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The Almighty Buck IOS Patents Apple

Apple Files Patent For Digital Wallet and Virtual Currency 84

Posted by timothy
from the on-the-internet-with-an-apple dept.
another random user writes "Apple has applied for a patent on a combined virtual currency and digital wallet technology that would allow you to store money in the cloud, make payments with your iPhone, and maybe communicate with point-of-sale terminals via NFC. The patent application, published [Thursday] by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Organization, details how iPhone users could walk into a store, pay for goods with their phone, and walk out with their merchandise. Though Apple is late to the virtual wallet game, that doesn't seem to stop them trying to patent the process. There does not appear to be anything in the patent application which describes something that can't already be done."
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Apple Files Patent For Digital Wallet and Virtual Currency

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday June 08, 2013 @09:23AM (#43945609)

    "Apple files patent for wheel"

  • by Bradmont (513167) on Saturday June 08, 2013 @09:27AM (#43945637)
    It's a shame so many other companies have ripped off Apple's innovation in the mobile payment market. The audacity of them, to release stolen copies before Apple even finished thinking up the idea...
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Bitcoin exchanges sued in 3...2...

  • 'Erm', it's called a credit card. So the only change is no plastic card instead a plastic box full of electronic components, hmm, technically a step back, as more is required to identify the user, rather than less.
    • Re:Existing Tech (Score:4, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward on Saturday June 08, 2013 @09:41AM (#43945711)

      'Erm', it's called a Japanese cell phone from several years ago.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        BBC article about Japanese cell phones and virtual wallets from 2005:
        http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/programmes/click_online/4384500.stm

      • by Anonymous Coward

        Classic apple move. Find technology, do a better job marketing it and before you know it everyone things you invented it (GUI, IPOD, ipad....).

    • by gstoddart (321705)

      Pretty much the same as most patents nowadays ... "a system and methodology for doing something we've been doing for decades, but with a computer".

      And to all of these companies who think they're going to be my digital wallet -- good luck with that, I don't trust you and I'm not interested in paying for shit with my phone.

      • by rtb61 (674572)

        Excuse me but and a rather bloody big but, credit cards hard always been done with computers. That magnetic swipe reads digital data. Electronic checking reads ability from the credit companies cloud and passes payment back to it. The only change is to eliminate the plastic card and insert credit card ID data into a phone, so the US patents office has allowed a patent through for an expired patent because the basically don't give a rats about doing proper patents checks and are just rubber stamping and lea

  • by 140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) on Saturday June 08, 2013 @09:36AM (#43945695) Journal
    The patent process has recently changed from "first to invent" to "first to file". What is means is people who can demonstrate they already have invented it and been using it could not be sued. But you should have enough documentation to prove it. Also only the original invention gets this protection, not any enhancements. Others, even if they are aware of the invention being already deployed and in use, even if it is really obvious and non-novel do not get any protection by the claims of prior-art. They need to go to the courts and prove it is obvious and non-novel. But also if it has been in the market for one year, it is prior art, even if the original inventor did not file and some one else files for it after one year. And in software patents, if the feature is in the shipping code/product, even if there is no way for the user to access it, the feature is considered a released product and the one year clock starts ticking. We are adviced to use very strict #ifdef "patent_pending" #endif to protect all the special codes from getting into production builds.

    Caveat: This is the engineers understanding of the patent process as explained by the legal department. I won't bet even two cents on it being right.

    • Fortunately there is a clause that prevents trollish behavior like this. Though I am surprised Apple's attorneys really think they can circumvent it.

      The clause states that an invention is NOT patent-able if it has been published, anywhere in the world, more than one year before the filing date. I will laugh my ass off if they get it though...
    • The patent process has recently changed from "first to invent" to "first to file". What is means is people who can demonstrate they already have invented it and been using it could not be sued. But you should have enough documentation to prove it. Also only the original invention gets this protection, not any enhancements. Others, even if they are aware of the invention being already deployed and in use, even if it is really obvious and non-novel do not get any protection by the claims of prior-art. They need to go to the courts and prove it is obvious and non-novel. But also if it has been in the market for one year, it is prior art, even if the original inventor did not file and some one else files for it after one year. And in software patents, if the feature is in the shipping code/product, even if there is no way for the user to access it, the feature is considered a released product and the one year clock starts ticking. We are adviced to use very strict #ifdef "patent_pending" #endif to protect all the special codes from getting into production builds.

      Caveat: This is the engineers understanding of the patent process as explained by the legal department. I won't bet even two cents on it being right.

