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Microsoft Receives Patent For Double-Click 836

kaluta writes "The Sydney Morning Herald is reporting that Microsoft was granted a patent for double-clicking on April 27. The patent in question is 6,727,830 and says, amongst other stuff: 'A default function for an application is launched if the button is pressed for a short, i.e., normal, period of time. An alternative function of the application is launched if the button is pressed for a long, (e.g., at least one second), period of time. Still another function can be launched if the application button is pressed multiple times within a short period of time, e.g., double click'. So this is what we have to look foward to in the E.U. now?"
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Microsoft Receives Patent For Double-Click

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  • by Nom du Keyboard ( 633989 ) on Wednesday June 02, 2004 @07:49PM (#9320654)
    Surely it's April Fool's day somewhere in the world for this to happen.
    • Re:April Fool's (Score:5, Insightful)

      by ruckc ( 111190 ) <> on Wednesday June 02, 2004 @10:55PM (#9321991) Homepage
      Just out of curiosity, since a button on a computer is still a button. Compared to a button on say a watch or alarm clock. Don't cd players, alarm clocks, watches sometimes require you to hold the button down for a short or long period of time to make it do something? I know my watch a Timex Ironman watch requires me to hold a button down for like 1-2 seconds to reset the stopwatch feature. Isn't this the same idea, arn't they taking a previously used idea and trying to patent it?

      yes go ahead and -1 offtopic but i want it at the top...
    • by Walt Dismal ( 534799 ) on Thursday June 03, 2004 @02:01AM (#9322869)
      "Still another function can be launched if the application button is pressed multiple times within a short period of time..."

      I hope to god Microsoft has not just patented the clitoris.

  • Hmm... (Score:5, Funny)

    by peterprior ( 319967 ) on Wednesday June 02, 2004 @07:50PM (#9320658)
    This is just twice as stupid as Amazon's 1-Click patent...

    ...I'll get my coat..
    • by jackb_guppy ( 204733 ) on Wednesday June 02, 2004 @07:52PM (#9320692)
      Triple Click...
      Quad Click...
      Qunice Click...

      Are still available!!
      • Re:Hmm... BUT!!! (Score:5, Informative)

        by thestarz ( 719386 ) on Wednesday June 02, 2004 @08:01PM (#9320809)
        Triple Click...
        Quad Click...
        Qunice Click...

        Are still available!!

        Not quite...

        "Still another function can be launched if the application button is pressed multiple times within a short period of time..."
        • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 02, 2004 @08:07PM (#9320874)
          Qunice Click... Are still available!! Not quite... "Still another function can be launched if the application button is pressed multiple times within a short period of time..."

          Sure, but has anyone patented using a specific rhythm? I've got it! Morse code on a cell phone. I here by declare prior art to the whole idea. Whew.

          • by patchmaster ( 463431 ) on Wednesday June 02, 2004 @10:07PM (#9321711) Journal
            I think you might be on to something here. Why complicate the human/computer interface with that silly keyboard thing? Let's simplify things by going back to that Apple mouse with one big button. You can indicate to the computer what you want it to do by tapping out various patterns with that one key! Working on a document? Just tap out the patterns for the letters you want. (short-click)(short-click)(short-click) S (long-click)(long-click)(long-click) O (short-click)(short-click)(short-click) S (Sorry, only Morse code I remember.)
        • Re:Hmm... BUT!!! (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Jeff DeMaagd ( 2015 ) on Wednesday June 02, 2004 @09:46PM (#9321598) Homepage Journal
          "Still another function can be launched if the application button is pressed multiple times within a short period of time..."

          Sheesh. As if double click wasn't annoying and contrived enough. How about as many as five clicks, and the duration varies between long and short clicks? Is there a prior art in this, like freaking MORSE CODE?
      • Re:Hmm... BUT!!! (Score:5, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 02, 2004 @11:35PM (#9322182)
        Tripple click is used to highlight a whole line of text. These things are useful, amusingly enough.
    • Re:Hmm... (Score:5, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 02, 2004 @08:58PM (#9321243)
      Laugh all you will but this is serious.

      That technology was first observed in digital watches of aliens held in Area 51. It is alien technology!

