He's done so much for the OS X and the UNIX communities, having run Mac OS X Hints for more than a decade.  When pro users were just figuring out best practices for everything from window management to command line AppleScript (osascript) to postfix configuration, Griffiths' tireless and largely selfless (ads were unobtrusive, implemented with a very light touch) support of Mac OS X hints made it the go-to site for how to do all things command line in OS X.
It's a shame this patent troll has chosen to shake down so selfless a member of the OS X community.
 http://macosxhints.com (redirects to) http://hints.macworld.com
EDIT: Grammar: add missing direct object to last sentence of second paragraph.
I just want to say thank you, Rob!
Keep fighting the trolls.
As a web dev, I think I'd like to see this work like a css grid. Width then height. So, ^3^2 would be three columns two rows. Maybe that won't work in practice. Maybe I'll play with the code to see.
The tool does work like a grid but with start and end positions instead of sizes so you can move and resize at the same time. ^1^3 is from position (1,1) to (3,1) (i.e. top row), ^1^6 is (1,1) to (3,2) (top two-thirds) etc. You can basically paint the location and size of the window using your numeric keypad. Its pretty straightforward once you try it.
"The European Patent Convention (EPC), Article 52, paragraph 2, excludes from patentability, in particular
1. discoveries, scientific theories and mathematical methods;
2. aesthetic creations;
3. schemes, rules and methods for performing mental acts, playing games or doing business, and programs for computers;
4. presentations of information."
I believe the patent in question falls under 4, 3 and perhaps 2.
Unlike prior art, which often needs to be proven in court, disallowing software patents as a class means that this patent simply would not get issued in EU.
Go and read a dozen patents, then come back and tell me they're not obvious. Most of them are ridiculously obvious, assuming you have some understanding of their given field/domain.
It is completely a bullshit patent. The patent office got their fees, and then they'll get their fees again to re-evaluate it.
What use is a novel invention if the patent owner does nothing with it. I would argue that Moom or other apps have provided more value to society at-large as compared to the patent owner.
That leaves aside the liabilities that reading patents to learn about technologies can open you up to, in the form of "willful infringement.
If this patent were filed in 1988 it might have a hope of standing. It was remarkably filed in 2008, years after countless grid-based Windows manager had come and gone. It stands no hope, and the EFF will make quick work of this.
The USPTO needs to be held liable for this sort of nonsense, or alternately people who file spurious patents need to be penalized. This is legalized extortion.
And since this always comes up - someone is going to say "read all the claims...this is novel only in its entirety". The claims of a patent, unless specifically cross-referencing, hold independently.
I am approaching this as, "You had better be rich, and prepared to throw 500K at lawyers to defend or attack a patent lawsuit. And even then, has no guarantee of any good results.
So that should be interesting.
This patent may also cover the window arrangement widget in Adobe's products, which seems to date back to at least 2011 (google for 'adobe application frame'): http://egypt.urnash.com/media/blogs.dir/1/files/2017/05/Scre...
...but somehow I doubt they'll be suing Adobe until they've successfully gone after all the other folks who independently invented something similar to their patent.
So if the patent stands up, I suppose they'd have the option of just removing that feature.
This is something they should discuss with their attorney.
In that section, it mostly compares itself to Microsoft Windows' stacking (not tiling) window manager. There's no comparison to ANY of the already existing tiling window managers.
It was filed on June 2nd, 2008.
There were a ton of tiling oriented windows managers in place for many, many, years prior. Many of them supported automatic layout, and many supported a variety of grid layouts as depicted in the patent.
Here's a video from 1987, 21 years prior to the filing of this patent, showing the Siemens RTL tiling window manager: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MFd0FDv3fQc You can see the selected layout in the upper left hand corner of the screen. The video itself shows the user choosing where new windows will land, and the automated tiling/fit.
As mentioned earlier, a ton of other tiling window managers existed well before the filing of this patent. Many of them with automatic tiling, and several grid layout options. I don't see anything in the patent that sounds novel to me.
Indeed the patent describes a user interface to accomplish this that looks very similar to screenshots of Moom.
My experience with the USPTO is that statements like "I don't see anything in the patent that sounds novel to me" doesn't amuse them and they take this sort of thing seriously. Whether you agree with software patents or not, I think it's important to not be too dismissive of that fact.
It does though. The screenshots show grid options, and describe how the end user can place windows in the grid. It specifically complains about how MS Windows has overlapping windows. Grid + no overlap == tiling.
>Indeed the patent describes a user interface to accomplish this that looks very similar to screenshots of Moom.
Sure. The argument about "novel" is that the patent holder wasn't the first to do something "similar to Moom". The idea that 2008 was the first time someone had the notion of grid layouts and allowing an end user to place a window in them is just silly.
That's not what's being patented. The gui menu to select placement of windows is what's being patented.
