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Iphone Patents Apple

Apple Patents Using Apps During Calls 434

Posted by Soulskill
from the that-sounds-a-great-idea dept.
bizwriter writes "Apple has had quite a week in patents for the iPhone, and it's only Tuesday. First was the victory at the International Trade Commission over HTC. And now there's a shiny new patent on switching to an app during a live phone call (#8,082,523). There may be non-infringing ways of doing something similar, but they probably will be clumsy in comparison."
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Apple Patents Using Apps During Calls

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  • Prior art (Score:5, Informative)

    by Lexx Greatrex (1160847) * on Tuesday December 20, 2011 @08:26PM (#38442620) Homepage Journal
    The IBM Simon was a touch screen smartphone with features identical to those claimed in this patent. It was first announced in 1992. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IBM_Simon [wikipedia.org]
    • Re:Prior art (Score:5, Informative)

      by Fjandr (66656) on Tuesday December 20, 2011 @08:33PM (#38442692) Homepage Journal

      That's far older than the other obvious prior art: BlackBerry.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Aye, been using that on my blackberry for years.... hit back, switch app and boom - still talking and using an app

        • by symbolset (646467) * on Wednesday December 21, 2011 @03:20AM (#38445420) Journal

          A method, comprising: at a portable electronic device...

          All of these software patents require a device to instantiate. So sell a mobile phone that downloads on activation all of the OS and user experience. The device on sale doesn't violate the patents because it doesn't include the feature, and the software download that includes the feature doesn't either because the patent requires a device and the software doesn't include a device.

          Problem solved. Maybe I should patent that - but I won't.

      • Re:Prior art (Score:4, Informative)

        by EdIII (1114411) on Tuesday December 20, 2011 @09:15PM (#38443128)

        I was about to say that.

        On a call I can press the back button and it will ask me if I want to "Continue Call and exit to the home screen". I can run any app I want from that point all with the icons.

        Been using it for years now to get phone numbers for people, or look at some email, etc.

        For the record, this patent was filed on January 6, 2008.

        I know that the Pearl and Curve were released to market well before that date and had the same functionality from what I recall. I can't link to a manual or anything, but I distinctly remember being able to access other applications and data very easily while on the phone.

        • Re:Prior art (Score:5, Insightful)

          by icebike (68054) * on Tuesday December 20, 2011 @09:57PM (#38443422)

          Actually you could do this on the old Razr moto phones from the feature phone era.

          I suspect Apple is hanging their hat on the phrase "portable electronic device with a touch screen display", believing that doing what had been done all along somehow becomes new and patent-able simply because you added a touch screen into the mix.

          I think this gets tossed the first time they try to enforce it.

          • Re:Prior art (Score:5, Informative)

            by Zero_DgZ (1047348) on Tuesday December 20, 2011 @10:09PM (#38443502)

            I'm sure there's a lot more prior art even than that. My N900 can do this via the touchscreen. You can also switch apps any time when anything else is going on by pressing ctrl + backspace, which even breaks you out of things that are "supposed" to be full screen only. It doesn't predate the release of the original iPhone, but I think its release and certainly its development predates the filing of this patent.

            Harken back to the dark days of the original Windows CE/PocketPC based smartphones, many of which had touchscreens (like the PPC version of the Treo) and all of which supported multitasking and had nothing preventing you from tapping Start and going on your merry way to do something else while in a call.

            Even my old Samsung R450 let you do limited stuff while in a call, like get at your address book, notes, and calculator.

        • To be honest, I'd be rather surprised to see a smartphone that DIDN'T support this functionality. I'm 50% sure WinMobile had this functionality too, because I used one of those for nearly two years and lacking the ability to do anything else during a call would have pissed me off to no end...

      • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 20, 2011 @10:06PM (#38443476)

        That's far older than the other obvious prior art: BlackBerry.

        You misspelled Palm.

      • Re:Prior art (Score:4, Insightful)

        by perryizgr8 (1370173) on Wednesday December 21, 2011 @01:01AM (#38444648)

        and symbian.