      Don't believe me, ask yourself this:

      Could mere humans have thought up the concept of clicking twice!
  • Dear Lord... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Sxooter ( 29722 ) on Wednesday June 02, 2004 @07:50PM (#9320659)
    Suddenly all those "I'm patenting peanut butter and jelly sandwich" posts are seeming more and more prophetic...

    I'm hoping that such insane uses of patents will result in the USPTO and Congress waking the hell up and fixing this mess.
  • LOL (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 02, 2004 @07:50PM (#9320662)
    I'm breaking patent laws right now...and again...whoops I did again :p
  • Absurdity (Score:5, Insightful)

    by weekendwarrior1980 ( 768311 ) on Wednesday June 02, 2004 @07:51PM (#9320667) Homepage
    Now here we have the powers that be granting patents based on how we move or interact? One more reason Patenting process should be thoroughly revised.
  • Prior Art? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by metallicagoaltender ( 187235 ) on Wednesday June 02, 2004 @07:51PM (#9320670) Homepage
    Surely there's prior art for this...while I'm not old enough to remember the earliest GUIs, I would think someone other than MS invented this.

    Anyone have specific examples?
  • by the_mad_poster ( 640772 ) <> on Wednesday June 02, 2004 @07:51PM (#9320676) Homepage Journal


    They can have so many patents that they have to start holding them in their asscracks. Exhibit 1: IBM, the Little Linux guy's friend on Slashdot.

    They problem is not that they GET them. The problem only occurs if they can actually ENFORCE them. Which, in any sane court (yes, I know those are in dwindling numbers these days) won't happen.

    By all means, let them run amok and waste money on BS patents. Just make sure that the first time they get challenged they actually go down. If the challenge fails, THEN there's a problem.

    • by Quixote ( 154172 ) on Wednesday June 02, 2004 @08:10PM (#9320902) Homepage Journal
      They[sic] problem is not that they GET them. The problem only occurs if they can actually ENFORCE them.

      Then why have a patent office anyways? Why not just go the Copyright route, and let everyone and his aunt patent everything they like, and duke it out in the courts.

      The USPTO was created for a friggin' REASON . They are NOT doing their job by just rubberstamping everything that crosses their desk. They are being negligent in their duties, and should be held accountable by the Congress. Sheesh, only an Unfrozen Cave Man Lawyer would grant this patent....

    • More to the point... (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Politas ( 1535 ) on Wednesday June 02, 2004 @08:17PM (#9320959) Homepage Journal
      I think is the question of whether they even TRY to enforce them.

      Microsoft have an excellent record as far as I know, of never initiating a patent battle. MS' patent portfolio is used purely for defensive purposes.

      Sure, they're anti-competitive greedy bastards, and they may decide to start trying patent litigation some day, but I think they're happier making their money by selling products.
      • by jesterzog ( 189797 ) on Wednesday June 02, 2004 @11:46PM (#9322242) Homepage Journal

        Microsoft have an excellent record as far as I know, of never initiating a patent battle. MS' patent portfolio is used purely for defensive purposes.

        This might be so, but regardless of whether they enforce it, Microsoft still has an unfair advantage over other companies.

        You could as easily argue that competitors who might actually have a fair reason to take Microsoft to court could be unfairly put off by Microsoft's overly inflated defensive patent portfolio that could be unleashed on them at any time. That is what defensive patents are there to do, after all.

    • by jcr ( 53032 ) <jcr.mac@com> on Wednesday June 02, 2004 @08:26PM (#9321033) Journal
      They problem is not that they GET them. The problem only occurs if they can actually ENFORCE them.

      Not quite. If the holder of a bullshit patent wants to take you to court and cause you to spend a pile of cash, they can do so since the issuance of the patent pretty much protects them from sanctions for a frivolous lawsuit.

      Win or lose, they can litigate to distract a competitor from competing with them, or try to get you to pay them off to avoid the cost of litigation.

      The solution here is simple, but very difficult: demand that your congresscritter introduce and vote for IP reform legislation. Rolling it back to what we started with in 1789 would be a good start.

