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Apple Wins Patent For "iWallet" 176

Posted by samzenpus
from the pay-different dept.
redletterdave writes "Apple won a major patent for its 'iWallet' technology, which is a digital system that uses near-field communication (NFC) technology to complete credit card transactions and manage subsidiary financial accounts directly on your iPhone. On the home screen for iWallet, users can see their entire credit card profiles, statements, messages from their banks, and even adjust preferences or add additional cards. Within preferences, users can schedule credit card payments and set parental controls on their children, which allows kids to use their iPhones as wallets but limits the extent to which they can use it. Users can track their payments and statements within the iTunes billing system, which keeps the credit card information safe and secure."
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Apple Wins Patent For "iWallet"

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  • lame (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 07, 2012 @08:17PM (#39282365)

    Once again, another lame patent blocking innovation

  • Great..... (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 07, 2012 @08:18PM (#39282377)

    Now I can lose my phone, camera, AND my wallet in one fell swoop?!?!?!?!?!

    Whats next... iPhone car keys?

    • by MosX (773406)

      Losing this would generally be safer than using your wallet (when it comes to someone less than honorable finding it) if you have a decent pin/passcode on your phone.

      • I think the point is the double-edged-sword of integrating everything in to a single device. Even if your accounts are safe, leaving your wallet on the counter would also mean losing things that you would never normally have removed from your pocket/bag in the first place.

        • by evilRhino (638506)
          I would imagine that the iWallet could be remotely revoked.
          • by PeanutButterBreath (1224570) on Wednesday March 07, 2012 @09:13PM (#39282847)

            I would imagine that the iWallet could be remotely revoked.

            Sure. Say you reach for your iWallet to buy a coffee and realize that you left it at the news stand 10 minutes earlier. Fortunately, you have the ability to remotely disable access to your accounts. So, you just pull out your smart phone and. . .ruh-roh!

            Meanwhile, the clerk at the news stand sees that your iWallet has been left behind. Being an honest sort, he decides to try to reunite the device with its owner by calling. . .ruh-roh!

            • by Asic Eng (193332)

              There is something which I hope could be added to Android. Basically a modification to the screen lock which works in conjunction with a Bluetooth device - as soon as the phone is out of reach of the device the screen lock would kick in - you could use any Bluetooth device, e.g. a headset. There is code implementing this available for Ubuntu, it should be possible to port this to Android.

              Going one step further it would be nice to have a dedicated piece of hardware which authenticates using cryptographic

              • There is something which I hope could be added to Android. Basically a modification to the screen lock which works in conjunction with a Bluetooth device - as soon as the phone is out of reach of the device the screen lock would kick in - you could use any Bluetooth device, e.g. a headset. There is code implementing this available for Ubuntu, it should be possible to port this to Android.

                Have you seen Tasker for Android?
                https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=net.dinglisch.android.taskerm [google.com]

                -AI

      • by rtb61 (674572)

        iWallet making life simpler for iMuggers. Losing you wallet ain't the problem having your tender fragile body at the same remote location as access to all your accounts is the problem. "The iWallet would certainly be a "killer app" on the iPhone 5" I mean they don't even stop to think how that could literally be true.

    • OK, there is an issue that has to be overcome, I'll get to that in a moment.

      Rather than load a real credit card number into an "iWallet" use a temporary generated by your bank's online banking service. These temporaries, alias for the real card number, often have a user defined limit and expiration date so you can limit the risk as you deem appropriate.

      The issue to overcome: these temporary numbers were designed to be used for online purchases. They tend to lock to the first vendor to use the number.
      • by bluemonq (812827)

        "A more practical short term solution may be to use the debit card number for your checking account."

        That's a fantastically terrible idea. There's a lot of fewer protections if you debit card info gets swiped than for credit cards. You might as well use a prepaid cash card so that the only money you lose is whatever was on the card, and that's assuming you aren't able to revoke it.

        • by perpenso (1613749)

          "A more practical short term solution may be to use the debit card number for your checking account." That's a fantastically terrible idea. There's a lot of fewer protections if you debit card info gets swiped than for credit cards. You might as well use a prepaid cash card so that the only money you lose is whatever was on the card, and that's assuming you aren't able to revoke it.

          I use my checking account debit card like a prepaid cash card. My paycheck goes elsewhere and I transfer to checking/debit as needed.

