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Patents Microsoft

Microsoft Patents "Pg Up" and "Pg Dn" 350

Posted by kdawson
from the your-grandfather-had-prior-art dept.
An anonymous reader notes that Microsoft has been granted a patent on "Page Up" and "Page Down" keystrokes. The article links an image of an IBM PC keyboard from 1981 with such keys in evidence. "The software giant applied for the patent in 2005, and was granted it on August 19, 2008. US patent number 7,415,666 describes 'a method and system in a document viewer for scrolling a substantially exact increment in a document, such as one page, regardless of whether the zoom is such that some, all or one page is currently being viewed.'... The company received its 5,000th patent from the US Patent and Trademark Office in March 2006, and is currently approaching the 10,000 mark."
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Microsoft Patents "Pg Up" and "Pg Dn"

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  • Ok by me. (Score:5, Funny)

    by Harmonious Botch (921977) * on Sunday August 31, 2008 @07:49PM (#24824727) Homepage Journal

    That's ok; I don't RTFA anyway.

  • No they didn't (Score:4, Informative)

    by larry bagina (561269) on Sunday August 31, 2008 @07:51PM (#24824749) Journal
    sounds more like they patented scrolling up/down the same amount regardless of any zoom factor.
    • Which minus the legal lingo, is equally stupid. Page Up/Down does the same in most document-viewing applications.
    • Re:No they didn't (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 31, 2008 @08:04PM (#24824889)

      In other words, someone in QA opened a bug that the Page Up and Page Down didn't do the right thing when the doc was being zoomed. Then there was lots of email back and forth about what "the right thing" was supposed to be, and they settled on one. At the same time, other email chains in the Outlook inbox were reminding developers of the importance of filing for patents early and often, "even if you don't think it is especially original, things could turn out differently", with the implication that one's compensation and prospects for advancement (or not getting laid off) were at stake.

    • Re:No they didn't (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 31, 2008 @08:05PM (#24824899)

      Not even. They patented a method for scrolling up/down the same amount regardless of any zoom factor. Not all methods, and certainly not pgup/pgdn.

      Why is it that every patent story on slashdot always obfuscates the fact that patents cover methods of implementation, and not all encompassing ideas? Is it naive to think that this isn't a purposeful ommission?

      • Re:No they didn't (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 31, 2008 @08:08PM (#24824931)

        This is a kdawson post. kdawson is the epitome of stupidity and sensationalism. If a story sounds like it is too ridiculous or belongs in Idle (but is not), it's most likely a kdawson post and you should just disregard it.

      • Re:No they didn't (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Qzukk (229616) on Sunday August 31, 2008 @08:15PM (#24825005) Journal

        obfuscates the fact that patents cover methods of implementation

        Because you're wrong? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Doctrine_of_equivalents [wikipedia.org]

        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward

          The Doctrine of Equivalents still requires something to be done in substantially the same way as a patented method to be considered infringing. It exists to prevent someone from taking apart an invention, changing something trivial, and then trying to pass it off as their own. It does not mean MS or anyone else can patent ideas.

          But go ahead, link to a case where someone has been sucessfully sued for infringing on a software patent where the methods of implementation in question were independently develope

          • Re:No they didn't (Score:5, Insightful)

            by msuarezalvarez (667058) on Sunday August 31, 2008 @08:53PM (#24825341)

            But go ahead, link to a case where someone has been sucessfully sued for infringing on a software patent where the methods of implementation in question were independently developed. I'd love to see it.

            There is absolutely no need for someone t have successfully done that for absurd patents to become problematic. Essentially no one can afford to be sued by, say, MS, even if your implementation of Page Down is provably different to theirs.

          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by DXLster (1315409)

            But go ahead, link to a case where someone has been sucessfully sued for infringing on a software patent where the methods of implementation in question were independently developed. I'd love to see it.

            Okay... http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eolas [wikipedia.org]

          • by spazdor (902907)

            Um, the Turing-Church thesis promises that every way to accomplish a particular computing task will be "substantially the same" as every other.

      • Re:No they didn't (Score:5, Insightful)

        by drcln (98574) on Sunday August 31, 2008 @08:50PM (#24825323)

        Why is it that every patent story on slashdot always obfuscates the fact that patents cover methods of implementation, and not all encompassing ideas? Is it naive to think that this isn't a purposeful ommission?

