U.S.A. Patent for Ethiopic Granted
By Staff Reporter,
April 5, 2016
Computers & Software
of Colorado announced that it was granted a U.S.A. patent number 9,000,957
on April 7, 2015. The patent the CEO of the company, Dr. Aberra Molla,
received involves the typing of the Ethiopic characters with one and two
keystrokes each in computers. The patented novel Ethiopic character entry
method known as ABSHA system is for typing the default characters with one
keystroke and the rest with two keystrokes each. It is virtually similar
to typing the English alphabet in computers and some other devices (http://patents.com/us-9000957.html).
The invention by the Ethiopian-American scientist is also significant in
that the patent application 20090179778 of July 16, 2009, (http://www.google.com/patents/US20090179778)
was cited by six new U.S.A. patents for English and other uses by the time
it was granted in 2015.
to grant an Ethiopian patent for the invention entitled “Ethiopic
Character Entry” application patent ET/P/2009/111 was also sent to Dr.
Aberra Molla on September 9, 2015.
or Geez is one of the oldest alphabets in the world and has been in use in
Ethiopia for millennia. The phonetic alphabet was written manually until
the printing press made it to Ethiopia around 1911. With the advent of the
computer technology, Dr. Molla computerized Ethiopic and revolutionized
the Geez script when he came up with a method of rendering each glyph with
two keystrokes in the 80’s. Since then the character set with about 500
glyphs has been standardized by Unicode, a consortium that provides a
unique number for every character of the world.
has remained a challenge was how to effectively type all these characters
on computers with less keystrokes. In the meantime, desperate attempts to
improve on the two-keystroke Ethiopic typing method were made by others.
These included entry by mouse clicks, the potential use of three to eight
keystrokes to render some letters using English alphabet and learning how
to spell them out, the introduction of spaces within words and the
utilization of methods that are unable to type some glyphs and words.
Multiple keystrokes came about as a result of some Amharic users trying to
type their letters by spelling them out with English alphabet while
English spells out words and not letters. The novel invention relieves
Ethiopic users from unnecessary methods by eliminating distractive waste
of time and energy, by replacing them with impartial and efficient
scientific technology. Ethiopic is an excellent phonetic syllabary and one
advantage of the alphabet is because it is not affected by one type of
spelling error of the Latin alphabet as each glyph represents a phoneme
(or sound). The new method is simple to use and takes minutes to
understand while allowing the typing of the most commonly used syllables
with one keystroke each just like English. The invention is an efficient
and significant improvement of the default and shifted keyboards as Geez
can be rendered from the default keyboard. For instance, it takes the same
number of keystrokes to document “The quick brown fox jumps over the
lazy dog.” in English and “ዘ ኲክ
ጀምፕስ ኦቨር ዘ
in Ethiopic because of the invention. On the other hand, the 23 glyphs in
six example Amharic words,
are rendered with 32 to 34 keystrokes with the ABSHA system as opposed to
more than 50 by other Amharic methods. The
default keyboard assignment is based on the English keyboard making it
simple to type in Ethiopic. Thus it is unscientific and waste of
time and energy to type any Ethiopic glyph with three keystrokes. Unlike
English that has patents even for the English typewriter, the computer
version is the first patent for Ethiopic.
is used by many Ethiopian languages and the various subsets include Agew,
Amharic, Awingi, Bench, Bilen, Dawro, Dizi, Gamo-Gofa, Geez, Gumuz,
Guragie, Kayla, Kunful, Meen, Mursi, Oromiffa, Qimant, Quara, Suri, Tigre,
Tigrigna and Xamtang languages with their own and overlapping character
sets. The inventor has also added new glyphs such as Ethiopic zero, Birr
(Ethiopian currency), penny, stress, copyright, trademark, registration
and other Ethiopic signs as well as the signs and symbols of the English
keyboard to the set. This is because the company has its own English
character set to go along with the Geez from the get go.
company has been selling GeezEdit Version 2 with pending patent notices
online at http://www.geezedit.com
for computers with Windows XP to Windows 10. A free Amharic online version
was given out in 2011 for Windows and Mac computer users. In 2014 Apple
opened up its iOS 8 system to third party keyboards for iPhone 6 and iPad
and the company released its GeezEdit App for Amharic. The App also works
in iPhone 4S and 5 with iOS 8 upgrade. It allows the typing of Amharic
glyphs with one and two keystrokes and other languages would be opened up
when necessary. The online, Windows and Apple’s App versions all utilize
the same patented and patent pending keystrokes and GeezEdit is the trade
name of the Geez editor.
The App allows the rendering and editing of Amharic in various
applications such as Text, Email, Messages, Facebook, Twitter, Notes,
Microsoft Word, Office Suite, OpenOffice, Pages, Google, Yahoo, Bing,
Wikipedia, WhatsApp, etc. The user can switch between English and Ethiopic
in the applications as the App shares the English system with Ethiopic and
one can search in more than one language alphabet at the same time as in
the Windows versions. The smartphone can be configured to utilize Amharic
as a preferred language. Amharic is the most commonly used alphabet of
Ethiopia. The GeezEdit App is available at https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/geezedit/id935624754?mt=8.
An Android version will be released next month.
Molla encourages Ethiopians to respect intellectual rights and focus on
innovation and be as creative as earlier ancestors while defending their
heritage, languages and the perfect African alphabet. The
novel method has given Ethiopic a new power to put down ideas faster in
Ethiopic-user languages such as Amharic. Ethiopic
is syllabic and renders documents with clarity utilizing less glyphs and
space. With Dr. Molla’s digitization method Ethiopic users typed only
six glyphs with two keystrokes from any two keys and his novel invention
improved that to 14. Because one can type hundreds of glyphs from a
is no need to spell out the Ethiopic letters as if they are English words
or modify the English vowel accent typing method for typing Ethiopic. The
company has continued with its pioneering scientific work and another
pending patent was recently published,
doctor is a well-known veterinarian and has made significant contributions
in his field and also has other patents. The company is owned by him and
his wife, Senait Ketema. For more information email Geezedit@aol.com
DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions of the authors expressed herein do not necessarily state or reflect ethioobserver position. ethioobserver does not exercise any editorial control over the information therein. ethioobserver cannot accept any responsibility or liability for any actions taken (or not taken) as a result of reading the material displayed.