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WordLogic Patented the Predictive Interface 173

Packetl055 writes "Have any of you heard anything about this company, WordLogic, with a soon to be granted/issued patent with 117 claims for predictability software? They recently received a patent approval/allowance letter from the US Patent and Trademark Office. Their patent application was submitted in March 2000. If I read this correctly, any software that gives you any prediction after you type something is infringing on their patent — e.g. vehicle navigation systems, cellular telephones, PDA's, Google with their 'Did You Mean' when using Google for a search, the new Apple I-Phone, Blackberry, Sony Playstation-3, etc., etc. If true, this is going to be huge: lawsuits after lawsuits." Their stock trend over the last few days suggests that somebody was paying attention to the the USPTO news from August 9. WordLogic makes products (assistive input software) and doesn't seem to be merely a patent troll.
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WordLogic Patented the Predictive Interface

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  • by Overzeetop ( 214511 ) on Friday August 24, 2007 @02:29PM (#20346585) Journal

    Their stock trend over the last few days suggests that somebody was paying attention

    I just checked and my damned junk mail filter put that email in the trash!
  • Gee, this thing has got "prior art" written all over its face.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 24, 2007 @02:33PM (#20346667)
      I hope they enjoyed the intellisense autocomplete feature in Visual Studio when they developed the software that their patent is based on.
      • Did they actually use Visual Studio during their development? IANAL, but I'd get the impression that such a thing would definitively prove direct exposure to prior art previous to their filing the patent in 2000 (since I've been enjoying Intellisense since back in the day in Visual C++ 6.0.
      • Fongboy found their (likely) patent application []. That paper tells they use dictionaries in predicting input text in various computer devices. Well, I found these two 1989 patents with very relevant summaries.

        First patent is using dictionaries in predicting incoming text

        PURPOSE:To analyze the content of a text based on prediction, by analyzing an inputted text by using the grammatical rule of a targeted language, predicting the subject of the text from a word possible to regulate the subject, and predicting the subject predicted from the largest number of words as the subject of the inputted text. CONSTITUTION:The titled device is provided with a subject dictionary 1 in which the candidate of the subject predicted from each word is registered in every word unit, and a subject indicating word segmentation part 2 which analyzes the inputted text grammatically and extracts the word to become the main constituent of the input text. At a subject selection part 3, the subject dictionary 1 is referred, and when no subject candidate to be predicted exists in every word unit extracted at the subject indicating word segmentation part 2, no operation is performed, and when it exists, it is taken out, and the number of taking out is held at every taken out subject candidate, and when the taking out and the counting of the number of appearance are completed, the subject candidate having the largest number of appearance out of taken out subject candidates is outputted as the subject of the inputted text. In such a way, the subject of a supplied text can be predicted.

        The second patent uses previous text inputs in helping to predict the incoming text

        PURPOSE:To analyze the content of a text based on prediction by holding the set of micro features having the number of times of appearance exceeding a critical value as the present status, and assuming a subject expressed in the partial set of the micro features most neighboring to the above set as the present subject. CONSTITUTION:A recent appearance word meaning storage means 2 stores meaning by the expression of the micro feature of a constant number of words appearing recently, and a critical value filter 3 delivers only the micro feature in which the number of times of appearance of the micro feature existing in the recent appearance word meaning storage means 2 exceeds the critical value to a present status storage means 4. A most neighoring subject selection means 6 compares the set of the micro features held by the present status storage means 4 with the expression of the micro feature corresponding to individual subject in a subject dictionary 5, and outputs the subject having the least common part as the present subject. In such a manner, the content of the text can be analyzed based on the prediction.

        I predict WordLogic's patent application is not viable.

    • by ajs ( 35943 ) < minus berry> on Friday August 24, 2007 @02:36PM (#20346713) Homepage Journal
      Don't assume that there's prior art just because the Slashdot summary seems to be similar to things you used in the past. The only measure of valid prior art (other than actually going to court) is when a patent lawyer looks over both the letter of the claims and the claim of prior art. Often, in that light, the prior art turns out to have no relevance.

