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Media (Apple) Media Patents

Apple's iPod Interface Patent in Jeopardy 333

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the portable-patent dept.
Gadget Guy writes "Apple has been denied on their quest to patent the iPod software interface. According to AppleInsider - 'Standing in Apple's way appears to be a prior filing by inventor John Platt, who submitted a patent application for a similar software design for a portable device in May of 2002 - just five months before Robbin submitted his claims on behalf of Apple.'" The Register also helps to shed a little additional light on the subject.
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Apple's iPod Interface Patent in Jeopardy

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 10, 2005 @11:42AM (#13286535)
    Alec, I'll take touchpad scrollwheels for $500...
  • Royalties? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by nexxuz (895394)
    would that then mean that Apple would have to pay royalties to this guy?
  • Nothing will happen (Score:5, Interesting)

    by pellenys (862681) on Wednesday August 10, 2005 @11:43AM (#13286548)
    From what I see of all this, Apple will just keep throwing the patent back until it does finally get passed. What's the alternative? Microsoft sue Apple for 'inventing' the iPod interface? That would be an interesting PR escapade....
    • by garcia (6573) * on Wednesday August 10, 2005 @11:45AM (#13286568) Homepage
      From what I see of all this, Apple will just keep throwing the patent back until it does finally get passed.

      That's exactly what Platt did:

      But Platt's playlist application also has a rejection history. It received an NFR on 17 November 2002, and a more serious Final Rejection on 14 June 2004. After further documentation was received, and extension granted, the application received another NFR on 11 December last year.
      So, it's obvious that the Patent Office is looking at applications and not just stamping them through w/o checking a simple search first... So we get pissed off when they don't search and we get pissed off when they do?

      You can't have it both ways.
      • by Concerned Onlooker (473481) on Wednesday August 10, 2005 @12:03PM (#13286713) Homepage Journal
        Pissed off? No. Shocked. Yes. I had no idea the patent office actually rejected some applications.
      • by peculiarmethod (301094) on Wednesday August 10, 2005 @12:04PM (#13286726) Journal
        I smell an iSuit.

      • The article indicated "Non Final Rejections" and "Final Rejections" based on prior art. Does anyone know of any patents that have been rejected because lack of usefulness or obviousness? Patents do have three acceptance criteria after all...
        • You make agood point, but prior art alone should be enough in this frikkin' case: "rotating an input device to navigate in a linear fashion through a user interface". Radios had that, way back when they were called wirelesses.
          • Excepted they added "..on a computer controlled device" and neatly sidestepped that one.

            So the ipod is a collection of old ideas put together into a new one... why is this news? Just about every invention in history has done that. Doesn't make the ipod any less successful.

            Oh wait, this is slashdot... Apple didn't get granted a patent. The sky is falling.
            • Uh- back in 1995 my parents bought a computerized home stereo that had this exact interface. The main control knob, software selectible between volume, track number, disc number, AM Frequency, and FM Frequency, just spun freely- and even clicked audibly and tactically. So no- there's prior art on that too.
        • Rejections based on prior art can be because of lack of obviousness. The Patent Office very rarely rejects patents because of lack of utility.
      • by @madeus (24818) <slashdot_24818@mac.com> on Wednesday August 10, 2005 @12:34PM (#13286944)
        You can't have it both ways.

        The Patent Office apparently has it both ways. I think most people here would be happy with them if they just did the job they were tasked with and showed due diligence.

        So, it's obvious that the Patent Office is looking at applications and not just stamping them through w/o checking a simple search first..

        Just because some patents appear subject to due scrutiny doesn't imply all of them are (or that they are subject to all the appropriate scrutiny).

        So we get pissed off when they don't search and we get pissed off when they do?

        I think most people here are primarily getting pissed off when they don't uphold their own guidlines (which they do not appear to follow consistently).

        If they can't perform the public service that is the reason for their existence, they should be reformed or done away with. They should not be allowed to simply rubber stamp patents when they are supposed to be investigating them properly and for that matter they should not be granting patents for things that are 'patently' trivial or otherwise in conflict with the established regulations.

        Other than those who actually object to these patents on principle, I don't think most /. readers would be up in arms about the P.O. actually appropriately enforcing the rules they are supposed to be following.
    • by Utopia (149375)
      Microsoft like IBM has never sued anyone for patent infringement.
      The only patent suits filed by Microsoft are countersuits.