    • No where on that page does it say you can take a phone call, and switch to one of the other apps will still on the call.
    • by itamihn (1213328)

      I was also switching to apps during calls in Symbian with My Nokia 6680. And for sure, the iPhone was not born yet by that time.

      • by pmontra (738736)

        So did my old N70 (I seem to remember). After all these years of patent trolling I don't assume anymore that companies do obvious mistakes when filing patents. In this case the patent is for a "portable electronic device with a touch screen display" and those phone didn't have a touchscreen. So they don't qualify as previous art.

    • Doubtful (Score:4, Insightful)

      by SuperKendall (25149) on Tuesday December 20, 2011 @08:35PM (#38442718)

      Do the other applications on that phone change appearance when a phone call is in progress? It would seem not.

      What the patent really is going after is the header during a phone call that says "touch to return to call" when you are in applications. I actually think working around this would be pretty easy for any Android device that had software buttons, because you could put the call indicator/return button there... they key is just modifying the UI of the running app during a phone call.

      However, even though you can work around it it's still a stupid patent to have granted... The only problem is all of the big companies have such troves of patents now that will any of them be willing to give up the power a majority of the patents currently hold?

      • Re:Doubtful (Score:5, Informative)

        by scot4875 (542869) on Tuesday December 20, 2011 @09:40PM (#38443314) Homepage

        Do the other applications on that phone change appearance when a phone call is in progress? It would seem not.

        But even if those phones' applications don't, Android phones' do. Not only does the notification area show the state of the phone call, but the individual applications can query the state of the phone and update their interface if they want. Most don't, because it's generally an unnecessary and barely used feature anyway.

        --Jeremy

    • I'm sure there's a particular detail that means that it is not valid as prior art. Of course, the other way around, Apple's patent will in fact cover that device and any other device. Especially Android ones.

      At this point I wish the 'open handset alliance' would just do what other companies do - let their enthusiast hackerbase make packages available with the firmware / system / applications that would otherwise have their devices banned or costing them in licensing.

      Let's see Apple/Microsoft/Motorala/Noki

      • Re:Prior art (Score:5, Insightful)

        by russotto (537200) on Tuesday December 20, 2011 @09:15PM (#38443124) Journal

        I'm sure there's a particular detail that means that it is not valid as prior art. Of course, the other way around, Apple's patent will in fact cover that device and any other device. Especially Android ones.

        Right. Prior art is interpreted narrowly; any minor difference is enough to invalidate it. Claims, on the other hand, are interpreted broadly; any way of shoehorning the proposed infringing device into the scope of the patent claim is accepted. So it's easy to get a patent that covers things done in exactly the same way as the prior art.

      • by PopeRatzo (965947) *

        At this point I wish the 'open handset alliance' would just do what other companies do - let their enthusiast hackerbase make packages available with the firmware / system / applications that would otherwise have their devices banned or costing them in licensing.

        From your mouth to Buddha's ears.

        Not that he gives a flying fuck, but maybe he can have a word with Zeus, who will totally send a lightening bolt to turn the US Patent Office and every patent lawyer worldwide into a smoking ruin. Now that I think a

    • Re:Prior art (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Fjandr (66656) on Tuesday December 20, 2011 @08:40PM (#38442778) Homepage Journal

      Addendum to my previous comment:

      Ah, the filing date does precede the BlackBerry when used with a touchscreen. So, since the method of selecting the app is the only difference, someone needs to file a patent on a method of switching to an app via spoken word, wireless neural net, holographic interface, etc.

      A patent being differentiated by flipping a switch with your finger versus flipping the switch with a stick is not a significant enough difference to warrant a patent. The USPTO needs to be burned to the ground, the ground salted, and the patent reviewers driven underground to live forevermore as the troglodytes they really are*.

      *Hyperbole.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      I think the prior art clause died a month or two ago. Legislation was signed that turned the whole thing into a "first to file" system. I hope I'm waaaaaaay off base.

      • Re:Prior art (Score:5, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 20, 2011 @09:00PM (#38442982)

        I think the prior art clause died a month or two ago. Legislation was signed that turned the whole thing into a "first to file" system. I hope I'm waaaaaaay off base.

