Microsoft has been granted a patent on the double-click by the US Patents and Trademark Office. The patent, number 6,727,830, was granted on April 27. An abstract of the application says: “A method and system are provided for extending the functionality of application buttons on a limited resource computing device. Alternative application functions are launched based on the length of time an application button is pressed. A default function for an application is launched if the button is pressed for a short, i.e., normal, period of time.” Our editorial on patents.
Microsoft Granted Patent for Extended Mouse Button Pressing
Submitted by Elwood 2004-06-02 Microsoft 64 Comments
It looks more like a “click-and-wait”, like Macs and iPaqs have…
Does anyone know what they will get for doing this?
The US patent system needs a deep revision….
No. Just no. I mean seriously. No.
This isn’t quite a patent on double-click (though it’s still pretty rediculous). Essentially they’ve patented an application button which behaves differently based on how you click it, such as holding the button for a while or double-clicking it, as opposed to a standard quick click.
Patenting a software button that behaves differently when double-clicked is a far cry from patenting double-click, even if it’s still stupid.
Reading the specific claims (from http://patft.uspto.gov/netacgi/nph-Parser?u=/netahtml/srchnum.htm&S… ) makes it appear to be a patent on extended functionality on a device such as a PocketPC or SmartPhone, and it goes into great detail on what happens when you hold over a period of time or double-click (in those few cases where double-click is mentioned).
Finding prior art may be possible, but it won’t be as easy as people would like to think, especially if they take the claim of “Microsoft granted patent for double-click” literally.
I suppose next the will be getting a patent for cut and paste.
My favorite : http://www.delphion.com/details?pn=US05443036__
US5443036: Method of exercising a cat
A method for inducing cats to exercise consists of directing a beam of invisible light produced by a hand-held laser apparatus onto the floor or wall or other opaque surface in the vicinity of the cat, then moving the laser so as to cause the bright pattern of light to move in an irregular way fascinating to cats, and to any other animal with a chase instinct.
The patent system is relic from before the information age.
it’ll not end until they patent breathing and that anybody who doesn’t pay for breathing and for the air just has to die…well that won’t be too soon hopefully – but maybe next thing they patent is a keyboard-typing-pattern :o/
…double-clicking sucks (from a health perspective) as it is the ultimate RSI worsening procedure.
“Finding prior art may be possible, but it won’t be as easy as people would like to think, especially if they take the claim of “Microsoft granted patent for double-click” literally.”
Mac OS had both double clicking and click-and-hold long before. Click selects, click-and-hold brings up a context menu, and double clicking takes the default action.
I think both double clicking and click and hold are counterintuitive and should be scrapped where possible, so this patent may grant my wishes, but that doesn’t make it right that it was awarded.
This type of patents are ridiculous.
And for prior art: I can control the way my microwave operates with only a few buttons, some of them cause different behaviour of the device depending on how long the button is pressed.
its gonna get revoked, among the statistics of 46% of patents are dismissed because they are bogus, this is one of them.
….Mr. Obvious was awarded a patent for the description of ther process for the application for and the receipt of a patent for patenting patents based on patents that are patented from the application of prior art.
Is it April fools? No it isn’t…
Maybe you should’ve used the pumpkin icon instead of the MS one, Eugenia
I mean, really… I’m not anti-MS (as all of you may have noticed already ) but this is ridiculous.
This is stupid, education, medical care, many more important things needs money, & MS gives money for this. BTW why would you get a patend for a stupid thing like this?
I suppose they needed a break from dealing with the fixes for all of the many security faults in Windows. At least, the ones we noticed… nice to see they’re keeping busy!
Didn’t they invent the Desktop metaphor? With mouse and all? They cried foul back with MS and Apple were going at it over Windows. I wonder if they will cry foul for this.
