“The US Patents and Trademark Office has today made public a Microsoft patent application (serial no. 240,729) related to the graphical user interface found on the hotly anticipated Windows Phone 7 Series mobile OS. Filed in September 2008, this application describes a ‘contiguous background’ that extends beyond the dimensions of the screen (either vertically or horizontally, but not both) with anchored ‘mixed-media’ elements being littered atop it – all of which is to be served on a ‘media-playing device’. That should sound pretty familiar, given that it’s the central navigational concept of both Windows Phone 7 and the Zune HD, and as such it makes a lot of sense for Microsoft to seek to legally protect its uniqueness.”
USPTO Fail in the Making: MS Applies for Panoramic UI Patent
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2010-04-02 12:48 pmtessmonsta
I was thinking the exact same thing.
2010-04-02 3:13 pmTommyD
Me too, I have an Android (Samsung Moment), and it has a desktop that is wider than the screen (you scroll horizontally by flicking you finger). In addition, some things can stay “pinned”. Obviously, XWindow has done this forever. This patent stuff blows.
2010-04-03 5:18 pmEarl Colby pottinger
To tell you the truth it sound like they are patenting my desktop layout when I was using Amiga computers. There were a number of programs to turn your screen into a window into a larger virtual desktop. And with Amiga`s pull down screens it did not usually make sense to make a virtual screen taller than your real screen, making it wider however made it a lot easier to use a number of related programs together, or even a single program with a lot of windows.
Remember the early Amigas were limited in resolution compared to modern day computers, the standard screens filled up fast.
Remember the recent patent tutorial on software patents for OSS developers:
http://news.swpat.org/2010/03/transcript-tridgell-patents/ . It specifically says neither the title, nor the abstract is sufficient to judge the generality of a patent.
We had multiple/scrolling backgrounds in everything (all the modern Unix windows managers, especially recent compiz). However, the Zune UI is unique. And MS will try to focus on what it does differently.
So, in my opinion, we should look at the application under this light.
2010-04-03 1:00 pmVZsolt
Even under this light: software patents suck.
2010-04-03 1:05 pmbnolsen
There’s a really big problem here….patents cost a bit of money to file (40k or so) and is not something a small business can generally afford. Once filed, a patent like this then gives a large company the ability to threaten and/or bankrupt any small company entirely based on threats regardless of whether or not the patent is valid.
I really see no inovation regarding hardware or manufacturing, just yet another process patent.
2010-04-03 4:56 pmflynn
There’s a really big problem here….patents cost a bit of money to file (40k or so) and is not something a small business can generally afford.
Your information is way off. The USPTO charges $330 for a utility patent filing, $165 if you qualify as a ‘small entity’ and $82 if you file electronically.
2010-04-03 7:23 pmsukru
This case is exactly the article I linked is about.
I’m quoting the first claim of the patent text:
1. A media-playing device, comprising:a display to present a panoramic graphical user interface, the display having a first dimension along a first axis and a second dimension along a second axis, the panoramic graphical user interface comprising:a contiguous background of one or more space-orientating graphical elements, the contiguous background sized to fit within the first dimension of the display and sized to extend beyond the second dimension of the display; anda collection of mixed-media content objects anchored over the contiguous background, the collection of mixed-media content objects arranged to fit within the first dimension of the display and arranged to extend beyond the second dimension of the display; andan input subsystem to translate user input into commands for controlling at least the panoramic graphical user interface, such commands including a pan command for moving the contiguous background and collection of mixed-media content objects along the second axis so as to change which portions of the contiguous background and which portions of the collection of mixed-media content objects are presented by the display.
For MS to successfully sue a company, they have to make sure all the “and … and” clauses are done at the same time by the possibly infringing use. For example if you’re not doing only a single item in the list (e.g: not having mixed-media content, but only single type) then you’re not infringing.
Your defense would be easy: “we’re not doing that”. It will not even go to court.
This is just a rehash of the zoomable UI concept championed by Jeff Raskin and already implemented in a variety of different manners by a variety of different interfaces already. Just because it’s on a “media device” and only lets you scroll horizontally or vertically at any given time does not make this new.
For me Apple and Microsoft have become two companies where I would not want to work, because I know any small UI innovations I come up with would probably be put straight into a patent. I’d rather have innovative ideas spread….
Edited 2010-04-02 19:58 UTC
My first brush with display scaling/zooming ( that *IS* what this patent really is ) was with BeOS.
I didn’t have a support video card and I tried to change the screen resolution. Done.
Of course, I could scroll in any direction, so maybe Microsoft can make a claim about being the only ones to limit the technique?
Merde, I wish we would just distinguish between artistic techniques ( such as most UI design ) and true scientific processes when issuing patents. And require a greater degree of uniqueness…
I remember first experience of desktops bigger than screens on Amiga in the far 1990 with AmigaOS 2.0.
Also AmigaOS 1.3 could do it when equipped with A2024 monitor or perhaps with Lowell A2410 graphic Card too…
This is a 2.1 screenshot showing MUI Magic User Interface. Its dimensions are unusual 720×800 (720x double 400) and infact it must be shown on a normal TV set, by scrolling down entire screen of Workbench to reveal the rest ot the desktop.
And this is a 1008 x 800 1.3 Workbench Screen that is made out of 4 separate panels and it could be seen entirely only with Commodore Monitor 2024 that was capable to join all 4 panels in an unique graphic screen.
Name Greyscale Monitor
Description This large 15″ monitor showed 4 greyscales, but interfaced in an odd way: instead of a dedicated driver card, it sampled in the Amiga RGB native output at a fourth of the bandwidth, where the Amiga driver software would output four screens in the time of one normal RGB screen. The monitor would rearrange the output into a high resolution display. The 2024 came with a special Workbench disk with a precursor to the RTG capabilities we have today in WB2.x.
Edited 2010-04-03 16:43 UTC
It’s a well sheltered computer science mind that came up with that patent. Jesus, do they NEVER look at their competition?
The prior art for this has to be.. what? Dinosaur old?
Embarrassing Microsoft. Embarrassing.
I thought patents where made for ideas, not for graphical layouts. Isn’t that what copyright is for (kinda)?
I am so glad we don’t have software patents in Sweden. This is just soooo ridiculous.
“a ‘contiguous background’ that extends beyond the dimensions of the screen (either vertically or horizontally, but not both) with anchored ‘mixed-media’ elements being littered atop it”
Is it just me, or does this really sound like the Android 1.5 home screen?