      Patent submitters typically know about the most obvious examples of prior art, so most patents are worded to carefully carve out a niche in which the patent almost, but not quite, describes existing technologies.
      • by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 24, 2007 @02:46PM (#20346793)
        Why is it that prior art must be exactly what the patent is claiming, but infringing work just needs to be similar to what is claimed?
        • by morgan_greywolf ( 835522 ) on Friday August 24, 2007 @03:15PM (#20347077) Homepage Journal
          Because most patent infringement cases are decided by juries. Prior art claims need to be ruled on by a judge, but 12 people, too stupid to get out of jury duty, get to decide if the infringing work actually infringes on the claims.

          Don't you just love our court system here in the U.S.? :D
          • by GooberToo ( 74388 ) on Saturday August 25, 2007 @06:55AM (#20352707)
            but 12 people, too stupid to get out of jury duty,

            I always hate it when people use that expression. Another way of interpreting that statement is, hundreds of people too selfish, greedy or stupid to perform their civic DUTY, often prevents the system from working properly. But then these hundreds will go off complain how broken the system is. Its kind of like throwing lit matches around ones home while pointing out how every day items around the house tends to be flamable. So who is really the stupid one?

            IMO, there are three serious problems with the current legal system. One, most any moron can be a judge. Judges are not even required to be knowledgable or communicate with a subject matter expert for issues on which they rule. Two, too many laws are writen by lawyers which only benefit lawyers; serving only to generate more billable hours. Three, people try hard to break the legal system by avoiding their civic duty, thereby insuring the "dumb ones", by in large, are on juries. So we have idiot judges ruling on topics well outside of their expertise, often for laws which make no sense, running a trial for jurries too stupid to get out of their duty because the people that should be there lied their way out of it.

            • While the expression itself may be almost an oxymoron, the process is rather different. First, I wouldn't want any jury there that didn't want to be there, but I think that's the least of the problems, as most people would feel obligated to give due consideration to the case before them (although that may be less likely in a corporation v. corporation scenario). Second, and perhaps more importantly, both sides participate in the jury selection process. If we assume that intelligent people are a small min
        • by snooo53 ( 663796 ) *
          Prior art doesn't need to be exact. You can have multiple separate references and a obvious motivation for "one skilled in the art" to combine. Not as great as a killer piece that shows everything, but many a court case have been won by combining prior art. There is obviousness too which is harder to prove.

          Not the exact answer to your question, but useful to keep in mind

      • You are so right.

        But the problem actually is that the /.summary contains nearly all the information the press release (it's not an article) contains. If you read it closely it only states that it's in "the predictive input arena" - could be a lot.

        The whole thing does not even contain enough information to talk about it on slashdot.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        J. Carlberger published a paper titled Design and Implementation of a Probabilistic Word Prediciton Program [] in 1997. That should pretty much take care of the prior art argument.
        • The paper is described as "The goal of this project was to design and implement a word predictor for Swedish".

          I'm going crazy trying to figure out what the software would do for the phrase "bork bork bork".

      • by 5KVGhost ( 208137 ) on Friday August 24, 2007 @03:12PM (#20347059)
        Patent submitters typically know about the most obvious examples of prior art, so most patents are worded to carefully carve out a niche in which the patent almost, but not quite, describes existing technologies.

        Fine. Then the submitter should almost, but not quite, deserve a patent.

      • by SL Baur ( 19540 )
        You're correct, but predictive software has been around a long time - Omron was doing Wnn (an extremely clever predictive dictionary engine for entering Japanese) since at least the early 1990's. Still, I'd like to read the patent itself just be clear. I didn't see a link to the patent in TFA.

        Maybe they're only patenting stupid T9 dictionaries. The one in my AT&T Samsung is stupid and way behind technology in Japan.
    • I remember something like this running on a Kaypro 10 using CPM back in the 80s.
      • which begs the question, didn't they merely copyright an inevitable evolution of processing systems?