        You are. Prior art is just as relevant as before w/r/t novelty, first-to-file only affects the case where multiple entities apply for patents on the same valid (i.e. novel, non-obvious, etc. invention.

        I could explain at more length, as I did to the two people I've previously corrected on this, but it's getting old. How long till we can have one article about patents without this silly misconception coming up?

    • by netsavior (627338)
      Also Treo, blackberry, Hiptop(sidekick), those are only the ones I happened to have owned.
    • Re:Prior art (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 20, 2011 @08:59PM (#38442964)

      It's about time all these stupid patents were dismissed.

      Can you imagine what the car would be like if they had all these stupid patents in place. You can't use wheels, can't use steering wheel, can't even as much as use a wind shield, and the stupid list would go on. Maybe a triangular shape that cannot take passengers springs to mind.

      The dumb assess should be thrown out, prior art or whatever. Bunch of losers.

    • by mug funky (910186)

      my banged up old nokia is quite good at this too. the only inconvenience is pulling the phone away from my ear.

    • My Nokia N73 from back in 2006 could do that and that was not the first Symbian S60 based device.

    • by JSBiff (87824) on Wednesday December 21, 2011 @01:03AM (#38444658) Journal

      First off, we really need to draw a line in the sand here: A modern phone is just a very small, battery powered computer. EVERYTHING that's ever been done on other computers before it was done by Apple on the iPhone should count as prior art unless the courts are completely retarded.. Apple tries to get around this by specifying in the patent a "mobile device", but that's a false distinguisher. Since mobile devices are computers, anything done on a computer should count as prior art.

      Therefore:

      Windows has been multi-tasking and allowing task switching since the 80's. Unix since the 70's (or late 60's?). Every computer system has had a menu button on the keyboard or a menu icon on screen to allow you to task switch.

      Specifying a specific type of app to task switch is completely moronic. Your OS supports task switching or it doesn't. What's next, the "Task switching from a Word Processor app" patent? The "Task switching from a web browser app" patent? Task switching from a game, or calculator, or spreadsheet, or database, or email client?

  • Are reviewing Patents nowadays?

    • Apple invented a document stamping machine a while back which can take a stack of patent request forms and stamp "approved" on them.
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by ClickOnThis (137803)

        Apple invented a document stamping machine a while back which can take a stack of patent request forms and stamp "approved" on them.

        I doubt it. The PTO itself has prior art on that.

        • by dudpixel (1429789)

          Apple invented a document stamping machine a while back which can take a stack of patent request forms and stamp "approved" on them.

          I doubt it. The PTO itself has prior art on that.

          true, but do you think they'd discover this?

          Prior art is what the opponent shows the judge during a court case. The PTO dont have time to look for such silly stuff...

          It seems to be the courts, and not the PTO that determine the validity of patents these days...and even then it depends on what mood the judge is in at the time.

    • by jd (1658) <imipakNO@SPAMyahoo.com> on Tuesday December 20, 2011 @08:42PM (#38442822) Homepage Journal

      The USPO doesn't review patents. It makes them available in case anyone wants to complain (there's a year window for that) but they leave it up to the courts to handle the legality of patents. The problem is, the courts defer to the USPO and assumes they've handled the legality of patents. If someone actually took responsibility for patents, there probably wouldn't be the current mess.

    • by tqk (413719)

      Who the heck (what 1 million monkeys) are reviewing Patents nowadays?

      It does appear that whether you can patent something or not is dependent upon nothing whatsoever. Prior art and obviousness don't appear to matter. All that's necessary is an ignorant patent examiner, and they appear to be all there are. Then, once you get it, file suit in East Texas, and extort your competitors.

      "Apple Patents Using Apps During Calls" ... What programmer isn't going to see this as merely calling a subroutine upon some specific event happening?

      All hail the New American Way.

  • by Computershack (1143409) on Tuesday December 20, 2011 @08:31PM (#38442676)
    This is just getting stupid beyond the point of belief. Next they'll be trying to patent using a battery to power the phone.

