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WordLogic Patented the Predictive Interface

kdawson posted more than 7 years ago | from the make-sure-that-software-infers-nothing dept.

Patents 173

Packetl055 writes "Have any of you heard anything about this company, WordLogic, with a soon to be granted/issued patent with 117 claims for predictability software? They recently received a patent approval/allowance letter from the US Patent and Trademark Office. Their patent application was submitted in March 2000. If I read this correctly, any software that gives you any prediction after you type something is infringing on their patent — e.g. vehicle navigation systems, cellular telephones, PDA's, Google with their 'Did You Mean' when using Google for a search, the new Apple I-Phone, Blackberry, Sony Playstation-3, etc., etc. If true, this is going to be huge: lawsuits after lawsuits." Their stock trend over the last few days suggests that somebody was paying attention to the the USPTO news from August 9. WordLogic makes products (assistive input software) and doesn't seem to be merely a patent troll.

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Prior art. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20346583)

Spelling corrector while you type.

Re:Prior art. (1)

GuyverDH (232921) | more than 7 years ago | (#20347167)

korn shell auto-complete

Re:Prior art. (1)

ePhil_One (634771) | more than 7 years ago | (#20347269)

Clearly the "auto-spell check" doesn't constitute prior art, Its a auto-correct, not predictive. If Korn is the same sort of "predictive" as Bash, where you have to hit tab to "ask" for possible completions, it likely also isn't prior art. I do recall a shell that was predictive (I think in Solaris or SunOS in the 80's) that might, though given the number of patents I assume they patented a "library" of ways to source the "words/suggestions" for predictive auto-complete

Re:Prior art. (1)

An ominous Cow art (320322) | more than 7 years ago | (#20347319)

My first thought was command completion in emacs. I vaguely remember having that in the mid-80s.

Damn it, Thunderbird!! (4, Funny)

Overzeetop (214511) | more than 7 years ago | (#20346585)

Their stock trend over the last few days suggests that somebody was paying attention

I just checked and my damned junk mail filter put that email in the trash!

Hello, incremental search anyone? (1)

Spy der Mann (805235) | more than 7 years ago | (#20346589)

Gee, this thing has got "prior art" written all over its face.

Re:Hello, incremental search anyone? (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20346667)

I hope they enjoyed the intellisense autocomplete feature in Visual Studio when they developed the software that their patent is based on.

Re:Hello, incremental search anyone? (5, Informative)

ajs (35943) | more than 7 years ago | (#20346713)

Don't assume that there's prior art just because the Slashdot summary seems to be similar to things you used in the past. The only measure of valid prior art (other than actually going to court) is when a patent lawyer looks over both the letter of the claims and the claim of prior art. Often, in that light, the prior art turns out to have no relevance.

Patent submitters typically know about the most obvious examples of prior art, so most patents are worded to carefully carve out a niche in which the patent almost, but not quite, describes existing technologies.

Re:Hello, incremental search anyone? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20346793)

Why is it that prior art must be exactly what the patent is claiming, but infringing work just needs to be similar to what is claimed?

Re:Hello, incremental search anyone? (4, Insightful)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 7 years ago | (#20347077)

Because most patent infringement cases are decided by juries. Prior art claims need to be ruled on by a judge, but 12 people, too stupid to get out of jury duty, get to decide if the infringing work actually infringes on the claims.

Don't you just love our court system here in the U.S.? :D

Re:Hello, incremental search anyone? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20347299)

Prior art claims need to be ruled on by a judge, but 12 people, too stupid to get out of jury duty, get to decide if the infringing work actually infringes on the claims.



I might have written the same comment,... but since someone else has written it (thank you), it occurs to me that a single judge is more easily "purchased" and stupid probably should include me, since I have no desire to pass on the responsibility for deciding some issue that's more important than the average program "smart" people write. [I wonder how I'd reply to this?]


-=-=-

... If we're not part of the problem,... who/what grants us legitimacy to be part of the solution? ....

Re:Hello, incremental search anyone? (1)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 7 years ago | (#20347617)

since I have no desire to pass on the responsibility for deciding some issue that's more important than the average program "smart" people write.
Of course, you don't get to decide which cases for which you sit on jury duty. The potential pool of jurors is decided at 'random' by (usuaully) picking drivers' license #s out of a 'hat'.

