Comments on: Microsoft Awarded Button Clicking Patent

Microsoft has recently been granted a patent which directly affects using hardware buttons on a Palm OS handhelds and applications. The patent is described as a "time-based hardware button for application launch."
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Gekko @ 6/3/2004 12:16:16 PM #
I'm all for protecting legitimate proprietary intellectual property, but this is getting ridiculous.

RE: Ridiculous
johnwong @ 6/3/2004 1:37:25 PM #
The wireless Access Point at my home function like this, if I pressed the button for short interval, it will reset the device, if I pressed the device for more than 5 second, It will initial all its data. Will it infringe the patend of Microsoft's new Patent?


RE: Ridiculous
Altema @ 6/3/2004 1:38:30 PM #
Agreed, this is getting WAY out of hand. What's next, a patent on the process of "tipping a cup to transfer hot liquids"? Yeah, then they could get royalties from all coffee and tea drinkers.

At least when my patent was done, they did some serious research first. Too bad that is no longer the case. Guess it depends on how good your patent attorneys are...

RE: Ridiculous
Winter_ @ 6/3/2004 2:03:32 PM #
You mean you have a software patent?

RE: Ridiculous
johnwong @ 6/3/2004 2:07:56 PM #
If Microsoft can get the "Double Click patent", then I better rush to patent my "Double Processors Idea", I guess no body petent it before. I can make a little profit if your main board using dual CPU!

RE: Ridiculous
hoodoo @ 6/3/2004 2:15:53 PM #
If I quickly press one of the preset buttons for the radio in my car, I get the programmed station, if I PRESS AND HOLD, it saves the present station into that button, thus changing the function of the button.

Also, some buttons cause the functions of *other* buttons to change.

How much does Mazda owe Microsoft for these heretofore supposedly un-thought-of innovations?

RE: Ridiculous
JKingGrim @ 6/3/2004 3:02:50 PM #
Hmmm. If I press the power button on my old IIIxe, the device turns on. If I press and hold, the backlight comes on. This is ridiculous. I'm glad its being protested. The patent office needs to wakeup. Its a bunch of tired guys with too many patent applications stacked in front of them, and they're just anxious to approve one then move to the next. Perhaps they would approve it if I patented the same thing with tapping a touch screen. Protecting intelectual property = good. Hindering innovation = bad.

RE: Ridiculous
hoodoo @ 6/3/2004 3:08:15 PM #
It's also interesting some of the reference material the patent grantees used:

"Other References
Applications Handbook for the Palm III.TM. Organizer, 3Com Corporation, 1998.
Handbook for the Palm III.TM. Organizer, 3Com Corporation, 1998. "

Taken from patent details page, link in article above.

I didn't realize that things like hold/repeat character and calculator buttons and such were subject to patents.

But hey, what do I know, supposedly the Treo keyboard infringed RIM's patent.

RE: Ridiculous
Konstantin @ 6/3/2004 3:30:24 PM #
As The Reg said (or was it The Inq?):
"Obviously, innovation at it's best"

RE: Ridiculous
tooele @ 6/3/2004 4:06:58 PM #
Microsoft is stupid the only reason they made this patent was to make more money and make palm not be able to do as much as Pocket PC's can by limiting there functions. Some patents are good to protect ideas but this is one of the many patents that are made to make more money. It's like patening a wheel.

RE: Ridiculous
Gekko @ 6/3/2004 4:26:49 PM #

"prior art"?

RE: Ridiculous
tfftruoa @ 6/4/2004 1:02:19 AM #
Bring in a palm V and show them the neet little back lite trick it does witha hard button. Prior art is right. How many years before microsoft applied for the patent have palms been doing that?

The Federation for the Responsible Use of Acronyms
RE: Ridiculous
Altema @ 6/4/2004 3:29:16 AM #
"You mean you have a software patent?"

No, not software. Mine is a utility patent for a speaker design which is now going through the marketing process. You should be able to buy them in pro audio stores sometime next year if all goes well.

