Microsoft Wants A Patent For Conjugating Verbs

from the I-Am-You-Are-He-She-It-Is dept

theodp writes "Microsoft's just goofing on us, right? Its latest batch of published patent applications includes one for Conjugating a Verb." Sort of reminds me of the Onion's satirical piece on Microsoft patenting 1s and 0s -- but this one is for real. It's just an application, so it hasn't been granted -- but it says something about how easy it is to get a patent these days that Microsoft and its lawyers would even think this is worth applying for. When so many bogus patents get approved, and the awards for enforcing them are so high, it only encourages more ridiculous patents to be filed -- which probably contributes a lot more to the supposed staffing problem at the patent office than anything else. If the USPTO followed the original purpose of the patent system, to only grant patents in the rarest of circumstances, then the issue of hiring more patent examiners wouldn't even be up for discussion at all.

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  1. identicon
    Don S, 1 Sep 2006 @ 9:52am

    Isn't this done already?

    Microsoft's patent application appears to describe something that you can already do at any online dictionary site, such as http://www.merriam-webster.com

    Microsoft is trying to claim a patent for the same thing, although Microsoft plans on only looking up verb forms and providing no definition of the verb. Granted, Microsoft would be looking up verbs in multiple languages, but they wouldn't even know what language they were looking up until after they found a match (or probable match) based solely on the spelling provided.

    Not only is that NOT worthy of a patent, it isn't worthy of being called an application. Applet, maybe, but not an application. I've created spreadsheets that have more functionality than what is described in Microsoft's patent application.

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