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Re: 1-Click, Short-Click, Long-Click, More-Clicks (New Microsoft Patent)

From: Barry Margolin
Subject: Re: 1-Click, Short-Click, Long-Click, More-Clicks (New Microsoft Patent)
Date: Tue, 27 Apr 2004 17:10:28 -0400
User-agent: MT-NewsWatcher/3.4 (PPC Mac OS X)

In article <>, (theodp) wrote:

> Not to be outdone by Amazon's 1-Click patent, Microsoft snagged a
> patent from the USPTO Tuesday for a 'Time based hardware button for
> application launch', which covers causing different actions to occur
> depending upon whether a button is pressed for a short period of time,
> a long period of time, or multiple times within a short period of
> time. So does pressing car radio buttons for different periods of time
> to change or set stations constitute patent infringement?
> See the patent at:

Most of the claims in the patent are very specific about the types of 
alternate actions.  E.g. press-and-hold to start the application and 
restore it to a previously saved state, or press-and-hold to start the 
application with a default document.

Whether the car radio buttons would be prior art depends on whether a 
car radio is considered a "limited resource computing device" and 
whether the actions that take place when you press one of the buttons is 
considered to include "opening an application".  In my opinion, the 
radio is a single application, and the only button that "opens" it is 
the on-off button -- the station selectors are controls within the 

The interesting thing about this patent is that it *only* covers actions 
that take place when using the mouse to open an application.  This was 
probably necessary to avoid prior art problems; double-clicking has been 
used within applications for as long as the mouse has been in use, and 
Apple has used click-hold for at least 10 years I think (e.g. the 
"spring-loaded folder" feature of the Finder).  But I can't recall 
seeing any operating systems that implement the alternate styles of 
application launching that the patent claims.

Barry Margolin,
Arlington, MA
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