        Never ascribe to malice that which can be explained by stupidity. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hanlon's_razor [wikipedia.org]

        The only part of a patent that matters are the claims. So, no this patent does not cover all PgUp / PgDn, but only paging that is carried out according to the formula in the claims. Still, it seems that paging through a document as if it were a book with fixed pages and always showing the same part of the page would have been obvious.

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by ceoyoyo (59147)

          I'm pretty sure I've used more than one PDF viewer that does just that.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Harry8 (664596)
        Is it naive to think that an Anonymous Coward apoligising for an unconscionable microsoft patent is paid for doing so? We know they've paid to push propaganda on wikipedia. Clue: the "method" is to press the Page Up or Page Down key. Or you're arguing that the "method" they've patented is the use of basic arithmetic.
        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by bigstrat2003 (1058574) *
          Yes, it is. Not only is it naive, it's hopelessly paranoid. Worse still, it stifles discussion, much in the same way calling someone who disagrees with you a troll does. The poster is most likely a random person posting their honest opinion, who was afraid that the corrupt moderators /. has would abuse their power because they didn't like what he was saying (thankfully, he was wrong... we must have the decent moderators on tonight). Sweet Jesus, some people must have an "omg astroturf!!!" macro, because the
      • Re:No they didn't (Score:5, Insightful)

        by bit01 (644603) on Monday September 01, 2008 @12:59AM (#24827101)

        Not even. They patented a method for scrolling up/down the same amount regardless of any zoom factor. Not all methods, and certainly not pgup/pgdn.

        Which is obvious to somebody skilled in the art.

        Is it naive to think that this isn't a purposeful ommission?

        Why is it that every patent story on slashdot always obfuscates the fact that patents cover methods of implementation, and not all encompassing ideas?

        Because even the patent office hasn't a clue what is the difference between methods and ideas. The entire patent edifice is based on little more than handwaving, though they try to obscure that fact with lots of terminology and assorted other BS.

        They can't even objectively answer whether two ideas are the same or different. Nobody can, particularly in something as amorphous and ill-defined as software (e.g. they are forever confusing new words with new ideas), and the fact they fraudulently claim they can means everyone suffers.

        ---

        Every new patent is a new law; another opportunity for a lawyer to make money at the expense of the wider community.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Wolfbone (668810)

        patents cover methods of implementation, and not all encompassing ideas

        Not true.

        Patent applications are drafted to be as broad as the prior art will allow. Patents claiming "all encompassing ideas" are usually harder to get than narrow ones and at greater risk of later invalidation, but - as Acacia and other trolls are well aware - they are more valuable: http://w2.eff.org/patent/ [eff.org] and software is particularly troubled by them: http://www.researchoninnovation.org/dopatentswork/dopat9.pdf [researchoninnovation.org]

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Tablizer (95088)

      sounds more like they patented scrolling up/down the same amount regardless of any zoom factor.

      To gett arround the patentt, just be sligghtly offf. I ussed a simmilar techniqque to gett arround a speling patentt.

           

    • Re:No they didn't (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Repton (60818) on Sunday August 31, 2008 @08:22PM (#24825079) Homepage

      Isn't that what Acrobat Reader does? You hit space, and it scrolls you down to the next screen-sized bit of document. Or, you hit pagedown, and it scrolls you exactly one page worth (which takes you to the same place on the next page).

      • or xdvi, for that matter...
      • Re:No they didn't (Score:5, Insightful)

        by udippel (562132) on Sunday August 31, 2008 @09:31PM (#24825613)

        Not that I thought it was a great patent idea (to me it isn't), kdawson got it wrong, again, as many pointed out.
        Just to clarify it, again:

        beginning at a starting point offset from a top of the document and from a top of the first page; calculating a height of at least the first page; calculating a row offset of the starting point of the first page; calculating a vertical offset at the starting point of the first page, wherein the vertical offset is calculated according to a formula of the form {[(p-1)/c]h}+r, where p is equal to the number of pages in the document, c is equal to the number of columns of the document which are simultaneously displayed, h is equal to the height of at least the first page, and r is equal to the row offset of the starting point of the first page

        I can't make out the details, but what they propose seems to be a somewhat more intelligent scrolling. I myself have at times cursed the PgUp/PgDn for straightforwardly scrolling, without considering horizontal scrolling (zoom).
        I for one will be grateful if in future I can read an academic paper of 2 columns by zooming in on the first column, and use PgUp/PgDn to navigate up-down on that same column, with useful steps.

