Friday, December 16, 2005

AMAZON ONE-CLICK, MEET MICROSOFT ONE-CLICK: A buzz has started over Microsoft being granted a patent on an interactive TV interface that pauses a show while the viewer clicks an embedded hyperlink, such as a URL.

US Patent 6,973,669 was granted on December 6, 2005 and claims priority to numerous continuations and CIPs dating back to 1993. This is the first patent to issue from that family of applications (after 12 years of fighting with the USPTO). After reading the background of the specification, the language reflects the application's age:

The Internet has recently exploded in popularity . . . A computer user with a modem can get on-line and access the business' web site to obtain more information about a particular product that the user is interested in. This form of advertisement will most likely become more and more common as internet use increases. However, the user must memorize or write down the advertiser's web site address, or perform a sometimes labor and time intensive on-line search to find the web site.

Obviously, this predated Google . . .

The features recited in claim 1 basically describe the entire invention:

1. In an interactive television system that is configured for displaying television programs, hyperlinks and corresponding data, a method for pausing the display of a television program that is displayed at the television system in response to a selection of a hyperlink that is displayed with the television program, the method comprising the acts of:

displaying a television program at the interactive television system while the television program is being broadcast, the television program being displayed with a hyperlink;

as a television program is being displayed, receiving input selecting the hyperlink;

in response to the input, accessing data corresponding to the hyperlink;

automatically pausing the display of the television program in response to the
input selecting the hyperlink and in response to obtaining the data corresponding to the hyperlink, while the television program is being broadcast, by recording a signal in which the television program is encoded on a recording medium, and so as to enable subsequent viewing of the paused television program in a time-shifted manner;

as the display of the television program is paused, displaying the data corresponding to the hyperlink; and

subsequently resuming the display of the television program by accessing the signal from the recording medium in the sequence in which the signal was recorded on the recording medium, such that the television program is displayed at the point at which the television program was paused.

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