Are You Kidding Me?
Guess what Bill Gates & The U.S. Government have done this time. Microsoft has been granted a patent for the double-click. Thankfully it only applies to handheld computers that use the Microsoft PocketPC operating system. Full text of the patent reads:
"Time based hardware button for application launch"
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.
Now this stuff is getting way out of hand. The US patent system is in dire need of reform to deal with modern intellectual property and computer software developments. The guys over at WIPO need to get off their asses. It really doesn't surprise me that Microsoft is pulling this crap. This kind of stuff is a large part of the reason why I don't use Microsoft Windows on my PC. I strongly encourage support and use of Linux and Open Source Software and you should too.
The New York-based Public Patent Foundation, meanwhile, has filed a formal request with the US Patent and Trademark Office, asking that Microsoft's patent on this file system be revoked as such patents can impeded progress by preventing competitors from improving on them.
On a less infuriating note. Here is a recent story of a college kid who fought a lawsuit from Microsoft, won and left them humiliated after drawing tons of media attention in the process.