RE: Ridiculous
LiveFaith @ 6/4/2004 10:55:41 AM #
Uhhh. I think my old car's stereo lets me select a pre-set station with a click, or set the station program pre-set with a "hold". And this car was sold 3 years before Windows CE 1.0 ever hit the market.

Sounds like M$ has a bulletproof patent here. Is M$ getting desperate?

Pat Horne;

RE: Ridiculous
The Black Moose @ 6/4/2004 10:59:28 AM #
And another example of 'prior art'

I do not own a cellular phone, pointless for my purposes. If I am not mistaken, the numeric keypad is pressed in rapid succession in a given time period to type letters for e-mail or text messages. Maybe Microsoft shall be receiving royalties from cellular phone companies as well for using this multiple clicking of buttons to type letters.

RE: Ridiculous
jasondeno @ 6/4/2004 12:09:52 PM #
When I was a kid, if I pushed my brother, he would complain. But If pushed him for an extended period he would cry. If I pushed him three times in repeated succession, he would hit me.

Think of all the playgrounds that are violating this patent!

RE: Ridiculous
tpipher @ 6/4/2004 4:22:10 PM #
I have never been in love with Microsoft, but have also defended them at times. Now however they have crossed the line. Microsoft needs to die. Guess I need to go learn Linex and buy Open Office. Wish everyone would do the same. MS Pricks! I think that MS and the RIAA are two peas in a pod, both need to p*ss off!

RE: Ridiculous
The Black Moose @ 6/4/2004 11:11:15 PM #
tpipher, I applaud your endeavors to come, but two things noteworthy.

1.) You do not buy as it is free. (Windows, linux and Mac versions available) However, it would not be free if you order it on CD instead of doing a download.

2.) Personal experience leads me to advise you not to try Red Hat's Fedora Core 1.1 (Red Hat 9 might be fine). On two computers, floppy drive was disabled for me and shaky USB support. My CD drive on the VAIO was giving errors too. I recommend and use Mandrake Linux. It works well and even supports my linksys wireless card with no setup, true plug and play.

I personally prefer Linux, but Mac makes a close second (not to mention Linux takes much longer to start). Macintosh simply offers more software and games. I would continue, but this should not be longer as it veers off the main topic. If someone wants more, start a Linux vs. Windows topic in the discussion forum, I would likely find it sooner or later.

In case you did not know, the stop signs with the white border are NOT optional.

RE: Ridiculous
Token User @ 6/6/2004 3:47:37 PM #
Rather than a Linux vs Windows war, try a Linux Distro war. Personal preference for SuSE ... now lets get the FreeBSD groupies in on the mix, and then have everyone hold back for a month or two so we can abuse the Sun Solaris advocates once it goes OpenSource.

In the heat of battle, no body wins.

~ "Don't be too proud of this technological terror you've constructed." - DV ~

RE: Ridiculous
bigfoot @ 6/7/2004 10:01:27 AM #
Once again M$ has received a patent for something they did not create, much like a lot of other things they have patents for.


Now that's news, isn't it!

braicheff @ 6/3/2004 12:14:31 PM #
I'll gladly pay the patent fee to Microsoft for my long-button-press-launching application I'm about to release this week.

- Harkonnen

RE: Now that's news, isn't it!
Altema @ 6/3/2004 1:52:06 PM #
Your product is not ClockPop, is it? If so, you will have to pay back-royalties all the way back to 3/5/01 when ClockPop was introduced! Oh, wait...


Part of the description reads; "Press and hold the Datebook button."

RE: Now that's news, isn't it!
budrowilson @ 6/3/2004 1:53:39 PM #
Actually, Microsoft will be selling licensing fees based on how many hardware buttons your application will be using, and how many different click events differentiate between them. that will be $10 for every hardware button, and $5 for every click event that the buttons activate. So, basically, your $15 palm program now costs $135 including the $120 licensing fee.


Tap & Hold?

