Microsoft gets bleeping patent

The software maker is granted protection for a technology that allows real-time censoring of naughty words.

Microsoft got another &#@*%-ing patent.

The software maker last week was granted U.S. patent No. 7437290 for, essentially, a technology that lets the company bleep out words in an audio stream that match a list of predefined bad words.

Ars Technica, which reported on the patent both when Microsoft applied for it in 2004 as well as now that it has been granted, notes that the technology could be used for more than just censoring profanity, suggesting that perhaps China or another government would want it employed for other phrases, such as Tibet or free speech.

Ars notes that the technology could be particularly adept if applied to cell phone audio given that cell phones have proved an important tool for dissidents aiming to organize.

Unfortunately for Microsoft, it wasn't able to use the technology in time to thwart this new ad from Apple.

The patent is just the latest in Microsoft's growing arsenal of patents, which the company has been aggressively licensing in recent years.

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