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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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  • 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.
  • Re:No they didn't (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 31, 2008 @07:55PM (#24824781)
    It doesn't in OpenOffice, KOffice, Word, Notepad, VI, emacs or vim. OK, the last few don't have a notion of 'Page.'
  • by LighterShadeOfBlack (1011407) on Sunday August 31, 2008 @08:16PM (#24825021) Homepage

    At least read the summary next time. If you had you'd have noticed it's quite clearly not a patent for the keys themselves, but the practice of scrolling a specific amount regardless of the current view settings (eg. zoom). As such your keyboard is irrelevant, a peice of software that implements those keys in the standard way however is absolutely relevant.

    To quote the patent text [uspto.gov] itself (emphasis added):

    Briefly, the present invention provides a method and system for scrolling a substantially exact increment in a document, such as a row height corresponding to a row of one or more pages of a page set, so as to display a next page set from the precise vertical location into the page that the previous page set started, regardless of the current zoom percentage. For example, if the middle of a page set is at the top of the viewing area, after scrolling, the middle of the next page set is at the top of the viewing area. This operation occurs on receiving specific user input, e.g., a Page Up or Page Down key command.

    Notice that the use of the Page Down/Up keys is an example of input that would be used in concert with the patent, so it's crystal clear that they're not trying to patent the keys themselves.

    Not that what they're patenting is any less ridiculous, but let's at least get straight what ridiculous thing we're talking about.

  • Re:No they didn't (Score:2, Informative)

    by larry bagina (561269) on Sunday August 31, 2008 @09:03PM (#24825425) Journal
    Dell tried to trademark the term "cloud computing."
  • 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.

  • Re:No they didn't (Score:3, Informative)

    by DXLster (1315409) on Sunday August 31, 2008 @09:34PM (#24825637)

    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]

  • Re:No they didn't (Score:3, Informative)

    by ceoyoyo (59147) on Sunday August 31, 2008 @09:42PM (#24825695)

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

  • Re:No they didn't (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 31, 2008 @09:45PM (#24825713)
    Apple's "Preview," to name just one.
  • by Dachannien (617929) on Sunday August 31, 2008 @10:08PM (#24825841)

    Keep in mind that the scope of what's patented is contained entirely within the claims of the patent, not in the rest of the specification. (Although, anything in the specification, once published, can be considered "prior art" over future applications.)

    In this case, the independent claims get extremely specific, including an indication of the particular formula being used to calculate the amount to scroll. Compare this to the claims as originally filed [uspto.gov].*

    (* If that link expires, the application publication number is 20060200764, and you can enter that here [uspto.gov].)

  • Re:Ok by me. (Score:2, Informative)

    by PaKL (1236442) on Sunday August 31, 2008 @10:31PM (#24826053)
    Hey! I read RTFA yer, yer I know... I realise that it refers to a "page" and not the keys on the keyboard. However! Anyone seen a patent on the "Any Key" yet ? :P
  • Re:Nonetheless, (Score:2, Informative)

    by BradleyUffner (103496) on Sunday August 31, 2008 @11:31PM (#24826477) Homepage

    I can't remember too many actual real examples of microsoft trying to scare anyone with thier patents. What I do remember is every linuxite freaking out about the fact that Microsoft COULD try to scare people if they felt like it someday. So far I havent actually seen Microsoft make any moves against big projects like Mono or Samba.

  • Re:No they didn't (Score:3, Informative)

    by Wolfbone (668810) on Monday September 01, 2008 @01:55AM (#24827427)

    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]

  • 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.
  • Re:No they didn't (Score:2, Informative)

    by Delkster (820935) on Monday September 01, 2008 @03:09AM (#24827897)

    Actually, some existing software still does something pretty close to this. In Evince, for example, you can always scroll exactly to the next page regardless of how much of a page is being displayed at the current zoom level by pressing Ctrl+PgDn (and similarly for up). Adobe Reader might behave the same way but I'm not sure. I think OpenOffice.org Impress (the powerpointy thingy) also does that.

    I didn't read the patent application, but if TFA has any clue, the only difference between that and the MS 'invention' is that in the latter one the viewer would scroll exactly to the same position in the next/previous page as you were previously viewing on the original page. For example, if you're 1/4 down page n, MS PageDown 2008 (TM) would get you to the position 1/4 down page n+1. The examples I mentioned earlier always give you the beginning of the next/previous page.

    Nevertheless, seems trivial. But then, again, I didn't read the patent application.

  • Re:Nonetheless, (Score:3, Informative)

    by Raenex (947668) on Monday September 01, 2008 @03:55AM (#24828185)

    I can't remember too many actual real examples of microsoft trying to scare anyone with thier patents. What I do remember is every linuxite freaking out about the fact that Microsoft COULD try to scare people if they felt like it someday.

    You haven't been paying attention then:

    http://www.google.com/search?q=ballmer+novell+linux+patents [google.com]

  • by vittal (52825) on Monday September 01, 2008 @04:15AM (#24828307) Homepage

    Oddly enough, there is some research regarding psychopathy and management. While it would certainly be untrue to say "Most large corporations are run by sociopaths", there are examples of CEO's who do tick the boxes for psychopathy.

    http://www.fastcompany.com/magazine/96/open_boss.html [fastcompany.com] is an interesting article covering some of the work by Robert Hare (the bloke who devised the Psychopathy Checklist used by police departments to profile killers).

    Disclaimer - I have worked for a company where the CEO is in jail for being a cheating, lying toe-rag.

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

    by TheNetAvenger (624455) on Monday September 01, 2008 @04:33AM (#24828399)

    The difference is enough that the problem here isn't MS, it's the patent system. But we knew that. We're vilifying the wrong people. Our efforts should be focused on demonstrating the inferiority of this system, and exposing any corruption involved in maintaining it.

    I have to agree, and if anything MS is demonstrating the insanity of the US Patent system by proxy.

    MS has been sued over 100s of insane patents, and so they were forced to patent anything even plausibly theirs to protect companies from getting rich off of stupid patent lawsuits.

    (If people look at MS patent history, prior to the mid 90s when they started getting hammered with bogus patent lawsuits, MS had a very limited amount of patents.)

    In case anyone doubts MS's filings as being anything but defensive, Google their position on Patents going back to Win 3.x days.

    Here is a quick link to illustrate:
    http://news.cnet.com/Microsoft,%20Oracle%20call%20for%20patent%20reform/2100-1030_3-5683240.html [cnet.com]

  • Re:Ok by me. (Score:3, Informative)

    by MrMr (219533) on Monday September 01, 2008 @06:31AM (#24829081)
    You didn't read TFP: What is claimed is:...
    2. The method of claim 1 wherein receiving a command indicative of a page-based incremental scroll request comprises receiving a Page Up command...

    And further down: .... This operation occurs on receiving specific user input, e.g., a Page Up or Page Down key command.
    So this patent really claims the use of the Page Up key to move a page upwards by a specific amount. I think I'm going to patent a method to insert an 'e' into a digital text by pressing the 'e'-key on a keyboard.

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