        I have always been led to believe that if there is a natural outgrowth based on logical trends, that you couldn't patent the idea? Like patenting the premise for a machine that can process 4 trillion floating point operations per second.
  • by MarkovianChained ( 1143957 ) on Friday August 24, 2007 @02:30PM (#20346599)
    that they wouldn't get anywhere with a lawsuit.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by linumax ( 910946 )
      But they'll try, and try hard:

      "We are very excited about the obvious opportunities that will be open to WordLogic in the near future."
      Frank Evanshen, WordLogic's President and CEO.
    • Very often, especially for a smaller company, the goal of getting a patent isn't holding up larger companies for large wads of dough. It's a protective measure.

      Another company, the aggressor, walks up and says "Hey, we own the patent to that technology!". Hero says "So? So do we!". Rather than slugging it out, where aggressor might well lose the patent (since they're just being litigious and Hero is actually making products), they might as well go after someone else who *didn't* patent it.

      It's fucking stupi
    • I predict that the author of this slashdot article predicted what this patent might result in, and as such is violating the patent!

      Wait, shit, I just predicted that.

      My goodness, we are all doomed!
  • It's just too easy to create infringing code. I don't much like FDR's administration (there's a decent argument [] that he actually prolonged the Great Depression by his attempt to ram a centralized economy down the country's throat), but one of the good things he did do was to radically cut back the number and scope of patents on the theory that handing out monopolies was a bad idea.
    • by kindbud ( 90044 )
      Why do right wing sites always have a dead guy as their mascot?
  • by downix ( 84795 ) on Friday August 24, 2007 @02:31PM (#20346631) Homepage
    Would she infringe upon their patent? 8)
  • by hondo77 ( 324058 ) on Friday August 24, 2007 @02:32PM (#20346635) Homepage
    Prior art from 1996 [], anyone. Thank you, Bill! ;-)
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Speare ( 84249 )
      If I recall, the Microsoft Money product was the first in the Windows realm to do this sort of thing. They dubbed it IntelliSense and more apps gained the feature. It was only a slight improvement on the interfaces given by Un*x apps like Emacs years earlier, in that the user didn't need to "ask" the application to try to complete the string. The app merely made a zero-risk completion on every keystroke (zero risk, because the selected text could be dismissed by simply continuing to type).
  • by seebs ( 15766 ) on Friday August 24, 2007 @02:32PM (#20346643) Homepage
    I spent half an hour once trying to find a way to disable that in NeoOffice, and never succeeded. I hate that feature so much. It distracts me, and I'm a fast enough typist not to benefit much from it.
    • by seebs ( 15766 )
      So, after writing that, it occurred to me to try a search engine. Three minutes later, word completion disabled. WIN!
  • Google Suggest is a better example of predictive text input, isn't it? The concept, however, has been in use in Nokia phones for SMS messages since before 2000.
  • Seriously? (Score:3, Funny)

    by Lumbergh ( 1053438 ) on Friday August 24, 2007 @02:32PM (#20346657) Homepage
    The I-Phone? Does it work with MACS?
  • by Sciros ( 986030 ) on Friday August 24, 2007 @02:33PM (#20346669) Journal
    Patents this broad on software just shouldn't ever be granted, period. Effectively this patents inference, which is ridiculous. I'm also fairly certain that tech existed prior to 2000 which was capable of predictive i/o. Browser histories, etc.
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      Tegic, the owners of t9 started filing patents in 1996, []

      I didn't read through all the patents but I'm pretty sure worldlogic doesn't have anything on tegic when it comes to the cell phone industry.
      just one obvious example of why these patents shouldn't have been granted in the first place..

