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Google Patents

Google Patents Displaying Athletes On Sports Fields 52

Posted by timothy
from the all-an-elaborate-joke dept.
theodp writes "Just about anyone that's familiar with sports has seen position and depth charts, in which athletes are portrayed on the athletic fields their sport is played on. But that didn't stop Google from asking for — and the USPTO granting — a patent on displaying pictures of athletes on the fields on which their sport is played, or in legal-speak, its Method, System, and Graphical User Interface for Personalized Online Sports Team Charts. 'One aspect of the invention,' explains Google, 'involves a graphical user interface on a computer that includes a graphic of an athletic playing field or a portion thereof, and a plurality of player positions on the athletic field. At least some of the player positions contain thumbnail images selected by a first user. The thumbnail images provide links to corresponding profiles in an online social network.' Six Googlers, including Orkut Buyukkokten, were credited as inventors in the 2007 patent application."
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Google Patents Displaying Athletes On Sports Fields

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  • I was wondering for a while why a software tech giant, of all companies, would file patent applications with sport-themed pictures.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    The only way to win is not to play (by their rules).

    I'm going to decide on my own which patents merit respect and which don't, and infringe and infringe and infringe....

    • The only way to win is not to play (by their rules).

      I'm going to decide on my own which patents merit respect and which don't, and infringe and infringe and infringe....

      ... resulting in filing for bankruptcy within a couple of years.

  • by the eric conspiracy (20178) on Saturday July 13, 2013 @02:44PM (#44270809)

    The article is wrong.

    This is what Google patented:

    1. A graphical user interface on a computer having one or more processors and memory storing one or more programs that when executed by the one or more processors generate the graphical user interface on a display device of the computer, the graphical user interface comprising: a graphic of an athletic playing field or a portion thereof, and a plurality of player positions on the athletic playing field, wherein at least some of the player positions have superimposed thereon thumbnail images selected by a first user, and wherein the thumbnail images provide links which, when selected by a user, provide access to corresponding profiles in an online social network, and wherein the athletic playing field graphic and the plurality of player positions containing thumbnail images selected by the first user are viewable by a second user who accesses a page corresponding to the first user, and wherein the first user and second user are both members of a same online social network.

    In other words it's images of athletes linked in a particular way to via a social network.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      In other words it's images of athletes linked in a particular way to via a social network.

      It's far from obvious what Google is claiming based on that paragraph. Do these social profile networks have anything to do with the athlete, or are they avatars for 'friends' of the user? Why does the fact that they are adding the linking a capability to a diagramming convention commonly seen broadcast sports make this a patentable invention? If the linking itself is novel, then why is the invention purportedly about pictures of athletes?

      They can go shove this patent in a plurality of the Google employe

      • If I read this correctly, this doesn't actually have anything with pictures of athletes. They talk about a picture of a playing field, and "a plurality of player positions on the athletic playing field," but the only person pictures they refer to are thumbnails chosen by the user of their connections in a given social network (and the ability of someone else to see it).

      • by Zordak (123132)

        In other words it's images of athletes linked in a particular way to via a social network.

        It's far from obvious what Google is claiming based on that paragraph. Do these social profile networks have anything to do with the athlete, or are they avatars for 'friends' of the user? Why does the fact that they are adding the linking a capability to a diagramming convention commonly seen broadcast sports make this a patentable invention? If the linking itself is novel, then why is the invention purportedly about pictures of athletes?

        They can go shove this patent in a plurality of the Google employees' arses where it belongs.

        The links have to correspond to profiles in an online social network. The thumbnails are selected by a first user who is in the same social network as a second user, and the second user can see the thumbnails selected by the first user. It doesn't matter whether the thumbnails link to profiles about the athletes. They could just as well link to pages for friends (like some kind of fantasy sports league).

    • by PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) on Saturday July 13, 2013 @03:02PM (#44270899)

      In other words it's images of athletes linked in a particular way to via a social network.

      Haven't porn sites been doing this already for years?

      Their definitions of "athletes", "playing field" and "player positions" are just a bit different . . .

      • by Teancum (67324)

        In other words it's images of athletes linked in a particular way to via a social network.

        Haven't porn sites been doing this already for years?

        Their definitions of "athletes", "playing field" and "player positions" are just a bit different . . .

        That is just another sport played on (usually) an indoor field. Why else do you think Sports Illustrated puts out their swimsuit issue?

    • by Teancum (67324)

      I suppose this prevents people from playing Facebook games with sports-related themes where FB avatar images and names show up on the screen or having those sports related games link to user profiles.

