Thursday, July 08, 2004

Microsoft battling over patent for "ergonomic" keyboards

I had one of these many years ago in college, it was impossible to get used to. Unless you have perfect typing form and never peck at keys it just will not work for you. My sister solved my problems with the keyboard by pouring a Coke into it and then buying me a new "non-ergo" keyboard.

Anyway, Microsoft is currently battling a company called TypeRight Keyboard Corp. in an attempt to invalidate their patent on the keyboard and avoid paying them a licensing fee.

Microsoft in June 2000 won a motion to invalidate the patents. The company argued that the concept of ergonomic keyboards predated TypeRight's patents. Evidence that was presented consisted of an undated document from a German company, Marquardt GmbH, and testimony from paid fact witnesses.

On Tuesday (4 years later), the Court of Appeals in DC just got around to overturing the invalidation because Microsoft's evidence is shakey. The case will now head back to the district court in San Diego. Maybe they'll finish this one off by the time computers don't even come with keyboards anymore, but instead a direct connection to a person's nervous system through a plug in their neck that hooks up to their spinal cord. That would be cool huh?

Article about the keyboard battle here.


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