Microsoft becomes unhinged: Patent a mistake

Turns out that an item posted here last week -- "Fun with Google Patent Search: Why does the maker of Windows hold a patent on a door hinge?" -- contains all the elements of a good story save one: Truth.

Oopsy. Although it's not my fault, at least not primarily.

As reported Dec. 14, there is indeed a patent on file with the United States Patent Office for a gizmo called a "butt hinge with integrally formed butt straps" (insert joke here) and the name Microsoft is printed clear as day as being the owner.

Being curious as to why the maker of Windows would care about a door hinge, I had contacted Microsoft's public relations representatives seeking an explanation before posting the item. But if bloggers waited for replies from public relations people before posting every item then blogs would have all the freshness of, well, print magazines. So post I did.

Yesterday, Microsoft finally got back to me with official word: "Ain't ours."

"Hi Paul: Just got a confirmation from clients (Editor's note: That's Microsoft) that, as expected, the patent for a door hinge is not from Microsoft. Microsoft will contact the Patent Trademark Office to get the information fixed. Thanks for holding on."

This isn't the first time Microsoft has been falsely accused of innovating (as opposed to the untold times it's been falsely accused of never innovating).

Says the company spokeswoman: "Microsoft was once credited -- wrongly -- with having patented a hybrid apple."

That's apple as in what keeps the doctor away, not a knockoff Mac.

Bet the Mac-head pranksters busted a gut over that one.

Welcome Farkers, regulars and assorted passersby. If you have the time and interest, here are a few other Buzzblog items that involve Microsoft:

The Microsoft-Novell affair: In your face (on a billboard).

'Gates for President' bandwagon picks up, uh, something.

'Gates for President' Bandwagon Watch: Day 2

'Gates for President:' Stocking-stuffer edition.

Photo editors at the Washington Post must really dislike Steve Ballmer.

Gates Foundation has a problem.

OK, the interviews were fake but he has met Gates and Oprah.

And, our original coverage of the Microsoft-Novell deal.

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