Microsoft Claims Patent On Popular Children's Magazine Feature

from the rebus-indeed dept

theodp writes "Remember those cute Highlights for Children rebus stories that pair pictures with words? Well, Microsoft has laid claim to a patent for bringing the same concept to your e-mail and the web, replacing words with corporate logos (logocons in Microsoft parlance), which may someday make the web look like this."


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    Lawrence D'Oliveiro, Apr 2nd, 2008 @ 10:03pm

    If a patent means ...

    ... that people can be stopped from doing this, is that such a bad thing? :)

     

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  2.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 2nd, 2008 @ 10:07pm

    Do they really think people will want to use this feature ?
    I suppose some kids on spring break might humor themselves with the little toy, but I do not see this as a main stream application.

     

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  3.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 2nd, 2008 @ 10:11pm

    Have to agree

    There is a reason it is used in a CHILDREN'S book.

    Patent still shouldn't be allowed (prior art, hello Highlights! Text is text) but its one of the least dangerous patent attempts.

    Probably why Mike hasn't really added anything.

     

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  4.  
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    zcat, Apr 2nd, 2008 @ 10:28pm

    If Microsoft start placing corporate advertising within the text of email people will be leaving hotmail by the truckload.

    If Microsoft can prevent other email providers from doing anything so completely asinine, that's also a bonus.

    I don't see any downside to them having this patent.

     

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  5.  
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    Vincent Clement, Apr 3rd, 2008 @ 5:33am

    How is this patentable in the first place? How is this not obvious? You intercept an email or web page, search for a word and alter the email or html to display a graphic image instead.

    Seriously, how is this different from the various Firefox add-ons or Greasemonkey scripts that alter the look of a page? Or from a web site or program that converts the language of a web page?

    The downward spiral of the USPTO continues unabated.

     

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  6.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 3rd, 2008 @ 6:05am

    Re:

    It is patentable because it is on teh intarwebs !

    1) Take any tired old thing, blow the dust off
    2) add new fangled techno words (like net or web)
    3) patent your new "invention"
    4) hire a lawyer in E. Texas
    5) Profit !!!

     

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  7.  
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    FUG Buster, Apr 3rd, 2008 @ 8:17am

    No Spin here

    First of all it has not relationship to Children's Magazine.. but hey nice yellow journalism spin.

    it's always obvious after someone else thinks of it..but this is the first time I have seen the idea.

    Give it a break.. read some of the mechanical patents that have been granted..

    I am tired of the mindless attacks on Microsoft or Patents.. it makes the worthy criticisms less potent because they get lost in a mindless noise of whining.

     

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  8.  
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    MLS, Apr 3rd, 2008 @ 9:27am

    "Logocons"

    All the more reason to stay away from things like Hotmail. I personally would never want to have the contents of a private communication parsed by some remote software so that I can be "fed" marketing-related content. My privacy is important to me...and approaches such as this trouble me considerably.

     

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  9.  
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    Unfit, Apr 3rd, 2008 @ 10:10am

    Here's to hoping

    Here's to hoping that MS gets the patent, and never, ever uses or lets anyone else use it. It's not bad that someone's trying to patent it, it's bad if they try to use it.

     

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  10.  
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    DanC, Apr 3rd, 2008 @ 10:35am

    Re: No Spin here

    it's always obvious after someone else thinks of it..but this is the first time I have seen the idea.

    This is the first time you've ever heard of replacing text with an image? This 'idea' isn't revolutionary...your internet browser does the same thing when it replaces an html image tag with the specified image.

    Microsoft is calling it a "new online advertising product" and creating the term "logocon" to distract from what they're really trying to patent: replacing text with a picture.

    First of all it has not relationship to Children's Magazine.. but hey nice yellow journalism spin.

    Have you even bothered to read the patent? It describes the exact same thing Highlights magazine does for their rebus stories - using a picture instead of the word. Just because Microsoft is calling the pictures 'logocons' and putting it on the internet doesn't make it a new idea.

     

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  11.  
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    BinaryWorld, Apr 3rd, 2008 @ 11:40am

    Re: No Spin here

    You don't get out much, do you. Did you bother to check out the links in the story?

    The whole thing is absurd. What's next, hearing the company jingle when you hover over the word (remember the kids books that had the buttons down the side)? Let's call it 'jingletunes' and patent it (adtunes is already taken).

     

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  12.  
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    AC, Apr 4th, 2008 @ 1:07am

    Re: No Spin here

    how is this not obvious? it's childish and annoying.

     

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  13.  
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    Steviepunk, Apr 4th, 2008 @ 5:55am

    Re: No Spin here

    "First of all it has not relationship to Children's Magazine.. but hey nice yellow journalism spin.

    it's always obvious after someone else thinks of it..but this is the first time I have seen the idea.

    Give it a break.. read some of the mechanical patents that have been granted..

    I am tired of the mindless attacks on Microsoft or Patents.. it makes the worthy criticisms less potent because they get lost in a mindless noise of whining."


    You area aware that this is how Smilies work on discussion forums (and most other web comminication systems) - that would suggest that it was obvious many years before now!

    The only difference I see in Microsofts attempt to patent this is that they will no doubt be looking to use it for online advertising in a manner similar to how the current 'keyword highlighting' methods work (so again, it's been done already)

     

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  14.  
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    yourenotpayingattention, Apr 4th, 2008 @ 1:30pm

    The intent is not to USE the method. The intent, is to establish ownership of the practice.
    So that they can own the tools to track usage of this message method to "Protect" their IP.
    I can see two uses or reasons right off the bat:
    1- having a method in place where their software identifies and removes images/ideas etc not in-line with MS philosophy or business practices or protect itself or its business partners from slanderous speech.
    2- MS got wind that the gov't was planning on searching emails for coded messages using this technique(waves to the Patriot Act) - MS then becomes the gatekeeper - since they are the likely entity now to develop software to track it.
    MS is likely to need some bigger vaults to hold more of our money in. This time it'll be taxpayer money. This is the HTML equivalent of the 'cut out of newspaper text ransom letter'.

     

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  15.  
    identicon
    Agnes Moran, Jun 22nd, 2008 @ 8:05pm

    Download Microsoft's patent in PDF format

    You can download Microsoft's patent in PDF format for free at
    Patent Retriever - http://www.patentretriever.com

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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