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. ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
BBC: We're going to slip CODING into kids' TV
Pureed-carrot-in-ice cream C++ surprise
China: You, Microsoft. Office-Windows 'compatibility'. You have 20 days to explain
Told to cough up more details as antitrust probe goes deeper
Linux turns 23 and Linus Torvalds celebrates as only he can
No, not with swearing, but by controlling the release cycle
Scratched PC-dispatch patch patched, hatched in batch rematch
Windows security update fixed after triggering blue screens (and screams) of death
Windows 7 settles as Windows XP use finally starts to slip … a bit
And at the back of the field, Windows 8.1 is sprinting away from Windows 8
This is how I set about making a fortune with my own startup
Would you leave your well-paid job to chase your dream?
prev story

Whitepapers

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.
Endpoint data privacy in the cloud is easier than you think
Innovations in encryption and storage resolve issues of data privacy and key requirements for companies to look for in a solution.
Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?