    • Average cost to fight a bullshit patent is $2M. You honestly think that IBM is gonna fight for every little project on SourceForge? Wait, maybe we can setup a PayPal account....
  • by AcquaCow ( 56720 ) * <acquacow AT hotmail DOT com> on Wednesday June 02, 2004 @07:51PM (#9320680) Homepage

    Next up:
    Microsoft tries to patent the Internet.
    Al Gore files suit.
  • by daeley ( 126313 ) * on Wednesday June 02, 2004 @07:52PM (#9320685) Homepage
    Well, double-dumbass on you! </kirk>
  • The news is wrong. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by lazy_arabica ( 750133 ) on Wednesday June 02, 2004 @07:52PM (#9320689) Homepage
    It's not April 27, it's April 1st. =)
    Hey guys, don't worry... I don't think this patent can be used by Microsoft to destroy Open Source. So, it's better to laugh at it.
    Now, we have got one more example to show people how ridiculous software patents are.
  • First Post!!! W00t! (Score:5, Informative)

    by thewldisntenuff ( 778302 ) * on Wednesday June 02, 2004 @07:52PM (#9320690) Homepage
    Well, before we pull out our tinfoil hats and scream random obscenities at MS, let's RTFA, okay?

    TFA states that patent revolves around giving other options when holding the click, and uses the default program when double clicked...Smells like Apple, anyone?

    Furthermore, it's not as if they patented the motion of clicking a mouse button twice, as the poster makes it seem....Don't sound the alarm yet people....

    If you want to get scared, worry about that last part of the article which states that MS wants to start charging for the FAT file system....How are they going to swing that one? Higher fees on XP (tough sh!t, I use SuSE) ? Online scans for people with FAT and a bill in the mail?

    • FAT Filesystem (Score:5, Interesting)

      by bladernr ( 683269 ) on Wednesday June 02, 2004 @08:05PM (#9320862)
      If you want to get scared, worry about that last part of the article which states that MS wants to start charging for the FAT file system

      Well, I may not be popular for saying this, but MS did actually invent the FAT file system (ok, they purchased it, when MS bought rights to the QDOS OS, and renamed it MS-DOS).

      So, if they were awarded a patent or copyright or whatever it is on FAT, at least they have a moral leg to stand on.

      The patent on various ways of clicking a mouse? I don't care if its for PDAs, or what it selects, or whatever. Every possible way of clicking a mouse as been thought of, and there is no original, patentable work to do.

      (how is that for a bold statement :)

      • Actually, MS's "FAT" patent is over VFAT, not FAT. VFAT, if you don't know, was MS's answer to supporting long file names (lfns). The actual base concept of associating lfns and sfns (short file names) was around in 4DOS well before Windows 95 came out. And I'd assume there are earlier implementations for either DOS or other platforms. The only thing that was ingenious about VFAT was the way in which it encoded the lfn into the directory structure without causing other DOSs to barf. Of course, storing
    • If you want to get scared, worry about that last part of the article which states that MS wants to start charging for the FAT file system
      Actually, FAT32. FAT is old enough they can't charge on it.

      Most of the FAT32 stuff is for Digital Storage, FAT32 increases max card size, and more importantly for most people increases file size past 2Gb. I have a friend at work whose camera decision absolutely required FAT32. He needed to shoot some video with soemthing that looked like a still camera, and needs the
  • by PetoskeyGuy ( 648788 ) on Wednesday June 02, 2004 @07:52PM (#9320697) []

    I can't wait to see all the NEW comments on it.
  • by bizcoach ( 640439 ) on Wednesday June 02, 2004 @07:53PM (#9320704) Homepage
    Hmm... each of the claims in the patent as it was actually granted [] refers (explicitly or implicitly) specifically to "limited resource computing devices".

    Hence general-purpose PCs and bigger embedded systems are safe from this, but small devices such as handhelds are vulnerable?

    • by ewhac ( 5844 ) on Wednesday June 02, 2004 @09:42PM (#9321575) Homepage Journal
      Hmm... each of the claims in the patent as it was actually granted refers (explicitly or implicitly) specifically to "limited resource computing devices".

      The Amiga computer, whose UI also supported double-clicking, originally shipped with 256K of ROM, 256K of RAM, and a 7.1MHz MC68000 processor. Does this qualify as a limited-resource computing device? Does my 19-year-old Amiga now infringe on this just-granted patent?


