Monday, September 13, 2004

Microsoft Patent Update: Microsoft has been granted a patent from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office on a process known as tabbing through a Web page in order to find links. The patent (number 6,785,865) is officially titled "Discoverability and navigation of hyperlinks via tabs."

Microsoft filed for the patent in March of 1997. It covers the process of shifting between links on a Web page using the computer's tab button. The patent specifies that a "user may discover and navigate among hyperlinks through the use of a keyboard. For example, a user may press a tab key to discover and navigate to a first hyperlink that is part of a hypertext document." The abstract also said a user may also tab to a link that is actually a placeholder for an image "in order to make a decision whether the image should be downloaded or not."

Not surprisingly, the open source community is not happy - but I am surprised that articles on software patents are including comments from people like the EFF and the Public Patent Foundation

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