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Apple Patents Wireless Charging 253

GabriellaKat writes "Via El Reg: 'Apple is trying to patent wireless charging, claiming its magnetic resonance tech is new and that it can do it better than anyone else. This would be cool if its assertions were true. Apple's application, numbered 20120303980, makes much of its ability to charge a device over the air at a distance of up to a meter, rather than requiring close proximity. The Alliance For Wireless Power, which also touts long-range juicing, will no doubt be comparing Apple's designs to its own blueprints.'"
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Apple Patents Wireless Charging

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  • Re:Worlds Gone Mad (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mwvdlee ( 775178 ) on Tuesday December 04, 2012 @06:10AM (#42177369) Homepage

    It really doesn't matter if it's been invented before or whether it's original or in fact even an invention at all. Indeed none of the rules that should apply to patents actually apply to patents.
    All that matters is that the overworked patent-checking drone at the patent office puts hit stamp of approval on it and you're ready to retroactively sue anybody into a settlement deal.

  • Re:Worlds Gone Mad (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 04, 2012 @06:10AM (#42177373)

    Haven't they seen that there are already wireless charging standards???

    Of course they've seen them, now they want to own them. This is how it worked before.

  • Crystal Radio (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 04, 2012 @06:28AM (#42177435)

    Wow. In the first claim, they actually claimed a patent on a Crystal Radio. OK - they added the bit about detuning the receiver to identify it to the transmitter, but that technique has been used in just about every RFID product in existence.

    Does the USPTO actually employ anyone with an IQ above 50?

  • Re:Worlds Gone Mad (Score:4, Insightful)

    by pbjones ( 315127 ) on Tuesday December 04, 2012 @06:32AM (#42177459)

    worked for MS, should work for Apple.

  • Patent Troll (Score:2, Insightful)

    by fufufang ( 2603203 ) on Tuesday December 04, 2012 @06:34AM (#42177471)

    Is any of Apple's current product capable of wireless charging? Did they develop any of the technology, as in doing the research?

  • Re:Worlds Gone Mad (Score:5, Insightful)

    by wvmarle ( 1070040 ) on Tuesday December 04, 2012 @06:56AM (#42177561)

    The fact that there are wireless standards doesn't mean no-one can come up with a new way of doing this, and subsequently patenting it. Also they do not patent "wireless charging" which, in itself, would be hard to patent - they patent a method of wireless charging using some magnetic coupling trick. And they claim they have a new way of doing this, and as such it may very well be innovative and patentable.

    But well, like the summary and your outright uninformed comment the rest of the discussion here will be "patent troll hurr hurr". The first few comments that I see here are already like that, predicably.

    I skimmed through the patent text, can't tell what is new and what is old. That part would require quite some deeper study, and requires understanding of the whole field. Sensationalism like from El Reg and copied by Slashdot is simply stupid. If you have read and understand the patent, and there is nothing in it that was not invented yet at the application date, please come back and let me know exactly why the patent is faulty. Please also send the same comments to the patent office, so this application may be rejected.

  • Re:Worlds Gone Mad (Score:5, Insightful)

    by subreality ( 157447 ) on Tuesday December 04, 2012 @06:56AM (#42177565)

    Sure, but patents are for methods, not ideas. I don't know if this patent is a legitimately a new method for wireless charging, but it doesn't matter if other techniques already exist.

  • Re:Worlds Gone Mad (Score:4, Insightful)

    by mrbester ( 200927 ) on Tuesday December 04, 2012 @07:11AM (#42177625) Homepage

    "That part would require quite some deeper study, and requires understanding of the whole field."

    Something the patent office never claims to have, even when presented with it. So this will get approved and the merry-go-round can start again.

  • Re:Worlds Gone Mad (Score:5, Insightful)

    by nyctopterus ( 717502 ) on Tuesday December 04, 2012 @08:34AM (#42177977) Homepage

    The problem is that Apple is a patent troll [...]

    No, Apple is a patent bully. They make products, or intend to make products, that utilise their patents. They also make that vast majority of their money on actual products, not litigation. Neither of these things is consistent with a patent troll.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 04, 2012 @09:07AM (#42178127)

    "Music, movies, TV, and podcast subscriptions. All tied up in Apple's little ecosystem. A very pretty noose to keep people chained to its hardware.

    Imagine, just for a moment, that your Sony DVD player would only play Sony Movies' films. When you decided to buy a new DVD player from Samsung, none of those media files would work on your new kit without some serious fiddling.