Re:Hello, incremental search anyone? (1)

zeromorph (1009305) | more than 7 years ago | (#20346971)

You are so right.

But the problem actually is that the /.summary contains nearly all the information the press release (it's not an article) contains. If you read it closely it only states that it's in "the predictive input arena" - could be a lot.

The whole thing does not even contain enough information to talk about it on slashdot.

Re:Hello, incremental search anyone? (3, Funny)

5KVGhost (208137) | more than 7 years ago | (#20347059)

Patent submitters typically know about the most obvious examples of prior art, so most patents are worded to carefully carve out a niche in which the patent almost, but not quite, describes existing technologies.

Fine. Then the submitter should almost, but not quite, deserve a patent.

Re:Hello, incremental search anyone? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20347361)

"Patent submitters typically know about the most obvious examples of prior art, so most patents are worded to carefully carve out a niche in which the patent almost, but not quite, describes existing technologies."

And then they will sue, or threaten to sue, or offer to "license" the technology with as BROAD an interpretation as possible ;-)

Prior art (1)

Harmonious Botch (921977) | more than 7 years ago | (#20346781)

I remember something like this running on a Kaypro 10 using CPM back in the 80s.

Re:Prior art (1)

drachenstern (160456) | more than 7 years ago | (#20346891)

which begs the question, didn't they merely copyright an inevitable evolution of processing systems?

I have always been led to believe that if there is a natural outgrowth based on logical trends, that you couldn't patent the idea? Like patenting the premise for a machine that can process 4 trillion floating point operations per second.

I predict.... (5, Funny)

MarkovianChained (1143957) | more than 7 years ago | (#20346599)

that they wouldn't get anywhere with a lawsuit.

Re:I predict.... (2, Informative)

linumax (910946) | more than 7 years ago | (#20346677)

But they'll try, and try hard:

"We are very excited about the obvious opportunities that will be open to WordLogic in the near future."
Frank Evanshen, WordLogic's President and CEO.

Re:I predict.... (1)

AeroIllini (726211) | more than 7 years ago | (#20347637)

Hey! Stop predicting what will happen based on what the CEO said!

It's patented, you know.

Great. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20346605)

Patenting the future. Today.

Re:Great. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20346811)

I'll sue you. I patented this when I patented today yesterday.

Predictive Interface Used In Bush War Crime Trial (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20346607)

War Crimin -- Did you mean George W. Bush [nogw.com] .

Yes.

And this is new because .... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20346621)

Hasn't the underlying idea for this already been implemented in dozens of ways? MS Word has done this for years, cell phones (texting) have done this for years, browser plugins have offered this for years. It's basically pattern-matching against a dictionary. How is this innovative?

Yet another reason why software patents are bad (2, Interesting)

Scareduck (177470) | more than 7 years ago | (#20346629)

It's just too easy to create infringing code. I don't much like FDR's administration (there's a decent argument [mises.org] that he actually prolonged the Great Depression by his attempt to ram a centralized economy down the country's throat), but one of the good things he did do was to radically cut back the number and scope of patents on the theory that handing out monopolies was a bad idea.

Re:Yet another reason why software patents are bad (0, Offtopic)

rossz (67331) | more than 7 years ago | (#20346871)

Your post being moderated as a "Troll" is proof that people don't understand the moderation system. No doubt some socialist doesn't like you making negative statements about one of their anointed saints.

Re:Yet another reason why software patents are bad (2, Insightful)

sweatyboatman (457800) | more than 7 years ago | (#20347427)

Well, let's see. The story is about a new software patent that appears to place a lot of currently ubiquitous software/devices in violation. The GP's post is about FDR. And it asserts the rather flimsy premise that the New Deal prolonged the Depression. Since FDR and the depression have nothing to do with WorldLogic or their patent, it's hard to imagine why the poster brings up either point.

So I would say that the GP contributes very little of value to the current discussion. On top of that he injects this questionable revisionist history. Now, I'm willing to believe that the New Deal wasn't all roses and lolly-pops. It's possible that the GP has a point. The article he links to is a troll.

This is from the article:

Roosevelt's revolution began with his inaugural address, which left no doubt about his intentions to seize the moment and harness it to his purposes. Best remembered for its patently false line that "the only thing we have to fear is fear itself," it also called for extraordinary emergency governmental powers.