  • Good (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Vandil X (636030) on Wednesday August 10, 2005 @11:44AM (#13286556)
    Apple or not, maybe this will expose the stupidity behind the generic techno patent craze that's been going on the past 4-5 years.

    Full-disclosure: I own an iPod, a PowerMac G5, and a 17" PowerBook. I love OS X. I occasionally drink the special Kool-Aid while sitting in range of the reality distortion field.
    • Re:Good (Score:4, Insightful)

      by pauljlucas (529435) on Wednesday August 10, 2005 @12:07PM (#13286753) Homepage Journal
      ... maybe this will expose the stupidity behind the generic techno patent craze that's been going on the past 4-5 years.
      So if I develop a hardware stereo (i.e., totally implemented in hardware as opposed to software) with a novel set of knobs and switches, it's OK to patent that, but if I use software to display the interface on a screen instead and use a very novel scroll wheel it's suddenly not OK?

      Care to explain that?

      By the way, there have been far dumber/worse patent snafus reported here. If they didn't expose said stupidity, what makes you think this rather benign instance will?

      • Re:Good (Score:5, Insightful)

        by squiggleslash (241428) on Wednesday August 10, 2005 @12:18PM (#13286836) Homepage Journal
        More or less, yeah, you can patent the technology behind the scroll wheel if you want, if it really is novel, but the software... nah. You shouldn't be able to.

        You've got to remember that there are tens of millions of computer programmers out there. The chances are for any user interface "solution" you come up with, the chances are someone else will come up with the same idea, and have the resources to implement it. By patenting it (and enforcing the patent), you're not creating something new and wonderful for the world to use, au contraire, you're denying the world something new and wonderful to use, or imposing limits on its use. You've taken something that would have existed anyway, and preventing others from using it.

        Think I'm wrong? Take a look at this article, you know, the one we're talking about now. Some guy and Apple both independently created this "interface." They both did the R&D, they both would have done so regardless of whether patent laws existed, but one, at the end of this, is going to get a monopoly on producing stuff with this technology. How is that fair? And what benefit has this given to the rest of us?

        That's why we don't like software patents. Come to think of it, generally I don't like patents, I just know that in a small number of cases, where the cost to develop something new is high, where it is highly unlikely two or more people will come up with the same technology independently, and where the inventor intends to publish the technology widely so people can understand and use it, it's justified. In software, this is exceptionally rare.

        • Re:Good (Score:5, Informative)

          by pauljlucas (529435) on Wednesday August 10, 2005 @12:43PM (#13287003) Homepage Journal
          ... the software... nah. You shouldn't be able to.
          Technically, one doesn't patent software. What's really patented is the device the machine becomes while running said software. This casts "comptuers running software" into the age-old "methods and aparatus" framework that the patent office has been using since its inception. (Ask a good patent attorney if you don't believe me.)

          Hence, the lump of plastic and metal that is the iPod becomes a portable music player while it is running its software. You seem to have a problem with that. Yet if I invent a portable music player that somehow does it all in hardware, you're presumeably OK with that.

          Why should the inventor who chooses to make his life easier by using software to make a portable music player not receive the same protections as the all-hardware inventor? From the end-user's point of view, it's a portable music player: s/he doesn't care how it's implemented.

          You've got to remember that there are tens of millions of computer programmers out there.
          Why? You mean if there were tens of millions of hardware developers out there then portable music players implemented solely using hardware shouldn't be patentable? The number of people in the field is irrelevant.
          By patenting it (and enforcing the patent), you're not creating something new and wonderful for the world to use
          Of course you are. When and how you allow the world to use it is entirely seperate from the act of its creation. Anyway, the above would seem to apply equally to all patents. So then you presumeably don't want any patents on anything whatsoever.
          au contraire, you're denying the world something new and wonderful to use, or imposing limits on its use.
          That's precisely what a patent is for. If you want to invent something and let nobody use it, that's entirely your right. It's financially stupid of you, but you can do it. The smart thing to do is to license your patent to make money to recoup the time/money you invested on inventing in the first place.