        A patent for this: God beware!

  • Next up: (Score:2, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward

    Microsoft patents the process of securing a patent.

  • by lucm (889690) on Sunday August 31, 2008 @07:54PM (#24824767)

    ... is the three fingers salute. A "standard mechanism allowing end users to terminate faulty operating system processes without having the possibility to save their current work".

    Ok it's an easy one.

    • by PsychoElf (571371) on Sunday August 31, 2008 @08:01PM (#24824853)
      My lawyer will be contacting you for the emotional damage I have suffered as a result of your post. I wasted a mouthful of BEER as a direct result of your post.
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Foofoobar (318279)
      I'll let them patent my one finger salute.
    • Fantastic! They could sublicence it to everyone who ever added a power switch to their computers for extra cash, too.

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by bill_mcgonigle (4333) *

        Fantastic! They could sublicence it to everyone who ever added a power switch to their computers for extra cash, too.

        Yeah, I suggest they try to get a piece of the action for every PC sold by a major vendor.

        Oh, wait...

    • The real origin of the three fingers is explained buy the inventor (David Bradley) on youtube [youtube.com]. So, Microsoft could not have patented it ... well they probably could have anyway in light of the PageUP PageDN patent.
      • by Firehed (942385)

        Wow, Gates really can't take a joke. He looked like he was ready to punch Bradley in the face after that comment.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by syousef (465911)

      How about "A method to horrify employees with the realization that their financial future is tied to your company". The "Dance Monkey Boy" video of Steve Balmer's little motivational "speech" should suffice and heaven knows no one's going to have prior art that covers that. If you can't submit the video, get someone to storyboard it. I think it would make a lovely comic. "Wwwoooooooooooooooooooooooo. Developers, developers, developers. WWWWWWWWWWWOooooooooooooooooooooooooo".

  • by monsul (1342167) on Sunday August 31, 2008 @07:56PM (#24824793) Homepage
    Although the point here is not how ludicrous the patent is. Small companies simply can't afford the legal fees necessary to show this on court. Every single software patent out there, no matter how silly, is effectively enforced to everyone who doesn't have the resources to show up in court. The system is broken. I hope someone "up there" notices before it's too late
    • by FudRucker (866063)
      i am afraid it is already too late, it is going to take WW3 and the total destruction of the existing corporate & governmental infrastructure to clean up the mess they created...
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Microsoft announces today the patenting of P-En-IS

    Gates: "P-En-IS is one of our most stable products yet! in fact at most it'll need a soft reboot now and then"

    Ballmer: "Thats right, Buffer overflows are a FEATURE on this one!"

  • by Kamokazi (1080091) on Sunday August 31, 2008 @08:01PM (#24824859)
    I can't say I remember hearing of Microsoft sue a bunch of companies over a broad patent like this before, so I guess it's better that they have it than some stupid IP holidng patent troll company.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by powerspike (729889)
      No, they'll just use it along with rest to force smaller companies into licencing deals, you got something microsoft wants? well you give it to them, other wise they'll throw a couple thousand invalid patents at you, wouldn't cost that much to strike them down right?
    • Nonetheless, (Score:5, Insightful)

      by vlad_petric (94134) on Sunday August 31, 2008 @08:25PM (#24825107) Homepage
      They still use patent threats and indemnification as a way to scare companies off Linux distributions.
  • What? (Score:5, Funny)

    by John Pfeiffer (454131) on Sunday August 31, 2008 @08:06PM (#24824911) Homepage

    I think the response my father gave when I read the summary to him nicely sums up what we're all thinking: "Are you fucking kidding me?"

  • by erroneus (253617) on Sunday August 31, 2008 @08:14PM (#24825001) Homepage

    They have no guilt, no shame and no conscience. If corporations were people, there's a good chance they'd be just a little bit embarrassed in filing for a patent as obvious and pre-existing as this.

    Instead of a corporation being required by law to be beholden to the shareholders interests, let's have that law changed to make corporations beholden to the interests of the people in their community.

    • by QuantumG (50515) *

      Instead of a corporation being required by law to be beholden to the shareholders interests, let's have that law changed to make corporations beholden to the interests of the people in their community.

