[svlug] Wheel Mouse Optical... Evil?

Jeffrey Siegal jbs at quiotix.com
Sun Jan 6 03:08:02 PST 2002

Rafael wrote:
> On Sat, Jan 05, 2002 at 12:29:35PM -0800, Jeffrey Siegal wrote:
> > Rafael wrote:
> > > They bought or
> > > licensed from those who designed that in the first place.
> Majority of their mouse related patents are design patents.

WTF?  You're replying to yourself.

> > > Microsoft never invented anything, correct me if I'm wrong.
> >
> > You're wrong.  Microsoft has had thousands of smart people, including
> > some *very* smart people in its research group, working there for years,
> Perhaps I should say, they never invented earth shaking product or a
> method for making things. [1] Inventions few, inovations many.

Your terminology is askew.  An invention is something useful and novel. 
It doesn't have to be earth shaking.  The vast majority of inventions
are not.

> Having smart people doesn't necessarily mean the company invented anything
> extraordinary. Creating a distinctly shaped mouse is inovation rather
> than invention.

Inventions are not, in general, extraordinary either.

> I bet they can write hundreds of patent applications that relate to their
> OS and it's relation to hardware. However, if they enforce their patent
> portfolio we are in big trouble.

Perhaps so.  If Microsoft invented things before others did, they're
entitled to create "big trouble."  But that requires knowing *precisely*
what the relevant invention is, which in general can not be determined
by taking bits and pieces from the title or summary.   Comments about
how we could boot SPARC workstations way back when are not relevant if
there is some particular element of the Microsoft patent which is novel
and inventive.  (This may mean, of course, that booting over a network
the way a SPARC did would not violate the Microsoft patent at all, even
if doing so slightly differently might.)

Nevertheless, there is a legal presumption that when a patent is issued,
there has been *some* significant invention made.  Not necessarily an
earth shaking or extraordinary invention, and not necessarily the first
invention in the general field described in the title and summary, but
some sort of invention.  Some of the patants may be invalid, but it is
unlikely that they all are.

Unless you are prepared to challenge and successfully invalidate all of
their patents, your statement that Microsoft has never invented anything
is both legally and factually inaccurate.  It's also stupid and entirely
worthless Microsoft bashing.

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