Did that exist before 2008?
I know I used window managers with almost the same grid square select in the 1990's. Not able to conjure up a screenshot yet. I did find one that's very close, here: http://www.badros.com/greg/papers/scwm-extensible-wm.pdf
That is clearly a UI for dynamic window placement and sizing, just not with the exact grid dynamic, though you can define new constraints, so it's possible it can do it as well. It's not the one I remember, but it's hard to Google up old UI's in HN time.
Given some time, I'm sure I could find something exactly like it.
Edit: "Once the patent has issued, you can challenge it at the USPTO by filing a request for reexamination of the patent"
Edit2: It's also possible there are overlapping, earlier patents. This one looks promising...compare the drawings: https://www.google.com/patents/US5712995
And the patent pretty much describes the mouse based interface which Moom implements, and I can't think of any prior art of that.
You should be able to find prior art and invalidate many clauses of the patent, like the general idea of grid based layouts, especially driven by keyboard shortcuts and mouse gestures, but the general concept of a graphical drop-down menu for arranging windows will probably stay.
Edit: first alpha version May 30 2006 (http://www.donationcoder.com/forum/index.php?topic=3824.msg2...).
I read/skimmed the patent, I cannot find anything described which is obviously novel. Care to provide a quote of these particular features?
In evaluating claims 1 and 2 (¶9) I imagine that a judge will get to this screenshot and compare it to this diagram and ask the authors of Moom for their justification. This justification can indeed be that it isn't novel, but I do not think the judge is likely to accept it because the patent examiner did indeed grant the patent.
In evaluating claim 3 (¶17) it may be that Moom is not infringing, but it is difficult to tell from screenshots and a video.
I am not a patent lawyer but I don't think that how it works. The patent examiner is not qualified to do and does not do an exhaustive check for novelness. They mainly do a procedural check.
"Exhaustive" has a specific legal definition.
The examiner indeed identifies existing work and asks for an explanation.
They usually focus on existing grants, but they also look at other applications (that are published). They do not have to pay as much attention to un-filed prior art because the US uses a "first-to-file" system.
First to file doesn't invalidate un-filed prior art or give it lower presedence.
First to file only really matters when there are overlapping patent applications. Basically a situation where one person files first but the other applicant claims they actually invented first but didn't publish the invention.
Had the person who claims they invented first published their invention, they'd have a year to file.
If that year was up, their prior art could still prevent the other applicant from being granted a patent the same as it would be under first to invent.
I'm not saying it invalidates anything.
I'm saying this kind of arm-chair lawyering isn't going to impress a judge.
> First to file only really matters when there are overlapping patent applications.
35 USC 102 (b).
What do you think it says?
>I'm not saying it invalidates anything.
You said this:
>They do not have to pay as much attention to un-filed prior art because the US uses a "first-to-file" system.
That implies that un-filed prior art was made less important by first to file, which is incorrect.
>I'm saying this kind of arm-chair lawyering isn't going to impress a judge.
Good thing I'm not trying to impress a judge. I'm just trying to stop the spread of misinformation on first to file.
Also, the FITF system only became effective for patents filed on or after March 16, 2013, whereas this patent was filed back in 2008.
Given how GNU/Unix Screen has been available for thirty years I doubt this patent will hold up in court.
Looking at these screenshots and these diagrams I can't possibly agree that this is what you're doing with tmux.
> I doubt this patent will hold up in court.
I don't think a judge would be amused by that defence either.
Of course the problem with the patent system is, who can afford to court? Even if they get completely pro-bono legal help from someone like the EFF, it's a massive time-sink and also means their game is no longer on sale.
So you can easily register something, write it in an unreadable way and sue people for it.
Additionally there's a corrupt area int Texas where judges and lawyers have a very high tendency to rule in favor of patent trolls, because they'd have no jobs without them.
Here's an easy proposal: Let anyone claim patents for everything.
If someone sues you for patent infringement it's their job to proof you infringed on their patent. And it's their job to proof their idea is complex enough to constitute a patent. And it's their job to proof their idea is novel. After the patent holder invested some money to show all these things; They can start to sue you.
This puts the assumption of innocence back in our justice system like it should be. And makes sure less people get patent trolled, since trolling now is a lot more expensive then sending out thousand of spam letters.
The trade off with patents is that the author will, in exchange for a limited monopoly, reveal his invention to "promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts". In the case of software patents, the things that are patented are not worth this trade off and, IMO, are a net drag on Progress.
As a developer, I'm making Progress in spite of patents. Software patents are a bit like giving tax breaks to oil companies when we are awash in cheap oil - the cost isn't worth it.