      Also, let's make it a law that everyone who asks for one gets a pony!

    • by rtb61 (674572)

      In this case it is likely just a simple stupidity by M$ management. They are likely paying bonuses for every patent successfully obtained, M$ lawyers are also gaining payment for every patent gained, ballmer the insurance salesmen that he is, is just to dim to differentiate between useful and useless patents and, establish clear guidelines for patent filing.

      So just a rush to gain as many patents as possible in some hair brained B$ marketing scheme to pump up M$ stock values. When they start boasting abou

  • by gmuslera (3436)
    Can't be tied to a particular machine, it don't result in the physical transformation of an article, so this [slashdot.org] should apply, and the patent could be invalidated.
  • I've copyrighted "Pg Up," "Pg Dn," and every variation thereof. So, Microsoft can program a couple of keys to perform a Page Up and a Page Down, but they can't call the keys that do it "Pg Up" and "Pg Dn" without paying me a royalty.

    They'll have to use something else, maybe Ctrl-Q E and Ctrl-Q X.

    Bwahahahaha!

    Don't believe me? Why do you suppose the key that copies the screen says "Prnt Scr" instead of "Copy Scr?" Because I hold the rights to the "Copy Scr" legend!

  • Simply make Pg Up and Pg Dn scroll an "inexact" amount of lines, ie, every 4 billion presses make it scroll 1 extra line in a random direction.

    • Why bother to overcome it? I bet you can find applications dating back way before the patent was filed to cover almost every use case you could ever want in your app. This ought to be prior-art'd to death.

  • Finally! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by slimjim8094 (941042) <slashdot3@justco ... et minus painter> on Sunday August 31, 2008 @08:36PM (#24825207)

    Jeez... why did it take them so long? I've been waiting for 25 years for this! This is a killer feature!

    Oh, wait.

  • If I rotate a book 90 degrees either direction, and turn the pages, I am pretty much doing the same thing.

    It is a very specific amount of movement (one page), regardless of how far I have the book from my face (zoom), and I can go either direction, up, or down.

    So, they basically got a patent for doing what people have been doing with books for most of recorded history.

    They obviously disallow common sense when it comes to patent applications. I guess someone patented it already.

  • So, does this apply to what happens when you view a PDF in Adobe Acrobat ?
    How long has that been around ?
  • Primary Examiner: Campbell; Joshua D

  • Sorry for the pun, but in fact it is. Patently. Ridiculous.

    WHEN is the PTO going to straighten itself out?
  • i just have patented 'excrementation' myself, on my way here from the loo.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 31, 2008 @09:13PM (#24825497)

    ...published, with source code, certainly by 1984 and maybe several years earlier.

    The t utility did not use PgUp/PgDn keys, had some others since it was for most any crt terminal, but it had and used the concept and was certainly published and possible to date publication. There are funny rules about publication, but this is a well documented bit of code, for almost any machine that could compile C code, given away freely.

  • "Here is wisdom. Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast: for it is the number of a man: and his number is Six hundred threescore and six."

  • Software patents are rapidly becoming irrelevant anyway, due to the sheer number of them. I suspect most patents are files just to ensure access to the solution rather than protection of it.

    After all, ideas are cheap but turning it into a profitable business is the hard part.

    • Well I know many users who tried Linux and laughed at it when they found out it was so primptive that it didn't support mp3s, clear type fonts, and dvd playing.

      I explained it did and I used to do it and got a strange look back. The fact that its been removed and many users such as myself switched back to windows to not have to deal with the inconvenience does show that patents are relevant.

      My guess is Microsoft is planning to launch the mother of all assaults on the free software foundation, sun Microsystem

  • Isn't a page down just an ASCII Char(12) anyway?

  • by John Hasler (414242) on Sunday August 31, 2008 @09:45PM (#24825711) Homepage

    Oh. Wait. This is Slashdot.

    (The patent is still crap, but it is not an attempt to patent PageUp and PageDown keys.)

  • Next up for M$: (Score:3, Informative)

    by Duncan Blackthorne (1095849) on Monday September 01, 2008 @02:39AM (#24827675)
    Patenting Control-Alt-Delete to reboot your computer.

HELP!!!! I'm being held prisoner in /usr/games/lib!

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