New Microsoft Patent may hurt CityDesk
On Tuesday, the USPTO awarded a patent to Microsoft for its Method and system for reporting a program failure.
Happy to be working
There must be lots of prior art for this. I'm sure that lots of us have written something similiar (I know I have).
John Topley (www.johntopley.com)
FogBugz too: http://www.fogcreek.com/fogbugz/help/UsingFogBUGZtoGetCrashRep.html
The patent doesn't cover automatic generation of error reports, it builds on top of that. The program, upon encountering an error will connect to a server at Microsoft and scan the bug database to see if that error had a bug associated with it (that was already filed). If so it checks to see if a fix has been posted. If the fix has been posted it helps the user download the fix.
If it's what you are describing, the patent seems ridiculous.
Agreed with Lou; the patent is for a system that sends a bug report to a remote server, collates the data on the remote server, and recommends downloads based on the collated data.
The Pedant, Brent P. Newhall
I think we hit a /. moment and didn't RTFA.
The courts keep wrongly-awarded patents in check -- if the patent holder takes somebody to court over it and the judge finds it invalid, anybody they've collected from in the past can now sue to recover fees they already paid. This is why if one of these patent extortion companies tries to collect $1000 "fee" for your use of their "system and method to simulate pressing a button on a computer display", you just ignore them. They're not going to risk having their patent thrown out and lose everything they've made so far for $1000.
Patents are ideal for areas like drug research, where a companies can spends billions of dollars in research to find a solution which can be administered for pennies (ie combining pepsi and apple juice cures cancer). No drug company will spend those research dollars if their findings can be used and profited by other companies. Result, no research gets done, and the consumer loses.
Ever hear of defensive patents? Given the recent IE plug-in fiasco, I imagine that Microsoft might want to try to get a patent on anything they can think of.
I believe that there is a big, blue company that has some prior art on this (it also has a legal department that does a much better job of checking for prior art than the drones at the USPTO).
Yeah, I know IBM had this on the AS/400. The system would download software fixes, or if it detected a hardware problem, would order the replacement parts and have them sent to you, then dispatch a CE to do the repair. It was pretty neat.
I'm sure FogCreek are shaking in their boots.
I don't know what an AS400 did but this a patent on an automated debug session to allow gathering of additional information and possibly then automatic patching for the end user.
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