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Microsoft Lays Claim To Patent On 'Fans' 114

Posted by Soulskill
from the patent-trolls-are-a-fan-of-this dept.
theodp writes "A USPTO filing made public Thursday reveals that Microsoft is seeking a patent for something it calls 'One-Way Public Relationships' in social networks and other online properties, lawyer-speak for what's more commonly known as being a 'fan' of something online. It's unclear whether it's a goof on Apple, but Microsoft curiously used the example of a U2 fan named Steve to explain its 'invention' to the USPTO. Purported patent reformer Microsoft, which has called for the US to change from a first-to-invent patent system to a first-to-file system, filed the patent application in July 2009. Microsoft is a partner with and investor in Facebook, which first established its fan pages back in November 2007."
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Microsoft Lays Claim To Patent On 'Fans'

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 07, 2011 @04:40PM (#34797024)

    I call prior art when I had a crush on this girl who blew me off.

    • by ae1294 (1547521) on Friday January 07, 2011 @04:43PM (#34797070) Journal

      I call prior art when I had a crush on this girl who blew me off.

      no no you are thinking about the 'stalker patent'.

      • by ae1294 (1547521)

        p.s. I think that one was held by SCO. I wonder who bought it at their fire sale?

      • "The Stalker Patent" is exactly what I thought when I read

        "A USPTO filing made public Thursday reveals that Microsoft is seeking a patent for something it calls 'One-Way Public Relationships' in social networks and other online properties

      • by JSG (82708)

        No no - in English, being blown off is a sign of endearment and rather pleasurable (for a man).

        Its something that probably doesn't often happen with members of the opposite sex for /.s 8)

        • by ae1294 (1547521)

          No no - in English, being blown off is a sign of endearment and rather pleasurable (for a man).

          Its something that probably doesn't often happen with members of the opposite sex for /.s 8)

          If it's a sign of endearment then why do I have to pay 40 bucks to the girl down by the overpass?

    • I dunno, a girl you like giving you a blow sounds pretty mutual.

      • by tverbeek (457094)

        Not if she doesn't call you like she promised.

        • by Anonymous Coward

          Not if she doesn't call you like she promised.

          Ah hahahahahahahaha... women actually doing what they said they would do. That's a good one. Whew. Thanks, I needed a gutlaugh.

    • by Nyder (754090)

      I call prior art when I had a crush on this girl who blew me off.

      But did she swallow?

    • Well, I'm going to Patent the "Fan Restraining Order" -- so Microsoft will have to go before a judge and pay a fine due to Contempt of Court every time their Fan technology "pokes" my "FRO" technology.

      They will have to give their Fan patent to some patent free organization, just to remove the billion and one FRO fines I could generate in a day!
      It also negates any "Stalker Patents" as you know, they have to be about 500 feet away from any FRO location, and of course, the neighborhood Day Car -- damn creeps.

  • I figured they could afford air conditioners.
  • Slashdot Lays Waste To Fans of Patents
  • by Anonymous Coward

    They appear to be filing patents of prior art with the intention of getting patent law changed to a first-to-file system in the future.

    If they succeed in getting the law changed, they then get to sue the inventors of the technology for violating their patents.

    • If they succeed in getting the law changed, they then get to sue the inventors of the technology for violating their patents.

      That's exactly why a first-to-file system would be worse than what we have now. I could file a patent on, say, "system of transportation involving round things mounted on a spindle" and totally pwn the entire auto industry, having invented exactly nothing.

      Just what we need, a patent system that makes more money for lawyers.

  • patently (Score:2, Funny)

    by tverbeek (457094)

    The one phrase that best describes this is "patently obviously".

  • "Like" (Score:5, Funny)

    by MrEricSir (398214) on Friday January 07, 2011 @04:48PM (#34797188) Homepage

    Steve Ballmer and 2 other people like this.

