Feeds

Double-clicking patent takes on world

Who's that trip-trapping over my bridge?

Boost IT visibility and business value

Hopewell Culture & Design reckons it owns the act of double-clicking, and is suing Apple, Nokia, Samsung and just about everyone else for breaching its patent.

It's not double-clicking per se that US patent 7,171,625 covers, just the act of clicking twice on an already-selected component to action a request for additional information or greater interactivity. But that's not stopped the current owners of the patent from launching an action against all the popular mobile-phone platforms – as well as Opera and QuickOffice – in an attempt to protect its painstakingly-developed intellectual property as picked up by Florian Mueller.

Reading the patent, which was filed in 2002 and awarded in 2007, it's clear the innovation to which the author was hoping to lay claim: clicking and right clicking are pretty-well defined in web browsing, but Cristiano Sacchi, the named inventor, thought that assigning an action to a double-click was sufficiently inventive to be worth patenting.

In the example an image is displayed in a web browser – clicking on the image activates a hyperlink, right-clicking calls up a context-sensitive menu, but the innovative step is that double clicking loads the image into an editing application.

Quite how that maps into mobile telephony is far from clear. The patent goes to great lengths (more than 400 words) explaining what a mouse is, and then notes briefly that "The invention can also be used with a touchscreen". It also describes in great detail the act of moving the cursor to select the content before clicking (twice), something which is alien to all but the most advanced touch-screen interfaces*.

But never let reality get in the way of a decent patent case, especially in Texas where this action has been filed. Hopewell is no doubt hoping that Apple, Nokia, et al will decide to slip them a few grand rather than fight, but we're hoping that the various defendants will instead band together against the common enemy, drop their own actions against each other, and live in peace and harmony – embodying the spirit of the season. ®

* On Tablet PCs, a cursor appears under the stylus as it approaches the screen, allowing selection without contact in the style of a traditional mouse.

The essential guide to IT transformation

More from The Register

next story
Munich considers dumping Linux for ... GULP ... Windows!
Give a penguinista a hug, the Outlook's not good for open source's poster child
The Return of BSOD: Does ANYONE trust Microsoft patches?
Sysadmins, you're either fighting fires or seen as incompetents now
Intel's Raspberry Pi rival Galileo can now run Windows
Behold the Internet of Things. Wintel Things
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
Time to move away from Windows 7 ... whoa, whoa, who said anything about Windows 8?
Start migrating now to avoid another XPocalypse – Gartner
You'll find Yoda at the back of every IT conference
The piss always taking is he. Bastard the.
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.