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Apple Attempts to Patent Pre-Existing Display Software Idea

ScuttleMonkey posted about 6 years ago | from the even-big-kids-can't-share dept.

Patents 256

Nuclear Elephant writes "Apple appears to be taking ideas from commercial software already being sold and is attempting to patent the concepts as their own. According to Apple Insider, Apple has recently filed a patent application for a notification screen on the iPhone. The only problem with this is that Intellisync has been using this concept in their popular iPhone notification screen software for over a year now, and it doesn't take a rocket scientist to see that this is a clear rip-off. Apple recently became famous (or infamous) for stealing other people's ideas when they rolled out their Dashboard in Mac OS X, which had many similarities to a desktop widget program named the Konfabulator, which later became Yahoo widgets. The case here isn't a simple hijacking of an idea, however — Apple is applying for a patent on Intelliscreen's concept, which could be detrimental to the original manufacturer of the software, who is actively selling it for Jailbroken iPhones"

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Way to go Apple! (2, Insightful)

PunkOfLinux (870955) | about 6 years ago | (#25076023)

Really, GREAT job with this! I hope you don't get it, and are forced to pay all sorts of fines.

Sick of software patents. "Oh, this makes your screen tell you something is happening!" Yeah, real fucking original.

Re:Way to go Apple! (4, Insightful)

nine-times (778537) | about 6 years ago | (#25076345)

I'm sick of software patents, but I'm not sure it makes sense to blame Apple. Don't hate the player, hate the game.

And in case I have to spell that out more, any big company these days who has anything to do with software are going to file software patents whenever they think they might possibly be able to get one. If for no other reason, collecting a large number of patents can be used defensively. So when Microsoft comes to Apple and says, "You're using a lot of our silly patents, so we're going to sue you," Apple can respond, "Well you're using our silly patents too, so we'll countersue." And vice versa.

So whether it's Apple or Microsoft or IBM, I don't blame these companies for patenting everything they can, whether it makes sense or not. I only blame them if they start using those patents offensively (in both senses of the word "offensive"). However, I do take serious issue with the patent system, and think it should be reformed.

Re:Way to go Apple! (5, Insightful)

mweather (1089505) | about 6 years ago | (#25076681)

Without the players, there is no game.

Re:Way to go Apple! (1)

element-o.p. (939033) | about 6 years ago | (#25077047)

The problem is, it only takes one player to win. At that point, everyone else (who decided to boycott the game for ethical reasons) loses.

Having said that, yeah, it's pretty lame of Apple to try to patent someone else's ideas. The argument nine-times makes about defensive use of patents is bogus in this case. Even if Microsoft (or anyone else) were to try to patent something like this, all Apple would have to do is show Intellisync's app and claim prior art.

Re:Way to go Apple! (1)

PunkOfLinux (870955) | about 6 years ago | (#25077339)

That's not what he's talking about. What he was talking about was "You're using one of our patents!" "Well, you're using one of ours, so lets just save ourselves the trouble and agree not to do anything about it."

Re:Way to go Apple! (5, Insightful)

roggg (1184871) | about 6 years ago | (#25077093)

Without the players, there is no game.

My kids like to play punch-buggy...you know that game where when you see a volkswagen beetle, you get to punch anyone near you as long as you get your punch in first. My daughter, when she starts losing claims she's "not playing". This never deters my son, who sees this as an opportunity to roll on to victory completely unopposed. It seems that in punch-buggy, not playing means at best, everyone leaves you alone, and at worst, you get the crap kicked out of you constantly. Sorry...what were we talking about again?

Re:Way to go Apple! (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25077299)

Sorry...what were we talking about again?

We were discussing the fact that you don't intervene when your son "kicks the crap" out of your daughter. Bravo, sir! You are well on your way to producing the next Ted Bundy or BTK.

Re:Way to go Apple! (1)

ardle (523599) | about 6 years ago | (#25077317)

So true. And to play this game, you don't follow the rules so much as use them.
It looks like Apple are trying to put pressure on an entity they see as threatening their money, using the rules of the patent system. It's not likely to succeed, but if it does, it's a cheap win. Next option is DMCA: not great PR, seeing as they're trying to loosen-up copyright for iTunes.

