Microsoft 'Fesses Up, Passed Off Public Art Project As Its Now-Patented 'Virtual Skywriting' Invention

from the is-that-copyright-infringement dept

theodp writes
"Even more curious than the USPTO's decision to award a patent (7,966,024) this week to Microsoft on something it calls 'virtual skywriting,' was the software giant's decision to provide the USPTO with a well-known, unattributed photo of real skywriting in its patent application as a purported example of its virtual skywriting system 'in use.' In response to an inquiry from GeekWire, Microsoft had this to say: 'The use of the skywriting image in the patent was an error and Microsoft will immediately submit the patent for re-issue proceedings to correct the drawings. Microsoft regrets any confusion caused by this error.'"
You can see a comparison image from GeekWire below:
Of course, now I'm wondering if this patent infringes on someone's copyright, which would make for a really interesting legal discussion.


Reader Comments (rss)

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    Richard (profile), Jun 29th, 2011 @ 4:21am

    Real skywriting was already patented!

    Real skywriting was already patented years ago!

    So why didn't this fall at the prior art hurdle.

    I could also point out that 25 years ago I worked on a CGI system for periscope simulation. Our cloud sky pattern (accidentally) spelled a word - so I have some prior art too.

     

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      Chronno S. Trigger (profile), Jun 29th, 2011 @ 4:40am

      Re: Real skywriting was already patented!

      "So why didn't this fall at the prior art hurdle."

      Because somehow they figured out how to take this program that should be for a touch screen, smart phone and made it work on a 10 year old flip phone.

      All joking aside, I just read the abstract and it looks a hell of a lot like the augmented reality program I have for my android called "Layar". You take a picture, it goes out to the web, finds previously made skywriting, and puts it in for you.

       

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        Richard (profile), Jun 29th, 2011 @ 5:24am

        Re: Re: Real skywriting was already patented!

        and of course virtual skywriting has been used in opening or end credits of films/TV many times in the past.

         

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    John Doe, Jun 29th, 2011 @ 4:49am

    WTF?

    You can patent virtual sky writing? How the hell can you patent something in the virtual world that already exists in the real world? It is obvious to anyone skilled in the trade and it has prior art. Of course people will imitate the real world in the virtual world so there should be no patent.

     

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    Spaceboy (profile), Jun 29th, 2011 @ 4:52am

    Oh man I'm going to patent casting spells in computer games and make a MINT when I sue World of Warcraft!

    Easy street here I come!

     

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    Darryl, Jun 29th, 2011 @ 9:09am

    Who really gives a toss ?

    No one thats who,

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 29th, 2011 @ 12:16pm

    This is the first article I have read here in a long time that does not default to a fair use discussion. Curious why this is so.

     

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    Funny Man, Jun 29th, 2011 @ 1:26pm

    Sorry Microlosers, I mean Microsoft

    That feature is in the 3 year old I phone app UFO Gold.

    On my iPhone now and adds a variety of UFO's to pictures you take and you can ad cloud formations!

     

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


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