          Now if you're some guy who doesn't want to spend the money to pay for the license, well then you're free to invent something new and better, and, if you're so philanthropic, give it away for free (but you'd be a fool to do so).

          Some guy and Apple both independently created this "interface." They both did the R&D, they both would have done so regardless of whether patent laws existed, but one, at the end of this, is going to get a monopoly on producing stuff with this technology. How is that fair?
          And how is this specific to software? Why couldn't this have been about two guys in different labs who invented some hardware device? The fact that it's software is irrelevant. A double-standard should not exist.

          As for this case, yes, it's seems unfair (but the unfairness has got nothing to do with the fact that it's software). Perhaps there could be something like a "co-patent" if it can be proven that two seperate, clean-room inventions were done. But that's far to problematic and lawyers would have a field day. Just like it's far simpler to say the legal drinking age is 21, it's far simpler to say he who files first, gets the patent.

          • Re:Good (Score:3, Insightful)

            by drew (2081)
            You seem to have a problem with that. Yet if I invent a portable music player that somehow does it all in hardware, you're presumeably OK with that.

            I don't know that he ever says he is ok with that. I'm certainly not. I see no reason why any lump of plastic and wires that plays music should be patentable, regardless of whether it's functionality is implemented in hardware or software.

            I am not really agains the idea of software patents in theory, but I am very much against them in practice because I can't
            • Re:Good (Score:3, Informative)

              by pauljlucas (529435)

              I see no reason why any lump of plastic and wires that plays music should be patentable, regardless of whether it's functionality is implemented in hardware or software.

              By that reason, nothing at all should be patentable, i.e., patents shouldn't exist for anything. That argument isn't even worthy of discussion.

              can't remember ever hearing of a single software patent that I really think would be non-obvious to an experienced software developer.

              The ones that make sense don't make the news.

        • Some guy and Apple both independently created this "interface."

          Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't the iPod interface just a refined and slightly extended version of the iTunes interface? It seems to me that Apple purposely designed the iPod interface to resemble iTunes so users would have a seamless user experience when going between the two interfaces. Apple released iTunes sometime in 1999 so it's likely that both patent applications were inspired by iTunes. Is implementing an existing interface on a

      • Re:Good (Score:3, Insightful)

        by NickFortune (613926)
        So if I develop a hardware stereo (i.e., totally implemented in hardware as opposed to software) with a novel set of knobs and switches, it's OK to patent that, but if I use software to display the interface on a screen instead and use a very novel scroll wheel it's suddenly not OK?

        Well, because your software interface is already protected by copright and you have no inalienable right to any further monopoly on the idea. In any event you don't need the patent to make money from your knobs so there's no

        • Well, because your software interface is already protected by copright [sic] and you have no inalienable right to any further monopoly on the idea.
          Uhm where is that written down? Anyway, a UI is not copyrightable. Apple already tried to copyright a look-and-feel. It didn't work. Whether the software implementing the UI is copyrighted is irrelevant.
      • Re:Good (Score:4, Insightful)

        by ThosLives (686517) on Wednesday August 10, 2005 @12:46PM (#13287025) Journal
        I might give you a design patent for the particular layout, but what do you mean by 'novel set of knobs and switches'? In my book, if you have any input device that accepts a force or torque, big whoop. The first guy that came up with the variable capacitance input, sure that was patentable in my book. If you invent something that reads brainwaves, or detects your gravitational distortion, you get a patent. But just making another rotating knob or switch, or a piece of software that acts like a rotating knob or switch, is not unobvious in my book and should be denied on those grounds.
  • by imstanny (722685) on Wednesday August 10, 2005 @11:44AM (#13286557)
    Intellectual property is something I have pondered on for a long time and have not come to a definitive conclusion. This case specifically brings up a very interesting paradigm:

    Two people with their own intellectual prowess create the same idea. Yet, the person that manages to get to the patent office first gets the patent. Which means that, in this case, ownership has nothing to do with the original creation of intellectual property.

    • by pauljlucas (529435) on Wednesday August 10, 2005 @11:51AM (#13286613) Homepage Journal
      Yet, the person that manages to get to the patent office first gets the patent.
      That's not true. If the first person publishes/distributes first without patent, then it becomes prior art for the second patent that is then not granted because of the prior art (or is granted, but then thrown out). Hence, nobody gets a patent.
      • Actually, you have a year to file a patent after publishing your idea.
        • by bill_mcgonigle (4333) * on Wednesday August 10, 2005 @12:05PM (#13286738) Homepage Journal
          So, what's the ruckus about?

