Microsoft Now Owns Patent on the “double click”

Microsoft Corporation has been granted a patent on the “double click”. We kid you not. Microsoft just received a patent on:

“A method and system are provided for extending the functionality of application buttons on a limited resource computing device. Alternative application functions are launched based on the length of time an application button is pressed. A default function for an application is launched if the button is pressed for a short, i.e., normal, period of time.

“Oh, c’mon,” I can almost hear you saying, “surely that doesn’t really mean the “double click”!”

 

Read on (and this is all directly from their patent application abstract):

“An alternative function of the application is launched if the button is pressed for a long, (e.g., at least one second), period of time. Still another function can be launched if the application button is pressed multiple times within a short period of time, e.g., double click.”

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Did I say that Microsoft owns the patent on the “double click”? What I really wanted to say was “Microsoft now owns your ass”, but of course, that wouldn’t be polite.

Of course, perhaps this is Microsoft’s altruistic way of trying to prove to the patent office just how out of control they have gotten, by filing a patent so patently (no pun intended) ridiculous, in order to show how far gone the system has become. Perhaps they had their fingers crossed.

Naaaaaaaah….

So I will just leave the reader with this thought:

From now on, every time you program anything which includes requiring the user to double click, you’re infringing on Microsoft’s new patent.

 

Heartwarming, isn’t it?

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13 Replies to “Microsoft Now Owns Patent on the “double click””

  1. Microsoft wins patent for handheld click
    Updated: 2:11 p.m. ET June 04, 2004
    REUTERS
    WASHINGTON
    – Computer users with itchy trigger fingers take note: The next time you open a software program with two quick clicks on a handheld computer you may be engaging in a process patented by Microsoft Corp.

    The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office on April 27 granted a patent for a “time based hardware button for application launch� in which a click of a button can start different programs if it is clicked once, twice or held down for several seconds.
    That process is familiar to countless computer users who have double-clicked their way through Microsoft’s Windows operating system, as well as anyone who’s tried to set the time on a digital watch.
    (MSNBC is a Microsoft – NBC joint venture.)
    Mouse-wielding computer users need not worry, as the patent only applies to handheld computers that run Microsoft’s PocketPC software — specifically the method of bringing up different features depending on how many times a button is pressed.
    But the application highlights shortcomings in the Patent and Trademark Office, where examiners short on time and resources are hard-pressed to root out earlier examples of similar technology, said San Francisco patent consultant Gregory Aharonian.
    “Unless the examiner had a patent or journal article in front of them, it’s going to be hard� to reject the application, he said. “The examiners need the pieces of paper. They’re like the IRS.�

  2. For a patent holder to be able to claim protection of a given intelectual property they must fight all infringements against it. If an earlier use of the double-click exists but is consistantly NOT defended the right is eventually forfeit.

  3. How do you figure that? “extending the functionality of application buttons on a limited resource computing device” certainly applies to a mouse, does it not? In my opinion, a mouse is a limited resource computing device and I’m sure it could be argued as such successfully.

  4. This patent only applies to handheld computers which run Microsoft’s PocketPC software — specifically the method of bringing up different features depending on how many times a button is pressed. The patent does not affect desktop computers at all.

  5. I’d bet Microsoft would not care whether the patent gets voided or not. Try thinking out of the box here – with all the crazy patents getting passed, it makes sense to be defensive and try to get patents first on technology you need, before someone else does (you do know about all the patents that have been getting passed recently, don’t you?). Microsoft didn’t start the patent wars, and they’ve been burned enough to take an offensive defense; it makes good business sense.

    Now, if they start suing everyone that double-clicks, well, then you can complain, but that hasn’t happened.

    You can bet that if they don’t do it, someone else eventually will, and will sue them.

  6. These Patent Office are even crazier. Did you know they even patented an “immortality ring?”
    Yup: some gut called Alex Chiu submitted a description for a “ring with magnetic devices” and… gues what? it was granted! go here: http://164.195.100.11/netahtml/search-bool.html and search for patent number 5,989,178

    (the guy’s site explain the rest: http://www.alexchiu.com/ )

    Sooo yes: what we have to find now is what kind of thing they smoke everyday.

    (at least patent guys are not part of M$’s plan to take over the world: they are simply dumb enough to accept anything coming their way)

  7. Ah! THey may have done it first but if they didn’t get the Patent… Classic example: Alexander Graham Bell, didn’t actually invent the Telephone First. Elisha Gray was slightly ahead but didn’t get the patent in early enough.
    History can be made and re-written using the patent system. I agree utterly stupid, as bad as British Telecom trying to copyright the hyperlink.

  8. >>>Aunty, any suggestions on who to complain to about this ridiculousness? The US Patent office only offers generic email addresses of the auto-responder sort.< << Dear Gentle Bastardo, Because the Patent and Trademark Office is a federal fiasc...er..agency, a good place to start would be by speaking to the point persons at the offices of your Federal congressmen and senator. It is interesting to note that the Federal Trade Commission has just this week reaffirmed their commitment to facilitating some change in the patent process because, according to FTC Comissioner Mozelle Thompson, of the anti-competitive results which occur as a result of the granting of some of these patents. (Although Aunty is sure that what he really meant to say was "Just what are they smoking???") BBC News just covered the FTC's position, and the formation of a new working group to look at the issues here: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/business/3722509.stm“.

    Given this, you may want to contact the FTC, too.

    Finally, Aunty would like to commend you for your desire to get involved.

    And remember, a click in time…could end up costing you several thousand dollars.

    Kissy kissy,

    Aunty

  9. Mybe the Glass manufactures can get a patent on the word Windows and tissue makers one on the word soft.
    We could then ask the Hortoculturists to patent tree, Bell to patent Directory and I think I will patent the Webster Dictionary contents.
    The whole US patent system is plain ridiculous.

  10. Aunty, any suggestions on who to complain to about this ridiculousness? The US Patent office only offers generic email addresses of the auto-responder sort.

  11. Reminds me of that email a few years ago where M$announced that they now held patents on the numerals 1 and 0.

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