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Microsoft Awarded Ridiculous Patents

From the Raw Feed:

Microsoft was awarded a U.S. patent Tuesday for a "Method and apparatus for transmitting power and data using the human body." That's right. If you want to use human skin as a data bus or muscle tissue as a conduit for electricity, you may need to pay Microsoft a licensing fee.

It may sound farfetched, but it's a near certainty that eventually all kinds of gadgets -- wristwatches, glasses, hats, etc. -- will communicate with each other via electrical impulses sent through the body.

You'll even be able to exchange contact information with someone by shaking their hand. Microsoft will get a penny every time that happens.

This wacky sounding patent comes on the heels of recent reports that the company had received patents for the ideas of double-clicking on a PDA, and a method for programmers to keep a running "to do" list in code comments. Very recently, Microsoft has been granted patents for a "Hand-held personal computer," a "multilingual user interface for an operating system," "thread-based e-mail" and even "one-pass greedy-pattern-matching finite-state-machine code generation."

I don't know what that last one is but it sounds difficult and painful.

The U.S. Patent Office even accidentally granted Microsoft a patent for a new variety of Apple tree -- the Burchinal Red Delicious -- earlier this year.

OK, it's official: The U.S. Patent Office needs to be blown up. Thankfully there are groups like the Electronic Frontier Foundation that are trying to fix and shoot down the worst of the bunch.

Posted by Jake on 06/29/04 @ 05:09 PM
Posted in Stupid | Permalink

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