Re:Way to go Apple! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25076719)

Don't hate the player, hate the game.

Bull!!!! Hate the player too, because they know very well that they are playing the game! As long the game is evil then the players are too!

Re:Way to go Apple! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25077333)

Seriously, it's not like there is some sort of vitriol shortage. There is more than enough hate to go around for the players, the patent system, the legislators, the whiny ignorant folks that don't know what they are talking about, the informed whiny folk who have an agenda, the ignorant masses who don't do anything and allow their representatives in Washington to sit idly by...

Peak Hate is a Lie.

Re:Way to go Apple! (0)

electrictroy (912290) | about 6 years ago | (#25076975)

>>>Apple is applying for a patent on Intelliscreen's concept

So to summarize:

Apple is slowly but surely turning into Microsoft - a megalith that steals smaller companies' ideas. How predictable.

Re:Way to go Apple! (1)

nine-times (778537) | about 6 years ago | (#25077287)

Or to give an alternate summary: Apple engages in a business practice that every major software developer does, including FOSS developers.

Re:Way to go Apple! (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about 6 years ago | (#25077395)

I agree, those vicious FOSS guys and their software patents...

Wait, no, that's stupid. Everybody imitates one another, and that is for the best, it keeps things moving forward. What Apple is doing is attempting to claim exclusive ownership of an idea invented elsewhere by claiming invention. Can you think of even a single instance of a FOSS dev doing that?

Re:Way to go Apple! (2, Insightful)

iMac Were (911261) | about 6 years ago | (#25077259)

I'm not sure it makes sense to blame Apple.

They're obviously doing it to highlight the inherent stupidity of software patents. Now if Micro$oft were doing the same thing, it would be a cynical attempt to rip-off someone else's ideas. But not Apple.

Re:Way to go Apple! (4, Informative)

2nd Post! (213333) | about 6 years ago | (#25076391)

Did anyone even read the links? Did the submitter? Or the editor?

Apple's patent (as silly as it is) is to make Intellisync's information available when the phone is unlocked. Intellisync only works when the phone is locked!

Re:Way to go Apple! (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25076785)

Damn. Now that you explained it, I see exactly how innovative this really is.

Re:Way to go Apple! (4, Insightful)

mcmonkey (96054) | about 6 years ago | (#25077185)

Did anyone even read the links? Did the submitter? Or the editor?

Why bother? You're pretending any one /. has the slightest clue in regards to patents.

We do not.

Example: Apple wants to patent foo. Application X already does foo!

If we had any clue, we'd notice no one patents "foo". One patents "a method to do foo". So even if foo is a common feature, Apple could come up with a novel, non-obvious method of achieving foo that may be worthy of a patent.

Example: when bucky balls were first created, those folks wanted to patent the method of creating them. Problem was, they didn't know what bucky balls could be used for, what the heck to do with them.

So they patented the process of creating bucky balls and putting them in solution to use as ink. Plenty of other folks had used carbon in solution as ink, but no one had thought of using that particular method of producing that particular form of carbon to put into solution to use as ink.

Foo can be as old as the wheel if your method of achieving foo is new.

Good GOD can people READ?? (5, Informative)

danaris (525051) | about 6 years ago | (#25076967)

First and foremost, and very generally: just because a patent is superficially like something that already exists, that in itself doesn't mean the patent was either obvious, or automatically invalidated by prior art.

Second, and more topically, I don't know when this IntelliScreen softwareâ"which, by the way, is NOT an SDK app, but only for people who have a jailbroken iPhoneâ"came out, but the AppleInsider article clearly states that the "quick settings" patent was filed last December, and the "notification screen" patent was filed a few months before that! That is a little hazy, but could easily mean that it was filed before the iPhone was actually released to the public.

So while it is certainly possible that the filing still post-dates the release of the IntelliScreen software, I don't see how Apple can be expected to troll through every completely unsupported hacked up app for the iPhone just to see if something they've got planned to patent has already been thought up. That may not prevent the patent from being invalidated by the (potential) prior art of IntelliScreen, but it certainly puts the kibosh on the idea that Apple "stole" the idea. (I pay pretty close attention to news & stuff about the iPhone myself, and this is the first time I've heard about anything remotely resembling IntelliScreen, so it can't be a ubiquitous killer app).

