Shades of my confusion about when instant messaging was invented — and by whom — I learned this morning that Microsoft has been awarded a patent for the double click. It is unclear whether the patent applies to desktop computers and the traditional mouse — or solely to handheld computers.
This also reminds me of the increasing interest in patenting business processes. Priceline did it. Netflix did it. Amazon did it. And some folks claim that the practice can stifle competition and limit innovation, not encourage it.
What do you think? Should things like one-click ordering, the double click, and so forth be patentable? Or is this a way to stifle the ongoing use of already widely accepted standards?