JohnKes @ 6/3/2004 12:20:05 PM #
Applies to "Tap & Hold" too? I wonder which came first.

Many apps already do this!

kp* @ 6/3/2004 1:52:56 PM #
I don't see how they got away with this when apps like EasyLaunch and TealLaunch have done this for years. That alone should be evidence that MS did not just think this up. Not to mention built-in functions like changing categories or datebook views. I have a feeling that MS has more money for lawyers than TealPoint does, but the case should not even need to be defended. Whoever approved this patent obviously has no idea how PDAs work.

RE: Many apps already do this!
johnwong @ 6/3/2004 2:24:10 PM #
Sure! Our industrial control products using the same idea - holding the button for two second will bring up the diagnotic routine. Our products have been produced for more then three year!

RE: Many apps already do this!
drw @ 6/4/2004 1:20:06 AM #
Each of the kyocera qcp6035 smartphone app button's had different functions for press and hold vs press and release, and that phone was discontinued a long time ago. On my tungsten c, pressing and holding will capitalize the letter just pressed

What is wrong with these patent people? I'm sick of it. Who's with me in stating, "THIS ACTION WILL NOT STAND". How about a class action lawsuit against the patent office?


Palm Backlight....

PDASpecialists @ 6/3/2004 2:06:55 PM #
OK, so what about the Palm Backlight since the Palm Pro? Push the power button turns on or off, push and hold the power button and you toggle the back light on and off.

Hmmm, I guess Palm missed the boat on this patent. Oh wait, things like this have been done for a LONG time.

Palm repairs and upgrades

US Patents are like confetti

interlard @ 6/3/2004 2:11:13 PM #
In 2002 the US Patent office awarded a patent to a 7-year old for the playground swing:

This is just another example. It won't stand up in court. The only real shame is that the US Patent office is underfunded, but independent lawyers are making a fat profit from this pointless system.

Microsoft Patents Dumping

Louis Berk @ 6/3/2004 2:33:15 PM #
US Federal Courts today granted Microsoft a patent for the "evacuation of waste from bodies after it has all the nutrients extracted". Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates defended the action by stating, "For years people have told us our products are crap so we talked to our lawyers who convinced us we can support this claim. We are only trying to protect the quality and future of our products". Already several US consumer rights groups are set to challenge the grant of the patent. Ludi Craus, President of Consumers For Computing stated, "Clearly Microsoft has no right to this claim. They control most of our lives as it is and now they want to control us even when we have a dump. What is more, I tried wiping my bottom with a PPC and it hurt like hell! They are really going to have make the device a lot softer and more comfortable if they even want to defent this patent in court!"
RE: Microsoft Patents Dumping
Louis Berk @ 6/3/2004 2:42:58 PM #
Sorry, I was moved to post this (no pun intended)

RE: Microsoft Patents Dumping
Fernando @ 6/3/2004 3:33:33 PM #
hey that infringes on my patent to make a mockery of the patent system. that double post, explaining ur actions afterwards is also an infringment on my patent.

In fact, you posting is also an infringement of my patent, no one can post on a forum without paying me a royalty of $50 prior to posting...

lol, sorry i just couldn't control myself

RE: Microsoft Patents Dumping
Strider_mt2k @ 6/3/2004 7:16:21 PM #
Excuse me sir, but as the exclusive owner of the rights to the emotion of outrage, I simply must insist you stop immediately.

I would be indignant, but that's pending. ;)

RE: Microsoft Patents Dumping
useybird @ 6/4/2004 1:18:48 AM #
this sounds like the beginnings of a "south park" episode!

Microsoft is the root of all evil.
Right, Bill?
RE: Microsoft Patents Dumping
swinginjonny @ 6/4/2004 12:37:07 PM #
I almost feel like this is the PIC of two years ago, what with all the humor and whatnot. I used to read PIC posts instead of the comics, they were funnier. I forgot how much fun this site can be. (I hope I'm not infringing on Microsoft's patent on nostalgia.)

(Self-confessed Palm Geek)

I have a feeling that...