But no, the truth, however obvious it may be, is boring. It's far, far more fun to run around screaming and pointing at Apple and saying, "THEY'RE STEALING OUR IDEAS! EVIL! EVIL!"

Good bleeding grief, Jonathan Zdziarski, grow up, get a clue, and stop trying to get page hits on your blog.

We have been trolled.

Dan Aris

Well... (2, Insightful)

The Dancing Panda (1321121) | about 6 years ago | (#25076031)

Someone should probably let them know that they can't do that...

Re:Well... (5, Informative)

2nd Post! (213333) | about 6 years ago | (#25076415)

Why not?

Read the patent and Intellisync. They are different.

The patent is to make available all the data when the phone is unlocked; Intellisync makes the data available when the screen is locked!

Re:Well... (1)

MyLongNickName (822545) | about 6 years ago | (#25076837)

Damn. Now that you explained it, I see exactly how innovative this really is..

Re: IOW... (1)

denis-The-menace (471988) | about 6 years ago | (#25077393)

Apple invents the information screen?!?

Expect this as long (4, Insightful)

einer (459199) | about 6 years ago | (#25076037)

Expect this behavior as long as it is financially beneficial to engage in it. There is no dis-inscentive for this type of lying. There is no reason NOT to do this if you can afford it. They could hit the jackpot with minimal risk.

Re:Expect this as long (1)

calmofthestorm (1344385) | about 6 years ago | (#25076133)

Exactly. We can fight them off successfully 9/10 times and they still win. Once they have that patent they can start suing people for inventing their ideas.

This is another reason to donate to the EFF:/

I think Microsoft's products are crap and hate their business model/ethics. I like Apple's prodcuts and hate their business model/ethics.

Avast! (4, Funny)

bigstrat2003 (1058574) | about 6 years ago | (#25076081)

Avast, Apple! Ye scurvy dogs may have forgotten that we be havin' this provision in our rules statin' that something ye patent must not already be bein' made by someone else.

Foolish landlubbers need to walk th' plank, says I!

Re:Avast! (2, Funny)

Mr. Underbridge (666784) | about 6 years ago | (#25076729)

Avast, Apple! Ye scurvy dogs may have forgotten that we be havin' this provision in our rules statin' that something ye patent must not already be bein' made by someone else.

Arrr! Ye be drinkin' too much from the barrel o' rum if ye think the USPTO reads the parchment yonder patent application is writ on.

Ay, matey, thar be the hole in yer hull. Too many patents, not enough eyepatch-covered eyes to be readin' 'em.

Re:Avast! (4, Funny)

kaoshin (110328) | about 6 years ago | (#25077315)

Ay, but no mistakin' dis be prior arrrrrrrrrrrrrt!

Re:Avast! (1)

Registered Coward v2 (447531) | about 6 years ago | (#25076741)

Avast, Apple! Ye scurvy dogs may have forgotten that we be havin' this provision in our rules statin' that something ye patent must not already be bein' made by someone else.

Foolish landlubbers need to walk th' plank, says I!

Yar. Youse be forgetten our rules be havin' a provision sayin ye who has the map to the gold bein the capitan; and them those who don't be keelhauled and sent to Davy Jones.

Re:Avast! (1)

bigstrat2003 (1058574) | about 6 years ago | (#25076823)

Aye matey, 'tis truth you speak. We need t' keelhaul the scurvy dogs who be thinkin' that an honest sea dog should always be swabbin' the poop deck, while the cap'n always be dinin' in comfort.

Re:Avast! (1)

Mister Whirly (964219) | about 6 years ago | (#25076925)

At least someone knew it was International Talk Like a Pirate Day! Aaaaarrrr!!

Re:Avast! (1)

bigstrat2003 (1058574) | about 6 years ago | (#25077011)

Ye missed the story on it, matey! I had clear forgotten that 'twas this glorious day until I did be readin' that.

Andrew's Rules (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25076087)

Adfe andrew's hurtmsn but cannot fathom the totality of this issue.

Furthemore I cannot withstand the abrupt ending.

Anon

Recently? (1)

Selfbain (624722) | about 6 years ago | (#25076117)

Tiger came out over three years ago.