    That's the walled garden that so many companies are now trying to drag us into. And I think it stinks.

    On a mobile phone network in the UK, you can use any phone you want. Hardware and services are totally divorced. It promotes competition because customers know that if they have a poor experience with HTC, they can move to Nokia and everything will carry on working just as it did before.

    But, if all of your contacts, entertainment services, and backups are chained into HTC - well, then you're just shit out of luck if you want to move.

    I want to see a complete separation of church and state here. Hardware should be separate from software. Software should be separate from services.

    I want to watch Nokia movies on my Samsung hardware running Google's Android, and then back them up to DropBox.

    That's how it works - more or less - in the PC space. I don't understand why it doesn't in the tablet and smartphone space? Why would I buy a tablet that only worked with content from one provider? Whether that's Amazon, Microsoft or Apple - it's setting up a nasty little monopoly which will drive up prices and drive down quality.

    I know, I know. The mantra of "It Just Works". I'm mildly sick of having to configure my tablet to talk to my NAS, and then get the TV to talk to both of them. That situation isn't just due to my equipment all coming from different manufacturers - it's mostly due to those manufacturers not implementing open standards. []

  • Re:Patent Troll (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Culture20 ( 968837 ) on Tuesday December 04, 2012 @09:22AM (#42178231)
    That is all that patents have ever been used for since their inception. It is their primary function. Their side effect is spreading of knowledge (the eventual purpose).
  • Re:Worlds Gone Mad (Score:5, Insightful)

    by CastrTroy ( 595695 ) on Tuesday December 04, 2012 @09:58AM (#42178473) Homepage
    I'm sure there are lots of patents on wheels. With a little bit of thought, you could probably come up with a lot of ways to make wheels perform better in certain situations, such as having more strength for less mass. Just a quick search yielded a bicycle wheel [] patented in 2002. But that's OK, with me, because its' a specific way of arranging the spokes, more precisely, with spokes from each side meeting at the same place on the rim. Anybody else is free to use the old method of arranging the spokes. That's also why I'm fine with this Apple wireless charging patent. It describes a specific method of charging devices wirelessly. None of the old methods infringe because they don't use the same method. Anything you, or I can come up with that improves on their method is also not in violation of the patent. Sure Apple has some stupid patents, but this isn't one of them.
  • Re:Worlds Gone Mad (Score:4, Insightful)

    by jythie ( 914043 ) on Tuesday December 04, 2012 @10:32AM (#42178775)
    They are not trying to patent wireless charging, they are trying to patent a particular technology for doing so.

    This isn't even a software patent.. if it is legit then this is more in line with patents historically covered, physical implementable technological advancements.
  • by docmordin ( 2654319 ) on Tuesday December 04, 2012 @11:49AM (#42179763)

    Fucking apologist. Don't you get it? I wouldn't touch an iPad with a fucking barge pole. I don't want to be part of your fucking ecosystem.

    By the same token, you are also an apologist. However, unlike the poster you berate, who came off as pragmatic, you sound like a petulant child.

  • Re:Worlds Gone Mad (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Americano ( 920576 ) on Tuesday December 04, 2012 @12:23PM (#42180215)

    The disparity between hundreds of dollars to apply for patents and millions to invalidate patents should tell you the system is designed to fuck over the little guy they claim to help protect.

    And in what way does this fix ("you want a patent? Great, the fee is $5 million, we take cash or bank check, no personal checks please!") not "fuck over the little guy"?

    The "little guy" doesn't have a few million dollars laying around to spend on ramming his patent application through. Your proposed "fix" would simply enshrine the notion that unless you're a big multinational with a billion dollar bankroll, you can't innovate, so don't even bother.

    While I agree that patents are probably too easily granted, your proposed solution doesn't really do much to foster innovation and open the field up to "the little guy." Every little guy without a giant bankroll will automatically be at a disadvantage.

  • by djdanlib ( 732853 ) on Tuesday December 04, 2012 @04:53PM (#42184199) Homepage

    Yep. You're correct that someone will always crack the DRM. Restrictions like these mar the beauty of digital information though. Just because someone makes a way to break DRM, doesn't make DRM less evil. A lot of people use that to justify not caring about it - since it won't affect them. You shouldn't have to de-DRM things you buy. Not having DRM would count as beautiful.

1 Angstrom: measure of computer anxiety = 1000 nail-bytes