  • by Scarletdown (886459) on Friday January 07, 2011 @04:49PM (#34797212) Journal

    If this patent gets rejected, will Microsoft and the Patent Office find themselves on each other's Freaks list?

    • by Stregano (1285764)
      I am more curious to see the relationship of M$ and FB after this. M$ has money invested into FB, so it obviously knows about what FB is and has had ample time to sue them (the patent was filed in 2009, and it is 2011 now), but chose not to. Obviously the wait was to get more money, but why doesn't M$ just be a douche and threaten to pull out from FB and stop investing? Unless M$ is suing for the 450mil they put into FB, then it is going to hurt FB much less hitting them with a lawsuit. FB/Zuck are too
  • Not a fan (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Andy Smith (55346) on Friday January 07, 2011 @04:52PM (#34797254) Homepage

    I really, really, really, from the bottom of my heart, with a stomach-churning sickness and bile rising in my throat, hate this trend of trivial and obvious technology patents. They all boil down to the same thing: "We saw someone else doing this, and we think it's a good idea, so we want to be the only people that are allowed to do it from now on."

    • In other news:

      Microsoft files patent for 'One-Way Public Malice' in social networks and other online properties, lawyer-speak for what's more commonly known as 'hating' something online.

    • by Zumbs (1241138)

      We saw someone else doing this, and we think it's a good idea, so we want to be the only people that are allowed to do it from now on.

      Quick! Patent that idea before someone else beat you to it!

    • It's as if they were trying to file the most ridiculous patent they could think of just to prove the system's broken, and it got accepted. Because the system's so broken it doesn't even get the joke.

      • The system gets the joke. They also have to live with the consequences of change. At this point any IP changes will make a global impact, and must be considered both as Domestic and Foreign Policy.

        I hate it too. Find thanks in the fact that we are not waking up to this steaming pile on our plate each morning. Someone is, though.

        • by noodler (724788)

          "...and must be considered both as Domestic and >Foreign Policy."

          Yeah, good luck with that...

  • by RManning (544016)
    That's it, I'm going to go unfan Microsoft in Facebook.
  • by rossdee (243626) on Friday January 07, 2011 @04:53PM (#34797294)

    I was getting worried they were patenting a rotating device used to blow air to cool things. Essential for modern computers...
    (BTW most air conditioners use fans too.

  • by dkleinsc (563838) on Friday January 07, 2011 @04:55PM (#34797322) Homepage

    Right here [slashdot.org].

  • As I recall, I was a member of their online Fan Club, and the software for that was copyright.

  • public static void patentIdea(Idea i) {
      // if (!i.ours) return;
      i.ours=true;
      if (i.hasMoneyMakingPotential)
        i.patent();
      else
        i.patentAnyway();
    }

    (What's really sad is that I pasted the code in to Eclipse to check for syntax errors.)
  • My patent for "One-Way False Information Relationships" amounts to "I'm lying to all of you."

    Just ask my ex-wives and -girlfriends -- they'll tell you all about my "One-Way False Information Relationships".

  • by xednieht (1117791) on Friday January 07, 2011 @05:13PM (#34797600) Homepage
    "'One-Way Public Relationships' in social networks and other online properties, lawyer-speak for what's more commonly known as being a 'fan' "

    Microsoft should patent assholes too, layman-speak for what's more commonly known as being a lawyer.

    Enough is enough already: abolish the USPTO
    • Enough is enough already: abolish the USPTO

      This is still just an application. It hasn't even been examined yet. If you're going to spew hate over this, point it at Microsoft, and give the USPTO a chance to do its work.

      • USPTO a chance to do its work

        You call reading stuff like this, "work" ??

        people who make cars, work.

        people who make houses, work.

        people who read stuff like this patent ... foobar.

  • Your all witnesses. I wish to lay claim to patenting the act of patenting the obvious. While at it I wish to patent the act of posting to Slashdot. Pay up my pretties.
  • All the Andriod, Apple, Linux, etc. fanbois are going to have to start paying MS.
    Pure genius Mr. Ballmer, pure genuis!

    p.s. If you can't beat em, patent their fanbois.

