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Apple Tries To Patent 3rd Party In-App Purchasing

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  • by Gideon Wells (1412675) on Saturday October 08, 2011 @02:34PM (#37649516)

    Steam is a third party from Windows, I can buy programs/apps through that years before this filing. I am sure some 3rd party apps on the iPhone had in-app purchasing pre-filing of this. It wouldn't be the first time Apple patented something it saw a third party app do, however.

  • Prior art? (Score:4, Informative)

    by jonbryce (703250) on Saturday October 08, 2011 @02:41PM (#37649562) Homepage
  • by gutnor (872759) on Saturday October 08, 2011 @03:23PM (#37649866)

    First to file has nothing to do with prior art. You are just the "first to file" for a patent on something not patentable (prior art, obvious, ...). So you won't get it - and if you get it, it can be invalidated in court.

    First to file only matter when 2 or more people try to patent the same patentable invention at the same time (remember, it takes years to get a patent). The patent office needs to give the patent to one of the applicants, before it tried to painfully determine the first to invent, now it just give it to the first to file.

  • by psxndc (105904) on Saturday October 08, 2011 @04:00PM (#37650118) Journal

    We shifted to first to file to get rid of "interferences" which, contrary to the hype, were really not much of an issue. The rest of the world is first to file, so it made sense for us to shift too. Here's what it means:

    Under the old system, say I invented X on January 1st and you invented X (exact same thing) on March 1st and neither of us know about the other person's inventing X. If you immediately file a patent application on April 1st, and I continue tinkering and perfecting, and finally file a patent application on September 1st, I win because I was the first to invent (assuming I can prove it by documentation and I was in fact diligent).

    Under the new system, you win because although we both invented the same thing, you filed your patent application first. That is all first to file means.

    Now, if I publish about my invention on March 15th, after you invented but before you filed your patent application, my publication is prior art and kills your patent application. DEAD. This is why prior art is not gone under first to file. It used to be that my publication would not autokill your application and you could "swear behind" my publication, showing you invented it before I published.

    Now, same set of facts, but say you didn't really invent anything and instead knew about my work, when you file your application on April 1st, you still need to submit an Oath that you believe you are the first to invent X. If you sign that oath and you in fact didn't invent X - you just copied my work - you have committed fraud on the Patent Office and your patent is unenforceable. DEAD. This is true under the old system and the new system. This has nothing to do with the change to first to file and this is why first to file does not allow you to just copy someone's idea and get a patent on it even though there isn't one.

    The last scenario is a bit of a prickly pear, but it's not because of first to file - it's the same under the old system. If I invent X and sit on it, using it in secret for years and years and then you independently invent X and file a patent application on it, and your patent is granted, you can then sue me for something I have been doing for years. Remember, if I had published, your patent application would have been DOA, so it is designed to encourage people to publish early.

    Hope this helps.

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