Microsoft's patent on a UI slider is EFF's Stupid Patent of the Month


#1

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#2

#3

It’s important to make the distinction between utility patents and design patents like this one, surely? Utility patents are for new, ingenious, useful inventions. A design patent, not unlike the iPhone rounded corners, are for the ornamental design of a functional item. No one, I think, would qualify a UI slider as the least bit new or ingenious.

(Also, Corel? Really? Seems downright spiteful.)


#4

If anyone is looking for prior art, check out the GUI for the SGI Indigo Magic Desktop (1995).

There was a “wheel” widget for scaling the size of the icons within the display.


#5

heheh. “…the only mathematical constructs of which Microsoft may not be able to
claim ownership are infinity and transcendental numbers like pi.
Microsoft lawyers are expected to file liens on infinity and pi this
week.”


#6

this is a brilliant innovation that allows us to move beyond just thumbs up, thumbs down type of positive/negative ratings. In this sliding version when you slide to the left you increase the negativity of your rating, and when you slide to the right you increase positivity, using this method we will be able to get extremely granular user ratings of pictures of cats.


#7

Corel basically copied Word’s design wholesale so I’m not surprised at this. Also as mentioned by @Jorpho design patents are different from utility patents. The functionality here isn’t novel of course - it’s specific design Microsoft uses for the contested UI elements that’s being disputed.

There’s nothing frivolous or unreasonable about this legal action in my opinion. What is outrageous is what happens if Corel loses the lawsuit (see Samsung vs Apple).

ETA: just look at the lawsuit filing. It’s not just the slider here, it’s about Corel basically completely copying Word’s entire design with a “Word mode”.

We all like to point the finger and say “slider patent lol” but I’m sure the BB staff wouldn’t like it if I created a (non-parody) blog about “stupendous things” featuring Jackhammer Jim as a mascot, used a pseudonym of “Dory Cocktrow” to post articles and had a “boingboing” mode that used an identical style.

Also lets not forget that Apple does the same thing to defend its design parents as well. Is it ok when they do this?

With that said, I think it’s insane that winning entitles you to all of the losers profits regardless of the severity of the violation. That’s like saying if I build a car and make an air vent that violates some patent that you should be entitled to all of my profits. That just seems unconscionable to me but that’s why I’m not a lawyer (or rich) I guess.


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#8

Do this. Please.
I nominate Joyful Inhumans to describe the users.


#9

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