      I can see how this might be of interest to the people who run Google-plus. I am trying to see how this is non-obvious though. It would really surprise me that there is no prior art.

    • So in the near future when people watch sporting events on a tablet in their laps, live, they can just touch on the athlete and pull up this or that link, I suppose.

      Funny, I thought dynamic tagging like that had already been invented.

    • The most hilarious thing about TFS was the part where he says, "or, in legal-speak," and then quotes from the part of the patent that arguably has the least impact on claim scope.

    • Often the articles are a bit wrong about the patents. The thing they are -never- wrong about is the utter crapness of the patent. This is no exception.

      In other words it's images of athletes linked in a particular way to via a social network.

      Ah! Social Networks! The new o the internet/on a computer/on a steam engine.

      AR systems have been adding accessible URLs to augmentations for ages. The fact that it it linked into a social network or profile or whatever is really not new in any way. If it's not even augme

  • by scotts13 (1371443) on Saturday July 13, 2013 @02:45PM (#44270819)

    The pictures will contain links, which means it's ON A COMPUTER - which as we all know makes it inherently patentable.

    • ON A COMPUTER

      I know I'm new hear abut clearly you dodn't RTFA.

      It's not on a computer, fool, it's on a social network which makes it... uh... um... er... patentable?

  • by Anonymous Coward

    What we desperately need is some new group that monitors the patent orifice (I hesitate to call it an office considering what they have been putting out recently) like the Electronic Freedom Foundation does for Internet rights. It would be tasked with taking the USPTO to court to present "overlooked" prior art and otherwise invalidate such ridiculous patents before they become part of a patent troll's arsenal. I would also suggest a hefty fine be imposed against the personal assets of the patent examiner th

  • by Anonymous Coward

    It is just some social-connected trash that will never be used by anyone anyway.
    You can still make your fantasy football games or whatever else.
    Still, fuck you Google even then.

    They are becoming the next Microsoft, while Microsoft become the next... uh... grave filler? They'll kill themselves sooner or later at the rate they are going.
    "Hey, let's shaft our major business users and focus on morons that only buy cheap worthless apps and pictures to use in said apps, yeeaaaah, best idea ever." -Steve Ballmer,

  • pre date this by years. But then you need to view years of shit baseball as well.

  • Prior Art: Me? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by InfinityWpi (175421) on Saturday July 13, 2013 @03:20PM (#44271003)

    Christ, I did this for a startup back in 2000. You've got to be freakin' kidding me. It's not even an invention! It's a way of doing things! Just because it's done on a screen doesn't make it brand new!

  • by gallen1234 (565989) <<gallen> <at> <whitecraneeducation.com>> on Saturday July 13, 2013 @04:00PM (#44271265)

    I'll admit up front that I haven't read the article but, based just on,

    "'involves a graphical user interface on a computer that includes a graphic of an athletic playing field or a portion thereof, and a plurality of player positions on the athletic field. At least some of the player positions contain thumbnail images selected by a first user."

    isn't this Madden NFL?

  • Pretty sure IBM was doing stuff like this for Wimbledon on the BBC 20 years back...Can anyone else remember what Wimbledon broadcasts looked like? My memory glitches a lot these days...need more parity checking...or less alcohol...
    • by ikaruga (2725453)
      I'm not sure if that really counts as prior art, but another Lab(sorry Japanese only, but with pictures) [kameda-lab.org] from the university I graduated from already had a system that displayed both 2D and 3D sprites of real players on soccer field in real time on a interactive 3D soccer field with tons of real time information about them. They also had tons of similar systems not only for soccer and sports but also classrooms, training facilities, theaters etc. And that was like, 2005, back when I was in my first semester
  • the U.S. patent process has become a farce, backed up with a cartoon-like court in eastern Texas.

  • This is not an invention, it's simply doing something, there's nothing whatsoever clever about it.

    An invention is supposed to be a non-obvious (to those in the relevant profession) way of getting something done. This clearly does not meet that criteria.

    Post also applies to most other software patents.

  • I cannot think of any. As such, it's hard for me to condemn Google for filing frivolous patents for self defense.

    I feel certain that MS, Apple, and Oracle have been conspiring against Google with frivolous patent lawsuits.

  • Whoever can patent firing a gun at your own skull first, wins. The trick is to show prior art, so hurry before you opponent gets it done.

"Tell the truth and run." -- Yugoslav proverb

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