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Microsoft Wins "Tabbed Browsing" Patent [for links]

Seems like a basic tool for browsers might be owned by Microsoft

     
12:04 am on Dec 21, 2004 (gmt 0)

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I'm surprised I didn't see any link to this, here:

Microsoft Wins "Tabbed Browsing" Patent [internetnews.com] Sept. 12 2004

Excerpt:

Microsoft has been granted a patent from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office on a process known as tabbing through a Web page in order to find links.

Thoughts? Personally, I think it's junk. They have lawyers grabbing at patents like others grab at domains that are a little slow in getting renewed.

12:29 am on Dec 21, 2004 (gmt 0)

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agreed, silly.

Make sure you have IE, or a mouse.

I suppose using a key other than the tab will be another ingenious idea for the next browser...

12:30 am on Dec 21, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Holy misleading title.

Wasn't the concept of tabbing through buttons/options etc. around well before internet browsers?

10:16 am on Dec 21, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Seems to prove two things.

1) MS has more money than sense.
2) The Patent Office has less sense than MS.

Kaled.

10:19 am on Dec 21, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Surely, MS wanted their OS to appear consistent?

What next? Patent on File>Save?

dcrombie

12:32 pm on Dec 21, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Don't they also have a patent on using the "Start" menu to shut down the computer ;)
2:35 pm on Dec 21, 2004 (gmt 0)

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The claims section of this patent, the claims being the legal meat, says that Microsoft now has a patent on using a predefined key such as the tab key to highlight links in a web page.

Very broad coverage, it seems to me.

However, there are serious constraints on enforcing something like this.

Plus, the patent might be held invalid for many reasons.

Even in 1997, when it was filed, I think it was obvious and obviousness is grounds for narrowing a patent's scope or invalidating it altogether.

I think MS has to sit on this one for PR reasons.

2:26 pm on Dec 23, 2004 (gmt 0)

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My first thought about this was that it meant browser tabs (like FireFox's). My second thought was, then why hasn't Microsoft implemented them yet?

As it is, though, patenting the tab-through-links procedure seems a lot like one of the car manufacturors patenting a way to hold the steering-wheel. Everyone's keyboard has more or less the same buttons on it. Surely a program developer is free to use any one of them for whatever purpose he sees fit?

6:49 pm on Dec 25, 2004 (gmt 0)

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I can't beieve they would have the cheek to apply for that patent... no, no, maybe I could.

I can't however believe that someone was daft enough to grant it. What were they smoking?