          The iPod shipped October 23, 2001. This other patent was filed May 2002.

          Did this other guy publish prior to the iPod shipping?
          • The original iPod probably didn't have the features covered in the patent. I know they didn't have the touchy-scroll-wheel in the first couple generations, it was just bottons covered by a white ring. I'm not sure about the interface.
          • by Apple Acolyte (517892) on Wednesday August 10, 2005 @12:21PM (#13286860)
            The iPod shipped October 23, 2001. This other patent was filed May 2002.

            Should not all fevered speculation over this issue cease due to the salient fact of the parent post, of which many of us were quite aware? The iPod itself, which has remained essentially consistent in interface from day one, serves as prior art. It is not as if anyone can contest the iPod's date of market origin. So where's the beef?

        • Actually, you have a year to file a patent after publishing your idea.
          And this has what to do with the scenario I presented? Again, if the first person does not patent their invention, then what the second person does is moot. The second person can not file (or keep) a patent on the idea.

          Whether the first person might eventually patent his idea is irrelevant to my point.

          • Uhm... OK. My morning tea kicked in and I see your point. Sorry.
          • The first person's publication doesn't automatically become prior art.
            again, 35 USC 102(a) and (b):

            102. Conditions for patentability; novelty and loss of right to patent

            A person shall be entitled to a patent unless--

            (a)
            the invention was known or used by others in this country, or patented or described in a printed publication in this or a foreign country, before the invention thereof by the applicant for patent, or

            (b)
            the invention was patented or described in a printed publication in th
      • Not exactly (Score:4, Informative)

        by autopr0n (534291) on Wednesday August 10, 2005 @12:00PM (#13286696) Homepage Journal
        The first inventor can go out and patent the idea up to 2 years after publicizing it.
        • The first inventor can go out and patent the idea up to 2 years after publicizing it.
          I never said anything about time so don't assume the scenario I presented happens within the 2-year window.
        • 1 year, not 2:
          35 CFR 102(b):
          A person shall be entitled to a patent unless--
          the invention was patented or described in a printed publication in this or a foreign country or in public use or on sale in this country, more than one year prior to the date of the application for patent in the United States, or
    • by Ruie (30480)
      My take on this is that there are two kinds of intellectual property:

      • intellectual property - i.e. control of what others can do with their own intellect
      • intellectual property - i.e. having derived from and/or requiring usage of intellect
      We are in a time when the second becomes more and more important, while the laws sadly focus on the first.
    • by sharkb8 (723587) on Wednesday August 10, 2005 @12:09PM (#13286769)
      The United States is not a first to file Country. In fact, it's one of the last first to invent countries. The patent protection runs from the time you file, because the applicaiton is concrete prrof that you have "reduced the invention to practice". If you get bounced by prior art, in some cases you can antedate the prior art by showing through inventors notebooks, test results, etc, that you conceived the idea at a time earlier than the prior art and were dilegently working to reduce the invention to practice. In the present Apple case, they probably have nothing showing an inventin date earlier than the prior art.

      The moral here is, if you're working on something cool, soemthing that you might want to patent, write it down. Even a diagram or sketch can help you if it's dated.
      • Regardless of who thought of it first or who filed first, if two independant people come up the same idea, assuming neither is aware of the other's work, wouldn't that imply that the invention fails the "not obvious to and expert" test?
    • Two people with their own intellectual prowess create the same idea.

      Nearly EVERY important invention you use today was thought up nearly simultaneously by more than one person. It is VERY rare to have an idea that nobody else isn't also having.
    • This is also the concept behind CheapAss Game's US Patent Number 1 [cheapass.com] where you play the inventor of the time machine, and try to beat all the other inventors of time machines throughout history to the day of the opening of the Patent Office.
  • Serious question. I don't have an answer, and I'm trying to foster some discussion.

    They have: DRM, Large music base, their own portable MP3 player that's compatible.

    Are they worried about people confusing Yahoo's or Mircrosoft's offerings with iTunes?