I suspect that this new patent covers right clicking, center clicking, etc…
You folks do know that there is a patent for checking for a possible divide by zero error, right? That one came up way back when the whole software patent thing started. I don’t think it’s been enforced, but still…
Since patents are coming into greater use and since the EU decision on them, we are going down a road from which there is no turning back, and which we all will be forced to learn a hard lesson by the time it’s done. Therefore, let all of the most ridiculous patents anyone can conceive be filed now so that the corporations (and patent offices)see the futility in it and get us through this unfortunate set of circumstances as quick as possible. The only way these people will learn is the hard way, hopefully all these frivolous (and not so frivolous) lawsuits will take their toll on the IT industry. Hopefully they will realize sooner rather than later that the only ones who profit from all these patents will be the lawyers, and quick reach the conclusion the lawyers have made enough and could be better put to other uses.
An for that piece of excelence, they are granted 17 years of legal monopoly on a tiny piece of application space.
Though, honestly, I think they need to do it to keep down on licensing fees and litigation. The patent system is broken but I don’t think Microsoft are to blame.
Heh, heh. Looks like RMS wasn’t as paranoid as people thought.
“Though, honestly, I think they need to do it to keep down on licensing fees and litigation. The patent system is broken but I don’t think Microsoft are to blame. ”
Which is worse? A broken system, or those that take advantage of it?
Where do I sign up for the class action lawsuit against M$ (provided they really do get to keep this patent)? As the patent holder, M$ should be liable for RSI. >:)
“Though, honestly, I think they need to do it to keep down on licensing fees and litigation. The patent system is broken but I don’t think Microsoft are to blame.”
The blame for the bulk of this has to fall squarely on the U.S. Patent Office who still believe this is the 1950’s.
I can’t really blame the companies who are applying for these “nonsense” patents; as they are in reality playing by the rules already established.
I can blame the U.S. Patent Office for failing to understand the impact of their antiquated process. Once granted it’s very difficult/damn near impossible to reverse the process. Making claims of “prior art” doesn’t seem to get a lot of attention from the patent office either.
Uhm… my nokia cell phone already does this. If I press the “1” key it enters a “1”… if I hold it down it dials my voicemail.
Many devices already offer this kind of functionallity.
Dragging. If I click on an icon, I select it. If I click and hold on an icon it does something different, as in I’m able to move it around.
Most definately the system is to blaim.
It is an undisputable fact that people will get away with whatever they can get away with. The people that founded the US understood this very well, which is why the early documents are worded as strongly as they where.
So many people, including those who believe in “trickle down” economics, really believe that people will do the right thing (give the money to the rich and they will invest in jobs and spread the wealth? Give me a break).
So the blaim is squarely placed on the system that enables people to get away with stuff like this.
I can’t find anything in the patent that indicates that it apply to ordinary double clicking (with a mouse and a PC). Looks like it only covers clicking with a *physical* button on a “limited resource computing device” (whatever that may be, probably a PDA). Also, it doesn’t cover double clicking to open an application, buth rather double clicking to open an application *and* perform some function in that application, *and* using single click to just open the app.
Of course, I’m not saying any of this is inovative. I can scratch my belly in ways that are more innovative than anything in this patent.
A default function for an application is launched if the button is pressed for a short, i.e., normal, period of time.
Define this. How long is a short i.e. normal period of time? I just get the impression Microsoft is doing this because they can and because they might get to scare a few people with it. This patent will never stand up.
The U.S. Patent Office “seems” to only listen to claims of prior art from the one who originally demostrated the “art”.
Generic claims made by anyone else is simply not good enough for them.
Keep in mind the USPO has a good deal more experience granting patents for “widgets”, than for IP and computer related items.
I remember watching an old television commercial here in the states. A guy walks into the patent office and sets this thing on the counter, the clerk asks “what is it”? and the guy replys; “I’m not exactly sure; YET”.
i dont know if this would qualify, but check out any fighting game on gameboy.
to fit all the attack buttons into the A and B buttons, HP and FP were determined by the length of time the A button was pressed. that was back in 1990…
“Didn’t they invent the Desktop metaphor? With mouse and all? They cried foul back with MS and Apple were going at it over Windows. I wonder if they will cry foul for this.”
