Microsoft Patents… Google Project Glass?

The patent wars never cease to push forward into realms previously thought too ignorant to explore. While tech companies blindly register for thousands of patents ranging from painfully general to weird and obscure, the US Patent and Trademark Office seems to approve said patents at an equally alarming rate. The most recent? A patent filed 2 days ago by Microsoft, in an apparent attempt to secure exclusive rights to a product Google already has in development: Project Glass.

Quoted directly from the patent filing:

A system and method to present a user wearing a head mounted display with supplemental information when viewing a live event. A user wearing an at least partially see-through, head mounted display views the live event while simultaneously receiving information on objects, including people, within the user’s field of view, while wearing the head mounted display. The information is presented in a position in the head mounted display which does not interfere with the user’s enjoyment of the live event.

I’m not quite sure how such a claim would even be patentable. Someone could accomplish the above by taping their phone to their head. It would be a pretty terrible product, but the point is the general concept is nothing original. Especially considering Google has already locked up a bunch of patents directly related to Project Glass.

WAIT. Microsoft received their patent on November 22nd, 2012 whereas Google’s patent was issued on May 22nd, 2012 but Microsoft actually FILED their patent request earlier. Microsoft’s submission for their “EVENT AUGMENTATION WITH REAL-TIME INFORMATION” came in May 2011, a full 5 months before Google’s “Wearable display device section”.

This could get sticky, and if eventually litigated (which we’ve come to expect), chances are these patents will come down to the utility and design more than the concept alone.

A couple interesting notes, though, are Microsoft’s examples of how the product may be used, mostly in conjunction with live sporting events and concerts. Take for example this picture of how Microsoft’s Google Glasses (note: sarcasm) would work at a baseball game:

Several problems here. First of all, the Yankees don’t lose to the A’s. Second of all, Willie Randolph is at bat, a ball player  who hasn’t played in the Major Leagues in 2 decades. Perhaps that’s part of the strategy… you know, maybe they’ll think we drew this picture twenty years ago and grant us the patent.

Here’s another example from Microsoft used at a football game:

[0001] Fans of live sporting and artistic events have enjoyed various types of information which is provided on different displays to supplement the live event. This supplemental information is provided both when the user is in attendance at the event and when the user views the event on broadcast media. One example of this is the augmentation of football games to display a first down marker superimposed on a playing field in a broadcast television event, and the broadcast of replays both on broadcast television and large displays at the venue of the event.

Interesting indeed, but telling us how a developer might leverage the product to create an app for Project Glass doesn’t make it patentable. Especially considering that whole yellow first down line thing is already patented.

[Via WinSource, LaPresse (thanks Alexandre!)]

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  • lye

    Whole patent system is completely screwed up. Wish I knew how to fix it.

    • DavidVarghese

      Easy… Get some people working there who aren’t lazy and who review every patent that comes their way… Fire those who don’t.
      Also, they need new patent redundancy/ambiguity laws to prevent something like this, or rounded rectangles, to be ever patented.

      • Guest

        Actually, it’s not as easy as I thought… Lmao… The solution is easy, but the implementation would be hard…

    • lrohenaz

      its easy. software = copyright, not patent. problem solved.

      watch this: http://patentabsurdity.com/watch.html

    • CaptBebops

      Two solutions: create a review panel of programmers who will filter out stuff that is just the way software works. Number two is create an organization that patents the way software or computers work and make the patents royalty free. Otherwise the unscrupulous will try to patent everything that isn’t nailed down.

  • anywherehome

    Apple+Microsoft=pure evil……do not buy any products of these 2 companies…..if you buy you give money to evil

    • http://twitter.com/inguatu ingua2

      MS is only keeping up with the joneses. Apple started this push to patent everything and have proven it to be effective in shutting down competition. Google has purchased thousands of patents from portfolios from other companies or created generic ones, just as Microsoft has. I don’t blame Microsoft for doing this. It’s the norm now. Every company in tech is forced to patent every little thing now thanks to Apple lawyers. I’ll continue to buy and use both Microsoft and Google products as I’ve never had issues with hardware or software from either. Apple on the other hand…with bloated monopolistic iTune$, broken QT, FCPX (a joke), killed off Shake, Keybloat (not 100% compatible with the industry standard PPT), Compressor, horrible OpenCL/GL implementation, and the list goes on.

      • anywherehome

        You should know that Microsoft has his fingers in every country as a briber….. Just search 2 terms Microsoft and corruption in the internet…..
        And he’s paying sellers not selling Linux devices…… It’s full of internet, just search…… Will never buy any Microsoft product again….

        • Sentinelred

          Wait. Microsoft is a guy now?

          • master94

            Companies are considered people around the world for legal purposes.

          • http://twitter.com/dbest180 Derrick Best

            Except when taxing

          • master94

            lol, good one

          • anywherehome

            Good one?
            Ok, read just the facts:

            http://goo.gl/AWKfX

          • master94

            All I said was his joke was a good one. I agreed with it, not sure why you listed this site.

          • anywherehome

            Sorry, strange sorting here…

  • Jayshmay

    There needs to be a difference between a broad patent, and a specific patent.

    For example the shape of a tablet shouldn’t be able to be patented!

