I can remember quite specifically when we added mood stamps to Lotus Notes -- and it was before anything in Outlook 97.  Yet the patent filing that was initially approved in 2006 seems to have gone final this week:

This week just past Microsoft was successfully granted a patent for "emotiflags" despite this idea being present in Lotus Notes years prior. Microsoft is even denying current Chief Software Architect Ray Ozzie's involvement. ...

Yet, this concept is not new and was just as "not new" in 2005 as it is now.

That's right; Microsoft's successful patent application describes an invention which has clearly been seen already in fairly mainstream computing.

Old Lotus Notes users like myself and iTWire colleague Tony Austin and readers worldwide will undoubtedly remember "mood stamps" within the Lotus Notes mail client.
Yes, we do.

Link: iTWire: Microsoft wins patent for Lotus Notes emoticon idea >

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