    • my comparison (Score:2, Insightful)

      by domipheus (751857)
      I agree fully here, it just seems stupid in my view.

      I seem to keep comparing this to a thing like Walls patenting the IDEA of ice cream, and Hagen das then going and making lovely ice cream, much better than Wall's. In my view, hagen das have the better product, they should not be penalised. It is consumers which decide who gets rich, not bloody patents - which seems to be the craze now.

      An odd view, but somone must agree with me!
    • Are they worried about people confusing Yahoo's or Mircrosoft's offerings with iTunes?

      No. They're worried that they might lose a few cents to someone else in a market they believe God has granted to them alone.

  • good for the consumer, it will force apple to stay on the cutting edge because their competition can easily copy their interface. competition = innovation = win for consumers
    • >>competition can easily copy their interface

      In this case you're wrong... nobody said that the interface wasn't patented, just that APPLE couldn't patent it. It's fully possible that the guy that filed the patent 5 months previously could wave that around a bit.

      MadCow.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 10, 2005 @11:45AM (#13286561)
    that John Platt works for Microsoft :)

    http://research.microsoft.com/~jplatt/ [microsoft.com]
  • by BarryNorton (778694) on Wednesday August 10, 2005 @11:45AM (#13286564)
    Never mind prior art claims between these patents, it's only the inclusion of the words 'portable media player', or similar, that stops the whole stack from being toppled by very clear prior art... This system is clearly ridiculous.
  • by dan dan the dna man (461768) on Wednesday August 10, 2005 @11:47AM (#13286581) Homepage Journal
    Platts patent is here [uspto.gov] I personally cant see the relevance of the patents to each other but IANAPL :)

  • Obviousness (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Dr. Evil (3501) on Wednesday August 10, 2005 @11:48AM (#13286598)

    It would be nice if two people patenting the same thing at roughly the same time could be used as a test to indicate that neither patent is valid and both are obvious.

    ...but that would make sense.

    • Re:Obviousness (Score:4, Insightful)

      by pauljlucas (529435) on Wednesday August 10, 2005 @11:53AM (#13286633) Homepage Journal
      t would be nice if two people patenting the same thing at roughly the same time could be used as a test to indicate that neither patent is valid and both are obvious.
      Just because 2 people out of 6 billion think of something doesn't make it obvious.
    • Re:Obviousness (Score:3, Informative)

      by sharkb8 (723587)
      There is, it's called an interference. Basically, it's a way to see who devloped something first. However, they don't generally judge both patents on the merits during an interference, just the date of invention. The junior patent applicaiton will then have to narrow the scope of their claims to avoid the senior patent.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 10, 2005 @11:49AM (#13286600)
    Appearently the USPTO computer system just got upgraded, appearently they have the ability to "reject" patents now.
  • Are you saying that the US Patent Office actually rejected a patent application? For any reason, much less prior art?

    Holy crap! This is unprecidented!
    • As long as they keep approving devices which violate the laws of thermodynamics, I will be able to sleep well at night.
    • by hoka (880785) on Wednesday August 10, 2005 @12:09PM (#13286775)
      Freshie year of college (not that long ago) I wrote a short research paper on tech patents. Included were statistics showing the influx of patents around the tech boom, and more importantly the acceptance rate of these patents. What you could clearly see is that the acceptance rate was very high, and it wasn't because everybody was innovative. It's because at the time, the patent examiners wern't as technical in the relevant field of the patents they were examining, but this hasn't really changed much up to today. Since patents are mostly written to be over-generalized on purpose, its hard to get a real idea of what the patent is trying to do, and therefore hard to come up with prior art or to determine whether it is innovative, non-obvious, etc. Not even the computer system upgrade and bringing in more patent examiners has appeared to help with the quality of the accepted patents, or the immense backlog of patents thats causing problems.
    • You should try to get a patent on that.
    • The reason they looked was probably more that the earlier patent was filed by Microsoft who have a huge stable of lawyers to make sure that no patents are awarded that might compete with Microsoft patents. I'd be surprised if the USPTO would ever be able to miss prior art by the likes of IBM, GM, GE..
  • 2 points (Score:5, Insightful)

    by cascino (454769) on Wednesday August 10, 2005 @11:49AM (#13286607) Homepage
    2 important things to note:
    1. John Platt is officially "Manager of the Knowledge Tools Group at Microsoft Research." Which would be very bad for Apple, except that...
    2. This isn't a final rejection, and certainly isn't as serious as the AppleInsider article makes it sound. Read the article on the Register for more info (I know this is /., but it's worth a shot). Basically Apple has a lot of patents on the iPod, such that even if Mr. Platt's patent were to stand the test of time (it has several rejections against it as well), the iPod's most important features would be safe from litigation.
    • This isn't a final rejection, and certainly isn't as serious as the AppleInsider article makes it sound.