  • Prior Art... duh! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Roguelazer ( 606927 ) <.Roguelazer. .at.> on Wednesday June 02, 2004 @07:53PM (#9320709) Homepage Journal
    Look, the patent was filed on July 12, 2002. If we can't come up with a single pre-2002 OS that used double-clicking, then we're really, really bad off. I mean, Microsoft itself has used it since about 1991 in Windows...
  • by b0rken ( 206581 ) on Wednesday June 02, 2004 @07:54PM (#9320717) Homepage
    The patent doesn't cover *mouse* clicks. It covers a way to get at least 3 different actions from the "application buttons" on your PDA --- short click, long click, and double-click.

    I don't know whether this was being done back in 2002, though I know that Palm enhancements used application button chords back in 2002 or 2003.
  • by CHaN_316 ( 696929 ) on Wednesday June 02, 2004 @07:54PM (#9320721)
    for mouse movements. Any patent on mouse movements will supercede Microsoft's double clicking, and Amazon's 1-click.

    Not impressed.... :|
  • by dekeji ( 784080 ) on Wednesday June 02, 2004 @07:54PM (#9320723)
    when the same story is pushed twice within a short time frame, like this one?
  • Keep 'em coming (Score:3, Insightful)

    by karevoll ( 630350 ) on Wednesday June 02, 2004 @07:54PM (#9320727) Homepage

    .. because if they continue to give patents on stuff like this like they've done the last few years, the system is bound to fail. Its just a simple matter of time.

    (and now for the obligatory:) What next? A patent for interpreting presses on different keys into machine-understandable signals?

  • by borgheron ( 172546 ) on Wednesday June 02, 2004 @07:57PM (#9320765) Homepage Journal
    this is a patent on the idea of launching different functions depending on how and the length of time a user presses a button.

    Now, of course, the patent is ridiculous, but it cannot be read so broadly.

  • Some easy extra info (Score:3, Interesting)

    by bfree ( 113420 ) on Wednesday June 02, 2004 @08:00PM (#9320798)
    Filed: July 12, 2002 Dated: April 27, 2004 This application is a continuation of U.S. application Ser. No. 09/226,031, filed Jan. 5, 1999 now abandoned. The entire subject matter of U.S. application Ser. No. 09/226,031 is specifically incorporated herein by reference. It also references material back to 1985, so who the hell is a patent lawyer who can figure out what the hell is going on here (I'm off to try and see what all those references are about).
  • by Meridun ( 120516 ) * on Wednesday June 02, 2004 @08:04PM (#9320840) Homepage
    Before I take my life into my hands and play devil's advocate here:

    <disclaimer>I think this is a stupid patent and is not sufficiently original to truly deserve protection</disclaimer>

    That being said, those who read the patent application [] very carefully will notice that this patent isn't for the general idea of double-clicking, but rather covers a much smaller range. Specifically, Microsoft has been granted a patent on a PDA-type device ("limited resource computing device") that has physical buttons on the outside of the device (i.e. "Mail", "Calendar", "Contacts" etc) that cause different actions to occur based on how long or in which sequence they are pressed.

    An example of the patented method in action would be if you created a device on which pressing the mail button once would open a list view of recent emails, pressing and holding it for 2 seconds might initiated a POP3 session to the server, "double-clicking" the button might bring you to a "new email" form, and pressing and holding the button longer than 3 secs would be assume to be accidental and would do nothing.

    This does NOT appear to be relevant to any non-PDA device, nor does it appear to apply to any kind of buttons that do not physically exist on the outside of the device. I still think it's pretty stupid and obvious, but it's nearly so stupid as it would appear at first glance.

    That being said, does anyone have any specific prior art to overturn this with?
  • by Eberlin ( 570874 ) on Wednesday June 02, 2004 @08:04PM (#9320845) Homepage
    I propose owning a patent for middle-clicking in such a way as to extend the middle finger while curling the others.

    This "click" does not need to be made on any particular surface. In fact, you could roll down your car window, double-click on your horn, then middle click the air with your arm extended outside said vehicle.

