 21, 2008 @11:08AM (#24689789)

      Patents==Bad and subject to prior art.
      Trademarks==Good, and not subject to prior art.

      What a wonderfully 2 dimensional view of the world you have.
      Both have their good points and both can be misused for bad stuff.
      Patents are so the inventor can make money on their invention for a period of time before someone can copy it. While misused to keep competition down at its worse it can be used to improve competition at its best. Eg. Say a guy invents and patents a compression algorithm that is Faster, Lossless, Tighter then all other compression algorithms. So he is making money selling licenses to use the product. Now lets say Microsoft (as most people on slashdot sees them as the bad guy) wants to get in, however they don't want to pay the licensing fee. Without patents they could just copy this guys work (which could have taken years of R&D and costs the guys life savings) and he would be penniless for his invention.

      Now for trademarks they are for protecting "idenity" of the company say a Logo or a Name. A company I use to work for has the Hourglass Nebula part of their logo which is trademarked. Although they have never enforced it they could have sued Perljam as they used that Nebula for one of their covers. Or they may have gone against say some small astronomy club who used a picture of it for their logo.

      So saying Patents are Bad and Trademarks are Good is a very poor view of the world. Things rairly ever go so neatly into categories. Now a more correct view would be realizing that Patents may have gone past its origional intent and needs some major reform while trademarks less so. But saying it is bad and good is a huge understatement.

      • Now for trademarks they are for protecting "idenity" of the company say a Logo or a Name. A company I use to work for has the Hourglass Nebula part of their logo which is trademarked. Although they have never enforced it they could have sued Perljam as they used that Nebula for one of their covers. Or they may have gone against say some small astronomy club who used a picture of it for their logo.

        There are more limits on trademarks than you seem to think. The company would have no case, especially against t

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by cjb658 (1235986)

      Patents==Bad and subject to prior art.
      Trademarks==Good, and not subject to prior art.

      Patents & Trademarks == Good

      Patent & Trademark Abuse == Bad

    • They aren't patent applications, they're trademark applications. Check the source
      .

      The Slashdot editor publishes whatever falls into his hands.

      The quick-on-the-jump Slashdot poster responds instantly to the hot buttons pressed in the summary --- and can't hold back his fire even when a story has been exposed as utter nonsense.

      Pavlov's dogs couldn't be better trained.

    • by sootman (158191)

      Wow. The THIRD SENTENCE in the original blog post said "On July 30th, Microsoft filed two trademarks..." and the BBC reported that as "Australian blogger Long Zheng has found two patent applications made by Microsoft on 30 July..."

      So: first we had Slashdot visitors not reading the articles. Then we had Slashdot editors and summary-writers evidently not reading the articles, and I thought that was pretty bad. Now Slashdot is linking to a story on the BBC, and the BBC evidently didn't read the original blog p

    • Trademarks can't be revoked because of prior art? That's bad not good. If I create a brand but don't trademark the label then someone else can come long and trademark it denying me the use of what I created. That's bad not good.

      Falcon

  • by slim (1652) <`ten.puntrah' `ta' `nhoj'> on Thursday August 21, 2008 @10:24AM (#24689175) Homepage

    The original CERN WWW browser didn't keep cookies, didn't maintain a history, and didn't cache pages. Is that therefore prior art?

    Then again, my coffee cup does none of those things either - it doesn't even browse Web pages. Now *that*'s privacy...

    How can you patent the absence of a feature (or more accurately, disabling a feature)?

    • If you make an engine that has lower emissions.. it's that an absence of something? But it's still something that people would want. My cup of coffee doesn't emit the same fumes as a car engine, but that doesn't mean it's a better car. Does that mean my coffee would be prior art to said engine? Sometimes the lack of a feature is a feature.
    • Then again, my coffee cup does none of those things either - it doesn't even browse Web pages. Now *that*'s privacy...

      Your coffee cup is offline? Not even bluetooth? How do your temp and level sensors function? Is it a maintenance issue or is this one of those retro 'china' cups?

  • by bwthomas (796211) <bwthomasNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Thursday August 21, 2008 @10:25AM (#24689187)

    I've got a business process patent that I think Microsoft should be aware of: "A specific process and procedure for patenting pre-existing technology in order to build a patent portfolio which can be leveraged using the court system to gain substantive competitive advantage."

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by BitterOldGUy (1330491)

      I've got a business process patent that I think Microsoft should be aware of: "A specific process and procedure for patenting pre-existing technology in order to build a patent portfolio which can be leveraged using the court system to gain substantive competitive advantage."