      But Platt's playlist application also has a rejection history. It received an NFR on 17 November 2002, and a more serious Final Rejection on 14 June 2004. After further documentation was received, and extension granted, the application received another NFR on 11 December last year.

      I don't know that it jeopardizes Apple in any way, but not only is it actually a final rejection, it's not their first fi

      • Re:2 points (Score:2, Informative)

        by Joe Decker (3806)
        But Platt's playlist application also has a rejection history.

        Moot.

        The rejection of Platt's patent would in no way invalidate it's use as prior art for invalidating a different patent. One of the great things about patent applications, even rejected ones, is that they form a trail of prior art that can be used to invalidate future attempts to patent ideas.

        • It's not moot, in that it proved one of the parent's points incorrect... that being that it had not had a final rejection.

          Now, given that it had more than one final rejection, I'm going to have to spend some time finding out what this new definition of "final" actually is.
    • the iPod's most important features would be safe from litigation.

      Are you referring to the Apple logo?

      I know you can't be talking about the batteries.

  • by pw700z (679598) on Wednesday August 10, 2005 @11:52AM (#13286623)
    Anyone remember this? http://apple.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=04/03/09/ 1654250&tid=176&tid=100&tid=3 [slashdot.org] From starbright? Basically an ipod interface for PocketPC? Totally illegal alledgedly, but i love it on my Samsung i730!
  • Wait a minute... you can get a patent on "clicking the left button of a mouse to order goods and services from a web site" when there's clearly a decade of prior art, but the iPod interface isn't good enough?
  • Inovative? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 10, 2005 @11:53AM (#13286634)
    From the Register article ...

    "describes rotating an input device to navigate in a linear fashion through a user interface."

    Didn't I do this when using the 'Paddle' on my Atari 2600 two decades ago? Doesn't seem so inventive.
  • by RapmasterT (787426) on Wednesday August 10, 2005 @11:54AM (#13286641)
    It's hard to imagine anyone keeping a straight face while applying for a patent on something as trivial/universal/obvious/pre-existing as as a method of traversing a linear menu. Every MP3 player I've owned, going back to the RIO 300 used a variation of a thumbwheel and click menu. How did Apple decide they "invented" this?
  • by Confessed Geek (514779) on Wednesday August 10, 2005 @11:59AM (#13286684)
    From the Register Article:
    "describes rotating an input device to navigate in a linear fashion through a user interface" I think the car radio on my Dads 1950 Ford did that. I rotate the knob and it moves the channel indicator in a linear fashion across the "user interface" showing which radio frequency I'm tuning to.

    Oh wait, if you put "e", "i", before it or "computer/Network/Internet" after it - something invented 50+ years ago it is suddenly NEW! Welcome to the new iMillenium!
    • But... iPod doesn't have a tuner! Not that I care, AM/FM is worthless to me.

      You do have a point. I wish tech companies didn't try to do away with dials and knobs so much, it is easier, faster and more intuitive to just twist a knob than it is to hold down or click a button to move a pointer through a sliding scale. If this weren't true, we wouldn't be using mice instead of the keyboard's arrow keys.

      This is one reason why "control surfaces" are necessary for serious digital media production, they have doz
  • by mstone (8523) on Wednesday August 10, 2005 @12:03PM (#13286716)
    The article from the Reg shows that this is probably a non-issue. AppleInsider makes all sorts of grand claims in its own article, but doesn't supply the facts to back them up.

