EditorsAbout the SiteComes vs. MicrosoftUsing This Web SiteSite ArchivesCredibility IndexOOXMLOpenDocumentPatentsNovellNews DigestSite NewsRSS

09.13.10

Microsoft’s and Apple’s GUI Patents (e.g. “Start Menu” and “Dock“) Show Why the USPTO is Seen as a Farce

Posted in Apple, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, OpenSUSE, Patents, SUN at 9:42 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

OpenWindows on Solaris

Summary: Some new examples and a new discussion about Microsoft and Apple “innovations” that were not

MICROSOFT MAY HAVE a patent (or more) on “Start menus”/”task bars”, but Microsoft never came up with these ideas which are merely inspirations and aggregations of existing ideas (well, maybe Clippy was Microsoft’s idea, but it wasn't that good). Just about anything in Windows’ graphical user interface is in some way ‘borrowed’ from another operating system, but that’s not the picture people are getting if they grow up only seeing Windows around them and one day come across something different which looks “just like Windows” (rather than the other way around). It’s worth mentioning right now because this OpenSUSE site is currently contributing to the false perception that Microsoft was the first.

“Just about anything in Windows’ graphical user interface is in some way ‘borrowed’ from another operating system…”“Start me up” said an old motto/song, but Microsoft did not start up a so-called ‘start menu’. It merely repackaged what already existed. The same goes for Apple’s ‘dock’; many people love to call/label everything resembling it a copy/clone of Apple rather that acknowledge that Apple was merely copying some ideas which already existed and were implemented, e.g. by Sun for reflections. That’s just why the patent system has become so tactless and out of touch.

Over at Planet Fedora we found this new rant about what software patents do to computer scientists.

There is a whole mess in here with patents, and this is related to why patents may be unethical for science. In a machine patent, the science isn’t necessarily being patented; it’s the results of the science that is. Any science that leads up to the machine patent should be open and visible for reproducing and verifying.

But a software patent is a slippery thing. The patent may cover the science as well as the product of the science, in that both can be in the code. There is an ethical dilemma for any scientist when they patent the science. They are putting a price tag and control on reproducing and verifying the science. Without verification, the science is invalid.

In case you are wondering if this is just semantics and word choices, it is. Perhaps all of the people who call themselves computer scientists, shouldn’t? I presume the word has meaning for them, as it does for the rest of us, and I expect them to act accordingly.

Being a scientist has a specific meaning that spans a long part of written history. How long? Several hundred to several thousand years, depending on what you are measuring. It is clear that the scientific method has been followed since at least the Middle Ages. It predates copyright and patent law by at least several centuries, if not nearly a full millenium.

Disregard and disdain towards the patent system seems to be increasing. It gets worse even from within, based on Alex Stack who complains about lack of transparency:

USPTO Data: CIPO [Canadian Intellectual Property Office]?

Those of you who know me well know that in the past I have harped on patent office statistics like pendency and backlogs. I think they are important – central, critical even – to understanding how patent law functions in a country.

As Wayne says in the comments (there is only one): “Probably in the 22nd century. And it will probably be the 23rd century before it works properly.”

Here again is an example of embargoes/sanctions being used as a weapon thanks to the USPTO:

The latest skirmish in a giant patent fight over flash memory chips in MP3 players, cell phones, digital cameras and tablet computers got a green light to proceed from the International Trade Commission.

The ITC is one of the worst possible things that can happen to innovation [1, 2, 3, 4, 5]. It helps demonstrate that the USPTO is imperialistic in the sense that it goes overseas to impose and enforce its controversial views.

Share this post: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • Digg
  • del.icio.us
  • Reddit
  • co.mments
  • DZone
  • email
  • Google Bookmarks
  • LinkedIn
  • NewsVine
  • Print
  • Technorati
  • TwitThis
  • Facebook

If you liked this post, consider subscribing to the RSS feed or join us now at the IRC channels.

Pages that cross-reference this one

What Else is New


  1. Raw: How Microsoft and/or the EPO Killed an Important EPO Story About Their SLAPP Against Techrights and Others

    Spiking a story about spiked stories about corruption



  2. The Linux Foundation 'Bootcamp' -- Badly Timed and Badly Named in June 2020 -- Only Uses Linus Torvalds Like a 'Prop' (for Legitimacy) While Promoting Militarised Monopolies

    Sometimes a picture says a lot more than words, especially in light of political events in the US and a certain Chinese anniversary we cannot name (Microsoft censors mentions of it)



  3. IRC Proceedings: Thursday, June 04, 2020

    IRC logs for Thursday, June 04, 2020



  4. The Gates Press (GatesGate) -- Part II: When Media That You Bribe Calls All Your Critics 'Conspiracy Theorists' (to Keep Them Silenced, Marginalised)

    The assault on the media by Bill Gates is a subject not often explored by the media (maybe because a lot of it is already bribed by him); but we're beginning to gather new and important evidence that explains how critics are muzzled (even fired) and critical pieces spiked, never to see the light of day anywhere



  5. GitHub is Not Sharing But 'Theft' by Microsoft

    Microsoft buying GitHub does not demonstrate that Microsoft loves Open Source (GitHub is not Open Source and may never be) but that it loves monopoly and coercion (what GitHub is all about and why it must be rejected)



  6. The Huge Damage (Except for Patent Lawyers' Bottom Line) Caused by Fake European Patents

    The European Patent Office (EPO) keeps granting fake patents that cause a lot of real harm (examiners are pressured to play along and participate in this unlawful agenda); nobody is happy except those who profit from needless, frivolous lawsuits



