Patents are supposed to encourage inventors to invent so that they can profit during a period of exclusivity. In a current patent suit, the USPTO was asked to review some patents. They rejected some claimed inventions and accepted some others. Here’s the reasoning for accepting a patent claim on displaying information unobtrusively:
“As such, the broadest reasonable interpretation of independent claim 4, in light of the specification, excludes the screensaver embodiment because the claim language “in an unobtrusive manner that does not distract a user of the apparatus from a primary interaction with the apparatus” is consistently and repeatedly linked to the ‘wallpaper embodiment’ and excludes the ‘screensaver embodiment’, (see also col.3:20-40, col.6:34-52, and col. 13:10- 11)
As such, Kjorsvik, Rakavy, Reilly, and/or Tarabella do not disclose or suggest a means for selectively displaying on the display device, in an unobtrusive manner that does not distract a user of the apparatus from a primary interaction with the apparatus, an image or images generated from the set of content data in combination with the other limitations in the claims because they are directed to display of images during an idle/inactive time of the computer (i.e., ‘screensaver embodiment’) and the broadest reasonable interpretation of claim 4, in light of the specification, excludes the ‘screensaver embodiment’ for the reasons set forth above.“
So, changing the wallpaper is unobtrusive while changing the screensaver is something else. Yeah right…
This shows software patents are about ideas and not about inventions. They are about words and not deeds. They are not helping promote the advancement of technology.