Graphical slider bars like this – used for setting audio volume, fill color, or the zoom scale of a document – have been around since the dawn of the mouse because it’s obviously the most efficient way of adjustment. But in 2007 Microsoft was granted design patent D554,140 [PDF], giving it rights to the concept.
On December 18, Microsoft cited the design patent, along with eight others, in a lawsuit against Corel (remember them?) for copying the design style of Redmond’s Office suite in the Canadian firm’s Home Office software.
Patents and copyright are stupid and should never last for more than 5 years.