Actually a different issue. The whole idea of a GUI was created at Xerox, as well as the first one. Xerox at the time thought there was no use for it. The engineers that developed it thought better, left Xerox and started thier own company. I am not sure if that is the precursor to Apple or not but I believe it is. That was the basis for Xerox claim, as the GUI was developed with Xerox money and employees time. Xerox’s claim is one of the reasons why now in any work place, there is a clause in your employment contract that says anything developed while you work for the company belongs to the company. The only exception currently is if the item you develop has nothing to do with what the company does for profit, and never enters the door in any way shape or form. Always in the fine print
Since when can you patent an invention a concurrent (Apple) did and put onto the market at least 20 years ago?
Oh, pressed “Submit” too fast, but it is time for someone to register a patent for a symbol representing an object in an information-processing device, aka the “icon”, so that Microsft can’t implement anything to double-click on 😛
then someone else will and then they will sue ms if ms even attempts to imitate the idea.
Ok if I patent the Blue Screen of Death, MS will be force to produce bug-free software…. lovely thought
“patent the Blue Screen of Death”
I don’t think any computer company wants to copy that.
This is just ridiculous. Patents for double clicking with a mouse and for “Extended Mouse Button Pressing”…
Are the US patent officials complete morons and idiots, or has the US business/IT/patent/political system as a whole just got so idiotic? Or maybe all of that?
People who allow things like this, don’t seem to understand a single thing about software development. And MS is, of course, just greedy.
Like Eugenia wrote in her editorial some time ago, the US IT business may soon find out that they’ve done a big mistake also to themselves by supporting idiotism like this. Real software innovation and development will find better environments than the US/western environment governed by greedy big companies not understanding good from bad and disfavoring real competition and innovation.
Heaven help Europe and EU from the same terrible destiny… But unfortunately it may well be that EU follows the same idiotism…
“Since when can you patent an invention a concurrent (Apple) did and put onto the market at least 20 years ago?”
20 years ago, or today. It doesn’t matter. The prior art argument is in many ways very limited.
The entire U.S. process is totally hosed. I can’t wait to see how the EU does with their process; needless to say they can’t do any worse.
Prior art ?
click on icon , program runs
click and hold on icon , you can drag
how different is it to
click hold and then let go ?
I can see this being user unfriendly to the older users
move mouse to icon
let go of mouse
long click on icon
2nd long click on icon
(yes I’ve seen it done this way)
If theres anything Microsoft should be allowed to patent, if they didn’t already, is the idea of using Ctrl-Alt-Delete to rescue (a loose meaning of the term…) an operating system from its own demise.
Why doesn`t the FSF start up a prior art site where businesses could leverage the online community (for a small cost of course) to find prior art against unbelivable patents like this.
Now for free software developers this service should be free and run with the profits made by servicing business clients.
So .. with just a little community help we could fight rubish like this for years to come
As an aside does anyone know if the EU will be better at granting patents then they currently do in the US, eg do they have a sane process ?
I had an alarm clock about 20 years ago. To set the time you would press a button and the minutes (or hours) would change. If you held the button down for a second the minutes (or hours) would count forward quickly.
Or like any keyboard with “autorepeat” enabled, for that matter. My electric typewriter had that one thirty years ago.
i have a patent on a method of prolonging life by introducing oxygen to the lungs in a regulare and rhythmic pattern and than exhausting the resultant gas Co2 in between each O2 introduction. Thats right.. I’ve patented breathing.. The US patent office is staffed by idiots, But thats not surprising considering that we have a C student as our president. God it sickens me. There i feel better now.
This is what innovation means guys. At least according to MS.
This is a good example on how ridiculous MS is and their “intelekchual propperty”.
This is serious proof of something seriously wrong.
Why doesn`t the FSF start up a prior art site where businesses could leverage the online community (for a small cost of course) to find prior art against unbelivable patents like this.
I don’t know about the FSF, but the EFF is already doing their part.
There are many more options than jus click and double-click, how long is your click, how many, what sequence, …
Will you patent just the letters, or will you patent the whole words ?
In what languages ?
