Feeds

MS seeks patent experts - no patent experience necessary

Offshoring incompetence

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications

Microsoft is recruiting patent engineers - but complete ignorance of patent law is not considered an obstacle to being hired, according to the job ad.

Last year, Redmond began outsourcing the task of researching and analysing patents to a firm called Intellevate, and the team is based in New Delhi, India. The applicant must be a computer science or electrical engineering PhD, and will be involved in prior art searches, patentability research, "file wrapper analysis", "claim scope mapping" and technical analysis.

But "patent experience" itself "is helpful but not mandatory," for potential recruits. To emphasize the point, the ad stresses that "although advance knowledge of patent law is helpful, it is not required".

Over the past eighteen months, Microsoft has dramatically accelerated its patent filing activity. Many claims, such as tabbing through a web page have little chance of withstanding the most basic prior art examination.

Just before Christmas Microsoft was granted a patent for online bill payment (which includes the innovation "'the consumer is in direct control of the amount to be paid and the payment date") and fine-grained IM presence - ("... a participant might not want someone else to know whether or not the individual is logged in or out to lunch. Thus, one might want to prohibit other individuals from viewing such presence information").

The USPTO has also granted Microsoft's Expedia a patent for matching a quote with an offer, which claimed -

"An effective electronic exchange system for satisfying an offer by a purchaser with a quote from a supplier has eluded those skilled in the art."

Other recent filings include attempting to patent the "y-axis", the "IS NOT" operator in Basic, interactive test feedback, and reading ahead 20 records at a time in a database, when the user clicks the Previous or Next buttons.

Thanks to Theo for recording these absurdities, and in particular Microsoft's attempt to patent a latitude/longitude co-ordinate stored as a base-30 number. As he points out, this has been on the K-6 curriculum for some time.

Along with other companies, Microsoft is mining India's brilliant engineering talent to save money. But judging by recent form, it may as well save even more money by dropping the requirement for PhDs altogether - and simply employ children. ®

Related stories

Microsoft offshores patent war - so goes the WTO?
Microsoft FAT patent rejected
Microsoft patents tabbing through a web page
HP feared MS open source patent offensive
How Microsoft played the patent card, and failed

Using blade systems to cut costs and sharpen efficiencies

More from The Register

next story
BBC goes offline in MASSIVE COCKUP: Stephen Fry partly muzzled
Auntie tight-lipped as major outage rolls on
iPad? More like iFAD: We reveal why Apple ran off to IBM
But never fear fanbois, you're still lapping up iPhones, Macs
Nadella: Apps must run on ALL WINDOWS – PCs, slabs and mobes
Phone egg, meet desktop chicken - your mother
HP, Microsoft prove it again: Big Business doesn't create jobs
SMEs get lip service - what they need is dinner at the Club
ITC: Seagate and LSI can infringe Realtek patents because Realtek isn't in the US
Land of the (get off scot) free, when it's a foreign owner
Samsung threatens to cut ties with supplier over child labour allegations
Vows to uphold 'zero tolerance' policy on underage workers
Dude, you're getting a Dell – with BITCOIN: IT giant slurps cryptocash
1. Buy PC with Bitcoin. 2. Mine more coins. 3. Goto step 1
There's NOTHING on TV in Europe – American video DOMINATES
Even France's mega subsidies don't stop US content onslaught
You! Pirate! Stop pirating, or we shall admonish you politely. Repeatedly, if necessary
And we shall go about telling people you smell. No, not really
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Reducing security risks from open source software
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.