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.

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Companies: microsoft

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

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Chronno S. Trigger (profile) says:

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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