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Hi, I’m Brad Feld, a managing director at the Foundry Group who lives in Boulder, Colorado. I invest in software and Internet companies around the US, run marathons and read a lot.

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Om, That’s Actually "You Gotta Be Fucking Kidding Me"

Comments (8)

Om Malik discovered that Microsoft has received a new and exciting patent on "page up and page down."  It was issued on 8/19/08.  I just read the summary and this is truly a ridiculous patent.  The USPTO must have gotten confused by the fancy math included in the patent (e.g. "{[(p-1)/c]h}+r") that is included in claim 1.

1. In a computing environment, a method comprising: displaying at least one page of a document that has multiple pages, at least one of the multiple pages, and the displayed at least one page including a first page displayed beginning at a starting point offset from a top of the document and from a top of the first page; calculating a height of at least the first page; calculating a row offset of the starting point of the first page; calculating a vertical offset at the starting point of the first page, wherein the vertical offset is calculated according to a formula of the form {[(p-1)/c]h}+r, where p is equal to the number of pages in the document, c is equal to the number of columns of the document which are simultaneously displayed, h is equal to the height of at least the first page, and r is equal to the row offset of the starting point of the first page; receiving a command indicative of a whole page-based incremental scroll request related to changing first content currently being displayed in the at least one page; determining a whole-page increment for scrolling from first content to second content, wherein determining the whole-page increment includes calculating a vertical offset at a second starting point in the document, the vertical offset being calculated according to the formula V.sub.1.+-.(cr), where V.sub.1 is the vertical offset at the starting point of the first page; and changing the display to display second content, by replacing the at least one page of the document with at least one other page, the display of the at least one other page beginning at the second starting point.

I think this used to be exercise #4 on problem set #3 in 6.001 at MIT.  You used to have to write this in Scheme, which I’m guessing is a lot more elegant than the Microsoft C# implementation.

  • Rick Levine

    It's also arguably a patent on a UI bug. Jumping to the middle of the next page is not a particularly useful behavior. Might be a setup for an “implemented as patented” prank?

    • http://falseprecision.typepad.com/my_weblog/ Todd Vernon

      You are dead on.. When i read the abstract I said to myself, let them have the patent. Its a patent to make sure page-down is broken sufficiently so as not to be useful. I have seen this behavior in some app but i just tried it in word and acrobat and both those apps seem to agree, who the hell wants to do it this way! Classic.

  • Dave

    If you think that's bad, check this out:

    Microsoft Patents Ones, Zeroes
    http://www.theonion.com/content/node/29130

    • fag

      SUCK MY DICK

  • Jim W

    They also patented the double-click a while back:

    http://www.wired.com/techbiz/media/news/2004/06/6

  • http://gigaom.com Om

    Brad, you know I wanted to say that in my headline but my mom-reads the blog….:-)

  • Steve Bergstein

    Well, Brad, you I remain open to the possibility that someone will, someday, come up with an innovation in software that is both novel and non-obvious. This is clearly not such an example.

    How can anyone possibly think that this passes those two hurdles?

  • Bill Mosby

    Sounds like something you'd get if you automated both the patent application generation and patent examination/issuance parts of the process. Maybe one could patent that kind of process. Maybe someone already has…

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/rlevine rlevine

    It's also arguably a patent on a UI bug. Jumping to the middle of the next page is not a particularly useful behavior. Might be a setup for an "implemented as patented" prank?

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/todd_vernon84 todd_vernon84

    You are dead on.. When i read the abstract I said to myself, let them have the patent. Its a patent to make sure page-down is broken sufficiently so as not to be useful. I have seen this behavior in some app but i just tried it in word and acrobat and both those apps seem to agree, who the hell wants to do it this way! Classic.

  • Jim W

    They also patented the double-click a while back:

    http://www.wired.com/techbiz/media/news/2004/06/6

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/steve_bergs2127 steve_bergs2127

    Well, Brad, you I remain open to the possibility that someone will, someday, come up with an innovation in software that is both novel and non-obvious. This is clearly not such an example.

    How can anyone possibly think that this passes those two hurdles?

  • Dave

    If you think that's bad, check this out:

    Microsoft Patents Ones, Zeroes
    http://www.theonion.com/content/node/29130

    • fag

      SUCK MY DICK

  • Om

    Brad, you know I wanted to say that in my headline but my mom-reads the blog….:-)

  • Bill Mosby

    Sounds like something you'd get if you automated both the patent application generation and patent examination/issuance parts of the process. Maybe one could patent that kind of process. Maybe someone already has…

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