      I already found a way around it: A specific process and procedure for patenting existing technology in order to build a patent portfolio which can be leveraged using the court system to gain substantive competitive advantage.

      Ha ha! You have a patent for PRE-existing technology whereas, I have a patent for EXISTING technology. Which means your patent patents mine ..Oh Shit!

  • by larry bagina (561269) on Thursday August 21, 2008 @10:26AM (#24689197) Journal
    putting a private browser mode on IE is like putting a shit filter on your ass. Or a lameness filter oin slashdot.
    • by MacTO (1161105)

      If that were the case, any patent that Microsoft could take out on this concept would be totally irrelevant. After all, how many vendors would want to create a web browser that cannot make HTTP connections?

      (Yes, I read the trademark bit).

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 21, 2008 @10:31AM (#24689285)

    This is all wrong. Microsoft did not apply for patents, they applied for trademarks for the names they're giving the features, namely "ClearTracks" and "InPrivate". Unless you can find existing use for those names in privacy software you're not likely to find any objections to the trademark applications. Trademarks are not a claim of invention and in no way prevent others from implementing the exact same ideas or algorithms. They're simply a claim to a name in a specific context.

    Even the original blogger got it right:

    http://www.istartedsomething.com/20080820/microsoft-hints-private-browsing-feature-ie/ [istartedsomething.com]

    I don't expect Slashdot to actually fix the summary, though. The word "patent" will generate a lot traffic, whereas everyone will simply yawn over "trademark".

  • by rallymatte (707679) * on Thursday August 21, 2008 @10:32AM (#24689289)
    the web browser already? Is it too late?
  • by mrvan (973822) on Thursday August 21, 2008 @10:35AM (#24689353)

    FTFA:

    Users may wish to turn on the privacy mode if they are planning a surprise party, buying presents or researching a medical condition and do not want others users of the same computer to find out.

    Yeah, right...

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by LinuxIdiot (708662)
      Or you know researching methods to kill someone as recently seen in news reports where forensic computer research showed people researching "undetectable ways to kill someon"
    • by Keyper7 (1160079)
      Actually, "researching a medical condition and do not want others users of the same computer to find out" makes a lot of sense for certain people who like to "have fun outside" and often forget certain "security measures".
    • Yeah, right...

      It's true. Most commonly this mode is used to research remedies for conditions of the corpora cavernosa.

  • Trademark not patent (Score:5, Informative)

    by zoobab (201383) on Thursday August 21, 2008 @10:41AM (#24689433)

    While searching the patent numbers, it appears that this story is not even about patents:

    http://www.istartedsomething.com/20080820/microsoft-hints-private-browsing-feature-ie/

    "On July 30th, Microsoft filed two trademarks for:"

    So please CmdrTaco, update your article.

    Best,

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Frosty Piss (770223)
      What? You expect Slashdot "editors" to "edit"? How much dope do you smoke, pal...
    • by MyIS (834233)
      I think it's the Beeb that made the mistake (TFA also uses the word "patent").
  • I don't see the problem with Microsoft patenting or trademarking ideas that Apple has already shipped. I mean, they've done it before and gotten away with it...
  • by Random BedHead Ed (602081) on Thursday August 21, 2008 @10:49AM (#24689553) Homepage Journal

    This is the standard post mentioning the apparently humorous idea of patenting the idea of patenting obvious ideas, thus being able to sue companies like Microsoft who do so (a joke that is often described as "ironic," even though it isn't). This joke occurs in each article pertaining to obvious patents that appears in Slashdot's Patents section, though from this point forward I will be taking personal responsibility for including it, freeing others to focus on making more original and insightful criticisms of the USPTO.

    Thank you for visiting the Slashdot Patents section.

  • That a patent is about HOW to do something, not the end result. So, just because Safari and Firefox have a similar feature doesn't mean that Microsoft is out in left field applying for a patent in the same area.
  • Isn't part of the patent process to determine if prior art already exists? If so Microsoft doesn't have a chance of getting a patent on this, particularly since much of the prior art is GPL anyhow.
  • and don't forget to draw the blinds closed.

    It's good that microsoft wants to help people get a little private time with their browser.

  • "Users may wish to turn on the privacy mode if they are planning a surprise party, buying presents or researching a medical condition and do not want others users of the same computer to find out."... Or for surfing porn. ;)
  • I would so much rather have a browser that has the option of not recording or logging anything at all instead of one that "clears" or "erases" my tracks after that. If anything is ever stored that is a vector for someone to somehow capture that data. I would like something that only uses that data for precisely as long as it needs to to do the job and keeps no history or metadata in any way, shape, or form.

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