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Microsoft attempts to patent the "Smiley" emoticon


A software patent filed by Microsoft in the US has been described as 'very dangerous'
Various organisations have criticised Microsoft for attempting to patent the creation of custom emoticons.

The patent, which was published by the US patent office on Thursday, covers selecting pixels to create an emoticon image, assigning a character sequence to these pixels and reconstructing the emoticon after transmission.

Mark Taylor, the executive director of the Open Source Consortium, said on Friday said this is such a basic concept that he would not have been surprised to see it posted as a fictional patent on a technology site.

"I would have expected to see something like this suggested by one of our more immature community members as a joke on Slashdot, and probably would have chuckled at the absurdity of the notion. We now appear to be living in a world where even the most laughable paranoid fantasies about commercially controlling simple social concepts are being outdone in the real world by well-funded armies of lawyers on behalf of some of the most powerful companies on the planet," said Taylor.

Jonas Maebe, a spokesman for the Foundation for a Free Information Infrastructure (FFII), said that such a patent could be used by Microsoft to prevent competitors from developing applications that compete with its MSN Messenger application.

"It is unfortunately quite clear such patents have nothing to do with protecting investments nor R&D, and only with obtaining exclusion rights which can help them [Microsoft] maintain their dominant position in the market," said Maebe.

Such patents are in contradiction to the original purpose of the patent system, according to Maebe's colleague at the FFII, Felipe Wersen.

"Patents were ultimately designed to benefit society — to have companies disclose things that benefit society which they wouldn't otherwise disclose. Who does this patent benefit?" said Wersen.

Although Microsoft does not appear to have filed this patent in Europe, it has filed a number of patents around natural language. These include a patent for segmenting text strings into tokens to allow further language processing.

Microsoft was unable to comment in time for this article.

The Microsoft patent that organisations are concerned about is patent number 20050156873, which was filed in January 2004.

What the fuck?


WTF's Official Conspiracy Fanatic
It just goes to show, there's not enough money on the whole Fucking planet to make Bill Gates happy. He's still a lonely pathetic little man, and getting worse by the day.

Note to Bill.... Money is not the answer asshole. Try acting human, laughing, smiling, and just getting a personality. This will help more than the money, hell, it's your only hope man.