Fast User Switching Patent? (1)

jDeepbeep (913892) | about 6 years ago | (#25076125)

Didn't Apple attempt to patent fast user switching a while ago?

Re:Fast User Switching Patent? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25076499)

Yep, right up until they realized only slow people use Macs.

Re:Fast User Switching Patent? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25076667)

Not slow, just GAY. Mac users can actually talk very fast, albeit about nothing but gayness.

Re:Fast User Switching Patent? (1)

mattack2 (1165421) | about 6 years ago | (#25076721)

Serious question: what other OS(es) have it with the same functionality?

su in a shell doesn't count.

And... (5, Insightful)

Otter (3800) | about 6 years ago | (#25076143)

The only problem with this is that Intellisync has been using this concept in their popular iPhone notification screen software for over a year now, and It doesn't take a rocket scientist to see that this is a clear rip-off of it.

The relevant patent seems to be roughly a year old. And the priority date on it is...? Whether or not Intellisync has priority (and, as with all these stories, whether the comparison of the patent to the existing product is even accurate), it seems pretty clear that Apple didn't "steal" the idea.

Re:And... (1)

shinma (106792) | about 6 years ago | (#25076289)

Silly facts never get in the way of a chance to bash Apple. :P

Re:And... (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25076329)

Boo hoo, you apple zealots can't stand the thought that your gay puta club is run by people every bit as morally corrupt as microsoft.

Re:And... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25076579)

The relevant patent seems to be roughly a year old. . . .it seems pretty clear that Apple didn't "steal" the idea.

Dude, you know Microsoft has had a notification screen that looks almost exactly the same [wikipedia.org] , for like eight years.

Re:And... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25076955)

The relevant patent seems to be roughly a year old

using this concept in their popular iPhone notification screen software for over a year now

Over a year, vs. roughly a year... hmm.. doesn't OS X come with a calculator and a calender? Not only are they ripping off other developers they are trying to patent their ideas.

Re:And... (2, Informative)

Dachannien (617929) | about 6 years ago | (#25076987)

It claims domestic priority from a provisional application filed January 7, 2007. Anything before that date counts as prior art, unless the inventors provide evidence that they invented the claimed invention before the prior art was published (which they can't do if the prior art was published more than a year before the effective filing date).

So, let me get this straight... (3, Interesting)

geekmux (1040042) | about 6 years ago | (#25076153)

"Apple is applying for a patent...which could be detrimental to the original manufacturer of the software, who is actively selling it for Jailbroken iPhones"

Wow. Patent against software being sold for illegal phones. I'd sue, but I'm not quite sure where to start on that one.

Re:So, let me get this straight... (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25076229)

How, pray tell, is jailbreaking an iPhone "illegal"?

Re:So, let me get this straight... (1)

PunkOfLinux (870955) | about 6 years ago | (#25076275)

breach of contract? I dunno.

Re:So, let me get this straight... (1)

speedtux (1307149) | about 6 years ago | (#25076435)

breach of contract? I dunno.

Breach of contract is a civil matter.

Re:So, let me get this straight... (2, Insightful)

bigstrat2003 (1058574) | about 6 years ago | (#25076547)

Aye, matey, but that be not meanin' that th' act be legal.

Though jailbreakin' a phone seems not illegal to me. Ye should be able t' do what ye want with yer own phone, yarr.

Unlocking cellphones is legal. (1)

argent (18001) | about 6 years ago | (#25076475)

In the US it is explicitly legal to unlock cellphones. Doesn't matter what the cellular carrier or manufacturer says or puts in their EULA.

Re:Unlocking cellphones is legal. (1)

e4g4 (533831) | about 6 years ago | (#25076557)

Quite right - but jailbroken != unlocked.

Re:Unlocking cellphones is legal. (2, Informative)

argent (18001) | about 6 years ago | (#25076609)

Unless Apple supplies an unlocked firmware, there's no way to unlock an iPhone without jailbreaking it, therefore jailbreaking it is legal.

Re:Unlocking cellphones is legal. (1)

Firehed (942385) | about 6 years ago | (#25076653)

Yes, but jailbreaking isn't unlocking. Most people that do one tend to do the other, but one allows unauthorized apps while the other allows you to use the phone with an unauthorized carrier.

I expect both are a non-punishable breach of contract, but both are indeed legal.