    What they don't realise though is that shit like this puts people off. Certainly my 3 year old MBP is about ready for replacement whilst it still has some resale value and I am seriously considering whether to give my money to these asshats. Plenty of corporate grade laptops with the same quality for the same money and I'm as happy running Linux as I am OS X.

    • by Shakrai (717556) * on Tuesday December 20, 2011 @08:44PM (#38442844) Journal

      What they don't realise though is that shit like this puts people off.

      Who does this "put off" other than techno-geeks that read sites like /.? I don't think the average consumer is taking Apple's heavy-handed patent tactics into account when they are picking out their next smartphone. This is a win-win for Apple; they make it cumbersome for their competitors to have basic functionality on their devices and can use said cumbersomeness to argue that their products are more consumer friendly. Meanwhile nobody outside of communities like this one cares about the tactics they are using. Heck, even within this community we've got our share of apologists for Apple/Google/Microsoft/other-boogieman-of-the-day.

      In the long term this argues in favor of patent reform. That will be an uphill battle though; most policymakers are woefully ignorant about this issue and even the ones who are well informed don't find it a sexy enough issue to spend political capital on. One can only hope this issue becomes more mainstream as the court system bogs down under the load of nonsense patent litigation.

    • by bussdriver (620565) on Tuesday December 20, 2011 @08:46PM (#38442860)

      I want this cold-war style phone war to end in everybody getting sued into oblivion! Maybe the crooks in government will fix the patent system when their kids can't buy a new smart phone anymore.

    • I feel ashamed now, I also bought their products and give them this kind of power. And.. after all these years in development Linux really is a viable option now, technically speaking.
    • don't joke, they actually have a patent on soldering the battery in.

      (I'm less than half serious. how much, you'd have to ask apple: as telling you over a posted-message is also patented...)

  • If only... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    Apple could die like jobs.

    Because this crap is getting silly.

  • by wierd_w (1375923) on Tuesday December 20, 2011 @08:39PM (#38442772)

    Apple is just doing what it thinks it should. Patenting everything in a litany of the obvious, before somebody else can.

    Next up, if it hasn't already been patented by somebody: sending a still to a call recipient in mid conversation by activating the phone's camera, or sending a live feed from the camera to the other party while talking.

    Perfect for those times when your wife sends you to the store for "things" while she is busy attending to her aunt flo', and you need a little clarification about which one she needs again...

    Or, for those moments when you are peacfully protesting in sanfransico, and the police forcibly disperse you. Multitasking by giving a statement to the press while simultaneously sending scoop footage to the reporter can sure come in handy.

  • ...multi-tasking hardware has been around for a while. Hell, I started off on one such device (the PET 3032 with 4040 disk drive was multi-tasking as the 4040 had an independent CPU, ROM and RAM, so you could feed it an instruction and it would independently go away to do stuff without tying up the main CPU). I see nothing particularly new or innovative in the concept.

    I dunno if the Amulet CPU can multi-task at the hardware level (versus OS multi-tasking in software) but the modular nature of it means I wou

  • If you want to do business with me, come to Canada. I'm not setting foot in the legal nightmare that is the US with my business.

  • by axlr8or (889713) on Tuesday December 20, 2011 @08:42PM (#38442816)
    Taking a shit while using a phone? I wanna do that. You know, maybe if we just spread a little butter on these people, they will eat each other and their children. Sounds good to me.
    • Please someone! write an app that can detect and remove the sound of me taking a shit (and the toilet flushing).

      I will buy whatever phone it runs on. If you need motivation for this innovation, you can patent it--- when the revolution comes, I will make sure there's a special clause that means that your patent remains valid.

  • Apple deserves no good will from anybody.

    But the freakish cult of Apple zealots will defend Apple anyway.

    • sony deserves no good will from anybody.

