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the anatomy of a place marker file

Here is what the contents of a JAWS place Marker file looks like. I’ll give you where I got this, and the results of what I found iin a minutte.

[search field]

This file is located in c:\documents and settings\user name\application data\freedom scientific\jaws\9.0\setttings\enu\place markers.

The page I used was Google. I first went to the page and marked the edit field as a place marker. After I did this, I tested it to make sure the virtual cursor went there, and it sure did.

Nextt, I hit the link that said “more”, and then tried the place marker. When I hit the K key, JAWS went not to the editt field, but went to the line above that where it says “Google Search”. It is indeed using the number of tags.

I just overwrote the place marker I had while the more link was selected. I tested this one and the place marker took me to the edit field. I then refreshed the google page where it did not have all the stuff such as books, blogs, and such. I hit the k key to go to the search field, and instead of gettting the “edit” speech, I got the “search button” speech. Again, proof the tags are indeed being used.

Here is the text of the new Search Field place marker.

[search field]

Note the change in the ID number.

Now with Window Eyes, I had to use a different site to test out my theory, as Window Eyes is nice enough to expand this more link for me. I used, a torrent site I know of through various acquaintances. I first used a couple places of Google, and the place marker worked fine, but I wanted something more dynamic, and Isohunt worked out the best. This page has all sorts of on-clicks and elements that always knocks the placement of text out of whack.

first on Google, I pressed ctrl+shift+k as you do with JAWS to set my place marker. I was greeted with a dialog more extensive than JAWS by far! I had all sorts of options, including whether I wanted to make this temporary, base this book mark on a line number, line number with text, or text string using a search. For isohunt, I chose the text string with search. I looked for a few torrents, but didn’t download anything. I wanted to use the download.torrent text to test out Window Eyes’s place marker feature. I was pleasantly suprised to find no matter how many searches I made, the place marker was always there on the domain

Below is the weappset.ini file, found at c:\documents and settings\user name\application data\gw micro\window eyes\users\default, where the place marker information is stored. If you look closely, you will see how I saved the markers.


if you want to try out Window Eyes, go to and grab a copy and put the place marker feature to the test. I am no programmer or lawyer, but as a user of both products, I can easily see no evidence of violating Freedom Scienttific’s patent exists. In fact, Window Eyes is not even looking at the tags, but at text and line numbers and acting upon a search. The two products are quite different in the way they perform the requested actions.

As a sidenote, I learned the place marker feature of JAWS when not employed with Freedom Scientific, so I can share my knowledge of the usage of it and the tests I performed today, July 27, 2008. Also, the location of the place marker file for JAWS was obtained before my employment with them in 2005. I learned the location of this file and others in a class I took with them called “supporting and Teaching JAWS for Windows,” which I took in April of 2005. My employment relationship started with them in November 2005.

Posted in Assistive Technology News, Opinions.

9 Responses

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  1. BlindChristian says


    While your inspection of the data files between those used by JAWS and Window-Eyes was interesting to read; it has no significance regarding patent law.

    If I invent a widget and get a patent on it and you start making widgets that do approximately the same thing, you will have violated my patent. Thus, how JAWS and Window-Eyes store their placemarker data is entirely moot in this suit (you can read the entire complaint on Darrell’s Blind Access Journal blog).

    This case looks pretty rough for GW who has done so many really cool things in the 7.0 release that I hope it doesn’t cause too much of a distraction from their primary purpose – namely, making access technology for people with vision impairment.

  2. Wil says

    Hi Chris

    Thanks for the comments. Here is a valid argument to your statement.

    Remember Pk Zip? In the program, it was patented technology. Shortly after Pk Zip was released, we had .arj, .rar, .lha, and other similar compression formats we used to compress rograms. This is way back in the DOS days. Why didn’t the manufacturers of Pk Zip go after the writers of these other compression file types? All those formats do the same thing, compress files for smaller sttorage and faster downloads.

    Maybe if GW Miro changes the name of the feature, maybe the suit will be dropped. Further down the blog, I have a link to the patent page about the place marker feature. I did read the whole thing, and it is based on the number of tags. Window Eyes bases there incarnation of the Place Marker feature on text, line number or searching for text.

    Another good argument is why didn’t Apple go after Microsoft being the Windows operating system looks similar to MAC OS? Why didn’t Kingsford go after Charbroil because they both produce grills? why didn’t Ford go after Chevy because they both produce vehicles?

  3. Law News says

    Thanks, this article help me understand about patent.

  4. Alex says

    Your blog is interesting!

    Keep up the good work!

  5. CraigR58 says

    It really seems to me that it doesn’t matter what you call it but how it works, the same or not the same, is what really matters. If GW Micro changes the name of, “Place Marker” to “Marked Place” or even just to, “Marked.” Would JFW still be sueing? Yes, I think they would but does JFW really care over all about making the web and computer programs accessible to all of those who are Blind and Hearing impaired? over the high price they get for their screen reader? I think not. I hope that GW Micro puts JFW in their place.

  6. Nick says

    I will have to disagree with the conclusion of your article. I do agree that you are making a fine and valid point. That the 2 companies employ different technology to implement place markers in jaws and window-eyes. I do see this. However, I disagree with your conclusion that therefore fs has no valid claim. You do realize that a patent is all about the idea, rather than the implementation of the idea. If fs patented the place marker idea, or concept their claim might still be reasonable.

Continuing the Discussion

  1. Behind the Curtain, Episode 1 | Behind the Curtain linked to this post on August 3, 2008

    […] discussing how Freedom Scientific wants to sue GW Micro over a ridiculous patent violation, and the proof that GW Micro has not violated the […]

  2. The Good Vibes Radio Blog » Blog Archive » Behind the Curtain, Episode 1 linked to this post on August 3, 2008

    […] discussing how Freedom Scientific wants to sue GW Micro over a ridiculous patent violation, and the proof that GW Micro has not violated the […]

  3. BOHICA » Blog Archive » Top Tech Tidbits for Thursdays linked to this post on September 12, 2008

    […] The blog’s posts and comments about the place marker controversy made an appearance as Item 3 in this week’s issue. If you are not subscribed to this newsletter, I would strongly recommend subscribing. […]

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