So considering that his post had little of interest except this non-sequitor reference to FDR, and considering that his reference to FDR is likely to be inflammatory and is based on a silly article written in 1995, I'd say that it's pretty fair to label it a troll.

What about Miss Cleo? (5, Funny)

downix (84795) | more than 7 years ago | (#20346631)

Would she infringe upon their patent? 8)

Re:What about Miss Cleo? (1)

i_liek_turtles (1110703) | more than 7 years ago | (#20347043)

As long as they're incorrect in their predictions most of the time, I'm sure they could milk a lot of money out of her.

Re:What about Miss Cleo? (5, Funny)

Eponymous Bastard (1143615) | more than 7 years ago | (#20347191)

They'll probably try to sue her anyway.

The big question is: Will she see it coming?

Microsoft to the Rescue! (5, Informative)

hondo77 (324058) | more than 7 years ago | (#20346635)

Prior art from 1996 [wikipedia.org] , anyone. Thank you, Bill! ;-)

Re:Microsoft to the Rescue! (2, Informative)

Speare (84249) | more than 7 years ago | (#20346773)

If I recall, the Microsoft Money product was the first in the Windows realm to do this sort of thing. They dubbed it IntelliSense and more apps gained the feature. It was only a slight improvement on the interfaces given by Un*x apps like Emacs years earlier, in that the user didn't need to "ask" the application to try to complete the string. The app merely made a zero-risk completion on every keystroke (zero risk, because the selected text could be dismissed by simply continuing to type).

More Prior Art (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20346941)

Sony Magic Link, released and sold publicly in 1994, predicted email addresses as you typed them in under the General Magic "MagicCap" OS, if I recall correctly.

BTW, there is no 'published application' on USPTO.gov, nor any Issued Patent which contains 'WordLogic'.

Let's hope their claims (has anyone seen them?) are sufficiently obscure that this is not a 'broad' patent, and that they use it defensively.

There are two other granted patents, 6,744,423 and 7,218,249 which cover 'predictive' and 'text entry' in their abstracts, so this latest entrant may not be a sign of the apocalypse.

Re:More Prior Art (2, Informative)

Creepy (93888) | more than 7 years ago | (#20347215)

I'm pretty sure their European patent (granted in 2004) is used as a basis by the description. That patent # is 1171813 (I got my info off this site [edgar-online.com]

From the description it appears to be the same, at least, and it does pretty much describe a form of autocomplete (when a list of choices is displayed not a single choice). I don't know if it requires some form of activity to show the choices, but this sounds a like pressing cont-D after set filec in the csh (tcsh, zsh and bash use tab completion, but filec is much older) as applied to just about any device (like the described pointer pointing at a character).

Re:More Prior Art (1)

Eponymous Bastard (1143615) | more than 7 years ago | (#20347573)

I wonder about Stephen Hawking's software. IIRC he selects the beginning of a word (by timing) and then a menu of possible completions are shown.

Though maybe the patent examiner did look at these things (tab completion, intellisense, interfaces for the disabled) since they are relatively well known, and only granted the claims for new things.

Re:Microsoft to the Rescue! (1)

dingleberrie (545813) | more than 7 years ago | (#20347099)

How about Command line completion [wikipedia.org] on a computer from the 1960s?

Does this mean I'll be able to turn it off? (2, Informative)

seebs (15766) | more than 7 years ago | (#20346643)

I spent half an hour once trying to find a way to disable that in NeoOffice, and never succeeded. I hate that feature so much. It distracts me, and I'm a fast enough typist not to benefit much from it.

Re:Does this mean I'll be able to turn it off? (1)

seebs (15766) | more than 7 years ago | (#20347313)

So, after writing that, it occurred to me to try a search engine. Three minutes later, word completion disabled. WIN!

Prior art? (-1, Offtopic)

ookabooka (731013) | more than 7 years ago | (#20346653)

^
|
|
|

Google Suggest - not "Did you mean" (1)

sufijazz (889247) | more than 7 years ago | (#20346655)

Google Suggest is a better example of predictive text input, isn't it? The concept, however, has been in use in Nokia phones for SMS messages since before 2000.