      It's not... The change from first-to-invent to first-to-file only comes up when two people independent file for a patent application on the exact same invention. Previously, there would be a process called an Interference, kind of like a mini-trial, to determine which one of them truly conceived of the idea first. They tended to be around $100k in costs, per side, and take signifiant amounts of time, and one person ended up with nothing. With first-to-file, it's now just whichever one of them filed first wi

    • by AmiMoJo (196126) *

      What annoys me is that companies (not just Apple) waste the patent office's time with obvious bullshit like this. Japanese consumers have had this for years and I believe some people can do it with Google Wallet and an NFC enabled Android phone.

      The patent office is overworked and basically rubber stamps all but the most stupid applications, and the other companies have to waste millions invalidating the resulting patent in court.

    • by t0rkm3 (666910)

      You never saw those EasyPay things at the gas station? You know, where you touch the key fob to the base unit and voila! Money disappears!

      Given that NFC has been around for a while... calling this non-obvious is a marketrologist move... not a technical nor ethical move.

  • by MRe_nl (306212) on Saturday June 08, 2013 @09:50AM (#43945755)

    The idea of patenting an idea, material or process in this day and age makes no sense to me.
    All these things are built on 10.000 generations of improving upon others inventions, and the changes are incremental. What hubris to claim an idea or process as your own? Marketing an idea et al. for profit needs no such protection (see the fashion industry). It is a cowing to profit beyond the interests of society as a whole. And this is even ignoring the fact that due to the principles of discovery many idea's, materials and processes can be discovered near-simultaneosly. /rant

    • The idea of patenting an idea, material or process in this day and age makes no sense to me. All these things are built on 10.000 generations of improving upon others inventions, and the changes are incremental. What hubris to claim an idea or process as your own?

      35 USC 101: Whoever invents or discovers any new and useful process, machine, manufacture, or composition of matter, or any new and useful improvement thereof, may obtain a patent therefor, subject to the conditions and requirements of this title.

      If you come up with a super-efficient battery, the fact that "batteries" have been known for centuries doesn't mean that you can't get a patent - you get a patent on your improvement and it doesn't cover the original, old battery.

    • by MaWeiTao (908546)

      Are you sure about that?

      A couple of years ago a fashion designer sued [vogue.co.uk] Yves Saint Laurent over red soled shoes. Granted, it was a trademark, not a patent, but it's the same basic principle. And the absurd thing here is that the designer's trademark was specifically for red soles on shoes and they were suing for infringement on a shoe that was all red and happened to also feature red soles. The main reason the fashion industry isn't as aggressive as everyone else is merely because most of this stuff is out of

  • Meta - as in Data (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward

    More metadata for the NSA to harvest!

  • by StubNewellsFarm (1084965) on Saturday June 08, 2013 @09:56AM (#43945783)
    Whenever a patent story comes out, everyone's concerned about whether the patent will be used to lock up some obvious functionality. That's not why Apple gets patents. It works like this:

    1 - Apple gets patent

    2 - Apple sells patent to Irish subsidiary for small amount of money

    3 - Apple comes out with iPhone that incorporates patented technology.

    4 - Apple pays subsidiary royalty on patent for each iPhone sold

    In this way, Apple moves profit on iPhone sales from Apple itself to the subsidiary. The subsidiary is incorporated in Ireland, so it is not taxable in the US. The subsidiary's major operations are in the US, so it is not taxable in Ireland.

    Profit!! Tax-free!!

    Patents are no longer an IP strategy. They're a tax avoidance strategy.
    • by csumpi (2258986)
      This would be totally fine, if only they would not also use their patents for protecting the turf they can't innovate on anymore (eg. rounded rectangle).
    • by taharvey (625577) on Saturday June 08, 2013 @12:25PM (#43946579)

      You fundamentally misunderstand the "double-irish" corporate structure. See (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Double_Irish_arrangement)

      Apple does not avoid any USA taxes for profits from sales or patent royalties in the USA. This type of corporate structure avoids having bring profits back from other countries and get taxed again in the USA.

      I'm a liberal, and it seems completely reasonable in a global marketplace, for companies to get taxed in each country of operation, not where the headquarters happen to be located.

      This seems to be one of those memes like Al Gore said he "invented the internet", that everyone repeats, and knows to be true... but is completely false.

