Microsoft recently applied for and received Patent #7,415,666. Microsoft has just patented the functions of two keys that are on every keyboard that is manufactured on this planet – Page Up & Page Down. Seriously. This patent was originally filed in March 4, 2005 and was awarded August 19, 2008.
This clearly shows how broken and dysfunctional the patent system really is. Maybe someone should quickly run and apply for a patent on Backspace – It is without doubt one of the most widely used keys on any keyboard! Or maybe Ford should patent the steering wheel or gas pedal? Maybe I could patent the process of typing a Blog!
Here is a excerpt from the actual patent Microsoft was recently awarded :
Method and system for navigating paginated content in page-based increments A method and system in a document viewer for scrolling a substantially exact increment in a document, such as one page, regardless of whether the zoom is such that some, all or one page is currently being viewed. In one implementation, pressing a Page Down or Page Up keyboard key/button allows a user to begin at any starting vertical location within a page, and navigate to that same location on the next or previous page. For example, if a user is viewing a page starting in a viewing area from the middle of that page and ending at the bottom, a Page Down command will cause the next page to be shown in the viewing area starting at the middle of the next page and ending at the bottom of the next page. Similar behavior occurs when there is more than one column of pages being displayed in a row.
Maybe it is because the patent offices are over worked, or maybe the internal processes they utilizes just need some serious revamping. None the less, the situation is broken and needs to be addressed.
How about Patent #5,443,036 - a method for exercising a cat with a laser pointer. Or Patent #6,960,975 - a space vehicle propelled by the pressure of inflationary vacuum state, which clearly defies the currently known laws of physics.