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. Links 25/11/2014: Tizen News, Jolla Tablet Past Million

    Links for the day



  2. Links 24/11/2014: Linux 3.18-rc6, Qualcomm Eyes GNU/Linux Servers

    Links for the day



  3. Boycotting Micro Focus International

    Microsoft's "Partner of the Year" is taking over the patron of SUSE and all of Novell's remains, except the patents (Microsoft has already grabbed those)



  4. Vesna Stilin's Remarks on Željko Topić: Part XI

    Vesna Stilin speaks about her confrontation with EPO Vice-President Željko Topić, who has criminal lawsuits against him in Croatia



  5. Links 22/11/2014: Linux Mint 17.1, Ubuntu MATE

    Links for the day



  6. Links 21/11/2014: Problems at Debian, Jolla Tablet

    Links for the day



  7. Links 18/11/2014: Linux 3.18 RC 5, New DigiKam

    Links for the day



  8. Special Report: Many Criminal Charges Against EPO Vice-President Željko Topić

    The abuses of Željko Topić, who has gained notoriety in his home country, are rapidly becoming public knowledge across all of Europe



  9. Links 16/11/2014: Xfdesktop 4.10.3, GNU Hello 2.10

    Links for the day



  10. Microsoft is Going Into the Anti-Whistleblowing Business, Dodges Criticism Over 19-Year Bug Door in Windows

    With Aorato acquisition Microsoft helps protect the criminals (from whistleblowers) and with lies about .NET Microsoft distracts from a bug that has facilitated remote access into Windows (by those in the know) for nearly two decades



  11. Reaffirming Microsoft's Long-Known Hostility Towards Net Neutrality, Microsoft Crashed Juniper

    Steve Ballmer is ranting against net neutrality and Juniper's business is in trouble after a lot of executives from Microsoft took over most top positions there



  12. Another Massive Step Towards Elimination of Software Patents as Even CAFC Rules Against Them

    After SCOTUS gets involved in the Ultramercial case, the CAFC finally decides to actually serve justice rather than dogma



  13. The GOP's Patent Reform Plan Not Effective Enough to Stop Massive Patent Trolls Like Microsoft/Nokia

    The corporations-serving GOP says that it wants a patent reform, but another reminder is needed of the futility of the suggested changes



  14. How the EPO's Executive Branch (Battistelli and Topić) Banned Scrutiny and Created Authoritarian Model of Control: Part X

    A look at highly dubious moves by EPO President Battistelli and his right-hand man Topić, whose abuses are becoming hard to oversee or even report



  15. Links 15/11/2014: Linux Mint 17.1 Release Candidate, Popcorn Time 0.3.5

    Links for the day



  16. IRC Proceedings: October 26th, 2014 – November 8th, 2014

    Many IRC logs



  17. The Terrible Joke Which is Microsoft 'Loving' Linux: Nightmares With UEFI 'Secure' Boot (i.e. Windows Monopoly Imposed) Continue to Affect GNU/Linux Users

    A reminder of Microsoft's sheer hostility towards GNU/Linux and long-reaching sabotage of GNU/Linux installations



  18. Patent Lawyers Worry About Section 101 in 'Alice' (and Other Patent News)

    A quick roundup of news of interest regarding software patents



  19. Will Write for FUD (Against FOSS)

    Black Duck rears its ugly head again, serving to show that it is in the business of changing perceptions and not in the information or analysis business



  20. Debunking Several Days of Never-Ending Lies About Microsoft and .NET

    .NET is not "Open Source", it cannot be forked (there remains patent threat), Visual Studio is still completely proprietary and it is expected to come to other platforms only because Windows has lost its dominance and Microsoft wants to perpetually control APIs (with software patents) and hence reign over developers



  21. Links 14/11/2014: LibreOffice 4.3.4, Ads Now in Firefox

    Links for the day



  22. Links 14/11/2014: GNOME 3.14.2, PulseAudio 6.0

    Links for the day



  23. Microsoft Windows is Still Designed as a Paradise of Back Doors, Intrusion, Wiretaps, and Interception

    At many levels -- from communication to storage and encryption -- Windows is designed for the very opposite of security



  24. Forget the FUD About Bash and OpenSSL, Microsoft Windows Blamed for Massive Credit Cards Heist

    Home Depot learns its lesson from a Microsoft Windows disaster, but it stays with proprietary software rather than move to software that is actively audited by many people and is inherently better maintained (Free/libre software)



  25. Windows 'Update' and NSA Back Doors, Including a 19-Year Bug Door in Microsoft Windows

    The back doors-enabled Microsoft Windows is being revealed and portrayed as the Swiss cheese that it really is after massive holes are discovered (mostly to be buried by a .NET propaganda blitz)



  26. Revealed: Microsoft is Trying to Corrupt the UK in Order to Eliminate Its OpenDocument Format-Oriented Standards Policy

    Microsoft interference with Britain's preference for ODF is now confirmed, thanks to a valuable news report from Computer Weekly; OOXML lock-in is being unleashed by Microsoft on Android users



  27. Links 13/11/2014: Ubuntu MATE 14.04.1 LTS, New KDE Plasma

    Links for the day



  28. .NET is NOT "Open Source", But Microsoft's Minions Shamelessly Openwash It Right Now

    The openwashing of .NET continues with yet another publicity stunt that is intended to lock in developers



  29. Links 11/11/2014: GNOME Trademark Dispute Settled, Mozilla Embraces Tor

    Links for the day



  30. Patent Reform Subversion After Republican (GOP) 'Win' in US Senate

    The Grand Corporations Party, or the political party which serves large businesses that are funding it, continues to just focus on a mirage of a 'reform' rather than tackle the real issues where culprits include very large businesses such as Microsoft and Apple


CoPilotCo

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

CoPilotCo

Recent Posts