      here's the original t9 patent for reference: ahtml%2Fsrchnum.htm&Sect1=PTO1&Sect2=HITOFF&p=1&r= 1 []
    • by kidgenius ( 704962 ) on Friday August 24, 2007 @02:57PM (#20346903)
      Exactly. Patents for "predictive text" shouldn't be allowed, but I have no problem with patenting a particular method for predictive text, like T9. I mean, have as many patents as people want that cover a specific method, but not for EVERY method in existence. It's like allowing me to patent the automobile. I shouldn't be able to patent the whole thing, just be able to patent part of it, like a steering system. I don't see how these patent examiners can't make that relation to non-software items.
      • The Wright Brothers patented a specific method for controlling airplane maneuvering, and then claimed that every other implementation of aircraft control fell under that patent, a litigation fight (mostly with Glenn Curtiss) that set aircraft development in the US back probably 10 years, during its most volatile period. Essentially, people have tried, in the past, to patent the automobile. This isn't a new technique, it's just a new venue.
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by samkass ( 174571 )
          The Wright Brothers patented the method of inducing roll by differentially changing the angle of attack of each wing. It was the key invention that made the controllable airplane, and the many requests Curtiss made to the Wrights for details (promising only to use them non-commercially) shows Curtiss deception in that area. I'd call the Wright's patent a great example of when the patent system worked. The Wrights innovated, Curtiss stole, and the Wrights successfully sued them for it in exchange for reas
      • That's still not good enough. Most specific methods of prediction can be viewed as specializations of more general methods. For example, nearly every method of prediction in the field of statistics is either derived from the method of Maximum Likelihood, or from Bayes' Theorem. Moreover, there are theorems which imply that any consistent method must be equivalent to one of those in some sense.

        What this means is that obtaining a specific method of prediction in an application is often a straightforward co

    • Haven't Vi, Emacs, heck even Visual Studio's Editor had the ability to autocomplete or provide a list of predicted completions for years before 2000?

      I'm not sure when the code completion based on language syntax became available in any of these but I could swear that even older vi/vi clones have had the word mapping and completion functions for a long time. And when was auto complete added to the bash/c/korn shells?

      I'm too busy to go check dates at the moment but I agree that there is absolutely a ton of p
  • Hmmm...... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by 8127972 ( 73495 ) on Friday August 24, 2007 @02:33PM (#20346675)
    "WordLogic makes products (assistive input software) and doesn't seem to be merely a patent troll."

    Just because they make products doesn't mean that they aren't a patent troll.
    • by Speare ( 84249 )
      Yep, they're a patent troll, but they're not merely a patent troll. Like a pig wearing a tutu isn't merely a pig.
      • by andrewd18 ( 989408 ) on Friday August 24, 2007 @02:54PM (#20346857)
        Of course it's not merely a pig. It's Dancer Pig!

        Dancer Pig! Dancer Pig!
        Does whatever a Dancer Pig does!
        Can it dance
        In ballet?
        No it can't,
        'Cause it's a pig.
        Look out!
        Here comes the Dancer Pig!
        • by MooUK ( 905450 )
          And if there's anyone who doesn't know which film based on a very long running and highly popular animated TV series the parent was paraphrasing, you're missing out and should find out and go watch it immediately.
          • And if there's anyone who doesn't know which film based on a very long running and highly popular animated TV series the parent was paraphrasing, you're missing out and should find out and go watch it immediately.

            Thanks. 'Cause we're sure to get the reference once we watch the film after getting the reference to know what to watch.
    • Re:Hmmm...... (Score:5, Informative)

      by Raphael ( 18701 ) on Friday August 24, 2007 @03:10PM (#20347037) Homepage Journal

      And even if they haven't been a patent troll in the past, they may be becoming one.

      Let's look at their latest quarterly report (SEC filing) [] and pick a few bits:

      The Company reports a net loss of $840,446 for the six-month period ending June 30, 2007 [...]
      For the six-month period ending June 30, 2007, total revenues were $2,673 compared to $9,705 for the six-month period ending June 30, 2006. As the Company is a Development Stage Company its revenue streams are not established and are not impacted by economic or market trends.