Re:So, let me get this straight... (2, Informative)

dogboi (1111269) | about 6 years ago | (#25076489)

It isn't illegal. A case could be made that jailbreaking is a DMCA violation, but the fact that Apple hasn't done this implies that they don't feel they could win that particular case.

Re:So, let me get this straight... (1)

geekmux (1040042) | about 6 years ago | (#25076525)

How, pray tell, is jailbreaking an iPhone "illegal"?

Perhaps "illegal" was the wrong term, but then again, in this day and age of fine-print litigation, the lines between "unsupported" and "illegal" are becoming more and more blurred.

Re:So, let me get this straight... (1)

Facegarden (967477) | about 6 years ago | (#25076685)

"Apple is applying for a patent...which could be detrimental to the original manufacturer of the software, who is actively selling it for Jailbroken iPhones"

Wow. Patent against software being sold for illegal phones. I'd sue, but I'm not quite sure where to start on that one.

God you're an idiot.
Why do people still think that hacking a device you own is illegal!?
Enabling read/write access to the filesystem of an iPhone to install an application isn't even close to illegal, yet every freaking time jailbreaking comes up, someone in the comments has to go and mention how it's "illegal"...
It is so annoying because it's ignorant, and spreads FUD...
-Taylor

Right... (5, Interesting)

shinma (106792) | about 6 years ago | (#25076173)

Apple recently became famous (or infamous) for stealing other people's ideas when they rolled out their Dashboard in Mac OS X, which had many similarities to a desktop widget program named the Konfabulator, which later became Yahoo widgets.

Uh, Konfabulator stole their widgets from NeXTStep.

Which is owned by who, again? Oh, right. Apple.

Re:Right... (2, Funny)

Hairy Heron (1296923) | about 6 years ago | (#25076309)

Did you actually expect a deceently written summary in a post by ScuttleMonkey? Come on now...

Re:Right... (3, Funny)

Kingrames (858416) | about 6 years ago | (#25076357)

Yar, they pirated it first, fair an' square! Clearly, Apple be violatin' their patent on piratin'.

Re:Right... (2, Informative)

One Louder (595430) | about 6 years ago | (#25076581)

They go back even earlier than that. They were called "desk accessories" on the original Macintosh.

Re:Right... (1)

david_thornley (598059) | about 6 years ago | (#25076817)

Arrrh, mateys, them Desk Accessories look to this pirate like them TSR programs for yonder MS-DOS and PC-DOS boxes, back when Long Tim Silver be larnin' to cook.

Re:Right... (5, Insightful)

JustinOpinion (1246824) | about 6 years ago | (#25076625)

This isn't a rant against your post (because you're right); rather just a reaction to the general concept of "stealing ideas".

I'm sick of the innumerable "X stole this computer idea from Y" complaints. They don't make sense for a variety of reasons, such as:
1. The same idea is frequently developed by different people independently. Especially when the idea is a fairly obvious and expected extension of what already exists. (Hint: 99% of software and interface improvements fall into this category.)
2. I *want* developers "stealing" ideas from each other. If the Internet Explorer team comes up with a cool new idea, I want the Mozilla and Safari and Konqueror teams to implement it, too. Only ridiculous pride (or ridiculous patent law) would argue otherwise. Having different people competing and innovating is great--but it's only a big advantage for the end consumers if the best ideas are eventually incorporated in a single product.
3. Ideas can't be "owned" and hence can't be "stolen". They are ethereal, replicable, and not sharply defined. It is impossible to delineate the limits to an idea, and thus any ownership thereof. (Patent and copyright law try to do this--and this is one reason they so frequently lead to absurd situations.)

I firmly believe in attribution and having a proper sense of history. But I am sick of people acting as if "stealing" an idea is bad thing. When it comes to ideas, we should be encouraging their wild proliferation, and encouraging everyone to use the best among them.

Re:Right... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25077253)

3. Ideas can't be "owned" and hence can't be "stolen". They are ethereal, replicable, and not sharply defined. It is impossible to delineate the limits to an idea, and thus any ownership thereof. (Patent and copyright law try to do this--and this is one reason they so frequently lead to absurd situations.)

Actually, copyright doesn't (although patents do). You cannot copyright ideas; you can only copyright specific representations of ideas.

