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Microsoft Patents Your Rights Online

Microsoft Patents 1826 Choropleth Map Technique 183

Posted by Soulskill
from the right-click-add-to-dictionary dept.
theodp writes "A newly-granted Microsoft patent for Variable Formatting of Cells covers the use of 'variable formatting for cells in computer spreadsheets, tables, and other documents', such as using the spectrum from a first color to a second color to represent the values in or associated with each cell. Which is really not a heck of a lot different from how Baron Pierre Charles Dupin created what's believed to be the first choropleth map way back in 1826, when he used shadings from black to white to illustrate the distribution and intensity of illiteracy in France. By the way, beginning in March, the U.S. will switch from a first-to-invent to a first-to-file system of granting patents. Hey, what could go wrong?"
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Microsoft Patents 1826 Choropleth Map Technique

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 09, 2012 @05:15PM (#41601681)

    By the way, beginning in March, the U.S. will switch from a first-to-invent to a first-to-file system of granting patents. Hey, what could go wrong?"

    The entire rest of the world works just fine using first-to-file for patents. The US is an anomaly with first-to-invent.

  • by ThatsMyNick (2004126) on Tuesday October 09, 2012 @05:22PM (#41601749)

    Exactly. Prior art is still considered when awarding a patent. If the map really is prior art, the patent can be invalidated (through courts or through the patent office). What first-to-file solves is having two inventors almost simultaneously filling for a patent. They may have never heard of each others work, and it becomes difficult to find who really invented it first. The only sane thing is to award it to the first person to file.

  • by bloodhawk (813939) on Tuesday October 09, 2012 @05:43PM (#41601949)
    Why bring up first to file in the summary? it is completely irrelevant, first to file doesn't mean prior art is ignored or that you can just go patent someone else's ideas. It merely means if 2 people/organisations are working in secret on their invention then it is whoever patents it first that gets the patent not whoever can spend huge amounts of lawyers and paperwork to try and show they had the idea 5 minutes before the other person.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 09, 2012 @06:54PM (#41602545)

    Agreed, with the exception of the "Natural Person" language. "Person" should cover it quite nicely. And we can reinforce the point by sending anyone--particularly, but not exclusively, any judge or politician--who claims that corporations are people to labor camps ...

    I hate to have to be the one to inform you of this, but corporations were invented by the Romans for the purpose of being considered a person under the law. "Corporations are people" has been the quick legal definition of what a corporation is for over two thousand years. This is why the founding fathers used language like "Natural Persons" to distinguish living people from fictional legal entities.

    The Supreme Court's error is not in stating the obvious but in finding that Congress, which allows corporations to exist, has no power to regulate their activities.

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