      Recent Business Activities
      On January 9, 2007 the Company announced it had developed a new text entry/text messaging input solution for cell phones utilizing the WordLogic's patent pending prediction engine. [...]

      Plan of Operations
      A critical component of our operating plan impacting our continued existence is the ability to obtain additional capital through additional equity and/or debt financing. We do not anticipate enough positive internal operating cash flow until such time as we can generate substantial revenues, which may take the next few years to fully realize. In the event we cannot obtain the necessary capital to pursue our strategic plan, we may have to cease or significantly curtail our operations. This would materially impact our ability to continue operations.

      So it is a company that is making losses and focuses mainly on a single product. The success of this product depends on the licensing deals related to that patent. It looks like that company is betting a large part of its future on that single patent. So their best hope may be to become a patent troll. It may be a bit sad for the engineers working at that company, but I have serious doubts about their future business plans and methods.

      Is it surprising that they issued a press release related to that patent a few days before issuing their quarterly report?

    • I met with them earlier this year. I don't think they're patent trolls. They develop and sell products; though nothing came with it, they were interested in technical cooperation. For the businessman I spoke to, the patents were evidence of their technical innovation and a point of pride. Most of us on Slashdot see patents differently, but his perspective is how they have been seen in other industries and in the past. Of course, this was just one guy (though senior) and may not reflect the company as
      • by jp10558 ( 748604 )
        Ummm, like PhraseExpress? [] I know I've seen others that are similar for years.

        That alone is at version 4... If they applied for a patent in 2000 why isn't there a more well known product?
        • by Geof ( 153857 )
          Possibly. I'm not making any claims about the quality of their products or the legitimacy of their patents - only saying that I don't think they're a patent troll, which I understand as a company whose business centers on licensing patents rather than developing technology or selling products.
      • by epine ( 68316 )
        I can supply prior art on predictive Chinese input (pinyin/bopomofo to simplified/classical hanzi) dating back to the mid-eighties on a 4.77MHz PC, becoming quite sophisticated by the early 1990s: also hanzi back to pinyin (with disambiguation), pinyin to pinyin with correct tone markings, and romaji/hiragana to kanji. The first version involved a hardware expansion card to supply the Chinese character fonts, which were too large to handle in PC memory at the time. The version from the early 1990s was set
  • obvious (Score:1, Redundant)

    by smashin234 ( 555465 )
    Am I the only one who sees this as too obvious of a process to patent?
    • "The more original a discovery, the more obvious it seems afterwards."
      -Arthur Koestler
      • "The more original a discovery, the more obvious it seems afterwards."
        -Arthur Koestler
        "Only when it's a discovery."

        This is like patenting dropping rocks on the ground, not figuring a better design to skip rocks across the lake surface.
        • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

          It's interesting that we don't really have any idea what their patent actually says yet we all know it's incredibly obvious! Why wasn't it patented earlier? Maybe they do something differently? Maybe it's not that fact that they can do it, but rather how they accomplish it that is patented.

          You can patent dropping rocks on the ground if your method is new, better, or improved upon the earlier design. a catapult would be a terrific way of "dropping" rocks on the ground.

          I won't even get into how the rest

  • by Borealis ( 84417 ) on Friday August 24, 2007 @02:35PM (#20346691) Homepage
    I predicted that they'd do that!
  • by acvh ( 120205 ) <> on Friday August 24, 2007 @02:35PM (#20346693) Homepage
    "We are very excited about the obvious opportunities that will be open to WordLogic in the near future."

    I'll bet you are....

  • Prior Art (Score:5, Interesting)

    by SheldonLinker ( 231134 ) <> on Friday August 24, 2007 @02:38PM (#20346725) Homepage
    Eeco flight navigation system, some time in the '80s or '90s. Contact me at [mailto] for expenses-only expert or factual testimony if anyone sues you on this nonsense. I've been sued on this sort of nonsense before (and won), and I'll do whatever I can to abate it. Maybe /. can set up an area where patent-fighting experts can help out /.ers on this stuff.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by CodeShark ( 17400 ) [] is where it is at, and they have a mailout list that will keep you informed on new patent apps.