In other words, "this program which performs task X" is copyrightable (and, these days, automatically copyrighted); "a program which performs task X" is not.

Re:Right... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25076977)

NeXTStep may have been purchased by Apple, but they WERE NOT Apple. You can't buy another company and then claim YOU came up with their idea. But its a nice try!

Also, there is a difference between widgets for engineering workstations vs consumer desktops, but I can see why the two were confusing to you...

Re:Right... (1)

shinma (106792) | about 6 years ago | (#25077313)

And who founded NeXT?

Steve Jobs.

But as others said, Desk Accessories were included in the original Mac OS, and are the same thing.

Also, the applications those widgets were put to in engineering workstations may not have been the same as those used for "consumer desktops" like the original Mac OS, but the concept is the same. But I can see why that might be confusing to you.

Re:Right... (0, Troll)

vuo (156163) | about 6 years ago | (#25077147)

Except that by publishing NeXTStep and not patenting the idea, they have killed any legal possibility of patenting it later. Nevertheless, obviously the USPTO rubberstamps it even if it's illegal. The whole concept of patents today is designed to fail; when USPTO patents something, the patents leaves its jurisdiction. There's no incentive for USPTO to maintain the quality of patents. Consequently, in the US, you can patent virtually anything; no matter how obvious it is. You'll have to sue to kill the patent. Which you can't do unless you have a lot of extra cash or an omniously large patent portfolio of your own; and you'll have to be a megacorporation to have either. Hence, innovation is hindered, because you'll have to have backing of an oligarhic megacorp.

Re:Right... (1)

shinma (106792) | about 6 years ago | (#25077277)

They didn't patent widgets, they implemented them. This article is about patenting something else, with an inaccurate attack about widgets thrown in to help push pageviews and cause the comments to combust.

Konfabulator vs Dashboard again? (2, Insightful)

mybadluck22 (750599) | about 6 years ago | (#25076205)

Man, that Konfabulator vs Dashboard thing again? Didn't we already decide that Apple did it first? Like, 20 years ago?

App Store or "Patent Store" (0, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25076269)

Apps are going to be mysteriously pulled from the App Store... with patents being filed by Apple soon after.

Collapse (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25076293)

Man, I can't wait till all the big companies start sueing each others asses with all that patents until they have given their last penny to their lawyers.
Should have done patent law... :(
At least Europe is a little bit less enthusiastic about software patents (for now).

Clearly we should? (1)

jav1231 (539129) | about 6 years ago | (#25076307)

All move to Microsoft? Better yet start using FreeBSD so we can all be 7334!

yes indeed. (5, Insightful)

David Gerard (12369) | about 6 years ago | (#25076335)

"OK, fuck it, we're evil. But you don't care because our stuff is sooo good. It works well. So bend over and TAKE IT from our patents. Or we'll make you use a Windows CE phone instead."

Mac users are surprised when things don't work well and smoothly; Windows users are surprised when they do. Microsoft wouldn't have had half the trouble with antitrust and crappy Seinfeld ads [today.com] if their stuff actually worked.

Same with Google. "Sure, you're worried about our tentacles in your life. But it's not like you're going to use Windows Live Search. Muwaaaaahahaha."

Well, yes. Why is that surprising? (0, Offtopic)

argent (18001) | about 6 years ago | (#25076427)

Or we'll make you use a Windows CE phone instead.

If you want a smartphone, you should be using a Windows CE, Palm OS, or Mokia phone. The iPhone is not an open platform in any sense of the word, and all the people acting shocked about it have been in denial for over a year.

Re:yes indeed. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25076995)

It's pretty easy to make stuff work when you can throw away everything that didn't used to work and force people to completely rewrite it. Where exactly would one run the original Flight Simulator for Mac Classic? How about the original Flight Simulator for DOS?

well 1+1 does equal 2 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25076339)

MS gives Apple millions. Apple takes free software and launches ad blitz. Apple continues to steal.

Anyone really that confused?

Time to think (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25076351)

Ok /. let's put our heads together and think this through.
How can we blame Microsoft for this?

You are right, that is the wrong plan.

Ok /. let's put our heads together and think this through.
How can we spin this so it looks like Apple is not doing exactly what we hate Microsoft for?

