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IBM seeks to patent the idea of adding comments in the form of voice annotations to source code. It further seeks to specifically patent the ideas of organizing the annotations by the structure of the program and playing comments back based on the program flow being inspected.

TITLE: Source Code Commenting Via Speech Recording and Recognition

link: http://www.google.com/patents/us20070288889

I'm pretty sure there's gonna be some prior art for this kind of audio-tagging of text.

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2 Answers 2

Just for completeness, here is a 2002 research paper on voice comments in programs: http://research.microsoft.com/en-us/um/people/abegel/cs294-1/voice-comments.pdf

It is strongly correlated with the general claim, but doesn't cover the idea of linking from text to specific audio snippets.

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US20070288889 is interesting because it is an allowed patent application which never became an issued patent, apparently because the applicant did not pay the issuance fee and the application was abandoned. You can see this at the USPTO on Public PAIR

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The first allowed claim is:

A method enabling a computer programmer to verbally add comments to source code comprising:

  1. detecting utterances made by said programmer with a microphone;

  2. recording said utterances detected from said programmer with an audio recording program;

  3. converting said utterances recorded by said audio recording program to text; creating links to said audio recording;

  4. indicating a relevant source code position determined by cursor; and

  5. inserting said text and links to said voice recording at said relevant source code position.

The patent was assigned to IBM, which is a sophisticated patent owner.

Either IBM dropped the ball on paying the issuance fee or (more likely) IBM decided that the invention wasn't worth the issuance fees and projected maintenance fees. Why IBM prosecuted the patent only to drop it after it was allowed is unclear.

I'll let others on Ask Patents explain what would be involved in reviving a patent which was abandoned over four years ago. At this point the patent is abandoned and it is not in force.

No obvious reason to look for prior art on the application at Ask Patents unless the patent is somehow revived.

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1  
Great digging on the patent history. I didn't see or understand the abandonment status. –  kimbo305 Oct 10 '13 at 20:42

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