Seriously? (3, Funny)

Lumbergh (1053438) | more than 7 years ago | (#20346657)

The I-Phone? Does it work with MACS?

Shouldn't be granted (4, Insightful)

Sciros (986030) | more than 7 years ago | (#20346669)

Patents this broad on software just shouldn't ever be granted, period. Effectively this patents inference, which is ridiculous. I'm also fairly certain that tech existed prior to 2000 which was capable of predictive i/o. Browser histories, etc.

Re:Shouldn't be granted (2, Informative)

penguinbroker (1000903) | more than 7 years ago | (#20346881)

Tegic, the owners of t9 started filing patents in 1996, http://www.tegic.com/about/patent-leadership.asp [tegic.com]

I didn't read through all the patents but I'm pretty sure worldlogic doesn't have anything on tegic when it comes to the cell phone industry.
just one obvious example of why these patents shouldn't have been granted in the first place..

here's the original t9 patent for reference: http://patft.uspto.gov/netacgi/nph-Parser?u=%2Fnet ahtml%2Fsrchnum.htm&Sect1=PTO1&Sect2=HITOFF&p=1&r= 1&l=50&f=G&d=PALL&s1=5187480.PN.&OS=PN/5187480&RS= PN/5187480 [uspto.gov]

Re:Shouldn't be granted (4, Insightful)

kidgenius (704962) | more than 7 years ago | (#20346903)

Exactly. Patents for "predictive text" shouldn't be allowed, but I have no problem with patenting a particular method for predictive text, like T9. I mean, have as many patents as people want that cover a specific method, but not for EVERY method in existence. It's like allowing me to patent the automobile. I shouldn't be able to patent the whole thing, just be able to patent part of it, like a steering system. I don't see how these patent examiners can't make that relation to non-software items.

Re:Shouldn't be granted (1)

just_another_sean (919159) | more than 7 years ago | (#20347101)

Haven't Vi, Emacs, heck even Visual Studio's Editor had the ability to autocomplete or provide a list of predicted completions for years before 2000?

I'm not sure when the code completion based on language syntax became available in any of these but I could swear that even older vi/vi clones have had the word mapping and completion functions for a long time. And when was auto complete added to the bash/c/korn shells?

I'm too busy to go check dates at the moment but I agree that there is absolutely a ton of prior art on this one.

Hmmm...... (3, Interesting)

8127972 (73495) | more than 7 years ago | (#20346675)

"WordLogic makes products (assistive input software) and doesn't seem to be merely a patent troll."

Just because they make products doesn't mean that they aren't a patent troll.

Re:Hmmm...... (1)

Speare (84249) | more than 7 years ago | (#20346803)

Yep, they're a patent troll, but they're not merely a patent troll. Like a pig wearing a tutu isn't merely a pig.

Re:Pig in a Tutu (5, Funny)

andrewd18 (989408) | more than 7 years ago | (#20346857)

Of course it's not merely a pig. It's Dancer Pig!

Dancer Pig! Dancer Pig!
Does whatever a Dancer Pig does!
Can it dance
In ballet?
No it can't,
'Cause it's a pig.
Look out!
Here comes the Dancer Pig!

Re:Hmmm...... (4, Informative)

Raphael (18701) | more than 7 years ago | (#20347037)

And even if they haven't been a patent troll in the past, they may be becoming one.

Let's look at their latest quarterly report (SEC filing) [yahoo.com] and pick a few bits:

The Company reports a net loss of $840,446 for the six-month period ending June 30, 2007 [...]
For the six-month period ending June 30, 2007, total revenues were $2,673 compared to $9,705 for the six-month period ending June 30, 2006. As the Company is a Development Stage Company its revenue streams are not established and are not impacted by economic or market trends.

Recent Business Activities
On January 9, 2007 the Company announced it had developed a new text entry/text messaging input solution for cell phones utilizing the WordLogic's patent pending prediction engine. [...]

Plan of Operations
A critical component of our operating plan impacting our continued existence is the ability to obtain additional capital through additional equity and/or debt financing. We do not anticipate enough positive internal operating cash flow until such time as we can generate substantial revenues, which may take the next few years to fully realize. In the event we cannot obtain the necessary capital to pursue our strategic plan, we may have to cease or significantly curtail our operations. This would materially impact our ability to continue operations.