Re:Time to think (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25076457)

so it looks like Apple is not doing exactly what we hate Microsoft for?

No, I assure you. There are other reasons to hate MS.

Good job there (1)

FluffyWithTeeth (890188) | about 6 years ago | (#25076371)

Nice to see Slashdot presenting a story in a proper objective journalistic style as usual..

par for the course (1, Troll)

speedtux (1307149) | about 6 years ago | (#25076413)

Palm, Nokia, and other phones have had equivalent software for years.

Apple frequently patents things and takes credit for other people's inventions. The company is evil.

Is this another defense patent (1)

UnknowingFool (672806) | about 6 years ago | (#25076421)

Unfortunately with the state of patent laws these days, some companies are forced to amass a portfolio of obvious patents for defense. Is this one of them?

That was easily predictable... (3, Informative)

houbou (1097327) | about 6 years ago | (#25076449)

I'm so not surprised by this development, obviously, Apple has never been what we can call "Fair" in the past, why start now?

A short while ago, there was an article about "Apple Rejects iPhone App As Competitive To iTunes [slashdot.org] .

I replied with the following thread: SDK Agreement, anyone read it? [slashdot.org] .

That thread has extracts of the SDK and GTM agreements and after you read it, you will see how Apple is able to take it upon themselves to patent something which "isn't" supposed to be their product.

So, unless Intellisync had an agreement that this was their product, etc... with Apple, then, they left themselves open for a take over.

Worse is that the agreements which Apple provides you with you 1) download the SDK and 2) use their Go-to-Market program to sell in their stores, are pretty clear.

But Apple has a sneaky way of delivering this information.

When you download the SDK, you don't get to see the GTM agreement clauses.

As far as I'm concerned, when you download the SDK for the iPhone, you should also be provided with the agreement for the "Go-To-Market" program. But this is how Apple gets to take advantage of people who don't read the fine lines and don't do their homework on the legal side.

The Tao of Apple (1, Insightful)

DynaSoar (714234) | about 6 years ago | (#25076503)

That is the way at Apple. They did the same with "windows", the mouse and the GUI by first copying the Xerox Star's look, feel and operation, then suing Microsoft when they attempted to patent these, and cemented their position by giving Alan Kay, the brain behind the Xerox Star, an Apple Fellowship. The last made it unlikely Kay would side against Apple in any further legal actions.

They may not be very nice sometimes, but they're not stupid.

And I seriously doubt that Intellisync came up with the idea. They may have created the first to be used on an iPhone, but the concept of prior art does not require a particular context. If a similar widget existed prior, then it's not novel. And the similarity need not be that strict. Automated notification is old hat. Three words: "You've Got Mail".

A million times wrong (4, Informative)

geekoid (135745) | about 6 years ago | (#25076669)

Apple paid to be able to use the stuff they saw at Xerox Parc. Paid with stock.
MS did not pay, and in fact the only reason they didn't loos there shirts becasue they convinced the judge that there work was a derivative of the work they already did. In the contract with Apple appl allowed them to do that, except the contract wasn't for an OS it was for a different application.

Wait... Apple is trying to patent... (2, Informative)

PortHaven (242123) | about 6 years ago | (#25076533)

What my Pocket PC mobile phone has been able to do for years?

Um...excuse, but can someone please explain what the heck I am missing on this one?

It's sad... (1)

argent (18001) | about 6 years ago | (#25076965)

Your Pocket PC isn't a closed system like the iPhone. They're patenting the application of a smartphone user interface to other kinds of phones. Or something like that.

Whatever, it's sad when a phone running a Microsoft OS is more open than one running UNIX. :p

Re:Wait... Apple is trying to patent... (1)

edalytical (671270) | about 6 years ago | (#25077373)

And its the only thing I miss from my HTC phone.

konfabulator (3, Interesting)

larry bagina (561269) | about 6 years ago | (#25076541)

It doesn't fit into the sensationalist summary, but Mac OS 1 included desk accessories in 1984. Dashboard (and Konfabulator) are an updated version of that concept.

Re:konfabulator (1)

tekrat (242117) | about 6 years ago | (#25077021)

Uh, Sidekick for DOS? Anybody remember that? What year was that?