      But the freakish cult of sony zealots will defend sony anyway.

      works for many companies. but who, here, is actively avoiding sony products? oh, they make some kind of game that teenagers simply cannot live without. riiiiiight.

      same with apple. shit that fans cannot live without, no matter how much evil they do.

      btw, shiny white plastic causes evil to not stick to it, didn't you know that? rounded corners stop also repel evil spirits.

  • by Dan East (318230) on Tuesday December 20, 2011 @08:43PM (#38442834) Homepage Journal

    In that case, who holds the patent for using apps not during phone calls? What about a patent for using apps when Wifi is on? Or Bluetooth?

  • by James McP (3700) on Tuesday December 20, 2011 @08:45PM (#38442848)

    For the love of god, who is doing prior art searches? Drunken tweeners who don't know how to use Google?!?

  • by Scowler (667000) on Tuesday December 20, 2011 @08:48PM (#38442878)
    Our US Patent Office is economically incentivized to approve patent applications, regardless of their merits. If a patent review officer approves a patent application, that means revenue rolling into the institution as the patent is granted and registered. If the patent application is denied, that means outgoing $ as the applicant may litigate the matter and/or appeal.

    If our "forward"-thinking Congress really wants to do something about patent reform, they should change the economic model of our patent office, such that the funding of the office is neutral in regards to whether patent applications are approved or denied.

    • by Scowler (667000) on Tuesday December 20, 2011 @09:05PM (#38443018)
      Just to follow up, a few ideas that I wish Congress would consider...

      #1 Force more patent application appeals into arbitration, and away from the court system. Make the applicant pay for the cost of the arbitrator.

      #2 Change the accounting model. Proceeds from granted patent applications should NOT count as revenue towards the patent office and its continued operations, but should directly go into the US treasury.

      #3 Provide a formal process for taking into account newly found prior art for patents already granted, including an arbitration process that has the power to revoke such patent. The arbitrator should show some deference to the granted patent, of course, and the cost of such a process should fall squarely on whichever entity is trying to get the patent erased from existence. This would, however, provide us all a way to quantify how well all the attorneys and lawyers involved in a patent application are doing: how many times have they had a patent revoked due to lazy research and missing prior art?

      • by green1 (322787)

        How about charging a higher application fee, but no registration fee. That way the patent office doesn't have any incentive either way as to whether to grant the patent or not, but still gets money to keep in operation. Might also help with people filling patents they know shouldn't be granted, because they'd know they have to pay the full cost even if it's rejected.

        • by Scowler (667000)
          I thought about something like this, but discarded it because it seems like it would be too advantageous towards larger corporations, that can afford big upfront fees in terms of numerous patent applications, but that smaller businesses and individuals would find daunting. I believe a good solution here would not discourage anyone from filing, just discourage them from being lazy in terms of prior art research.

          Granted, at the end of the day, it's the same thing in practical terms... i.e. you are paying m

        • by Nethemas the Great (909900) on Wednesday December 21, 2011 @12:04AM (#38444272)
          How about changes the duration of patents from 20 years to 2 years. When these damn things stop looking like assets on a balance sheet companies will move on to other forms of mischief and we can get on with the job of innovation.
          • by green1 (322787) on Wednesday December 21, 2011 @02:39AM (#38445198)

            To be perfectly honest, I'd abolish them altogether. I honestly do not believe they are necessary for innovation. I believe that people will still make the "better mousetrap" without being able to patent it simply so that they can make money selling it. First to market is often worth a lot.

            As for the benefit of documenting your invention in the patent for when it becomes public domain, that pretty much vanished years ago anyway, and even if not, reverse engineering is often more reliable than reading the patent document anyway.

          • In Norway in the 1800's a patent would be granted different durations depending on how important and how ingenious the patent office considered the patent.

            Also, a patent that was not used or licensed out within the first three years after it was granted was considered invalidated and open for everyone.
  • Slightly Sensational (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Voltage Spike (643170) on Tuesday December 20, 2011 @08:50PM (#38442898)

    This patent covers two items that I am not familiar with today.

    1) The application list is displayed alongside the call controls so that you have immediate access to call functions while browsing applications.

    2) Applications become call-aware and offer a button to change back to the "phone application" somewhere in the interface.

