M$ Sues Over Android/Linux

M$ is suing folks for using Android/Linux to make a few dollars and to annoy people.

Here’s an abstract of one of the patents in question:
5,778,372
“A browser remotely retrieves electronic documents from a remote computer network for viewing by a user. For enhancing responsiveness, the browser initially displays an electronic document without a background image so that the electronic document is initially displayed more quickly. The browser also prioritizes downloading of embedded images of the document by their incorporation in the currently visible portion of the electronic document. Further, the browser dynamically creates additional connections for retrieving resources incorporated into the electronic document from the remote computer network.
Inventors: Cordell; John Palmer (Bellevue, WA), Franklin; Christopher Matthew (Bellevue, WA)
Assignee: Microsoft Corporation (Redmond, WA)
Appl. No.: 08/634,380
Filed: April 18, 1996”

That looks like a software patent to me, a browser being a computer programme written in software. The order in which information is written on a screen is entirely flexible and M$ is claiming that optimizing the process a bit infringes their intellectual property.

  1. Software patents are generally invalid as it is merely logic/mathematics and anyone skilled in mathematics could do this calculation so there is no innovation at all,
  2. I remember in the 1970s when CRTs were a bit novel, we often drew the axes of a graph and filled in the data in real time, doing exactly what this “innovation” is supposed to be, speeding things up, and
  3. Scheduling and project management and optimization is an ancient art that predates computers so this is re-inventing the wheel.

6,339,780
“Loading status in a hypermedia browser having a limited available display area

Abstract
Described herein is a portable computer having a limited display area. An Internet or other hypermedia browser executes on the portable computer to load and display content in a content viewing area. During times when the browser is loading content, the browser displays a temporary, animated graphic element over the content viewing area. The graphic element is removed after the content is loaded, allowing unobstructed viewing of the loaded content.
Inventors: Shell; Scott R. (Redmond, WA), Shields; Kevin Timothy (Redmond, WA), Kitowitz; Anthony (Kirkland, WA)
Assignee: Microsoft Corporation (Redmond, WA)
Appl. No.: 08/851,877
Filed: May 6, 1997”

OMG, it’s a splash screen, invented in another century. Animated or not, it’s some state of the screen covering details. Blank will do but that does not indicate life. Gee, in the 1960s we used blinking lights…

5,889,522
“System provided child window controls

Abstract
New varieties of child window controls are provided as system resources that application programs may exploit. The preferred embodiment of the present invention provides a dynamic link library (DLL) for implementing the new child window controls as part of an operating system. The new child window controls include a header bar control for providing header bars in application programs. The new controls also include a hot key control that allows a user to view and edit hot key combinations. The new controls further include a tab control for establishing tabs that differentiate amongst pages in user interfaces provided by application programs. An image list data type is defined and functions are provided for manipulating the image list data type. Image lists include multiple like-sized images that are stored efficiently in a single bitmap.
Inventors: Chew; Chee Heng (Redmond, WA), Konzen; Neil (Bellevue, WA), Guzak; Christopher J. (Kirkland, WA), Laney; Stuart T. (Seattle, WA), Pitt, III; George H. (Redmond, WA), Ellison-Taylor; Ian M. (Seattle, WA), Gery; Ron O. (Kirkland, WA)
Assignee: Microsoft Corporation (Redmond, WA)
Appl. No.: 08/355,400
Filed: December 13, 1994”

  1. Again, a software patent,
  2. it’s a window manager thingie! X11 was around in 1984 and had a window manager, twm, in 1989, and
  3. it’s obvious if you are going to run multiple processes in multiple windows, you need widgets/titles etc.

It gets better…
6,891,551
“Selection handles in editing electronic documents

Abstract
A computer system and method for highlighting and selecting elements of electronic documents is disclosed. In one embodiment, a selection area identifies an initial selection of data, and one or more selection handles appear on the selection area to allow dynamic resizing of the selection area to select a larger or smaller portion of data or number of items.
Inventors: Keely; Leroy B. (Portola Valley, CA), Iwema; Marieke (Renton, WA), Cazzanti; Susanne Alysia Clark (Bellevue, WA)
Assignee: Microsoft Corporation (Redmond, WA)
Appl. No.: 09/768,171
Filed: January 24, 2001”

  1. Again, a software patent,
  2. it’s handles on a selection. Again we were using such things on CRTs in the 1970s with light-pens and such. Any kind of a pointing device needs something to point to and if you want to resize a region of interest, a switch and a handle to drag is very natural. and
  3. it’s obvious if you are going to run multiple processes in multiple windows, you need widgets/titles etc.

M$ has a lot of nerve suing over an innovation they did not invent and which they are not yet using in Phoney 7.

And the last silly patent, 6,957,233:
Method and apparatus for capturing and rendering annotations for non-modifiable electronic content

Abstract
A system and method for capturing annotations for a non-modifiable document is disclosed. Once it is determined that an annotation is to be created, the system determines the file position of the selected object. The file position of the selected object is stored along with the created annotation in another file or a non-read only portion of a file storing the document. Using the file position, the annotation may be properly identified with the selected object without modifying the non-modifiable document.
Inventors: Beezer; John L. (Redmond, WA), DeMello; Marco A. (Redmond, WA), Dunietz; Jerry J. (Seattle, WA), Keely; Leroy B. (Portola Valley, CA), Madan; Vikram (Bellevue, WA), Silver; David M. (Redmond, WA), Thacker; Charles P. (Palo Alto, CA)
Assignee: Microsoft Corporation (Redmond, WA)
Appl. No.: 09/455,806
Filed: December 7, 1999

AAARRRRGGGGHHH!!! It’s a figure caption… Sigh.

These guys have so much money. Why do they have to go through dust bins looking for sustenance?

UPDATE – Nothing says “we can’t keep up in the market” quite like suing competitors for offering features absent from your own product.

Ouch! see Washington Post

About Robert Pogson

I am a retired teacher in Canada. I taught in the subject areas where I have worked for almost forty years: maths, physics, chemistry and computers. I love hunting, fishing, picking berries and mushrooms, too.
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2 Responses to M$ Sues Over Android/Linux

  1. Software patents are highly respected in USA and Japan. They are spreading. EU put them on hold but there are still moves to introduce them.

  2. Michael C. says:

    I wonder if this nonsense is possible only in the US, or it’s possible in Europe/other parts of the world too.

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