It’s quite incredible what can be patented in modern technology and news that Microsoft has been granted a patent on Page Up and Page Down buttons is quite incredible. In fact, though, it follows something of a precedent that has been set and reaffirmed many times by Microsoft – the patenting of ideas that many argue and sometimes demonstrate to be based on another person’s or company’s idea.
Document navigation using measurements of entire pages is nothing new, and there’s evidence to suggest that Microsofts development was based on technology used 25 years ago. Similar arguments arose when they successfully patented double clicking mouse buttons and the mouse scroll wheel.
This is nearly Microsoft’s 10,000th successful US patent application so they’re clearly doing something right and are fervent supporters of the patenting application process. They’ve really picked up the pace recently, according to the ZDNet news site, having only reached their 1,000th patent in March of 2006 they have nearly managed ten times this figure now.
Presumably they won’t stop others from offering the same paginated style of navigation but they may opt to charge a fee for the use of the patent from other companies and manufacturers. Look out for the days when your Mac keyboard has the Windows Page Down and Windows Page Up buttons.