    Android doesn't implement these features, and they are not entirely desirable anyway. I'd much rather have a single interface to accessing applications (hit the home button and then use the shortcut I'm familiar with), and I prefer to have a link to the phone call in the notifications where it is always available.

    So a little sensational, but the patent doesn't cover ground-shaking ideas.

    • Android doesn't care ... there is a status bar which switches you back to the phone anytime.

      This is a dumb patent, right up there with swinging a swing. "One a Phone" is the new "on the internet" patent opportunity.

    • by exomondo (1725132) on Tuesday December 20, 2011 @09:22PM (#38443174)

      1) The application list is displayed alongside the call controls so that you have immediate access to call functions while browsing applications.

      Where was that in the patent? I saw icon replacement and switching but not displaying an application list alongside call controls:

      displaying on the touch screen display a first user interface for a phone application during a phone call; detecting activation of a menu icon or menu button during the phone call, in response to detecting activation of the menu icon or menu button, replacing the first user interface for the phone application with a menu of application icons

      2) Applications become call-aware and offer a button to change back to the "phone application" somewhere in the interface.

      I couldn't see that in the patent application, it specifies that there would be a button to change back to the phone application but not that applications would be aware of or include it.

      It does say:
      modifying the corresponding application user interface to include a switch application icon

      Which could presumably include it listed as a 'toast' notification icon at the top like windows phone does.

      • replacing the first user interface for the phone application with a menu of application icons

        So, as long as the task switcher doesn't use app icons, it's good?

        Ironically, that would (probably) make Android 2.x infringing, but not Honeycomb & ICS - the latter use thumbnails in the task switcher rather than icons. Maybe it'll finally force Android manufacturers to update quicker, at least for the phones that are still selling. ~

  • This seems about as obvious as walking and chewing gum at the same time - maybe I should patent that, 'prior art' or no, and get rich for a bullshit-trivial idea. The patent office needs to grow a pair; and all the C-levels and lawyers of all of the corporations that are trying to lock down the very air we breathe, ought to be bare-ass spanked and sent to bed without supper every day for a year. Irresponsible snot-nosed brats with entitlement issues, every single one.
  • Evil enough yet? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Coolhand2120 (1001761) on Tuesday December 20, 2011 @09:03PM (#38443006)
    And exactly when does Apple receive the moniker: "Lord of all evil"? Can we vote to change Apple's logo on /. to a spinning flaming skull circa interweb 1999? Can someone please tell me what it is that Apple has innovated? Not only did they not make their own OS (last I checked FreeBSD is not a product of Apple inc.) but they steal from the open source community. (Logic:if they don't plan on playing nice they really don't deserve to benefit from the eons of man hours that went into creating the OS they so arrogantly tout as their own. That's just my opinion of course.) So what exactly did Apple innovate, invent or create? All I see here is a more up to date version of the windows mobile phones that came out in the late 90's.

    Everything they've "invented" is nothing but mashups of technologies that already exist in software frameworks made by people other than Apple. Even the combinations they've selected existed long before the iPhone was created. Voice controlled AI? Ya, we were already doing that a long time before Apple abandoned their PPC hardware platform for the "not as good as the PPC" Intel platform. They are a decade late to the smart phone race, but they claim to be the most prolific innovators in the market. Anyone with even a cursory knowledge of the patents involved know without equivocation that Apple's arguments are worse than baseless, they are an insult to anyone who has used this technology for the last 20 years. And now they aim to cripple their competition, not thorough making a better product, but by using the perverted rule of law as a cudgel to prevent fair competition.

    Apple really is the new root of all that is evil.
    • by whisper_jeff (680366) on Tuesday December 20, 2011 @10:11PM (#38443524)

      And exactly when does Apple receive the moniker: "Lord of all evil"?

      And exactly when will the average slashdot reader learn the real meaning of the word "evil"?

