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Microsoft Patents Your Rights Online

Microsoft's Virtual Skywriting Patent App Features the Real Thing 66

theodp writes "GeekWire reports that Microsoft this week was awarded a patent on something it calls 'virtual skywriting', an augmented reality service that adds fake skywriting to scenes captured on a cell phone screen. Odd enough in its own right, but Microsoft also included an unattributed photo in the patent application which it described as 'an example of virtual skywriting in use,' although it certainly appears to be identical to a famous image of actual skywriting from a 2001 public art project. If that turns out to be the case, could the self-described opponent of half-baked patents and IP misuse find itself in hot water with the USPTO for using the 'prior art' to fake its fake skywriting?"
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Microsoft's Virtual Skywriting Patent App Features the Real Thing

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  • How is this "prior art"? Surely if anything it would be misrepresentation and copyright infringement, but real skywriting doesn't constitute prior art for a computer app which fakes it...

  • Re:Hell yeah, (Score:4, Insightful)

    by RazzleFrog ( 537054 ) on Thursday June 23, 2011 @05:04PM (#36546992)

    The patent is for the system of how to add fake images that appear to look like skywriting to an existing images - both text and graphics. The idea is to take an existing photo or text and automatically modify it to look like skywriting. If there is no current application that does this then based on current standards that is a legit patent.

    Mr. Franklin didn't invent electricity - he discovered it. You can't patent electricity anymore than you can patent water.

    Either way, it looks to me like they were giving an example of how it would work. You don't have to have the system working in order to patent it. Their choice was just a poor one.

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