More Stupid Patents: MSFT Now Owns Double-Clicking On PDAs

Another in our continuing saga of patents that should never have been: Microsoft has been awarded a patent for technology that allows a single, double, or prolonged click to launch distinct functions on the device. This patent applies only to handheld computers, but the concept may be familiar to anyone who uses a PC, a Mac (where the mouse was invented in the first place…oh, no..they poached it from PARC), or indeed anyone who has programmed a watch, digital clock, or failed to understand the programming on their VCR. Prior art? A freaking prior art warehouse! The Patent Office responded to reporter Andy Sullivan’s inquiry with a boilerplate response (to which they summarily granted a patent.) “If people feel that the patent is either not novel or that it’s obvious, they can send us the evidence and if indeed the prior art raises a question of patentability we will examine it(TM),” said PTO spokesperson Brigid Quinn…adding that any other PTO spokesperson who used her boilerplate language would owe her 1 cent per use. Quinn went on to say that she turned left into the PTO parking lot that morning, instead of her normal right turn, and had 11 patents pending on this novel entry technique.

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