    Maybe we should all middle-click Microsoft with both hands as an act of civil disobedience. Needless to say, I don't advice nor advocate doing so while driving.
  • by ProudClod ( 752352 ) on Wednesday June 02, 2004 @08:10PM (#9320906)
    Stephen Hawking's speech synthesizer, operated by one hardware button clicked for different lengths of time.
  • by SteroidMan ( 782859 ) on Wednesday June 02, 2004 @08:13PM (#9320934)
    Elevator companies have been doing this for years. Everyone knows that if you push your floors button multiple times that it gets there faster! It's so obvious even 5 year olds know about it!
  • by Weaselmancer ( 533834 ) on Wednesday June 02, 2004 @08:28PM (#9321044)

    I mean seriously! Fucking double clicks????

    I wonder if the asshat at the patent office realized that he had to double click at least once during the process of filing the stupid patent. Clearly, the people at the patent office are so far out of touch with reality that they can no longer be taken seriously.

    So, I propose this for the new patent system (it's un-Slashdot of me, but not only am I bitching about something, I have an idea on how to fix it.)

    Public peer review. Open source meets patent reform.

    As soon as a patent is applied for, it is placed up on a website for public review. Then, it's up to the public as well as the patent office to try to find any prior art.

    If prior art is found, the patent is denied. Period. And if the prior art is over 5 years old, it's considered a public domain idea, and no longer patentable. That'll keep idiots like the lawyersquad at MS from patenting other people's ideas. Like double clicks.


  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 02, 2004 @08:28PM (#9321046)
    But this is a valid patent.

    Its a non obvious use of timed button presses.

    If you just hit an application button on a PDA it opens the application.

    If you hold it for more than a second it opens a different document based on the length of time the button is held down.

    If you read the patent it is actually a very specific application of the technique.

    It only applies to "limited resource computing devices" aka PDAs.

  • by Rasputin ( 5106 ) on Wednesday June 02, 2004 @08:35PM (#9321099) Homepage

    The patent holders are an interesting pair. A bit of googling produced the following:

    Charlton Lui appears to have been a Microsoft manager turned Canadian Baseball CEO(!) "Mr. Lui co-founded the Tablet PC providing the vision and driving product development while working closely with Bill Gates and top industry leaders." Here [] is the reference.

    There is a Jeffrey R. Blum who includes the following in his resume: "Microsoft Mobile Electronics Group, Redmond, WA: Lead Program Manager (8/1994-3/2000)" Here [] is his resume.

    If I got the right people (no guarantees there), it looks like they're both *managers* who worked on mobile computing appliances. Managers who take out patents???

  • by Felinoid ( 16872 ) on Wednesday June 02, 2004 @08:51PM (#9321196) Homepage Journal
    The dubble click behavure was enherited from a number of GUIs that existed before Windows ever hit the market and I believe it wasn't included in the inital release of Windows.

    The history of it is something like this:
    A number of systems hit the market. MacOs is successful with a single button mouse.
    Other GUIs hit the PC and Geos for the Commodore, Atari TOS for the ST, Amgia Os for the Amiga.
    Most systems had two button mice. However MacOs users had 1 button and Commodore 64 users had 1 button joysticks standing in for mice (two button mouse available).

    MacOs started to get the reputation of being limited. The single button wasn't enough. To keep up Apple added the dubble click to permit additional behavure. A software hack for a second button. This is not to say MacOs WAS limited but streat talk vs real world has always been on entirely diffrent plains of existence.

    At some point Microsoft addopted the behavure into Windows. There was no preticulare advantage to be gained by this.

    You will notice that Microsofts patent is on the default fuction where as MacOs uses the dubble click as the "second button" (if I remember correctly).

    This is nothing to be proud of.

    However The Commodore 64s Geos used (if memory serves) single click to be "select" for cut and paist and dubble click for default fuction (activate the icon, open file, run the application) before Microsoft included this behaubure into Windows.

    Sing with me "Prior art"

    The dubble click was created to solve a problem found in systems using a single button for a pointer device. Microsoft Windows had no preticulare reason for addopting the dubble click other than to mimic the behavure of MacOs.

    This patent should read.
    "The hacks implemented in OTHER operating systems copied into Windows to no advantage to the end user."