      Although I haven't seen one where my knowledge could affect the process, the very first time I hear of a patent application that I can attack with prior art, I will do so immediately.

      That way things like this patent don't get so damn close to being approved before we can jump on it.
    • by Bozdune ( 68800 )
      Remanco hand-held terminal point-of-sale system, 1987. Type a letter or two, it guessed at the rest (quite cleverly, actually). Prior art galore.
  • Like a spellchecker? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Just Some Guy ( 3352 ) <> on Friday August 24, 2007 @02:39PM (#20346727) Homepage Journal

    In what way would this differ from a spellchecker, said technology being available since at least the 1970s?

    • In what way is this the same as a spellchecker? The word "predictive" is kinda relevant.

  • I've not read the claims of course, but from the description if _any_ form of completion is claimed then it would seem to me that prior art would include command line completion as well. We've had things like this since the 70's in many forms.

  • by Anonymous Coward
    You are concluding what a patent covers without even seeing the claims, based upon a corporate press release.

    Par for the course....

    • Nobody has even posted the patent for us to read, a couple of people speculate that this is nothing more than auto-completion, and some Slashdot readers start screaming "prior art! prior art!"

      I went to the company's website and watched their demo, it doesn't appear that their product is simply auto-completion. It seems to be context-sensitive completion and I suspect that plays an important role in what they're claiming.

      Maybe it is a stupidly obvious patent and maybe it isn't. Reading a few opinions about
  • bad links (Score:5, Insightful)

    by gravesb ( 967413 ) on Friday August 24, 2007 @02:47PM (#20346801) Homepage
    Editors, for these stories, please include a link to the patent, not just the news release and a general description.
  • When I check out at my local grocery store, I've consistently received coupons for "similar products that I might like" since the 80s. Buy Ben n Jerry's ice cream? Get a coupon for Breyers. Something is predicting I might like another brand of ice cream.

    I've been getting these coupons since the early 90s.

    We should be able to sue this coupon for "wasting taxpayer dollars" similar to how you can be fined for pulling a fire alarm as a prank.
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by piojo ( 995934 )

      When I check out at my local grocery store, I've consistently received coupons for "similar products that I might like" since the 80s. Buy Ben n Jerry's ice cream? Get a coupon for Breyers. Something is predicting I might like another brand of ice cream.

      I've been getting these coupons since the early 90s.

      Yeah, those sure are annoying. Good thing prediction has been patented. Maybe spammers will have to stop predicting that I want "my sexual life more different and easier!", or I'll "impress my girl with a WonderCum!"

  • by Panaflex ( 13191 ) * <convivialdingo AT yahoo DOT com> on Friday August 24, 2007 @02:53PM (#20346851)
    Pretty sure I've seen predictive input for a LONG time... some examples..

    Cell phone input (T9 & iTap circa 1995)
    PDA writing interfaces (Newton?)
    Shell command line completion. (bash, ksh)
    Visual Studio 6...
    Windows 3.1 tablet edition
    Automatic spell checking correction ( MS word 95, possibly before)

    I'm sure there's tons more here... but wiring a dictionary up to an input is obvious prior art, no matter how you spin it.
    • Cell phone input (T9 & iTap circa 1995)
      PDA writing interfaces (Newton?)
      Shell command line completion. (bash, ksh)
      Visual Studio 6...
      Windows 3.1 tablet edition
      Automatic spell checking correction ( MS word 95, possibly before)
      I couldn't help but notice your subtle attempt to start a flame war by failing to mention vi!
      • by Panaflex ( 13191 ) *
        Well, actually I'm a daily vim user... LOL... I just didn't have a clue as to when command/filename completion was added to VI.
        • Well then I'm one to talk because I also use it a lot but was too lazy to go look up any dates as to when it's
          various completion features were added. :-)
    • Automatic spell checking correction ( MS word 95, possibly before)

      Definitely LONG before. When I was in my teens (and that was 30 years ago) my father was a COBOL programmer on UNIVAC machines. I remember that he boasted that he had shortened the time needed for typing long programs because he had abbreviations automatically expanded into their long form, as he typed. Haven't got a clue whether he had made that himself or whether it was a standard feature of the editor used.

