Bill Gates Grabs Patent For Distributing Art

from the non-obvious? dept

theodp writes “William H. Gates, III is the assignee of a patent issued Tuesday for a Method and system for distributing art. According to the patent, the art e-distribution system allows a user to select a space (e.g., Child2 bedroom) within a hierarchy (e.g., House -> EastWing -> Bedrooms) and then to select a playlist of art that is to be displayed at the display devices within the selected space.” Once again, you have to ask how this concept is patentable?

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Comments on “Bill Gates Grabs Patent For Distributing Art”

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Obbligato says:

No Subject Given

Actually, it is sort of innovative and useful, in a typically Microsoftean Orwellian way. “Art” can be just about anything, after all. Consider the utility for controlling which TV programs, TV channels or websites your kids can view in their own rooms when you aren’t in there with them, or which websites your employees can view.

Dr. Teknikal (profile) says:

it's his house

When Bill built his new house (circa ’96) there was a lot of ink about his installation of display panels everywhere to display artwork. There was a little less mention when he bought a few major photo and artwork collections that are commercially licensed (stock images). I’m not surprised that with his own home as a laboratory, and access to large collections of commercial content, that he developed a content delivery system. On a much smaller scale (three screens, once server, little software), I have a similar setup at home.

Watch for the next steps — commercialization, particularly under the auspices of the stock image vendors…

ttl says:

No Subject Given

Whenever M$, SCO, or anyone on the OSS
shit-list, applies for or uses a patent,
*every* geek-oriented site goes nuts. But
when someone (remember Cisco?) violates
one of the GNU’s “evil” patents, the
USPTO is fine and dandy.

Just look at all the patents the GNU has
for Linux etc. They have some very broad
patents, which, according to analysts,
are preventing M$ from implementing some
much-needed fuctionality to their offerings.

So it’s OK for the GNU to use software patents
to hold back windows, but when M$ does the
same, its unfair? Bah.

Ed Halley says:

Re: No Subject Given

Um, I’ll bite.
There are four basic forms of legally recognized “intellectual property.” These are Copyright, Patent, Trademark and Secret. You seem to have confused two of them.
The GPL builds upon, and depends upon, existing copyright protections to ensure that commercially produced derivative works are also made available in source form.
GPL software does not depend on patents, and in fact poses limitations on them; GPL’d software cannot impose other legal restrictions such as patents or stricter licensee selections.
GPL software says little about trademarks; the word “Linux” is a trademark of Linus Torvalds. Red Hat doesn’t bar you from copying their entire distribution, but does bar you from offering your derivatives unless you remove the Red Hat trademarks which would confuse your customers about Red Hat’s support obligations.
GPL software breaks down barriers to Secrets, such as trade secrets. If you have a Secret in your code, you can’t offer it to end users in source form, or it’s no longer a Secret. Since the GPL requires that you provide source code to your users, this bars you from claiming your code as a Secret.
The general frustration with Patent protection is because a patent doesn’t cover a specific implementation, it covers a wide range of possible implementations of the concept. To gain any advantage, authors must pose as many possible foreseable implementation variations as they can, or they lose out on the Patent’s monopoly rights.
Patents can be obtained and held for entirely defensive purposes: that is, not to extract royalties from intentional and unintentional copycats, but to avoid being held hostage by those same copycats if they decide to file the same patent.
The trouble with patents is that they’re usually used offensively: wait for copycats to arise and then extort fees from the producers of them, even if they were (1) unfamiliar with the existing patent, and/or (2) selling the “infringing” device for many years before such a claim was made against them.
Generally, Microsoft has been a good patent citizen, using them only in a defensive or portfolio sharing way. However, a troubling recent move was for Microsoft to consider seeking royalties from implementors of long-filename capable FAT filesystems, such as CompactFlash devices used in popular MP3 units, cameras, and other consumer electronics.

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