Thursday, January 08, 2009

Enhancing touch and feel on the internet?

Today we read and drew a deep breath on the Ars Technica article ‘Oprah and her book club latest target of patent trolls’ by John Timmer.

The article refers to a US patent Patent number: 7111252 "Enhancing touch and feel on the Internet," which is being reportedly used to sue Oprah claiming that it has been violated by her book club.

The patent in question starts by describing the ability to provide a three-dimensional representation of an item from multiple perspectives on the internet and goes on to specifically describe an online book reading capability. Search, Look, Browse, or Whatever Inside, all fall squarely within the sights of this patent. Although first filed in 2000 and not issued until 2006 it’s hard to see how this could be granted years after many book and magazine sampling offers had been implemented and were widely available over the Internet.

Illionis Computer Research and the patent holder Scott Harris has apparently already sued and settled with Google and now is obviously eying up the next case.

If the patent as it appears is genuine and is applied as documented, we may now all now have to ask how our book page samplers work?

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