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Re: Microsoft patented keyboard-navigation?

From: Charles McCathieNevile <charles@sidar.org>
Date: Tue, 07 Sep 2004 12:04:18 +0300
To: "Rotan Hanrahan" <Rotan.Hanrahan@mobileaware.com>, w3c-wai-gl@w3.org, w3c-wai-au@w3.org
Message-ID: <opsdyblgpiw5l938@widsith.local>

[dropped ac-forum since I am not a subcriber to that list]

I read the patent. It was filed March 6 97.

It not only includes navigating with a keyboard, but also
  + predefining the "tab" key as the particular key to use
  + being able to do this even if the links are defined in an image map
  + being able to provide a visual indicator that can be rectangualr OR  
non-rectangular (circles and polygons are explicitly mentioned)
  + being able to expose this mechanism in a ccoputer readable way.
  + Lots of repetition of the above.

Most of this occured with Lynx when I used it in 1996. Although it didn't  
display circles or polygons.

On Tue, 7 Sep 2004 09:38:02 +0100, Rotan Hanrahan  
<Rotan.Hanrahan@MobileAware.com> wrote:

> I see a threat to the mobile/celular Web. I see a threat to Web  
> accessibility.

I see a threat to the patent based on prior art and the fact that it is  
blindingly obvious.

I see a threat to the credibility of claims that software patents are  
worthwhile, particularly from people who apply for such patents. (I see a  
threat to the credibility of the research groupp that did this, and hope  
for their sake that they can blame it on some other department).

I see an even bigger threat to the credibility of anyone who tries to  
enforce such a patent.

(I see a threat to credibility all over the place. I recently saw a  
government minister explaining that his legislation enforcing US patents  
was fine, since the US patent system doesn't let bad patents be granted...)

I see a job opportunity, for working at the US patent Office. (Along the  
lines of "When I am an evil mastermind I will employ a 5-year-old to  
review my plans  for world domination and point out the flaws that any  
5-year-old could see").

I don't see any real threat from this patent, except that somebody might  
be forced to waste time defending the blindingly obvious in court.  
Fortunately, since I don't live or work in THe US where the patent is  
valid, it is unlikely to be me. I suspect that the patent holders are  
smart enough  to realise that they wasted their money on the application  
an will just let it slide into obscurity, so I don't think even that risk  
is very high.



Charles McCathieNevile         charles@sidar.org
FundaciĆ³n Sidar             http://www.sidar.org
Received on Tuesday, 7 September 2004 10:04:58 UTC

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