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Apple's New Patent Weapon — Location Services 323

Posted by Soulskill
from the uspto-is-the-best-comedy-club dept.
DaveyJJ writes "Once again, it seems Apple is about to take intellectual property claims to a new level. Apple has been reissued a patent they acquired from Xerox that pretty much wraps up what we know as 'location services' as their own. In the overview, the patent says the system involved will display information specific to the location the device is in. The language used in the patent is broad and powerful. I guess now we wait and see whom Apple will use this against?"
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Apple's New Patent Weapon — Location Services

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  • by MachineShedFred (621896) on Thursday November 17, 2011 @09:13AM (#38084996) Journal

    US patents filed after 1995 are for a term of 20 years, which was changed from 17 years to align with the WTO. Therefore, Apple can flex that legal muscle (read: screw everyone that doesn't buy an iPhone) until 2018.

  • by ICLKennyG (899257) on Thursday November 17, 2011 @09:16AM (#38085036)
    20 years from filing - earliest filing - even in a reissue.

    Therefore, at most Feb 2018 or about 6 more years.

    A reissue filed 10 years after issuance is only able to narrow the scope of patents.

    You armchair patent lawyers sure love your hysteria in the morning. Switch to coffee.
  • by icebraining (1313345) on Thursday November 17, 2011 @09:22AM (#38085122) Homepage

    This patent only applies to "devices" which retrieve information from the Internet/Web/Other network based on your current location, which it can gather from GPS or other system.

    It doesn't cover GPS.

  • by icebraining (1313345) on Thursday November 17, 2011 @09:25AM (#38085160) Homepage

    A map doesn't retrieve information from the Internet. Please read the actual patent.

  • by 140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) on Thursday November 17, 2011 @09:34AM (#38085254) Journal

    Abstract A location information system uses a positioning system, such as the civilian Navstar Global Positioning System (GPS), in combination with a distributed network. The location information system includes a radio transceiver for communicating to the distributed network and a GPS receiving system. The GPS receiving system receives a signal from the GPS and converts it into a coordinate entry. The coordinate entry is transmitted to the distributed network for retrieval of corresponding location specific information. The location specific information may reside on a web page. The coordinate entry may be incorporated into the web page address that supports the coordinate entry or linked to an existing web page associated with the coordinate entry. The web page and associated information is displayed. Bar code labels, infrared beacons and other labeling systems may also be used in the location information system in place of or in addition to the GPS receiving system to supply location identification information.

    Unfortunately, the patent does not cover a self contained system using GPS receiver. This patent is about transmitting the gps coordinates to a network, either in the url itself or using GET or POST methods or by a table of URLs for for the given GPS coordinate.

    One small ray of hope is, what it does after posting the URL. It can display a web page. So if you argue that widgets and apps and other things are not really displaying a web page, may be you can escape.

    Usual disclaimers. Not a lawyer, does not mean to play one on slashdot.

  • Re:You are here... (Score:5, Informative)

    by Technician (215283) on Thursday November 17, 2011 @09:36AM (#38085288)

    I am more interested if it broad enough to be shot down as prior art by Loran, Trimble, Magellan, Tom Tom, Navman, Lawrence, Rhino, Onstar, etc. They may have difficulties if the other established navigation players try to invalidate the claim. Apple is facing lots of prior art that existed long before they placed GPS in a phone. Time of arrival location services have preceded Apple cell tower location mapping back to World War One.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Acoustic_location [wikipedia.org]

  • Re:You are here... (Score:5, Informative)

    by rtfa-troll (1340807) on Thursday November 17, 2011 @09:47AM (#38085418)

    How about at the point where you make a ask a bunch of friends and say "hey, it looks like I'm going to ShucksTown EndOfNowhereState; do you know a good place to go and eat there". Even more so when one of your friends says "never been there and never want to go; but I heard Jake went there; why don't you ask him".

    Oh sorry; you meant "on a computer".

    Having said that, your comment is generally on topic and in place. People, please learn. Most patents are not about doing something. They are (supposed to be) about a way to do something. The fact that someone makes a patent on "moving from A to B" doesn't make it wrong just because you have moved from A to B. If the patent discloses a new system for teleportation then it's very likely a real and useful patent. The fact that you previously drove from A to B doesn't make the patent on teleportation invalid.

    Read through the patent till you get to the claims. Generally the first independent claim of a series of dependent claims will be the outrageous one which you can shout about. Note that all the claims in the patent have been approved as individually valid by the patent office, so you can choose whichever one you want to complain about. Complaining about the title, without specifying an actual claim allows patent lawyers to discredit your argument by claiming that you are ignorant.

  • by Dragonslicer (991472) on Thursday November 17, 2011 @09:51AM (#38085472)

    US patents filed after 1995 are for a term of 20 years from the filing date, which was changed from 17 years from the issue date to align with the WTO.

    Fixed that for you. Many patents lose time from this change, since it frequently takes more than three years for a patent to be issued. This patent, though, does gain about 6 months.

  • by afidel (530433) on Thursday November 17, 2011 @10:02AM (#38085600)
    Apple sued Samsung first AFAICT.
  • by icebraining (1313345) on Thursday November 17, 2011 @10:07AM (#38085656) Homepage

    So, did the Loran connected to the Internet in 89? From what network was that information retrieved in real time? Seriously, read the patent.

  • by rtfa-troll (1340807) on Thursday November 17, 2011 @10:19AM (#38085818)

    I haven't seen many cases where Apple was the first to enter into litigation.

    Gapes in stunned amazement. Let's just name some of the most famous cases where Apple sued first to try to stop competition.

    • Apple vs Microsoft; the classic "look and feel case"
    • Apple vs Samsung; actually many times over.
    • Apple vs Psystar
    • Apple vs HTC
    • Apple vs Nuevas Tecnologias y Energias Catala

    I think we could even really claim Nokia vs Apple - in the sense that Apple clearly threatened Nokia first and Nokia just responded. I wouldn't be surprised if Motorola vs Apple couldn't be counted in the same category.

    Apple behaves like a rabid dog when it comes to lawsuits.

  • Re:You are here... (Score:5, Informative)

    by Maury Markowitz (452832) on Thursday November 17, 2011 @11:33AM (#38086912) Homepage

    OMG, read the patent! Sheesh, they even linked to it so it was ONLY ONE CLICK AWAY. And you still didn't bother!

    The patent does NOT cover location determination, so your entire argument is moon. It DOES cover the combination of location information with the on-line lookup of relevant information. To whit:

    "The coordinate entry is transmitted to the distributed network for retrieval of corresponding location specific information. The location specific information may reside on a web page."

    The patent dates to 1998, so I seriously doubt that there's prior art. Certainly the mobile networks simply did not exist, and the web itself was still getting started. There's certainly examples of geotagged DB systems from this era, but I don't recall one being used to do web queries.

    This looks exactly as nuclear as the pundits are saying.

It's a naive, domestic operating system without any breeding, but I think you'll be amused by its presumption.

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