Konstantin @ 6/3/2004 3:45:27 PM #
... Microsoft will soon patent 'innovation' itself.
It makes sense.
I bet Billy has joined a whole team of realy creative people whom are trying to fetch as much of 'realy kewl ideas' to patent.

RE: I have a feeling that...
Altema @ 6/4/2004 6:48:40 PM #
Sounds like a logical next step, as they have already patented 'greed'.

Checkout "More Stories Like This..." above

SelonPi @ 6/3/2004 10:24:29 PM #
Notice there are none?! It's nice to see there aren't many stories as rediculous as this. How wrong is a patent for something like a long button push?! Only MS could convince the courts to let them patent "latency". I don't know what MS has more of, bugs or bored lawyers... It's amazing what these clowns can come up with. Times like this make me embarrassed to be classified in the same species as this pathetic bunch.
RE: Checkout
Konstantin @ 6/4/2004 1:13:08 AM #
Why not?
Check this out

Wrong button sequences

TrafficGeek @ 6/4/2004 3:15:44 PM #
Their patent should've been for coming up with "Control-Alt-Delete" to exit a program and the use of the "Start" button to stop the OS.

Now that's real style...

RE: Wrong button sequences
stepshows @ 6/4/2004 6:43:29 PM #
Watch out Logitec and all you other keyboard manufacturers!

This just in... Microsoft patents the state of Washington. Microsoft sues Oregon and Idaho for infringement.

Could Mr. Bill be related to Christopher Columbus? They're both good at discoverning things that other people already knew about.

Microsoft put the "butt" in buttons.

Aric Tucker

RE: Wrong button sequences
tawilson @ 6/4/2004 7:42:45 PM #
It's a bit crap really. They have even said they used 3com PDA handbooks as reference material. This is good as saying "We stole it!"


There's a lot of FUD being spread here...

Sleuth255 @ 6/5/2004 9:04:12 AM #
It's not as bad as it looks folks. Read through the actual patent (link provided in the story). It specifically applies only to "application buttons on limited computing devices". The definition of an application is also quite explicit and can't be confused with say the process that get's initiated when a buttion is pressed and held to set the station on your car's radio.

Interestingly, it looks like 3Com originated the patent and then let it expire in 1999. Microsoft then filed the continuation. Palm manuals are cited as reference materials in the patent.

RE: There's a lot of FUD being spread here...
Louis Berk @ 6/6/2004 4:10:21 AM #
That is weird. Are you saying that if one company files a patent and lets it expire, another company, who did not invent the idea can come along and pick it up?

If that is the case then I suggest we all haunt the patent expiry listing like hawks looking for gems we had no hand in but would like to benefit from in the future.

Something has got to be wrong with a patent system that allows this, if it is the case.

RE: There's a lot of FUD being spread here...
Winter_ @ 6/6/2004 6:01:37 AM #
...I'd say "like vultures" or "like hyenas", but well, you're right... ;)

This Idea is 167 years old!

Actuarian @ 6/6/2004 9:18:07 AM #
I suppose Microsoft can call it a "time-based hardware button for application launch" if they wish. However, they used to call the long press a "dash", the short press a "dot", and the device a "telegraph key"! Samuel Morse invented it in 1837 and he patented it shortly thereafter. So how can Microsoft patent it now???

RE: This Idea is 167 years old!
Token User @ 6/7/2004 6:07:30 PM #
Beautiful - I was think of RTC applications that set a line high or low for variable lengths of time for signaling based on events (which could be a button on a panel). I was involved with a project that did that back in the 80's.

The telegraph is an even better example of prior art.

~ "Don't be too proud of this technological terror you've constructed." - DV ~

Prior art from over 25 years ago

davidnz @ 6/8/2004 2:23:58 AM #
My family had an electric mechanical typewriter that implemented just this. Press "x" and you get an "x". Press and hold "x" and you got the Repeat function of "x". Used for crossing out sections, of course. As I read it, the patent applies to this case too.



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