    • http://twitter.com/inguatu ingua2

      You’re saying two different things. You’re saying there should be broad patents and specific patents then saying there shouldn’t be broad patents. Patents should be specific, period. Design elements, shapes and UI/UX (to an extent) should not be patented.

      • ntegrit

        I’m guessing that, if the design were yours and the patent meant instant and comfortable retirement (assuming that such retirement wouldn’t be available to you otherwise), you’d change your logic.

  • http://twitter.com/inguatu ingua2

    it should also be noted that Microsoft is patenting a like glasses system with its own set of features. They aren’t patenting squares or a broad HUD-like system inside of glasses. That’s an Apple move.

    • anywherehome

      He corrupted all the manufacturers selling Android (gets about 10 from every Android), so you are very probably wrong. You will see….

    • Drew M

      Not exactly, at least not this particular patent. Read the first claim:

      “A computer implemented method providing supplemental information to a user with a head mounted display viewing a live event, comprising: receiving an indication that a user is attending a live event, the live event having an event duration; determining a field of view of the user through the head mounted display, and objects within the field of view at the live event; retrieving supplemental information describing at least the objects in the field of view of the user during a portion of the live event; determining elements of said supplemental information to present to the user in the head mounted display; and displaying the supplemental information in one or more display elements in the head mounted display.”

      Google’s patents cover the invention itself and Microsoft is patenting a specific utility (use case) which that invention could demonstrate. It seems like a legal maneuver more than anything else. That is precisely an Apple move.

      • Manbo

        Gotta love those power moves… Let someone else do all the leg work, then patent one item that could in theory break an otherwise flawlessly integrated service/product.

        Not saying Glass is flawless, merely pointing out how Microsoft appears to be trying to break usability to gain more royalties. It’s like winning by default, but MS don’t care. MS just wants to make easy money off other peoples work. Mmmhmmmm.

  • Juggals

    Its all stupid and only because they a greedy

  • Steve

    Google Glass is NOT GLASSES. Period.

    Google has patented GLASS. Google Glass is patented. UNOBTRUSIVE GLASS.

  • http://twitter.com/1huckabuck Remo J Gutierrez

    I get why we need patents, but MS dont patent somehing that your labs are not even going to start working on. Dont make a patent just to BLOCK other companies or MS files some patent so when a different company does the work and comes out with the product they just sit back and recieve liscensing fees.

  • ntegrit

    Rob, first Microsoft “filed” two days ago, then they “received” the patent two days ago. Very different things, in my reckoning.

  • Michael Lee

    You mean to tell me I could’ve gotten a patent for the general idea that I, and just about everyone thought of years ago?

  • bmg314

    The Yankees DO lose to the Tigers. ;-P

  • spicymeatball

    Dont forget apple has a patent on this stuff also. I believe prior art from terminator predates all of it.

  • godrilla

    either way the 1st with a finished product wins in my book lol cough Google. imagine tge later sewing Google with no actual product to show lmfao.

  • WickedToby741

    The best thing for everyone would be to see complete cross-licensing of all patents between Apple, Google, and Microsoft. Then we could all enjoy our devices peacefully, no matter what device we choose.

  • http://www.facebook.com/ionekoa John Robertson

    One example of this is the augmentation of football games to display a first down marker superimposed on a playing field in a broadcast television event, and the broadcast of replays both on broadcast television and large displays at the venue of the event.

    they already do this, and it doesn’t take glasses.. this.. this doesn’t require the glasses.. how can they say they are patenting glasses when this is superimposed on the display screen (ie TV or mega display) and not the glasses? i’m going insane here, it’s like Microsoft outsourced their patenting responsibilities to Apple!.

  • http://www.colossaldamage.com/ SuperMarino

    Just thinking of all the advertising involved in sporting events, I’m surprised the image isn’t plastered with ads. Now in between plays at a live football game, you can see 4 ads at once!

  • chris holland

    NERD RAGGGGGGEEEEE!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • aergern

      TROLL POOOOSSSSSTTTTT!!!!

  • matt t

    android FTW

  • JulianZHuang

    dont know why google didnt patent it when they thought GG.

    • Marsg

      they filed the patent its just not approved, just like their notification window patent from 2009 that hasn’t been approved yet, which is weird cause companies like Apple get patents approved within a year like universal search for example.

  • defrankjs

    Your title is incredibly misleading. You do understand this is a patent application publication, not a granted patent… most patent applications automatically publish after 18 months… this one hasn’t even been examined by the USPTO yet if you actually go in and check the file wrapper.

  • sloppybones

    Yankees and A’s split the season series 5-5 and at one point A’s swept the Yanks in a 4 game series.

  • lynyrd65

    I like paynas.

  • warcaster

    Ehh..that’s now what the patent describes. Way too take this out of proportion.

  • http://www.phandroid.com Quentyn Kennemer

    This shouldn’t affect Google’s ambitions much, especially considering Microsoft isn’t even close to being granted the patent yet.

  • RavenFox

    I’m still pissed at how the Mets treated Willie Randolf. He should have just stayed with the Yanks and end up coaching there.

  • RavenFox

    I worked at a patent & trademark firm in NY doing IT for 10 years. I’ve seen amazing patents and some real stupid ones. you should see the patents just for disc/DVD cases alone. how many variations and curves can you have on the damn thing? greed for money has corrupted man and looking around us at the economy the effects seem irreversible.