So it is a company that is making losses and focuses mainly on a single product. The success of this product depends on the licensing deals related to that patent. It looks like that company is betting a large part of its future on that single patent. So their best hope may be to become a patent troll. It may be a bit sad for the engineers working at that company, but I have serious doubts about their future business plans and methods.

Is it surprising that they issued a press release related to that patent a few days before issuing their quarterly report?

Re:Hmmm...... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20347233)

Let's look at their latest quarterly report (SEC filing) and pick a few bits:

Good catch! This company does not seem to sell much for the moment.

Is it surprising that they issued a press release related to that patent a few days before issuing their quarterly report?

Could this announcement on /. be just a way to get attention and increase their stock value?

I mean, it wouldn't be the first time that /. relays some slashvertisements or pump-and-dump scams...

Re:Hmmm...... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20347161)

No need to buy their product, when there are free software alternatives: Soothsayer [sourceforge.net] is an intelligent predictive text entry platform. Soothsayer exploits redundant information embedded in natural languages to generate predictions. Soothsayer's modular and pluggable architecture allows its language model to be extended and customized to utilize statistical, syntactic, and semantic information sources.

Re:Hmmm...... (1)

mr_mischief (456295) | more than 7 years ago | (#20347357)

That's why they applied for the patent. They don't want the competition.

I met them - they're not a patent troll (2, Interesting)

Geof (153857) | more than 7 years ago | (#20347563)

I met with them earlier this year. I don't think they're patent trolls. They develop and sell products; though nothing came with it, they were interested in technical cooperation. For the businessman I spoke to, the patents were evidence of their technical innovation and a point of pride. Most of us on Slashdot see patents differently, but his perspective is how they have been seen in other industries and in the past. Of course, this was just one guy (though senior) and may not reflect the company as a whole - or their lawyers. I don't mean to defend the patents (I would be happy to see software patents abolished), but the company I saw was a technical firm, not a legal one.

The product they showed me lets you create a dictionary of common phrases (which can be very long), then retrieve and input them easily using their predictive input algorithm to drill down through multiple possibilities. The software sits on top of Windows, essentially between the keywoard and whatever app you're using. It reminded me somewhat of Stephen Hawking's system (which I vaguely recall having seen on TV once) or Chinese word processor software which allows you to type in a syllable, then pops up a list of matching characters and lets you pick one by typing a number (though the fellow I spoke with wasn't familiar with this). Example uses described to me included lawyers, who might want to pull up whole paragraphs of boilerplate text, and students (I don't recall the use case for this).

obvious (0, Redundant)

smashin234 (555465) | more than 7 years ago | (#20346683)

Am I the only one who sees this as too obvious of a process to patent?

Re:obvious (1)

realthing02 (1084767) | more than 7 years ago | (#20346807)

"The more original a discovery, the more obvious it seems afterwards."
-Arthur Koestler

Re:obvious (1)

drachenstern (160456) | more than 7 years ago | (#20346963)

"The more original a discovery, the more obvious it seems afterwards."
-Arthur Koestler
"Only when it's a discovery."
-Me

This is like patenting dropping rocks on the ground, not figuring a better design to skip rocks across the lake surface.

As if you didn't see this coming: (2, Funny)

Borealis (84417) | more than 7 years ago | (#20346691)

I predicted that they'd do that!

Unnecessary Quote from the CEO (3, Funny)

acvh (120205) | more than 7 years ago | (#20346693)

"We are very excited about the obvious opportunities that will be open to WordLogic in the near future."

I'll bet you are....

prior art - ALOE circa 1983 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20346719)

Back in the day at CMU, writing PASCAL on the Vax, we were supposed to use ALOE (A Language Oriented Editor) to generate our source code. It was dog slow once the load on the box went up, which caused users to revert to using ... wait for it ... emacs.

Hey - wouldn't line completion in a shell (say bash) be predictive in nature?

Prior art from 1969 (1)

bzipitidoo (647217) | more than 7 years ago | (#20347155)

Command line completion has been around since 1969 on the PDP-10, in TENEX [wikipedia.org] .

To show how broad these patents could get, many data compression algorithms are based on prediction. LZ78 (from 1978) seems especially similar, as it generates a dictionary (of words, in a sense) from data it has seen, to predict what is coming next. Might that be prior art? Statistics, too, has much from decades and even centuries ago that could be prior art. Bayesian probability, Markov processes... It would be incredible if the patent office let stuff as broad as that get by, but who knows?

