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Re: 1-Click, Short-Click, Long-Click, More-Clicks (New Microsoft Patent)


From: Matt
Subject: Re: 1-Click, Short-Click, Long-Click, More-Clicks (New Microsoft Patent)
Date: Wed, 28 Apr 2004 18:44:43 GMT
User-agent: Mozilla/5.0 (X11; U; Linux i686; en-US; rv:1.4.1) Gecko/20031114

Barry Margolin wrote:
In article <address@hidden>,
 address@hidden (theodp) wrote:


Not to be outdone by Amazon's 1-Click patent, Microsoft snagged a
patent from the USPTO Tuesday for a 'Time based hardware button for
application launch', which covers causing different actions to occur
depending upon whether a button is pressed for a short period of time,
a long period of time, or multiple times within a short period of
time. So does pressing car radio buttons for different periods of time
to change or set stations constitute patent infringement?

See the patent at:

http://patft.uspto.gov/netacgi/nph-Parser?patentnumber=6,727,830


Most of the claims in the patent are very specific about the types of alternate actions. E.g. press-and-hold to start the application and restore it to a previously saved state, or press-and-hold to start the application with a default document.

Whether the car radio buttons would be prior art depends on whether a car radio is considered a "limited resource computing device" and whether the actions that take place when you press one of the buttons is considered to include "opening an application". In my opinion, the radio is a single application, and the only button that "opens" it is the on-off button -- the station selectors are controls within the application.

The interesting thing about this patent is that it *only* covers actions that take place when using the mouse to open an application. This was probably necessary to avoid prior art problems; double-clicking has been used within applications for as long as the mouse has been in use, and Apple has used click-hold for at least 10 years I think (e.g. the "spring-loaded folder" feature of the Finder). But I can't recall seeing any operating systems that implement the alternate styles of application launching that the patent claims.


I understand that a long time back somebody put an eraser on the end of a pencil and tried to patent it. The patent was denied because the supposed invention was not a new invention---only a combination of old inventions.



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