Whenever a client wants to patent what I've done for them, I grit my teeth and fill out the paperwork they ask me to. My reluctance is partly because I know it is making the world a worse place for developers and partly because I feel ashamed that they would consider it patent-able - like getting your crayon drawing put up in the Louvre.
but the current system in the US, which it forces on the rest of us via trade agreements, is completely bonkers.
this is the fact: the public in countries where copyrights and patents are granted have voluntarily given up their prerogative to copy or implement a work or an invention in return for the public good of dissemination of those ideas (which might otherwise be "locked up").
As with everything else in the US, big corporations have co-opted the system using lobbyists, and public good is harmed by actions such as this.
And in the era of the internet, is dissemination and publication as valuable as it was in the past? I would argue that it is not.
it would be fascinating to hit the reset switch: delete all IP, patent, and copyright code from the legal system, and see the real effects it's having on the economy. having said that, it's probably too drastic of an action to take all at once given the far-reaching effects it would have. but it's the right direction to move in, for sure.
You definitely could argue that for pure software features copyright and trademarks is enough, and granting patents on them doesn't facilitate innovation but likely slows it down.
What other tiling WMs included a gui menu in the title bar to select the layout?
Infringement analysis amounts to attempting to map the claim's list of elements onto the accused method or structure; if the map function returns FALSE, then that particular claim very likely isn't infringed by that particular accused method or structure.
(That is: If any claim element isn't present—possibly in the form of an "equivalent"—then the accused method or structure doesn't infringe that particular claim.)
Prior-art analysis works backwards: If a claim returns TRUE when mapped onto a piece of prior art—or onto something that would have been "obvious" at the time the invention was made when taking into account all of the relevant prior art —then that claim is probably unpatentable.
In this patent, claim 1 seems to be representative. I've broken up the paragraphing and added bracketed lettering.
(Usual disclaimer: This shouldn't be relied on as a substitute for legal advice; I'm not acting as anyone's lawyer; etc.)
1. A method for positioning a window on a user's display, the method comprising:
[A] providing, in a window-based computing environment, an image [i] representing an entire display area of a user's computer screen and [ii] comprising a plurality of selectable regions,
each selectable region [x] representing a sub-area within the display area and [y] having a shape and orientation similar to the corresponding sub-area,
wherein the selectable regions are arranged in the same way the corresponding sub-areas are arranged in the display area;
[B] enabling a user to simultaneously select more than one selectable region from the plurality of selectable regions; and
[C] automatically moving a window in the window-based computing environment to a sub-area corresponding to the selected more than one selectable region.
 Obviousness analysis is really tricky because it necessarily requires hindsight. The test is, in essence: Given everything that was known in the relevant field(s) at the time, would a hypothetical person of "ordinary skill" (in that field or fields) have regarded the claimed subject as obvious?
My personal tl;dr for obviousness analysis is this: Suppose that a team of competent-but-not-necessarily-stellar colleagues were shown or told about the claimed invention. If their collective reaction was to raise their eyebrows and murmur, "hmm; that's interesting," then the claimed invention might well have been non-obvious. On the other hand, if their collective reaction was to shrug their shoulders and say, "um, yeah, and?" then the claimed invention might well have been obvious.
In the real world, obviousness analysis is supported by "objective evidence" of nonobviousness, if available. For example, commercial success that's shown to be due to the technical merits of the claimed invention (as opposed to being due mainly to, e.g., marketing) can weigh heavily in favor of nonobviousness. Admiration of experts, ditto.
(I once heard a story, very likely apocryphal, about a patent examiner who rejected a patent application on grounds of obviousness; the patent attorney overcame the rejection by pointing out that the claimed invention had received the Nobel Prize. Personally I'm skeptical because the timing wouldn't work, but the story illustrates the concept.)
If folks want to explain why this shouldn't have issued, identify a single document from before 2008 that describes every single feature of the claims.
It's worth noting that this issued just before a 2014 Supreme Court case (Alice v. CLS Bank) that probably can be used to kill the patent regardless of whether it's novel and non-obvious.
I remember using software from Barco to position application Windows on a videowall that predates that patent at least five years.
Maybe getting prior art at hand could be good (just a suggestion)
We need tools to simplify the process of writing a good patent. The current system is skewed towards business types that would rather game the system than create an actual thing.
What galls me most about the patent system is all of the things that are trivially obvious once an enabling technology becomes available, and the first person to apply gets a government sponsored monopoly.
Honest answer: That person is someone who makes more money per hour than the person who did the hard work. And they stand to make even more money in the event of a settlement.
How can you fix this problem? Take away the financial incentives.
It's stale but works perfectly on win10, has just what I want from it. Secretly, I'm suggesting it here kind of hoping someone around here likes it as much as I and feels like contributing (since I'm not very good at the Windows stuff). A great contribution would be to be able to use keyboard to set the grid, not just the mouse. That said, I've been using it a long time and it works great.
Been using them for a few years now. I'm quite happy. The combination, after you configure it, is superior to the Windows implementation.