          Once I started using the debit card rather than cash at gas stations, fast food, coffee shops, lunch-time restaurants, convenience stores, etc I stopped dumping the entire paycheck in there. Apologies for not pointing this out earlier. I thought this was a somewhat common idea these days. I think these smaller and less technically sophisticated vendors are a security issue

          • off topic: what is it with these multiple accounts inside an account that other countries have? In the UK my bank account is my bank account and all cheques, cash, debit cards and transactions just point to it. Remember trying to use a cash machine in australia and it asked my what account inside my account i wanted to take the money out of and I just kept pressing buttons until it gave me some. Mind blown!

            • by St.Creed (853824)

              Banks limit damages if they split accounts. For instance, if you have the bulk of your money in a savings account with a 1-day delay for transfers, you have a 1-day grace period in which to report cards stolen and have them blocked, without the bulk of your life savings disappearing into foreign accounts.

              Also, banks make more money off the split accounts because they give you a savings account that pays interest and a normal account that does not. Saves them only a small amount on each account but these sma

      • by KhabaLox (1906148)

        Like my sibling post says, using a debit card is terrible. Lose your phone and your bank account will be drained with no recourse.

        I've seen this idea coming for a while now, though I thought it would be the carriers who would take on the roll of creditor. As this progresses, Apple will realize that they are losing margin by allowing Visa and MC to handle the credit too. Why only get 30% from the purchase of the app when you can get 33-35% by being the creditor? I just hope the Regulators wake up in time an

    • Whats next... iPhone car keys?

      There are already keys that unlock your car from your pocket when you're within a certain radius; phone integration is definitely coming down the pike. If the NFC punters have their way, your phone might even control your driving preferences [nfcworld.com].

  • by bit trollent (824666) on Wednesday March 07, 2012 @08:20PM (#39282385) Homepage

    Google has had an electronic NFC based wallet in the market for almost a year now.

    I assume now that Apple has patented a technology that Google developed, they will extort Google to pay them for them for writing software hadn't even developed yet.

    At least now that Steve Jobs is dead, Apple is willing to license patents to Google instead of just trying to sue them into extinction.

    Somebody should congratulate Apple on becoming more evil than Microsoft.

    • Add Barclaycard (and thus Visa) into the mix... who have had payment by contactless cards far years... ...I wonder how Apple would manage if Visa threatened to stop taking their transactions?

      (Won't happen... but an interesting side thought...)

      • by Microlith (54737)

        No, they'll just attack all the Android handset vendors if they dare offer anything in terms of configuration options that are obvious given the problem set.

      • If your Barclaycard has an exploit and someone uses it to steal your money, Visa will give it all back in a heart beat. Someone hacks your iPhone.. good luck...
      • by KhabaLox (1906148)

        See my other post. Apple will buy Visa, or simply develop their own credit system. Why let the 3% Visa is collecting on every App Store transaction get away? And with iWallet, that 3% is of a much larger pie.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      The ridiculous part here is that Japan has been using the same technology for HOW MANY years now?

    • by Nixoloco (675549)

      Don't hate the player, hate the game.
    • by Wakko Warner (324)

      Is it just me, or has Apple become as bad as, if not worse than, the Microsoft of the 1990s?

      • 1984

      • by jo_ham (604554)

        It's just you.

        Well, you and a large proportion of /.

  • by Chemisor (97276) on Wednesday March 07, 2012 @08:21PM (#39282393)

    Great. Here's another technology that nobody will be allowed to use for the next 20 years.

  • by Microlith (54737) on Wednesday March 07, 2012 @08:23PM (#39282419)

    And if you've ever wondered why Japan and Europe have had things like this for ages but we're just now seeing a glimmer of it here, it's because of stuff like this. No one ever gets ahead without someone tossing a landmine in your path and asking for their pound of flesh.

    I see that the site actually useful for linking, Patently Apple, is getting their monopoly fetish on. From the sounds of things, they've managed to patent the entire concept out from under everyone else. They've managed to claim ownership over the concept of configuring accounts and placing various transaction rules on them.

    So no one else can do that without Apple attacking them. I can't wait to have the entirety of NFC payments reserved exclusively to Apple devices, or Apple demanding exorbitant per-device fees for the ability to do so.

    • by MrDoh! (71235)

      Hmm, so all you need to do is go to Japan, copy everything they do (afterall, there's working systems you can use as a template), go back to the US, and patent everything?
      Something seems broken (again) here!

