from the uspto's-perverse-incentives dept.
splorp! writes "Once again, a company is patenting a feature that another company implemented years before. C|Net's News.com reports that patent no. 6,631,412grants Microsoft the rights to 'an instant messaging feature that notifies users when the person they are communicating with is typing a message.' Excuse me? Does anyone remember Powwow (now defunct)? I remember using that one back in '96 and it alerted the other people to whom you were chatting that you were typing. Or, alternately, it allowed you to SEE the other people typing in real time. Yeah, Powwow is gone, now, but that doesn't mean those features never existed."
"There are some good people in it, but the orchestra as a whole is equivalent
to a gang bent on destruction."
-- John Cage, composer