Feeds

Microsoft celebrates 10,000 US patents

Weeeeeee!?

The essential guide to IT transformation

Microsoft announced it's been awarded its 10,000 patent in the US. The big "ten-oh-oh-oh." Quintuple digits. That works out to an average of 294 patents per year since Microsoft was founded.

This milestone from IT's number four patent grubber is apparently something for us – who presumably aren't members of Redmond's legal team – to celebrate. Or so we're lead to believe.

Patent 7,479,950 is entitled "Manipulating association of data with a physical object." Microsoft describes the patent as providing object recognition for "surface computing" technology like the multi-touch coffee table PC the company was showing off back in 2007.

When users place things such as keys or a finger on the computer's display, the system will automatically identify the object and track its location and movement. The idea here is that these objects can then be associated with certain data or media on the surface computing device, like a music collection or text documents.

To continue, swipe family dog across screen or press any key.

Or perhaps you've dreamed of dialing up your Phil Collins CD library by pressing your ass against a table? Surely, I'm not the only one.

Microsoft's chief patent counsel Bart Eppenauer stated for the announcement Tuesday that the company has been increasing its emphasis on IP in recent years to squeeze more revenue from its intellectual assets.

The company said it spends about $8bn a year on R&D and filed just over 2,000 patents in 2008.

"Patents are the currency of innovation," said Eppenauer. "They enable Microsoft to share our innovations with others through licensing, and that in turn enables others to share their innovations back with us."

But what about those who claim too much IP ownership actually stifles innovation?

According to Microsoft:

Patents as knowledge-sharing tools may seem counterintuitive at first. After all, patents do give their owners the right to exclude others from using a technology. But even in this case, denying use is very different from denying to others knowledge of the new technology, which patents by law are required to disclose.

So, all these patents are good for, well, journalists who write stories about IT patents.

I'm sold. ®

Boost IT visibility and business value

More from The Register

next story
Intel's Raspberry Pi rival Galileo can now run Windows
Behold the Internet of Things. Wintel Things
The Return of BSOD: Does ANYONE trust Microsoft patches?
Sysadmins, you're either fighting fires or seen as incompetents now
Munich considers dumping Linux for ... GULP ... Windows!
Give a penguinista a hug, the Outlook's not good for open source's poster child
Microsoft cries UNINSTALL in the wake of Blue Screens of Death™
Cache crash causes contained choloric calamity
Eat up Martha! Microsoft slings handwriting recog into OneNote on Android
Freehand input on non-Windows kit for the first time
Linux kernel devs made to finger their dongles before contributing code
Two-factor auth enabled for Kernel.org repositories
prev story

Whitepapers

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup
IT departments are embracing cloud backup, but there’s a lot you need to know before choosing a service provider. Learn all the critical things you need to know.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.
Rethinking backup and recovery in the modern data center
Combining intelligence, operational analytics, and automation to enable efficient, data-driven IT organizations using the HP ABR approach.
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.