    Unix Window managers typlicly rely on having 2 to 4 mouse buttons and don't use the dubble click byond mimicing the behavure of Microsoft Windows.

    Patent suggestion for RedHat: Dubble click mask:
    The software technique where a second click done shortly after the first click is "tossed out" this would continue for a third and forth click as well. That if a user clicks an icon many times (nervous habbit) the Window manager reads only 1 click and ejects the rest.

    Tech support horror storys:
    Tech: Single left click
    User: (Click Click) It openned the app
    Tech: Close the app. Don't dubble click. Single left click
    User: (Click Click)

    With Dubble click mask
    Tech: :Left click
    User: (Click click click click) It worked.
    (All the clicks being read as 1 click becouse that is all the user should have done)
  • by constantnormal ( 512494 ) on Wednesday June 02, 2004 @08:52PM (#9321207)
    ... despite the dubious foundation for this flood of patents, there are really only three possible outcomes:

    1) the patent goes unchallenged, thus Microsoft wins by achieving a license to rape and pillage. (unlikely)

    2) the patent is challenged, and Microsoft wins, thus strengthening their license to rape and pillage. (unlikely)

    3) the patent is challenged and Microsoft loses the challenge, but still wins by weakening the opposition due to the opposition having to spend a larger fraction of their working capital than Microsoft in this non-productive activity. In areas of the marketplace where there is not a large healthy corporation to oppose them, they drive the competition out via the competitors' inability to afford the Microsoft tax of continuous legal action.

    The ability of monopolies to buy into the poker game and use their near-limitless wealth to drive the competition out of the game by raising the stakes beyond their opponents' ability to call is one reason why monopolies used to have strict controls placed on them or be broken up. They are beyond the reach of the checks and balances of the free marketplace.
  • by whovian ( 107062 ) on Wednesday June 02, 2004 @08:55PM (#9321222)
    Recalling that wristwatches used to come with calculators built in, I thought it plausible that somebody had long come up with the idea of built-in address books or some-such. Looks as if Microsoft may have some ground here.

    Check out this link [] that implies about 1997! Article reproduced shamelessly below.

    Tue, May 28 2002, 22:07:55
    By Ronny Ko
    | | Subscribe to Bityard -- FREE!

    About five years ago, Microsoft and Timex introduced one of the first consumer PDAs. Although it was convoluted and hard to use, it was still a good start. Five years later, Fossil, a brand of watches has taken another step by introducing the first full consumer PDA-based watch. In this review, we take a look at the pros and cons.

    WristPDA is the first watch to run on the Palm operating system. The idea is very simple. Instead of carrying your Palm Pilot everywhere, you can download your contacts and appointment directly into your watch. By doing this, you'll never miss another appointment and always have your contacts at your wrist - anytime, anywhere.

    The watch comes with an address book, date book, to-do list and memo pad. These are not your full-featured applications since the watch doesn't come with a touch screen. Because of its small screen not a lot of information can be displayed.

    When the watch arrived to our labs, our first impressions were that it was a nice looking watch in spite of the fact that it is rather big. Its case size was 44 mm x 50 mm x 15 mm.

    When we started pressing the buttons, we immediately notice how hard they are. Firstly, they do not offer tactile feedback. Secondly, the forward and back buttons were hidden away as part of the aesthetics causing us to wonder how we'd navigate around them until we read the manuals. For something this small, it should be quite intuitive.

    Unlike the Palm Pilot, the watch comes with a wimpy 8-bit Epson processor. When we loaded the date book in order to check our appointments, it takes a good 45 seconds to load and swift between days. This kind of performance is not good enough for someone who's on the go.

    On the bright side, the address book, to-do and memo pad performed adequately since records are displayed quickly.

    Fossil has made an interesting compromise for the WristPDA. Instead of building a data transfer port like a cradle, information is transferred in and out of WristPDA via its built-in infrared port. This means that you'd need to use your Palm Pilot in order to transfer information. When we transferred 250 addresses, two weeks' of appointments, memos and to-do lists. The information transfer took over 30 minutes to complete. At times, we were wondering whether the Palm Pilot and WristPDA were working at all since there was not task update bar.

