theodp writes "In Microsoft's eyes, the idea of scanning Gmail so advertisers can bid on access to those suffering from breast cancer, bi-polar disorder, depression, and panic anxiety, deserves no kudos. The USPTO, on the other hand, feels it deserves a patent. GeekWire reports that Google has been awarded a patent on "Scroogling", aka its system and method for targeting information based on message content in a reply. Google takes some jabs at Microsoft in the diagrams accompanying the patent, including one implying that MS-Access and Excel files pose security risks, and another that suggests alternatives to Access."
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