Thursday, May 26, 2011

The "editable toolbar" patent

Patent 7,363,592 describes editable toolbars in software. In brief, that's the ability to add, remove, or rearrange buttons on a toolbar - like the "bold" or "italic" buttons in a word processing program. But according to an article in TechDirt, this patent on the "editable toolbar" was ruled invalid:
The court goes through a discussion on the obviousness of editable toolbars... which should drive any real programmer nuts. The fact that lawyers and a court had to waste all this time debating the patentability of editable toolbars is just crazy. The key point, however, is that there was a previous patent that more or less beat Odom to the punch on pretty much everything in his patent. That's extremely embarrassing for Odom, since his entire job is supposedly his ability to find prior art for people.
In short, the court found that an "editable toolbar" was not patentable.

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