A pattern of patent complaints | Bangkok Post: opinion

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A pattern of patent complaints

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In what should come as no surprise to anyone, moments after Windows 8 was released someone claimed they put boring coloured squares on a screen first. The claimant is SurfCast and they say they did the equivalent of Live Tiles, what Microsoft is calling a coloured square you can click on or touch activate, first. Their patent from 2004 is for a "system and method for simultaneous display of multiple information sources". If for example you look up a screen shot of Xerox's Windows equivalent that appeared before Windows 1.0 you will see what looks a lot like a Windows 8 screen that was designed a long time before the year 2000. 

These "I did it first" lawsuits are fine for a technological marvel like the plastic sleeve on the end of a shoelace but patenting things like coloured squares, rounded corners, our DNA, the English word orange and the colour blue should be summarily dismissed. OK, yes, I did make up those last two.

In related news, Windows 8 is no longer called Metro, described as an internal name only and the new code name is, well nothing so far. The marketing gurus in Redmond seem to be stuck for a new name, so for the time being I guess it would be "the interface formerly known as Metro" with some strange symbol to follow in the near future, right? Perhaps they will have a public vote like they do for a baby animal born at a zoo.

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