    • Such predictive systems were on most computers in Japan in the 1980s. They were known then as Front End Processors, renamed to Input Method Editors (to be different?) in the 1990s by Microsoft. The better ones (ATOK) could lead you along as you typed in Japanese for the correct Kanji choice for the Hiragana (pronunciation alphabet) entered.

      Any engineer who'd spent time in Japan (typing in Japanese) in the 1980s could have brought this idea back with them for entering English. The need just didn't arise

  • by jeti ( 105266 )
    Nokia introduced T9 in 1999 with the Nokia 3210.
    Should count as prior art and is widely known.
  • This is OLD (Score:3, Informative)

    by jpetts ( 208163 ) on Friday August 24, 2007 @03:01PM (#20346935)
    I used to be a sysop at Imperial College Computer Centre in London, and the mainframes I worked with, a Cyber 176, and a CDC7600 had this on the console back in 1978. It was also available on the 6600, which was a 60s era machine.
  • We have a situation where prior art isn't related enough for, but it is related enough that you can sue products the same technology that came out after the patent was issued?

    IntelliSense pre-2000 isn't infringing, but 2000 on is? How does this make sense?
  • I believe the Korn and Bash shell are both examples of prior art here... The Korn shell was in existance long before this patent application, and I believe bash has been around as long as well.
  • Lisp has had a Do What I Mean (DWIM) capability for decades upon decades.
  • In the 'Search' dialogue, Folio Views had this since 1994/1995. If you typed in 'lov', it would then show a list of words in the document that started with 'lov', like 'love', 'loving', etc. The top-most from the list was also highlighted in your text entry box similar to how FireFox displays a matching URL, and then you hit 'enter' and it would skip the cursor past this word to 'accept' the predicted word, and then you could start typing your next word.
    • I personally wrote software which did this back in 1995. It was a search engine built with features specifically for legal documents and the front end had very similar functionality to what you're describing. It's really not a huge leap of creativity to imagine that given the first few letters of a word, you can look up all words that begin with those letters. People have been looking things up in the dictionaries and other reference books using such a system for hundreds of years.
  • Should be about 20-30 years old....
  • Someone at Bell labs wrote a paper about CATS, a Computer-Assisted Typing System,
    around 1972. I can't find it at the moment.
  • by jkgamer ( 179833 ) on Friday August 24, 2007 @07:52PM (#20349497)
    Does anyone here ever read these patents before posting how stupid they supposedly are? Reading the patent clearly shows that they are not applying for a patent on predicting text alone, but rather on an input method used by most PDA's and visual keyboards. In addition to displaying possible words, it HIGHLIGHTS the keys on the visual keyboard or displays the input strokes required to generate the next character that it thinks you want to select. Visual Studio never lit up characters on my keyboard, it never even displayed a visual keyboard on my screen. I'm all for patent reform and striking down obvious techniques, but in this case, while IANAL, on its face value it looks pretty legitmate to me.

    (Not entirely sure that its all that much more useful than the standard predictive text stuff that I've already seen or used, but that is not the point.)

  • While people rightly point out other prior art, like Microsoft's 1996 IntelliSense patent that I just read in someone else's comment, I'd like to be the first to point out that several BBSes, including Renegade, Tag, Opus and WWIV, offered this as early as the mid-1980s. The first time I personally saw predictive autocomplete was in the door .QWK reader for Hydra - a BBS so old that it thought running on an Atari was a good idea - in probably 1983 or so. That's back in the days when 600 bits per second so

Never buy what you do not want because it is cheap; it will be dear to you. -- Thomas Jefferson