      • by StubNewellsFarm (1084965) on Saturday June 08, 2013 @02:06PM (#43947085)
        When Apple sells an iPhone in, say, France, they pay a royalty to Apple Operations International for use of patents. This reduces the profits on the iPhone sale in France (so saves on French taxes) and shifts the money to Ireland (actually to nowhere - Apple Operations hasn't filed a tax return anywhere in years). But the patent royalty is on an "invention" made in California. Apple US should be making money (and paying taxes) on the patent royalties, but they don't. The true profit on the phone includes the money allocated to patent royalties, but Apple doesn't pay taxes anywhere on that portion.
        • by taharvey (625577)

          "Apple US should be making money (and paying taxes) on the patent royalties, but they don't. "

          There is no "should". How to structure a corporate umbrella in the EU to deal with 30 countries different tax rules, but in a small region, has no bearing on the USA or how US operations are taxed. Either a company choses move the money into the US and get a tax penalty, or they leave where it is... why do you think it must come back? Because it was designed there? That seems like concocted reasoning to me.

          What if

      • Nah. For avoiding taxes in California they merely have offices in Nevada and the Cayman islands.

  • by JonahsDad (1332091) on Saturday June 08, 2013 @09:57AM (#43945789)
    Most of this appears to already appears to happen on my android phone (NFC payment via Google Wallet). So apparently something you can already do is now novel if you do it "on an iPhone"?
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Theaetetus (590071)

      Most of this appears to already appears to happen on my android phone (NFC payment via Google Wallet). So apparently something you can already do is now novel if you do it "on an iPhone"?

      When you say "most of this", are you going by the Slashdot summary, or the claims of the patent application? Because the former is going to be about as accurate a summary of the invention as you'd expect.

      • Oh, I admit to both not reading the TFA and attempting to go just for funny. (Note my use of the word "attempting")
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Bitcoin already exists. It already has a digital wallet and many other features.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      NO APPLE invented it didnt u READ THE SUMMARY

  • My bank card measures 85 x 54 x 0.5 mm, can be used to make payments in all of Europe with a very small fee when abroad, makes stealing it worthless by requiring a PIN, has a chip and a magnetic band so that it can be used in lots of kind of terminals and can also be used for drawing cash out of ATMs. It also gets accepted on amazon and lots of other websites. In addition, the liability and the burden of keeping the hardware and the software running and up-to-date lies with the bank and the merchants, and i

  • by paiute (550198) on Saturday June 08, 2013 @11:15AM (#43946213)
    This is the kind of shit that drives us crazy, but if we were running a company like Apple, we would do the exact same thing. In this climate you have to patent taking a crap and the manner of wiping said turd residue of the user's ass - otherwise some fucktard patent holding nonmanufacturing entity will come along and sue you for inventing sharks with frigging lasers on their heads because they bought up an old patent which described something something something in the water something something.
  • To apply for a patent before a given technology has been is widespread use for years?

    • by Virtucon (127420)

      No, actually it isn't. You need to apply for a patent once the invention becomes apparent (conceived) and if you announce or display it publicly, you have to apply for the patent within one year otherwise you lose all rights to patenting your invention. There's also recent rule changes including disclosure to third parties, even under NDA agreements that change this as well which can impede your right to patent something. Net Net, if you have conceived an invention it's best to keep it quiet, don't show

  • What about Isis? It's the same concept that the carriers in the US are already working on. Why didn't they patent the idea?

    Apple thinks that they have power, they have none when it compares to that of say, big telecom and even the banks. The banks want this, so I figure that eventually the banks will come out with the same idea but with a bigger legal team behind it and kill Apple's idea.
  • How the hell did Apple file a patent on this. This concept has been around in Japan for 10 years. The patent system here makes no damn sense. Now there will likely be patent infringement suits that will drag on for another 10 years. Who foots the bill for all the courts and Justice's time, we the taxpayers of course. We got to change the system so that frivolous patents are not awarded.
  • It's a rip off of bitcoins except completely centrally controlled and exactly the opposite in principal. You know how one thing wildly succeeds and then all the other versions that are cheap, fast rip-off are inferior and fail miserably? You know, ipod to zune for example. Well, bye bye Applecoins.
  • The odd thing about this filing are the inventors: Aaltonen; Janne; (Turku, FI) ; Saru; Sami; (Turku, FI)

    Two Finns who have been in the mobile business for some time (including at Nokia), but both didn't seem to be working for Apple until very recently.

    IOW nobody would even comment on this patent if Apple hadn't acquired it / the companies of the inventors.

  • Whenever you see a phrase mentioning "in the cloud" mentally replace it with "on some stranger's computer", then re-evaluate.

As far as we know, our computer has never had an undetected error. -- Weisert

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