  • by Jahava (946858) on Friday January 07, 2011 @05:26PM (#34797760)
    Patenting fans? Not cool, Microsoft... not cool.
  • So in effect, cementing the power for the people with the money.

  • I'm starting my patent application for a one-way relationship where I intensely dislike a particular entity for their ass-hat methods of scooping up obvious, real-world-inspired situations and turning them into something it calls "intellectual property".

  • Unfortunately, the domain is dead. You can still see its former glory on archive.org though.
  • My patent cortex just hemorrhaged. I'm dead. Bury me in a Microsoft-shaped box.
  • Yeah, I would have to agree Microsoft does have a "One-way Public Relationship" with it's customers (how could I let that one go?).
  • And I think I need to patent that before all you cheese weasels cheat me out of my due lucre.

  • From what I gather from the /. user page, friends are people who you think you like, and fans are people who think they like you. For example, I currently post on /. using a two-fan system.

  • I think US citizens should have the right to sue assholes that steal our tax dollars by doing stupid crap like this. Of course, I'm claiming the patent on that one.
    • Actually, the USPTO is entirely funded by the fees it collects from those seeking and holding patents, so your tax dollars don't get involved.

      In fact, potential and current patentees have more justification to complain, because Congress routinely takes a portion of those fees and diverts them to other miscellaneous purposes unrelated to examining patent and trademark applications.

  • ...If the only way they can get fans is by filing a patent claim!
  • file 'bullshit'. for, that is what they are saying.

    basically, if the patent goes first to file, i can patent wheel. or, arithmetic. or, logic. because, i would be the first to file. no no, dont worry whether there would be 'prior art' or anything - i assure you if i can file it, i will find the lawyers to argue for it.
    • You misunderstand "first-to-file", then. The term is only applicable to using other patent applications to reject claims based on the filing dates of those applications, under 35 USC 102(e), and for interference purposes under 35 USC 102(g). Regular published prior art would still work the same way it does now.

      • by unity100 (970058)
        yes, so i invent something in my basement, my local hometown knows about it, but some schmock in some other state files it, and he has the thing is it .

        how so very logical and rational.
      • by avatar139 (918375) *

        You misunderstand "first-to-file", then.

        No, actually you misunderstood my post, as it was intended to be funny...Much as it pains me to admit it, however, it clearly didn't succede in that regard as I've now had to explain it to you. :(

        Don't worry though, next time I'll make sure to use the humor tag when posting to prevent confusion!

  • Once Microsoft and Facebook find out that the furries are also known as "furry fans", they'll drop the claim.

    And run away, screaming.

  • Our patent system is hopelessly fucked up. I am going to patent "submitting hopelessly stupid patents" then sue all these lazy/greedy trolls!
  • I can see how having people like you could seem new and novel to Microsoft.

  • by Bob9113 (14996) on Saturday January 08, 2011 @12:28AM (#34801814) Homepage

    'One-Way Public Relationships' in social networks and other online properties, lawyer-speak for what's more commonly known as being a 'fan' of something online.

    This is also lawyer-speak for what is more technically known as a directed graph [wikipedia.org].

    I thought the patent system was broken for allowing any half-wit to staple "... on the Internet!" onto an existing idea and be granted a patent. Now they're giving patents for "A directed graph... with humans!" The user interface, storage, and processing of directed graphs are a significant part of computer science history, and trace their heritage to before the Unix epoch. There is no technical invention here, nor by Facebook in 2007. You should as easily be allowed to patent "1 + 1 = 2... with humans!" and go sue anyone who is married for infringement.

  • LiveJournal has always permitted one-way "friend" relationships, helpfully distinguishing the "mutual friends" for you. This patent is just silly.

    A "first to file" system wouldn't be completely disastrous provided that evidence of prior art was still enough to scuttle the patent.

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