Skip to comments.Microsoft Getting Sued Over Most Distinctive Feature Of Its New Windows Software (That was Quick)
Posted on 10/31/2012 1:04:26 PM PDT by SeekAndFind
Microsoft is being sued over the most visible new feature of Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8.
A company called SurfCast claims that Microsoft's Live Tiles, which actively update new information on the main screen as it is received, violates a patent it has. SurfCast filed the lawsuit with the U.S. District Court in the District of Maine yesterday, October 30, The Next Web reported.
According to its website, SurfCast says it designs operating-system technology and has applied for four more patents.
The company designed a new concept referred to as "Tiles" for which it is suing Microsoft.
SurfCast describes its "Tiles" as "dynamically updating icons," different from standard operating-system icons for files and applications because they are "selectable and livecontaining refreshed content that provides a real-time or near-real-time view of the underlying information." That's Patent 6,724,403, granted in 2004:
System and method for simultaneous display of multiple information sources.
That does sound similar in concept to Microsoft's Live Tiles, which show information from users' email, calendar, and social networks, as well as other software and Web apps.
(Excerpt) Read more at businessinsider.com ...
We’re all (and Microsoft) are going to dye!
These patent fights are getting a bit nuts. I was joking with people that Microsoft made Windows 8 so ugly to avoid this kind of lawsuit. Even that didn’t help them.
How is the updating tile different than the mini-windows that have been in a variety of window managers, such as KDE and Gnome, for many years? These show mini-tile views of whatever is on a particular desktop slice.
please tell me this is a joke
Wow...never knew you could patent a square. Who’s got the circle patent? (Bet he’s a 1 percenter...)
It should not be possible to patent some things. Hey, I am going to go and patent ...um.. grass... your all going to owe me bucks.
Prepare to be assimilated...
Any time a lawn is mowed, it infringes (literally) on my patent.
No, they’re 3.14 percenters. ;-)
lucky for the early guys in the automobile industry that it was accepted that “the concept” was not your invention, your execution (the how do we do it) of a concept was your invention and it was what set you apart from competitors who invented different implementations of the concept
but the entire computer industry has become fixated - wrongly in my view - that concepts are as much a “creations” as are tools that make a concept into a product - they’re not
what you are not supposed to steal is someone elses DESIGN (the “how to” of something)
but there can legitimately be many different versions of an implementation of the same concept - HOW you do it can be different than how someone else does it, though they may LOOK alike
in this case, on the little evidence so far, the first company “discovered” the concept of “live” icons/tiles
anyone can “discover” the same concept
they just cannot steal the first company’s computer code for that puts that concept to use
what has been going on in the computer industry is as if one could discover the chemical formula for water, patent it and charge royalties on everyone who uses water in a commercial process in which water is divided into its constituent parts
of course some people think they can discover a gene in nature and then they own that gene; whereas I would grant them only a patent for the tools they invented for identifying the gene, while others could invent their own tools to do the same thing, legally
Well apparently Apple already owns rectangles with curved edges, so they had to try to find some other shape!
Apple has the patent on rounded corners.
The Wright brothers tried to patent flying.
They’ll have a hard time getting past an obviousness defense.
Amazon claimed ownership of the shopping cart in total if my memory is correct - both the concept and the icon representing it - even though shopping carts had been around for decades. But theirs was a computer-based aggregation of items for purchase. It was an obvious metaphor. What if another company used the same code but called it a "basket" versus a shopping cart? What's the patent based on - the specific nomenclature, the code, the process, the elegance of the process, or the intersection of all of the specific technical elements?
It sounds like some the claims conflict with Microsoft Active Desktop, invented in 1997, I think. It provided users with moving/updating widget/gadget like tiles for real-time information.
whatever “it” is (a “creation” i.e. human invention) it is not the concept
a wheel to be affixed to a platform such that the platform is supported by the wheel and the platform can be moved as the wheel turns round
is a concept
the wooden wheel was an invention to use that concept
reinforcing the wooden wheel with spokes was an invention
placing a steel band around the wooden wheel to protect the wood and give longer life to the wheel was an invention
different designs of those steel bands were inventions
the all metal wheel for supporting great weight for moving very heavy platforms was an invention to use that concept
placing rubber on wooden wheels was another invention using that concept
placing an inflatible tube inside a rubber ring on the wheel was an invention furthing the concept
making the rubber ring inflatible itself was an invention
inventions implement a concept, they are not the concept
and - wheel on platforms as a means of support and locomotion for the platform was not an invention, just a concept
many things in the modern computer industry have been patented and they should not have been, they are just concepts
most of the legal “patent” battles in the computer industry have been over such ill-gotten patents
and the success of obtaining those ill-gotten patents have turned them into lucrative sources of revenue and worth the cost of the legal efforts to get the patents enforced
many such patents are not protecting the development of technology, they are impeding it
My initial comment was relating to computing implementations, not obvious, tangible, “see and feel” items like improvements to a wheel. We now have process and method patents, like it or not. What is needed are clear, defensible lines of delineation for the electronic and process realms for what can be patented. Saying that it is OK to patent the “implementation” of a concept does not provide a clear line.
“We now have process and method patents, like it or not.”
There should not be general “process” patents, because a generalized process is synonymous with “concept” and even “the automobile” IS a concept.
A “method” patent should only be given when it too is not merely the concept behind a method, but the very specific means by which the concept was implemented as a very specific method - the computer code, specific hardware, specific integration of the two in a specific manner that implements the “method”.
Someone else could imagine the same concept behind the method and use a different toolset - computer code, specific hardware, specific integration of the two - and not infringe on the other’s patent. Stealing or totally repeating the other’s computer code & integrating it in the same fashion with the same hardware would be a patent violation.
“Process” needs to have the same logic applied to it.
The idea/concept is not the invention. The manner of the implemnetation of the idea/concept is the invention.
“The airplane” was not, as a concept, the invention. HOW one did it involved and produce a number of patents, but others could still imagine the concept/process/method of flying and implement it using their how invented too set.
The software industry has long gotten away with patenting mere “ideas”, not inventions, to keep others from competing altogether. They have gotten away with formulating legal arguments that computer “process” and “method” are not only “new” but have no analgous comparisons to older industrial technologies. They are wrong.
Often patents overlap other patents as the PTO does a lousy job of researching patents before awarding them.
You're preaching to the choir. I thought that was obvious - my mistake.
I'll drop my challenge to elucidate specific software patent guidelines - versus blanket statements of what we, on the bleeding edge of the computer industry, have been literally battling for over a decade - since before 1998 (note )
 e.g. "A method and system for placing an order to purchase an item via the Internet" filed in 1988 when EDI was already well established, the Open Market "online shopping cart" from Soverain Software, One-Click from Amazon, and most recently Apple's rounded corners, etc.
“What if another company used the same code but called it a “basket” versus a shopping cart?”
stealing/using the exact same computer code is patent theft, no mater what you name the reult
using a different coding method (language and or logic) and its not theft and you ought to be able to call it what you want
Not quite true. There are code converters, not perfect, but they translate one language to another. Code syntax is usually protected under a copyright (it was a part of our product launch process) and the methods, logic, algorithms were patentable. Translating a unique algorithm from C++ to JAVA, that simplifies large linear math problems, will not fend off a patent infringement suit.
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