    Sometimes the little things make all the difference. And, that's no different for WristPDA. The included Palm application allows you to customize how WristPDA displays data for clock and date. There are four different faces that you can choose and transfer to the watch.

    Another great feature is the fact that the watch is water resistant for up to 30 meters.
    Thanks to its built-in infrared port, users can use the watch to transfer and store up to 20 business cards.

    The watch comes with two lithium coin batteries which can last up to 3 months. After three months, you'll have to spend at least $7 in order to replace those batteries.


    Overall, WristPDA is a great idea. I have always wondered when someone would come up with an intergrated PDA in a watch. It's a great first start but it still needs a lot of work particularly on the buttons and interface navigation.

  • by steveha ( 103154 ) on Wednesday June 02, 2004 @09:22PM (#9321430) Homepage
    We've seen too many patents where everybody already does X, and the patent is to "do X on the Internet".

    Or the recent patent on burning a CD of a concert, the same night as the concert and selling it after the concert. There's prior art on making music CDs -- but I guess you can patent making CDs in a specific situation.

    Now double-clicking isn't patented, but double-clicking the hardware buttons on a PDA is patented.

    So we can just patent anything if we specify a narrow domain and apply it there?

    I suggest we patent double-clicking with a mouse... on an application with a "metal" skin that looks like a PDA. (Meh. Maybe Microsoft's patent would already cover this one!)

    How about patenting the idea of recording a DVD of your vacation... while on vacation.

    How about patenting the idea of an SQL database... on a PDA.

    How about patenting video conferencing... on a PDA.

    It's stupid, but the pattern suggests this might be possible. Start filing your applications now!

  • by nbahi15 ( 163501 ) on Wednesday June 02, 2004 @09:55PM (#9321654) Homepage
    1) Ctrl-Alt-Del
    2) Rebooting after installing an application
    3) Powering the computer on
    4) The arrow pointer for the mouse
    5) The hourglass
  • Prior art: (Score:5, Interesting)

    by fireman sam ( 662213 ) on Wednesday June 02, 2004 @11:25PM (#9322148) Homepage Journal
    If anyone is interested in some real prior art:

    When I was working for my old company (Tuxia), I wrote a linux based system called viper. This had the functionality in the program launcher where if you click on an icon a program will start. But, if you click and hold on an icon for longer than 1 second, a context menu would appear. I quit the in January 2002.

    It was mentioned in Linux devices when it was first released to the public (it was open source).

    It was hosted on (but that is now gone). I still have the source available.

  • Somehow I know (Score:5, Insightful)

    by iamthetru7h ( 782302 ) on Thursday June 03, 2004 @01:43AM (#9322788)
    this will will get shot down if it's ever 'enforced' legally. I recall using the Apple IIgs and certain applications had a rather Macintosh OS Finder like interface. And one had to double click things to make 'things' happen. IE: Launch an application etc. So prior art will shoot them in the face... then again, Microsoft invented the internet, the GUI, and viruses... so might as well say the invented religion, politics and the world as well. Stupid patent office, somebody seriously needs to beat down whoever runs that joint.
  • by Oloryn ( 3236 ) on Thursday June 03, 2004 @03:41AM (#9323245)

    There might be prior art in, of all things, amateur radio handhelds. Amateur Radio VHF/UHF handhelds have, for several years, typically carried enough functionality that getting to it all given the limited number of buttons on the radio requires the time-based hardware button tricks Microsoft is describing. For example, on my Yaesu FT-51R (purchased in 1998, 4 years before Microsoft's patent filing, and in fact available before then (actually the even earlier FT-530 uses the same tricks)), saving to a memory requires holding down a button for a second, changing to the memory you want to save to, and then pressing the same button within a particular time. That same button, if merely pressed rather than held, causes other buttons of the radio to perform different functions then if it had not been pressed (but only for a limited amount of time). Hence, different functionality depending the length of time the button is pressed.

    Note that these radios are controlled by internal microprocessors, and thus might be considered a 'limited resource computing device'. In any case, the idea of having the functionality of a button change depending on how long the button is pressed preceeds Microsoft's patent filing enough that Microsoft's idea should be seen an an obvious transfer of the idea to an only slightly different device.

VMS must die!