      • Re:Evil enough yet? (Score:5, Informative)

        by Coolhand2120 (1001761) on Wednesday December 21, 2011 @03:18AM (#38445404)
        From: http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/evil [reference.com]
        evil [ee-vuhl]
        adjective
        1. morally wrong or bad; immoral; wicked: evil deeds; an evil life. (Apple)
        2. harmful; injurious: evil laws. (Apple)
        3. characterized or accompanied by misfortune or suffering; unfortunate; disastrous: to be fallen on evil days.
        4.due to actual or imputed bad conduct or character: an evil reputation. (Apple)
        5.marked by anger, irritability, irascibility, etc.: He is known for his evil disposition.

        Three out of five!
  • by C_Kode (102755) on Tuesday December 20, 2011 @09:06PM (#38443030) Journal

    The idiots who approve stupid patents like this should be held libel for court costs when a company has to go to court to get them overturned.

  • What if Tesla had patented AC? Where the hell would all these idiots be then? For christ's sake US gov, do something about this. It is ridiculous!
    • Re:Electricity (Score:5, Insightful)

      by prefec2 (875483) on Tuesday December 20, 2011 @10:05PM (#38443472)

      Why should they do something. Such patents are the only thing US companies have to fight on international markets. All beside the design of the iPhone comes from South Korea, China, Japan, or Taiwan. The display and the video processor is from Samsung or LG, the A5 is an ARM-based design manufactured by Samsung, the touchscreen is from Balda AG a German company which produces in China (so the manufacturing skill are in Chinese hands), Bluetooth comes from the UK, the Baseband IC comes from Infineon, etc. Apple only provides design and the software. And most of the hardware comes from outside the US. Dominantly from Taiwan, but also from South Korea, Japan, and Germany. If the US would let go of the patent system, they would lose more ground. as they already lost production skills to Taiwan and China, and they lost development skills to Taiwan. The remaining US parts are WiFi-chip, touch-control chip, CMOS and flash IC, which are also available from non-US companies. The US has first to start to be innovative again, before it will be beneficiary to let go of such rigid patent system. Or they have to fool around a little longer, so they are overtaken on all fields by Asia and then drop the patent thing, as the US has to pay.

  • Apple patent filing date: Jan 2008

    First Android ships with said feature implemented: Oct 2008

  • by PortHaven (242123) on Tuesday December 20, 2011 @09:42PM (#38443334) Homepage

    Is a company with balls...

    "Patents, we don't need no stinkin' patents."

    COURT: You must respect patents.

    COMPANY: "You just lost patent refinery #'s 1, 2 & 3."

    Seriously, patents need to go the way of the buffalo. No company should be allowed to own a patent. Just individual inventors.

  • by PortHaven (242123) on Tuesday December 20, 2011 @09:50PM (#38443382) Homepage

    Everyone is saying there is nothing new here. But not the patent. It's the ability to do these things and now use a finger gesture.

    Um, that may be harder to find prior art for. But I think I've found an example of prior art for Apple that's been used since the advent of mobile phones used in cars.

    m|m

  • by PopeRatzo (965947) * on Tuesday December 20, 2011 @11:22PM (#38443918) Homepage Journal

    I'm curious: Have any of you committed Apple fans started to see that there is just something fundamentally wrong with Apple's behavior regarding these patents? Is there any point at which you would say, "You know, this crosses a line, and I just can't support this company any more. They've provided me with a lot of pleasure over the years and their products really made me feel good, but this is just too much. I won't give my money to a company that is dedicated to using a shitty law to kill competition. If there had been a company doing what Apple is doing in 1981, there never would have been a Macintosh or an OSX or an iPhone. They're not the only company doing this, but I'm just not going to be a fan of any company that does."?

    Or have all you pole-smokers just decided you're going to turn yourselves into human shields and protect Apple's quarterly profits at any price, even at the cost of further innovation in the future by any company not named "Apple"? Will you just rationalize it all with "It's just the way business is done" and dutifully line up days before the iPhone is released, believing that the ends justify the means?

    Seriously, I'm wondering if there's any breaking point, or would Apple actually have to start massacring babies and puppies before you'd consider taking Steve Jobs' corpse's rusty trombone out of your mouth long enough to draw a breath?

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