    What's actually happening seems to be a fairly normal, even boring, patent registration process for a couple of ideas that look vaguely similar if you want to write a click-whoring article about them. It hardly counts as putting the iPod interface in 'jeopardy'.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 10, 2005 @12:05PM (#13286731)

    How will Apple ever make money on the iPod without patent protection?
  • The interface as not revolutionary at all, its just a standard Rack and Pinion adapted. This can (or could) be found on cars, as well as lock gates (which actually go up and down too) and probably in a million other places too
  • 2000 (Score:3, Funny)

    by boatboy (549643) on Wednesday August 10, 2005 @12:09PM (#13286778) Homepage
    Apple's iPod Interface Patent in Jeopardy
    I'll take Patents Gone Wild for $2000, Alex.
  • Don't worry sweetie, Apple is a big company with LOTS of money, they won't lose in court just because som silly legal code goes against them.
  • - What on earth has the Platt patent application got to do with the iPods user interface.

    - There are plenty of examples or rotary dials controlling linear scales. My old walkman had one as do most older radios.

    Turn the wheel clockwise the line on scale goes up.
    Turn it anticlockwise the line on the scale goes down.

    How on earth is this new?
    I'm sorry but much as I like apple this really isn't anything new.
  • Very Badly Titled (Score:5, Informative)

    by Nom du Keyboard (633989) on Wednesday August 10, 2005 @12:21PM (#13286858)
    Apple's iPod Interface Patent in Jeopardy

    This is very badly titled. They don't have this patent yet. It's their application that's in possible jeopardy.

  • by denis-The-menace (471988) on Wednesday August 10, 2005 @12:22PM (#13286864)
    Coming soon:
    Tagline: "patent or be sued!"

    Object: Patent everything you can and profit from the work of others.

    Method of play:

    -Everybody starts with venture capital of $100,000.
    -As you go around the board you collect cash (via sales cards), Patents (via patents cards) that you can buy if you want, and inventions (via inventions cards).

    -sales cards: gives you the option to sell a product if you have the invention card for it.

    -patents cards: You buy them If you want for $100. Any patents not bought are put into the "Public domain" pile. A player can only hold a patent card for up to 10 turns, after which they go the the "Public domain" pile. After you pay, you must spin the "Patent Pending" wheel. (NFR - Final Rejection - Approuved) Each time you do not get "Approuved" you pay a additional $100 and spin again. If you are broke or don't want to spin, the Patent card goes to the "Public domain" pile.

    -invention cards: Are free when you land on the square on the board. If the "invention" is already patented by another player, that other player CAN sue for the cost of the patent. The patent owner can also not reveal that he/she hold that patent cards for up to 10 turns. The player with the patent card can, at the time of his choosing, sue the player with the Invention card for twice the "Sales" that player has received.

    Note#1: If a patent card is bought and another player already has the "Invention card", each place $10000 in a pile and each spin their own USPTO wheel (Patent Wins - Invention wins -settlement). Both wheels must match. If not, each player adds another $5000 to the pile, and spin again. This can continue until one or both players run out of money. If Settlement is the outcome, the pot is split between players.

    Note#2: On a whim a player can sue another player for "patent infringement". Same rules as Note #1. (Notice that no cards are used. Like in real life, the player who has the most money is likely to win)
    Final Rejection

    Patent pending, copyrighted, "Patent Pursuit" is a registed trade mark of denis-The-menace of Slashdot.
  • Are we happy because a big company didn't get a patent for something obvious, or mad because Apple is being jerked around by Microsoft?

    My head is gonna asplode.
  • by exp(pi*sqrt(163)) (613870) on Wednesday August 10, 2005 @12:47PM (#13287033) Journal
    ...innovation. The idea is that you give inventors a monopoly over their inventions that lasts longer than the life cycle of the invention. The result is that every company that innovates will eventually have a monopoly on every little thing they invent and eventually we'll reach a point where nobody else can invent anything for fear of infringing on someone else's monopoly. I think I will call this invention "The Patent".
  • by bmgz (849666) on Wednesday August 10, 2005 @12:56PM (#13287116) Journal
    FOR FSCKS SAKES! Can't one kick their leg out without connecting with someones nuts??? Enough with patents!!! *Oh wait Apple is a giant company* - fsck them.
  • Ha Ha Guy (Score:3, Funny)

    by guinsu (198732) on Wednesday August 10, 2005 @01:39PM (#13287491)
    This would be a great spot to insert that "Ha Ha" Quaker guy from Fark.

He keeps differentiating, flying off on a tangent.

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