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Microsoft Patents Ad-Hoc Wi-Fi Media Players

By - Source: USPTO | B 12 comments

Microsoft has just been granted a patent covering ad-hoc wireless connections for portable devices.

While the patent title specifically refers to portable media players, the patent itself references "wireless devices" in general, while noting that the "invention" is "not limited to such devices".

Ad-hoc W-Fi networks are particularly useful to establish short-range connections to other wireless devices that are connected to the same access point and use the same SSID and channel number. Microsoft's patent was filed in November 2010 and was quite obviously targeted for use in its Zune media players, which were retired in early 2011. The patent claim could be easily extended to smartphones as well as tablets.

From the patent: "According to a first aspect of the invention, a method to operate a wireless device in an ad hoc network is provided. The method comprises: transmitting and receiving discovery information by the wireless device during a discovery window of a periodic discovery interval; and operating the wireless device in a power save mode during an inactive portion of the periodic discovery interval."

It may be difficult, however, it may be nearly impossible for Microsoft to enforce the patent due to the existence of prior art and the rather general description of wireless devices in the patent.


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  • 12 Hide
    igot1forya , August 30, 2012 8:06 PM
    When I look at that mind-map/graphic I thought of an engineer at Microsoft sitting at his desk:

    Engineer: "OK, I opened Visio... now, let me make 3 boxes... ooooh how symmetrical of you... ummmm draw dome funny lines linking them."

    Manager: "Have you invented anything yet?"

    Engineer: "Ah, yeah... this is a patent for something, I, ah, invented"

    Manager: "Great! What is it?"

    Engineer: "Wa.. Wireless! Yes, it's for wireless!"
  • 11 Hide
    izajasz , August 30, 2012 8:35 PM
    American patent law is great. Antoher old tech pateneted by a big company to troll others. Apple is the king of those ofc .
Other Comments
  • 12 Hide
    igot1forya , August 30, 2012 8:06 PM
    When I look at that mind-map/graphic I thought of an engineer at Microsoft sitting at his desk:

    Engineer: "OK, I opened Visio... now, let me make 3 boxes... ooooh how symmetrical of you... ummmm draw dome funny lines linking them."

    Manager: "Have you invented anything yet?"

    Engineer: "Ah, yeah... this is a patent for something, I, ah, invented"

    Manager: "Great! What is it?"

    Engineer: "Wa.. Wireless! Yes, it's for wireless!"
  • 4 Hide
    ses27 , August 30, 2012 8:25 PM
    OCPL did this in 2007 with there laptop

    Here we go again, another patent on old tech with little twist. (and i do mean little)

    How is this helping innovation.
  • 11 Hide
    izajasz , August 30, 2012 8:35 PM
    American patent law is great. Antoher old tech pateneted by a big company to troll others. Apple is the king of those ofc .
  • 5 Hide
    pharoahhalfdead , August 30, 2012 8:38 PM
    "It may be difficult, however, it may be nearly impossible for Microsoft to enforce the patent due to the existence of prior art..."

    Apple patented prior art, but then again, some might well argue a favoritism towards Apple and against opponents.
  • 2 Hide
    damianrobertjones , August 30, 2012 9:11 PM
    Before all tech sites went 'patent news' mad hardly any tech reader would care about what patents went where until, of course, the post counts increased. Now we have to read about all the wonderful patent information. yay
  • 5 Hide
    myromance123 , August 30, 2012 9:15 PM
    When they use vague terms like "portable media players" and then say its not limited to just those devices, they are practically giving themselves a 360 view for targeting potential suing victims.

    Why do they allow such vague detailing in patents? I can understand wanting to give the company's idea the freedom to grow, but at the cost of destroying every other tech on that plane due to the defined similarities is not for the greater good. It's like choosing the greater evil over the lesser.
  • 0 Hide
    audioee , August 30, 2012 10:17 PM
    Wasn't this the point of Zigbee?

    The article says Wi-Fi, are they using 802.11?

  • 3 Hide
    the3dsgeek , August 31, 2012 6:09 AM
    patent everything, so apple doesn't sue you for it later.
  • 2 Hide
    jaksun5 , August 31, 2012 6:19 AM
    pharoahhalfdead"It may be difficult, however, it may be nearly impossible for Microsoft to enforce the patent due to the existence of prior art..."Apple patented prior art, but then again, some might well argue a favoritism towards Apple and against opponents.


    Some would argue that the US has a favoritism towards American companies when going against overseas companies
  • 3 Hide
    L0tus , August 31, 2012 6:55 AM
    It must be the best job in the world: simply sitting on your ass then dreaming & digging up random tech to patent. You don't even have to develop a product. All you need is Visio, a functioning brain and some lawyers. Where do I sign up?
  • 0 Hide
    ojas , August 31, 2012 11:52 AM
    Vague patent...it's reads funny too...
  • 0 Hide
    GreaseMonkey_62 , August 31, 2012 7:07 PM
    Doesn't Bluetooth already cover this?