I propose that the OSDN submit a patent for typing….
This is serious proof of something seriously wrong.
I hear you dude. Apple patented translucent windows and now MS is patenting the double click.
I say we need to overthrow both these monopolists and start over with fresh ideas.
Almost all of you, including the staff member who originally posted the news item, seem to have difficulty understanding the language of the patent. This is NOT about double clicks! This applies only to hardware application buttons on PDAs and similar devices. Many people are familiar with Palm-powered devices, so I’ll use that as an example. There are, on the exterior of the device, four application buttons and two scroll buttons. If you push the calendar button, the calendar app starts in the single-day view. Now here comes the important part. If holding the button for two seconds caused the app to open in month view instead, the device would be using the technology described in the excerpt posted here. The other function described in the actual abstract involves pushing the application button multiple times (double clicking) to perform a separate function when opening the application, like going directly to the new event screen in calendar. The key here is that this process is a far cry from the current use of double-clicking on PCs, and it does not even involve mice, or even personal computers in any way! I’m afraid that in its rush to slander microsoft, this site has made a terrible exaggeration. I mean, who really cares about the use of double-clicking in PDAs? Personally, I think that if they did develop the technique, they have every right to patent it – I know I would want to be able to if it were my innovation.
In conclusion: you can all climb down off your soapboxes now, there’s nothing here to protest.
The whole patent system is wack!
If you push the calendar button, the calendar app starts in the single-day view. Now here comes the important part. If holding the button for two seconds caused the app to open in month view instead, the device would be using the technology described in the excerpt posted here
Oooh…. Like the operation of the power button on ATX cases over the last ten years, or the alarm clock and microwave mentioned like others. Short press – one function, Long press – other function.
Perhaps the talk of double clicking is headed off on an unrelated tangent, but the point is still the same. Patenting trivial ideas like this or double clicking or transparent windows is stupid. Any lawmaker who thinks otherwise is failing to represent the people who elected him/her. These sorts of laws need relaxing, not tightening as politicians in many countries seeking to do at the moment.
Even M$ does good things too (rarely), ridiculous things like this will never ever make me like them.
To everybody scoffing that “the patent will never hold up in court”, let me tell you it doesn’t have to to already be very annoying.
Not to a big company with deep pockets, but to small one- or few-people shops, it does.
What happens is you get a letter from a law firm representing the holder of the patent, saying “You are infringing on our client’s patent number 6,727,830. Please stop, and pay us $$$. Thanks in advance.”
What you then reply is “I’ve looked up your patent number 6,727,830, and it is bogus. Don’t bother me again, and have a nice day.”
You will then get a letter saying “The patent has been granted to our client, so it’s not bogus. But our client has offered to settle for $$. Please let us know by next week if you want to continue with this.”
You will then say “Heck no, I’m not going to pay $$$, and I’m not even going to pay $$. I will keep selling my program.”
You will then get a letter from your online software distributor, saying “Hi! We just received a scary letter from a law firm saying your program infringes on a patent. I’m sure you mean well, but they’re threatening to sue us too. So what we’ll do is take your program offline for the duration of the case.”
The “case”, obviously, isn’t due till a few months from now, and you don’t quite feel like flying over to the States to defend your case.
Finally, you decide to write a check for $$ and just be done with it.
The law firm splits the $$ into one $ for the client and one $ for themselves.
This especially happens with patents which nearly expire, because some law firms specialize in mass-sueing everybody who “might” infringe on it, and see how much they can get out of it before the patent expires.
And yes, I’m talking from personal experience.
“Oooh…. Like the operation of the power button on ATX cases over the last ten years, or the alarm clock and microwave mentioned like others.”