Isn't this article an infringement? (0, Troll)

MrMe.Too (1147207) | more than 7 years ago | (#20346721)

Isn't the article itself an infringement already?
"Have any of you heard anything about this company, WordLogic..."

Sounds like it infringes on their rights. While I am at it, I believe they now own the rights to anyone whoever had Déjà vu!?

Prior Art (5, Interesting)

SheldonLinker (231134) | more than 7 years ago | (#20346725)

Eeco flight navigation system, some time in the '80s or '90s. Contact me at mailto:sol@linker.com [mailto] for expenses-only expert or factual testimony if anyone sues you on this nonsense. I've been sued on this sort of nonsense before (and won), and I'll do whatever I can to abate it. Maybe /. can set up an area where patent-fighting experts can help out /.ers on this stuff.

Re:Prior Art (3, Informative)

CodeShark (17400) | more than 7 years ago | (#20347025)

http://www.peertopatent.org/ [peertopatent.org] is where it is at, and they have a mailout list that will keep you informed on new patent apps.

Although I haven't seen one where my knowledge could affect the process, the very first time I hear of a patent application that I can attack with prior art, I will do so immediately.

That way things like this patent don't get so damn close to being approved before we can jump on it.

Like a spellchecker? (2, Interesting)

Just Some Guy (3352) | more than 7 years ago | (#20346727)

In what way would this differ from a spellchecker, said technology being available since at least the 1970s?

Re:Like a spellchecker? (1)

Aetuneo (1130295) | more than 7 years ago | (#20346993)

Because it starts spell-checking before the word is finished being typed. This is different from normal spell-checkers which wait, for example, until you type a space after the word before checking it. In other words, it would compare every word you type with it's database of commonly used words, as you type it, and give results based on the frequency of the words used. Which is what OpenOffice does (when I correct a word I mistyped it remembers the original and the correction, and gives me the option to press tab (or enter), to select that word), and what my Cellphone does (it gives me a list of commonly used words containing the letters I've typed every time I type in a new letter), and what a lot of other stuff does. I really hope that this patent gets overthrown as obvious.

Re:Like a spellchecker? (1)

Just Some Guy (3352) | more than 7 years ago | (#20347193)

I see. Yes, that should definitely be thrown out, as I know that in 1995 I personally wrote that functionality into a hotel management system (to complete guests' names as you typed them), and I certainly didn't invent it myself.

Re:Like a spellchecker? (1)

Anonymous Brave Guy (457657) | more than 7 years ago | (#20347163)

In what way is this the same as a spellchecker? The word "predictive" is kinda relevant.

command completion? (1)

cdn-programmer (468978) | more than 7 years ago | (#20346739)

I've not read the claims of course, but from the description if _any_ form of completion is claimed then it would seem to me that prior art would include command line completion as well. We've had things like this since the 70's in many forms.

If I read this correctly (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20346759)

You are concluding what a patent covers without even seeing the claims, based upon a corporate press release.

Par for the course....

yawn

Re:If I read this correctly (1)

Mundocani (99058) | more than 7 years ago | (#20347497)

Nobody has even posted the patent for us to read, a couple of people speculate that this is nothing more than auto-completion, and some Slashdot readers start screaming "prior art! prior art!"

I went to the company's website and watched their demo, it doesn't appear that their product is simply auto-completion. It seems to be context-sensitive completion and I suspect that plays an important role in what they're claiming.

Maybe it is a stupidly obvious patent and maybe it isn't. Reading a few opinions about what the patent might involve and getting all worked up over that speculation serves no purpose at all. But, as the parent put it, that's par for the course.

Mod_spell in apache was doing this in 1996 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20346799)

And I've seen other things earlier than that. Mod_spell has been asking people about alternate spellings for a long time before this patten was filed, no?

bad links (4, Insightful)

gravesb (967413) | more than 7 years ago | (#20346801)

Editors, for these stories, please include a link to the patent, not just the news release and a general description.

mod parent UP (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20346909)

TFA contains no useful information; it doesn't even give us the patent number.

Re:bad links (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20346997)

It appears to be application 20070061753 [uspto.gov] .