    • by geekoid (135745)

      Americans are slow to pick up this kind of technology. It's been a problem for decades and it has nothing to do with patents.

      I would also like to point out that "things like this" is not this thing. So it's irrelevant to the NFC wallet in general.

      Do you think Europe and Japan don't have patents? or that they are irrelevant?

      • by Microlith (54737) on Wednesday March 07, 2012 @08:38PM (#39282567)

        Americans are slow to pick up this kind of technology. It's been a problem for decades and it has nothing to do with patents.

        Except that no NFC hardware has been on the market here for the better part of a decade, while it's been steadily rolled out and available elsewhere. The technology has, quite simply, not been available.

        Do you think Europe and Japan don't have patents? or that they are irrelevant?

        At least in Europe, software patents aren't valid. And in Japan, they seem to not have nearly the problems we do in the US with building and rolling out systems that are widely compatible between companies and regions. Here in the US a purely software pile of BS will block other vendors from distributing anything useful and open up everyone to legal assault, and deliberate incompatibilities and everyone demanding their own transaction fee and associated charge and alliance or it fails to work readily inhibits the adoption of new technologies and other customer-beneficial options.

        • by dkf (304284)

          At least in Europe, software patents aren't valid.

          You are wrong. Software patents are valid in Europe, but they've got to show that they're doing something genuinely new. If someone's doing something that's really 10–20 years ahead, it's really not a problem. The problem is when someone's getting a patent for work that is only 2 months ahead (or worse, years behind). Those sorts of patents (whether for software or otherwise) are a real blight as they end up as combination of a blight on the state of the art and a bunch of landmines.

          (What's the collec

    • by Kagetsuki (1620613) on Wednesday March 07, 2012 @08:40PM (#39282583)

      Posting because I tried to mod you "informative" but accidentally hit "redundant". Sorry.

      But yes, THIS. The origin of the technology is "FeliCa" which started development in 1988 and was released in 1994. At this point here in Japan I have my train pass and cash on my phone and IC based systems are used in so many places now I could basically get by with nothing but my phone and drivers license.

  • New disorder (Score:4, Insightful)

    by WillyWanker (1502057) on Wednesday March 07, 2012 @08:30PM (#39282479)

    iDisgust

    A severe form of dyspepsia triggered by any mention of the tech company Apple, particularly in regard to their wanton abuse of the patent and legal systems.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 07, 2012 @08:34PM (#39282531)

    http://www.patentlyapple.com/patently-apple/2012/03/apple-wins-patent-for-iwallet-the-one-that-will-rule-the-world.html

    "Apple has received a major Granted Patent that generally relates to establishing financial transaction rules for controlling a subsidiary financial account and, more particularly, to various systems, methods, and electronic devices configured to provide for the establishment of such rules."

    The rules basically come down to setting one account as a subsidiary of another, and the parent account then setting a system of spending rules and limits that apply to the subsidiary account. Optionally that these rules are transmitted to the bank as well, and applied generally outside of using the NFC as well.

    • Wow; parental controls for NFC spending. How revolutionary.

      • by JimboFBX (1097277)

        see, why weren't you stooping over the patent examiner's shoulder when he was reading it?

        They should require that patents be written in minimal english rather than obfuscated english.

        In apple's defense though, they probably had to re-develop their software over and over again when they found design holes. In contrast, a copy-cat only needs to design it once.

        I suppose the alternative to this is that your phone must provide unbridled access to you wallet app if you manage to unlock it. Or an perhaps having us

    • Good to know. I was about to comment on prior art with regards to the Visa PayWave system. Which BTW I've only been able to use in two places. All others that supposedly supported PayWave were either not setup properly, or were at one point and then disabled for whatever reason according to the clerk.

    • by Rich0 (548339)

      Ah, got it. So, Apple invented the V-chip then?

    • by thegarbz (1787294)

      So let me get this straight, Apple just got a patent for what has existed on debit cards for many years, and is already widely used in NFC by the likes of the Master Card Paypass system and likely the competitor from VISA as well?

  • by warp_kez (711090) on Wednesday March 07, 2012 @08:52PM (#39282681)

    The iWallet has been around for some time, long before NFE was even thought of.

    I have an iWallet, and I have had it for 20 years - I hold it out, and the wife, kid, and merchants take what they need/want.