Yes, but this patent is specifically for limited resource computing devices. They’re not trying to infringe on the rights of case, clock, or microwave manufacturers. If you actually read the claim details as linked to by a previous poster, you’ll see that the applications of this patent are very specific. The intention, as far as I can tell, is only to give embedded versions of windows a tangible feature to call their own. Honestly, I don’t see the problem… Sure, it’s a small feature, but I don’t think it can be called trivial. It’s impossible at this point to patent an entire operating system, because so many things resemble so-called prior art. So if it weren’t for patents of small features, some little upstart would make an identical clone of Windows (minus the trademarked logo and name and copyrighted icons and help files) and sell it for a quarter of the price. Now we may all want MS to suffer, but in all fairness, that’s just not the way it should work. They’d go out of business, and the economy would crash. Millions of dollars would be lost. All because of a few “trivial” patents being revoked. Now I may be exaggerating a bit, but you get the picture. Companies have to be able to protect their valuable research. The only exception is in the case of life-saving, over-priced pharmaceuticals needed by millions of AIDS patients in Africa.
Feel free to argue, if you have anything substantial to say… hell, I’m not even completely convincing myself, but it makes more sense to me than the things anyone else has said.
Okay, I just read the post from Sander Stoks (posted while I was writing), and I realise that makes mine sound a bit ass-hole-ish… I think I should say that while I support the right of companies to have patents on these things, they should not be able to demand both payment *and* discontinuation of the offending product. Also, they should not be able to sue for products that, as Sander put it, “might” infringe, only those that explicitly do. (I don’t really even understand what kind of thing would only “maybe” infringe on a patent)
A method or a process with which a person or an animate object (hereforth mentioned as organism) survives by inhaling atmospheric gasses that are curried by his/hers/its blood stream to various parts of the organism.
Good in theory, bad in pratice due to the abusing human nature.
Realy, this patent issue makes me feel down. Like Albert said, “two things are infinite: Universe and human stupidity”.
Also, they should not be able to sue for products that, as Sander put it, “might” infringe, only those that explicitly do. (I don’t really even understand what kind of thing would only “maybe” infringe on a patent)
Of course they sue you for infringement, not for “possible infringement”. What I meant was they base their list of targets on “possible infringement” and simply see what they can get away with. They will never write a letter saying “We feel that you might be possibly infringing on a patent”, it’s “You do Foo, and our patent covers Foo.” It then turns into an “is not! is too!” game, which can take a long time.
And since holding your breath is probably covered by the breathing patent mentioned above, I didn’t want to risk that 🙂
This is NOT about double clicks!
Yeah, yeah, we know that. But MS has also a patent for double clicking. See:
To many people, including me, the patent described here is in the same category as the patent for double clicking. Both patents should never have been allowed.
Software development models like FOSS or proprietary model may not be ethical or non-ethical in themself, but politics are all about ethics, and politics and economics have an important role in the software development world too. Software development doesn’t happen in some politically neutral vacuum, so it is not wise to neglect the importance of politics in software development. If we neglect politics, others sure won’t, and soon we may find out that those others have made the political rules (like patent legislation) that also people like us will have to accept more or less.
1. I don’t want MS to suffer. In fact I believe many of their products to be better than other alternatives and use them daily (in MUCH more than a single or home user capacity)
1.5 I would have thought that clocks and microwaves today were “limited resource computing devices”.
2. What’s the difference in “limited resource computing devices” and what either of us used to write our posts? I’d point out that my alarm clock 16 years ago probably had as much computing power compared to a C64 as my mobile or PDA had compared to my PC today!
3. WINE has been trying to make an “identical” clone of Windows for at least 10 years now and haven’t succeeded. I doubt “some little upstart” would succeed. Patents (especially simple, silly ones like this) haven’t stopped it – complexity, speed of development and a superior end user experience in Windows have.
It’s true that this patent is about some very specific scenarios. The thing is, this makes the patent even more ridiculous.
This patent isn’t even about long-clicking. It’s about some very specific use cases of long-clicking (such as click to launch an app, long-click to launch an app and open a new document at the same time).
This is like somebody patenting the fact that you can use a diesel engine to drive an electric generator or a conveyor belt *after* somebody has patented the diesel engine, the electric generator, the conveyor belt and the transmission.
Clearly the amount of innovation going on here is effectively zero.
Okay, I was wrong. I’m convinced. 🙂