Seems pretty broad, but very specific. Oh, and it only has 42 claims. (109 paragraphs)

Re:bad links (1)

ThosLives (686517) | more than 7 years ago | (#20347029)

Eh, insert "is actually" between "but" and "very" in my original post.....

Re: oops? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20347329)

Grandparent wrote:

by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 24, @03:06PM (#20346997)
It appears to be application 20070061753 [uspto.gov].
Seems pretty broad, but very specific. Oh, and it only has 42 claims. (109 paragraphs)
Parent wrote:

by ThosLives (686517) on Friday August 24, @03:10PM (#20347029)
Eh, insert "is actually" between "but" and "very" in my original post.....
Darn registered users trying to take credit for AC posts... ;P

Re:bad links (1)

gravesb (967413) | more than 7 years ago | (#20347087)

That was filed in 2004, and has a different assignee. Although, I wonder how that patent interacts with the one that is the subject of the story.

Re:bad links (1)

Fongboy (712864) | more than 7 years ago | (#20347091)

Maybe not... Part of that application says: "Although there are some word suggestion systems already existing like WordLogic..." They could be referring to their own product, but it sounds like they're referring to somebody else's work.

Re:bad links (1)

Fongboy (712864) | more than 7 years ago | (#20347263)

The story says that the patent isn't granted yet, and has an application date in 2000. The USPTO's patent application search only goes back to 2001. Anybody know of some other source that goes back to 2000?

Supermarket coupons. (1)

HockeyPuck (141947) | more than 7 years ago | (#20346835)

When I check out at my local grocery store, I've consistently received coupons for "similar products that I might like" since the 80s. Buy Ben n Jerry's ice cream? Get a coupon for Breyers. Something is predicting I might like another brand of ice cream.

I've been getting these coupons since the early 90s.

We should be able to sue this coupon for "wasting taxpayer dollars" similar to how you can be fined for pulling a fire alarm as a prank.

Re:Supermarket coupons. (2, Funny)

piojo (995934) | more than 7 years ago | (#20347165)

When I check out at my local grocery store, I've consistently received coupons for "similar products that I might like" since the 80s. Buy Ben n Jerry's ice cream? Get a coupon for Breyers. Something is predicting I might like another brand of ice cream.

I've been getting these coupons since the early 90s.
 
Yeah, those sure are annoying. Good thing prediction has been patented. Maybe spammers will have to stop predicting that I want "my sexual life more different and easier!", or I'll "impress my girl with a WonderCum!"

Cell Phones... gadgets... (3, Insightful)

Panaflex (13191) | more than 7 years ago | (#20346851)

Pretty sure I've seen predictive input for a LONG time... some examples..

Cell phone input (T9 & iTap circa 1995)
PDA writing interfaces (Newton?)
Shell command line completion. (bash, ksh)
Visual Studio 6...
Emacs
Windows 3.1 tablet edition
Automatic spell checking correction ( MS word 95, possibly before)

I'm sure there's tons more here... but wiring a dictionary up to an input is obvious prior art, no matter how you spin it.

Re:Cell Phones... gadgets... (1)

RetroGeek (206522) | more than 7 years ago | (#20346965)

Automatic spell checking correction ( MS word 95, possibly before)

Definately before. I was using this on my Z100 with a product named WatchWord. It had spell-as-you-type. On an 8088 running at 4.7MHz (yes, that is megaherz) back in the '80s.

Re:Cell Phones... gadgets... (1)

just_another_sean (919159) | more than 7 years ago | (#20347309)

Cell phone input (T9 & iTap circa 1995)
PDA writing interfaces (Newton?)
Shell command line completion. (bash, ksh)
Visual Studio 6...
Emacs
Windows 3.1 tablet edition
Automatic spell checking correction ( MS word 95, possibly before)
I couldn't help but notice your subtle attempt to start a flame war by failing to mention vi!

Does anybody know.... (2, Insightful)

TW Atwater (1145245) | more than 7 years ago | (#20346873)

... if anyone has a patent on wheels? I see thousands of them everyday, and if no one has the patent I could get rich.

T9 (1)

jeti (105266) | more than 7 years ago | (#20346933)

Nokia introduced T9 in 1999 with the Nokia 3210.
Should count as prior art and is widely known.

