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Windows 7: Microsoft sued over Windows Live Tiles - Win 8 + Phone


03 Nov 2012   #31

Windows 7 Pro. 64/SP-1
 
 

AOL just might have something their/there. Sure does look a lot alike.

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03 Nov 2012   #32

Windows 7 Home Premium 32bit
 
 

Remember that patents have a finite life time before they revert to public domain and have a definite starting point in time. Given the right circumstances, the AOL screen could simply be prior art nullifying all of the Microsoft patent except for the genuine improvement claims contained within their patent. The details might make the Microsoft patent empty or they could free Microsoft from a violation of the SurfCast patents. In addition it might nullify the bulk of the SurfCast patents as well. Any way you look at it, it is a legal muddle with much legal minutia argumentation required to untangle it.

That suggests someone did not do their homework carefully enough and simply threw a wad of stuff at a wall and hoped something would stick. I am not sure who but considering the arrogant way Microsoft has handled Windows 8 feature set, I vote for Microsoft being the careless one. It is looking increasingly likely that there was a fan in front of the wall and the wad of stuff will be coming back at them in a sticky spray.

The best outcome for the rest of us is that all patents on the subject are nullified and the tile screen concept simply becomes public domain. This would give Microsoft a choice to be genuinely creative or to be just one of the middling crowd. That just might light a fire in a place to do some good.
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03 Nov 2012   #33

Windows 7 Home Premium 32bit
 
 

I just verified that depending on details the life of a patent is 14, 17, or 20 years. The 14 year term is for design patents and the 20 year term is for something called priority patents. The remainder patents are process and utility patents that get the 17 year life time.

PS: Don't take this as legal advice. It is simply a statement of my current understanding of the situation. If it is important to you, consult with a qualified patent attorney.
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03 Nov 2012   #34

Windows 7 Professional 64 Bit
 
 

The patent in question that the patent trolls are using was filed in 2000, so it expires in 2017 (the rule is that the patent extends from date of filing, not from date of grant). But as I pointed out, the patent in question was invalid to begin with -- AOL had implemented much the same scheme of live tile updates for application launchers in the mid 1990's prior to the filing of this particular patent, and the only people who could patent an invention at the time was the original inventor (i.e., first to invent, not first to file, was the rule). Patent trolls were trying to get that changed to "first to file" last time I paid attention but that certainly wasn't the rule in 2000.

What this all points out is that a) there isn't much in the computer field that is actual real innovation, for example the screenful of icons that Apple is suing Samsung about were actually first done in the mid 1990's by Palm with their Palm Pilot PDA (the iPhone's application chooser is a clear rip-off of Palm's prior art), and b) patents in the computer field are all about being able to punish companies, not about innovation -- I know that my own employer would have innovated regardless of patents, secure that we were capable of out-innovating anybody who created similar products from scratch and equally secure that we were capable of suing anybody who violated our copyright by simply taking our binaries and using them until they were a blazing crater in the ground. Copyrights, not patents, are what protects innovation in the computer field. Even the computer giants who long viewed patents as their way to squash any small fry attempting to enter their field are starting to change their mind about how useful patents are, they still file huge numbers of patents on obvious things per year, but they're sick and tired of all these patent trolls popping up and suing them for things that were invented decades ago but that the patent trolls filed a patent on only a few years ago.

Note - IANL, I'm just a creator in the computer field. So my opinion is just that -- an opinion -- and worth $0 in a court of law.
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03 Nov 2012   #35

Black Label 7 x64
 
 

Going totally by memory here, but wasn't the principle reason MS won its suit against Apple when Windows came out is because the ruling stated Apple can't trademark an icon of, say, a trash can or a folder, etc.? Otherwise everything would be off-limits as soon as someone made one.
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03 Nov 2012   #36

Windows 7 Professional 64 Bit
 
 

Microsoft didn't win when sued by Apple. They strung it out for years until Apple ran out of money (this being pre-Jobs) and finally agreed to a settlement where they admitted no fault. The terms of the settlement didn't require Microsoft to do anything to Windows (though they had already changed the trash can icon from being an outdoors metal trash bin to a rectangular indoors recycling bin), instead Microsoft agreed to port Office to MacOS for a certain number of years and invest a fairly large sum of money in Apple (that is, they gave Apple money, and got shares in return). Shortly thereafter Steve Jobs re-joined Apple and used that pile of cash to produce the first iMac. The rest is history.

An icon can indeed be copyrighted. If I create an icon of a trashcan, you cannot take my icon and use it in your own software without my permission. Copyrights cover implementations of an idea, not ideas, though, so you could of course draw your *own* picture of a trashcan and use it in your own software, that would not be a violation of my copyright. Patents, on the other hand, cover ideas. If I patent the idea using an icon of a waste bin to represent deletion, you cannot evade my patent by merely changing your representation of a trashcan icon to look more like a wastebasket than my metal outdoors trash container. Sure, you have a different *implementation* of my idea, but it's still my idea that you're using. Well, if I had invented that idea, which I did not, but you get the idea right?
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03 Nov 2012   #37

Black Label 7 x64
 
 

This is what I was talking about, looked up the decision:
Quote:
As we recognized long ago in the case of competing jeweled bee pins, similarities derived from the use of common ideas cannot be protected; otherwise, the first to come up with an idea will corner the market. Herbert Rosenthal Jewelry Corp. v. Kalpakian, 446 F.2d 738, 742 (9th Cir.1971). Apple cannot get patent-like protection for the idea of a graphical user interface, or the idea of a desktop metaphor which concededly came from Xerox. It can, and did, put those ideas together creatively with animation, overlapping windows, and well-designed icons; but it licensed the visual displays which resulted.
Wondering if the same principle applies with the SurfCast lawsuit.
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05 Nov 2012   #38

Windows 7 Home Premium x64 SP1
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by DustSailor View Post
^ So you encourage corporations to torture money from each other over such nonsensical things? And the reason is because a large corporation created a product you didn't like?
I just want Microsoft to learn a lesson. That is all.
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05 Nov 2012   #39

Windows 8 Pro (32-bit)
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Lebon14 View Post
Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by DustSailor View Post
^ So you encourage corporations to torture money from each other over such nonsensical things? And the reason is because a large corporation created a product you didn't like?
I just want Microsoft to learn a lesson. That is all.
Which lesson?
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05 Nov 2012   #40
4wd

W8+8.1, W7 ult+hp, XP
 
 

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 Microsoft sued over Windows Live Tiles - Win 8 + Phone




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