  7. Red Hat/IBM Got 'Tired' of RMS. Is It Getting 'Tired' of GPL/Copyleft Too?

    After contributing to the cancellation of Richard Stallman (RMS) based on some falsehoods perpetuated in the media we're seeing the sort of thing one might expect from IBM (more so now that it totally controls Fedora and RHEL)



  8. Links 4/6/2020: Proton 5.0-8 Release Candidate, GNU Linux-libre 5.7

    Links for the day



  9. IRC Proceedings: Wednesday, June 03, 2020

    IRC logs for Wednesday, June 03, 2020



  10. Social Engineering of Free Software, Based on Corporate Criteria

    What "professional" nowadays means in the context of coding and honest assessment of technical work



  11. Weakening GNU/Linux by Disempowering Its Leaders and Founders, Replacing Them With Microsoft Employees and GNU/Linux-Hostile Moles

    The coup to remove (or remove power from) Stallman and Torvalds, the GNU and Linux founders respectively, is followed by outsourcing of their work to Microsoft’s newly-acquired monopoly (GitHub) and appointment of Microsoft workers or Microsoft-friendly people, shoehorning them into top roles under the disingenuous guise of "professionalism"



  12. Sword Group Violates Its Own Commitment by Working for the EPO

    The European Patent Office (EPO) keeps outsourcing its work to outside contractors (for-profit private entities) to the tune of hundreds of millions if not billions — all this without any oversight



  13. In 2020 Canonical No Longer Fights for Freedom

    Freedom requires a GNU/Linux distro other than Ubuntu, which seems unwilling or unable/incapable of speaking about and promoting the ideals of GNU/Linux



  14. We Need to Use the F Word (Freedom) to Promote Adoption of GNU/Linux

    "People get the government their behavior deserves. People deserve better than that." -Richard Stallman



  15. People Who Want to Explore GNU/Linux With Ubuntu See This Today

    "Wait, am I in a GNU/Linux blog or another Windows blog," a visitor might think... or, is Microsoft 'taking over' messaging at Canonical? (Same with code)



  16. Links 4/6/2020: Septor 2020.3, Nextcloud and Blender 2.83

    Links for the day



  17. Hey, Where's Red Hat (IBM)?

    Red Hat is conspicuously silent at these critical times (in its home country); Must be too busy hailing and cashing in on Trump's military (state) while dishing out shallow and self-contradictory diversity PR/fluff…



  18. Microsoft's Latest Vapourware About Supercomputers

    Microsoft has spent almost two decades dropping supercomputers vapourware on the media, but those misinformation dumps always turn out to be 100% hot air, no substance



  19. 2020: A Time for Resolutions or Revolutions?

    There are nonviolent means by which the current system can be corrected; we need to convince peers and relatives to change the way they behave and not cooperate with unjust elements of the system



  20. IRC Proceedings: Tuesday, June 02, 2020

    IRC logs for Tuesday, June 02, 2020



  21. The Gates Press (GatesGate) -- Part I: Lost the Job After Writing an Article Critical of Bill Gates for Attacking Some Actual, Legitimate Charities (Because They Had Spread GNU/Linux)

    The sociopaths from the fake 'charity' of Bill Gates would go to great lengths to squash criticism and also to eliminate critics; this series tells the story of some of those personally affected



  22. Don't Fall for the Spin, Microsoft is Laying Off Workers and It's Not Just Because of the Pandemic





  23. All They Want is Litigation, Not Innovation

    It's getting difficult to ignore or to overlook the fact that the 'litigation lobby' (the likes of Team UPC and today's EPO management, guided by groups like the Licensing Executives Society International) doesn't care about innovation and is in fact looking to profit by crushing innovation



  24. Reminder: Microsoft Profits From Crushing Protesters for Donald Trump

    Don't lose sight of the fact that what's going on in the United States right now is very profitable to Microsoft



  25. No, GNU/Linux Isn't at 3% and Windows Isn't at Over 90%, Either

    This ludicrous idea that "Linux" (however one defines it) enjoys just 3% of the "market" is false and it should be treated as laughable spin (it is being widely promoted this week, often by Microsoft boosters looking to make charts where Windows stays at above 90% and Vista 10 is 'gaining'... at the expense of Windows)



  26. Links 3/6/2020: Devuan Beowulf 3.0.0 and Tails 4.7 Released

    Links for the day



  27. Links 2/6/2020: New Firefox Release (77), Debian-based MX Linux 19.2, KDevelop 5.5.2, GNU/Linux Growth on Desktops/Laptops

    Links for the day



  28. Techrights Can Figure Out Source Protection/Anonymisation Whilst Operating Very Transparently

    We're still quite radically transparent whilst at the same time enjoying 100% source protection record; we're also improving the software we use to publish more quickly and efficiently



  29. IRC Proceedings: Monday, June 01, 2020

    IRC logs for Monday, June 01, 2020



  30. This is How GNU Finally Dies

    "Brace for when GNU falls the way that OSI, FSF, FSFE, Mozilla, and the Linux Foundation did."


RSS 64x64RSS Feed: subscribe to the RSS feed for regular updates

Home iconSite Wiki: You can improve this site by helping the extension of the site's content

Home iconSite Home: Background about the site and some key features in the front page

Chat iconIRC Channel: Come and chat with us in real time

Recent Posts