Microsoft to patent Tufte’s sparklines?! (Kottke)


[Editor’s note: This is total bullsh*t, the US Patent office should not be granting Microsoft patents for basic concepts that are already out in the market place as prior art and in fact invented / popularized by someone else, namely Edward Tufte. Shame on Microsoft and boo on lazy patent clerks! Thanks Melissa.]

Republished from Kottke and Tufte.

In an absurd twist, on their own Microsof blog, Tufte is credited as inventor:

For Excel 2010 we’ve implemented sparklines, “intense, simple, word-sized graphics”, as their inventor Edward Tufte describes them in his book Beautiful Evidence.

Another way to read their patent application is regarding not just placement of a sparkline in an Excel spreadsheet but any digital document. Also a bizarre claim since other tools already do that as add ins, and you can even hack this work now in Google Docs with the charting API.

Someone should start a free the sparkline petition 😉

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3 Responses to “Microsoft to patent Tufte’s sparklines?! (Kottke)”

  1. fabrice says:

    I created a Sparklines for Excel function in early 2007 and upgaded it to a free open source add-in in may 2008..>>

    I am not even sure that Tufte is the initial ‘inventor’ of sparklines, he is however the one who theorized the sparkline concept and published about it.



  2. nathaniel says:

    @ Fabrice: thanks for your link! Amerigo and Columbus have the same chicken-and-egg about the new world 😉 I’ve updated post to reflect “popularized”.