  • .. is the cost of replacing the physical apparatus that you need to access it if the device should somehow be stolen or rendered inoperable.

    A physical wallet costs $6. While a nuisance to replace any of the identification lost, in practice, even this might run a person no more than about $40 or so.

    An iphone 4s starts at about $200.

    Guess which one I'm keeping my credit cards in?

    • by jo_ham (604554) <joham999@gma[ ]com ['il.' in gap]> on Wednesday March 07, 2012 @09:10PM (#39282825)

      *loses wallet*
      "Hello [$Bank]? Yes, I lost my wallet, can you cancel my card and send me a new one? A few days and it will arrive in the mail? Excellent!"

      *loses phone*
      *logs into Apple ID from any computer*
      *cancels card link to lost/stolen phone*
      *connects card to new phone*
      *continues life as normal, with minimum disruption to card access*

      This doesn't even need to be about Apple - NFC payments and "electronic wallets" are the future

      • *loses wallet*
        "Hello [$Bank]? Yes, I lost my wallet, can you cancel my card and send me a new one? A few days and it will arrive in the mail? Excellent!"

        *loses phone*
        *logs into Apple ID from any computer*
        *cancels card link to lost/stolen phone*
        *connects card to new phone*
        *continues life as normal, with minimum disruption to card access*

        Emphasis added.

        How do you buy the new phone if your lost phone was also your wallet?

        • By calling your insurance company and having them pay for it and send you a bill for the excess. Although last time I used insurance to replace a phone the whole thing took nearly a week before I had my new one
          • How do you call your insurance company if your lost wallet was also your phone?

            Okay, granted, there are various solutions to all of these problems. The point is that the existence of the problems at all undermines the supposed logic of these schemes.

            At the end of the day, phones cost much more than cards. Insuring a phone likely costs more than a card. Heck, I let my physical credit card insurance lapse years ago!

            Also, there are plenty of ways to commit credit card fraud without access to either a card o

      • Electronic currency is the future. Period.

        Lets review the 'pros' to this from the perspective of the Feds.

        1. Do not have to print, maintain, or transport physical currency.
        2. Easy to track along with a transaction log.
        3. Thwarts petty street crime. Anything bought or sold can be traced by police.
        4. Thwarts counterfeiters.
        5. Potential to thwart tax evasion by paying under the table. It also allows the Feds to confiscate funds electronically. All of it!
        6. Did I mention confiscation? I tool used to force behav

        • by mark-t (151149)

          Cost to replace a stolen iPhone - $200.

          Cost to replace a stolen credit card: $0.

          • Playing devil's advocate here. It could be argued that replacing a stolen credit card costs consumers more overall in hidden banking fees. Assuming for a moment an iWallet scheme is almost 100% secure with a stolen iPhone, the costs banks incur with an entire fraud division is more expensive.

      • *connects card to new phone*

        where did this magical new phone come from?

        it's more than a little hassle to have to purchase a new phone. if i order it online, i have to wait for it to be delivered same as waiting for a new credit card to be delivered. i could possibly drive to a store, but honestly, i'd rather wait a few days than have to spend an evening at the mall or whatever getting a new phone.

        that, and unless you are an apple zombie you will probably need to spend some time researching what phone to get before you plunk down $600.

        • by jo_ham (604554)

          You can leave the "apple zombie" stuff at the door. It adds nothing to your argument and simply weakens whatever you have to say.

          You seem to be inventing reasons that make it difficult - why research what phone to get. If it's stolen, the insurance company gets you a new one of the same type, and you're equating "an evening" at the mall to buy a new phone as more hassle than waiting for a new card or phone to arrive by mail?

          The phone doesn't have to be the sole method of account access - in the same way tha

      • *loses wallet*
        "Hello [$Bank]? Yes, I lost my wallet, can you cancel my card and send me a new one? A few days and it will arrive in the mail? Excellent!"

        *loses phone*
        *logs into Apple ID from any computer*
        *cancels card link to lost/stolen phone*
        *connects card to new phone*
        *continues life as normal, with minimum disruption to card access*

        This doesn't even need to be about Apple - NFC payments and "electronic wallets" are the future

        How is picking up your new phone at an Apple store any different from picking up your new bank card at your local bank? I suppose the Apple store could also mail you the new iPhone, if that's really what you wanted.

