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The Almighty Buck IOS Patents Apple

Apple Files Patent For Digital Wallet and Virtual Currency 84 84

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 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.

  • 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 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 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.

Economists state their GNP growth projections to the nearest tenth of a percentage point to prove they have a sense of humor. -- Edgar R. Fiedler