From our WTF department comes word of Microsoft being granted a patent for, of all things, the double-click. As in, clicking an application button twice to launch a function.
Microsoft has been granted a patent on the double-click by the US Patents and Trademark Office. The patent, number 6,727,830, was granted on April 27.
An abstract of the application says: “A method and system are provided for extending the functionality of application buttons on a limited resource computing device. Alternative application functions are launched based on the length of time an application button is pressed. A default function for an application is launched if the button is pressed for a short, i.e., normal, period of time.
“An alternative function of the application is launched if the button is pressed for a long, (e.g., at least one second), period of time. Still another function can be launched if the application button is pressed multiple times within a short period of time, e.g., double click.”
The inventors have been cited as Charlton E. Lui and Jeffrey R. Blum and the assignee is Microsoft Corporation.
The field of the invention “relates generally to computer systems, and more particularly to increasing the functionality of application buttons on a limited resource computing device”, the patent application says.
Pardon me, while I recover from my stunned disbelief that our Patent Office is so incredibly fucking clueless. I had such a hard time believing this to be a real news item that I went to the Patent Office webpage and looked it up myself and there it was.
Having had the chance to read the actual patent it’s not quite as outrageous as it first sounds. Seems this patent is aimed particularly at Palm-size PC devices, though it’s still questionable if there isn’t prior-art that would conflict with this patent. Without spending more time studying the patent I’m speculating on how broadly it might be applied or whether it should be considered legitimate, but with the Patent Office’s record of not really carefully considering some of the patents they hand out it’s easy to be pessimistic about this development.