        • by mark-t (151149)

          Price. If your phone is also your primary (or worse, only) wallet, then it becomes more imperative than it would be if your phone was just your phone.

          Basically, it's an issue of too many eggs in one basket... and in the case of smartphones, that particular basket is one that generally costs quite a bit more than an easily disposable amount of money.

        • by jo_ham (604554)

          Time and convenience.

          The bank needs to have a card made up and sent to them (or you), then the PIN for it has to be sent to you separately.

          With a new phone (iPhone, Droid, whatever) you just go down to the store and pick one up, or have one delivered in the post.

          What changes is that you don't lose your actual card that links to your account, merely an electronic copy of it that is easy to move between devices.

    • by russotto (537200)

      A physical wallet costs $6. While a nuisance to replace any of the identification lost, in practice, even this might run a person no more than about $40 or so.

      An iphone 4s starts at about $200.

      Guess which one I'm keeping my credit cards in?

      What difference does it make? If you lose your phone you need a new phone, regardless of whether it contains your credit card details. Putting your credit card info in your phone doesn't make it more likely you'll lose it.

      • by mark-t (151149)

        One can easily live for a few days in our society, or even weeks without a phone.

        Try living for any extended period of time without access to any of your own money. If your phone *IS* your wallet, then you need your phone for any financial transaction you undertake. It's not matter that having it on a phone makes it more likely you will lose it, it's simply a matter of the cost of replacing it if something *DOES* happen.

    • by mjwx (966435)

      An iphone 4s starts at about $200.

      And the rest.

      An Iphone 4s in Australia starts at A$800 (US$840) outright or A$1800 (US$1890) on a contract. You might be able to get an Iphone 3GS for A$400 if someone has excess stock.

  • Yeah, sure. (Score:4, Informative)

    by Cosgrach (1737088) on Wednesday March 07, 2012 @09:38PM (#39282995)

    "Users can track their payments and statements within the iTunes billing system, which keeps the credit card information safe and secure."

    Are you stupid enough to believe that statement about it being 'safe and secure"? If so, I have a bridge that I'd like to sell you.

    The only sure fire way to keep such information safe and secure is to not have a credit card to begin with.

    • by Billlagr (931034)
      Handing over credit card details to a 3rd party simply for convenience sake seems like lunacy - but multiple account details? While iTunes hasn't been hacked, it doesn't mean it won't or can't happen. Having so much financial information stored there just seems like it makes it an even more appealing target. And I would think that various hacker groups would be salivating over the chance to find an exploit in the iPhone side of things - again, it may not have happened yet, but this seems like a big incentiv
      • by sdnoob (917382)

        While iTunes hasn't been hacked, it doesn't mean it won't or can't happen

        itunes itself maybe not.. at least not that we know about.. but itunes *accounts* get hacked and phished all the time....

  • the public is being ripped off by the incompetence and corruption of the PTO. instead of _promoting_ progress, patents are now just hunting licenses for bloodthirsty lawyers. (which is why you don't "win" a patent - it's merely something you use for extortion until someone calls your bluff and you have to defend it in court.)

  • by JobyOne (1578377) on Thursday March 08, 2012 @12:12AM (#39283865) Homepage Journal

    Second time today I've seen a story on /. about a patent that's just an obvious/existing concept basically with just "on a mobile device" or "across a network" added to it.

    Using a radio transceiver to communicate with another radio transceiver? Not novel in the slightest.
    Using NFC for payments? Not novel in the slightest, see the decade or so of prior art all across the world.
    Consolidating the physical content of cards? Also not novel. For years people have been photocopying the barcodes of loyalty cards and taping them together to make single cards with all the barcodes on them. And believe you me: if the technology to do the same with NFC and magnetic strips were as accessible as copy machines they would do that too, because it's obvious as hell.
    Parental controls on payments? You've gotta be kidding me if you think that's novel.

    But take those four non-novel, extremely obvious ideas and slap "on a mobile phone" in there somewhere and suddenly you're Leonardo da fucking Vinci.

  • A trademark, sure. But a patent? How is any of this patent worthy? None of it is significantly different from what's already been done. There's supposed to be a "non-obvious to an expert in the field" requirement to get something patented. How does Apple keep getting away with this crap? I don't care if this patent so narrowly worded that nobody will ever have to worry about their own NFC implementation infringing--this not just a "We shouldn't have software patents" issue, this is a "We shouldn't have s

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