Re:T9 (1)

Matteo Vescovi (1147215) | more than 7 years ago | (#20347069)

T9 is a bit different from a true predictive text entry system. T9 is more accurately described as a disambiguating text entry system. It does not predict what word will be entered next, but rather cycles through the possible words that could correspond to the keys pressed. It's much easier than true word prediction because the number of characters of the word to be "predicted" is known.

This is OLD (2, Informative)

jpetts (208163) | more than 7 years ago | (#20346935)

I used to be a sysop at Imperial College Computer Centre in London, and the mainframes I worked with, a Cyber 176, and a CDC7600 had this on the console back in 1978. It was also available on the 6600, which was a 60s era machine.

Prior Art? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20347047)

Back in '96 in college, as an industry sponsored class project my project group wrote a interactive on screen keyboard application that when you typed in a letter it updated a hot list of possible word selections from a dictionary. This was so a person with a disability could jump over to it and select a word instead of selecting each of the characters in the word. It used a row scanning system on screen and then scanned columns based on a person doing the equivalent of a single mouse click.

The big issue (1)

webrunner (108849) | more than 7 years ago | (#20347109)

We have a situation where prior art isn't related enough for, but it is related enough that you can sue products the same technology that came out after the patent was issued?

IntelliSense pre-2000 isn't infringing, but 2000 on is? How does this make sense?

Existing free software alternatives (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20347307)

Free software alternatives exist: a promising project is Soothsayer [sourceforge.net] .

Soothsayer is an intelligent predictive text entry platform. Soothsayer exploits redundant information embedded in natural languages to generate predictions. Soothsayer's modular and pluggable architecture allows its language model to be extended and customized to utilize statistical, syntactic, and semantic information sources.

Thank God (1)

Psicopatico (1005433) | more than 7 years ago | (#20347365)

Thank God software patents are void in Europe (UK excluded, IIRC).

Quote. (1)

Meor (711208) | more than 7 years ago | (#20347425)

If I read this correctly
No, you're reading it incorrectly.

YARTDSP (1)

colin_faber (1083673) | more than 7 years ago | (#20347433)

Yet Another Reason to Disallow Software Patents. Copyrights do a fine job covering software related rights issues. This kind of garbage has to stop.

Prior Art... (1)

jschmerge (228731) | more than 7 years ago | (#20347459)

I believe the Korn and Bash shell are both examples of prior art here... The Korn shell was in existance long before this patent application, and I believe bash has been around as long as well.

Don't stress (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20347477)

I wouldn't worry too much about it. Prentke-Romich Company and Dynavox have had products on the market for a while that include word prediction for assistive technology. It's probably some idiosyncratic spin on word prediction in some particular user interface.

Beyond that, there have been peer-reviewed publications about word prediction for years and years. Some of the early stuff was in the 80's surrounding the CHAT project, which used a word prediction system named PAL.

In response to some of the comments, most prediction systems for assistive technology use a bit more information than the T9, which (afaik) uses just a straight-up frequency-sorted word list, which ignores context. The T9 is a bit different in that the system is given the same exact constraint every time you type a given word, whereas in word prediction, you're iteratively given the secondary constraint (the prefix of the word) and it's better if you guess the word sooner, but there isn't a concept of sooner or later guessing with the T9 (unless they changed it), it just has the prediction list.

Trouble in Japan (1)

bgspence (155914) | more than 7 years ago | (#20347541)

All those old Japanese Kanji text input methods are going to be invalid.

They go way back...

This might be the text of the patent (1)

Fongboy (712864) | more than 7 years ago | (#20347665)

I'm not sure if this really is the patent in question... but it might be it:
USPTO application 20040021691 [uspto.gov]

It's from a later year than the application mentioned in the story, but I think it might be the same one with an updated date or something. Here's how I got to the application:

WordLogic's 10-K filing [sec.gov] mentions some patent applications. In particular, it mentions some titled "Method, system and media for entering data in a personal computing device". I found an application matching this, but it's date is in 2004. However, it references the european patent application CA2323856 [espacenet.com] with a date of Oct 18, 2000 (this just about matches the date mentioned in TFA... different from the date mentioned in the original post). This european patent says that it is also filed as US patent application US2004021691. If you look at that number, it's the same as the USPTO application that I linked to above.
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