The concept of a little program running on top of another has been around practically as long as there have been programmable computers.

Re:konfabulator (1)

objekt (232270) | about 6 years ago | (#25077171)

Oh yeah? Well, I had a real world calculator on my real world desktop long before that silly Sidekick program came to be. So there!

arrrrrrrrrrr.

Thousands of BS patents from Apple (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25076597)

Apple files BS patents all the time. If you want to see more, just search patents for "Jobs, Steven P." Yes, Steve Jobs claims he personally invented everything at Apple, and puts his name on the patent applications.

Re:Thousands of BS patents from Apple (1)

audubon (577473) | about 6 years ago | (#25076827)

It's against the law to list yourself as inventor on a patent application if you aren't really an inventor. So Jobs has some patents. So do many other [uspto.gov] Apple employees.

Re:Thousands of BS patents from Apple (1)

jcr (53032) | about 6 years ago | (#25077397)

Yes, Steve Jobs claims he personally invented everything at Apple,

Thanks for that example of the rhetorical device know as the "baldfaced lie". This one is easily disproven by searching for all patents for which Apple is the assignee, and all patents on which Steve Jobs is listed as an inventor, and comparing the numbers.

-jcr

What hypocritical bunk... (1)

John Whitley (6067) | about 6 years ago | (#25076645)

Apple recently became famous (or infamous) for stealing other people's ideas when they rolled out their Dashboard in Mac OS X, which had many similarities to a desktop widget program named the Konfabulator, which later became Yahoo widgets.

ScuttleMonkey, you should have scuttled this post! ARRRR!: Someone who bitches about patents, which are intended to limit the free application of certain ideas, then bitching about the free application of ideas in the same breath.

Wow, kids, let's try that template again:

[OSS developers] recently became famous (or infamous) for stealing other people's ideas when they rolled out their [GIMP] in [Linux], which had many similarities to a desktop [...] program named [Photoshop] [...]

Wash, rinse, repeat! It's the hypocrisy generator!

Trying to make the iPhone look like Windows? (1)

Moralpanic (557841) | about 6 years ago | (#25076833)

Because the Today screen sure looks a lot like Windows Mobile Today screen.

Not new, I'm afraid. (0, Troll)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about 6 years ago | (#25076865)

Apple seems to enjoy patenting stuff that others have already come up with. Some time back, the filed a patent on voice menus [pat2pdf.org] , despite the fact that the rockbox project had already released such a feature(and, since rockbox development is in the open, the feature could be said to have been public even prerelease) and the Kenwood music keg had been selling with a similar feature for some time.

Slashdot also mentioned, a while back Apple's attempt [slashdot.org] to patent the same OLED keyboard that Art Lebedev has been showing pictures of since forever.

Apple does occasionally innovate, and they are quite good at executing "polished version of something somebody else did already; but not really well enough for the mass market"; but they have a downright nasty habit of patenting stuff that other people have already developed.

Re:Not new, I'm afraid. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25076979)

I should mention: I'm all for Apple rolling out ideas pioneered by others, and others rolling out ideas pioneered by Apple; but patenting them is a whole different game. Go ahead, use the good idea; but attempting to seize legal ownership of somebody else's idea, through a false claim that it is your own, is nothing more than despicable.

Link to the patent application in question (5, Insightful)

Grond (15515) | about 6 years ago | (#25076905)

Here is the patent application in question [uspto.gov] .

You'll notice the June 28, 2007 filing date. The earliest reference I can find to Intelliscreen is that it was in early beta in May of 2008. Indeed, Intelliborn didn't apply for a trademark on "Intelliscreen" until May 23, 2008 (TM App. Serial No. 77482276). Also note that the product requires a jailbroken iPhone. The iPhone wasn't even first jailbroken until July, 2007 [wired.com] !

Thus, it seems almost certain that Apple came up with the idea long before Intelliborn had a product on the market and very likely long before Intelliborn came up with the idea at all.

People should understand that patent applications are (generally) not published the moment they are filed. Instead, they are usually published 18 months after the filing date. Just because we are now seeing the application does not mean that it was only now filed. In fact, it usually means just the opposite.

Re:Link to the patent application in question (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25077297)

I just scanned the patent. Apparently, my Windows Mobile 2003 device (HP6515) would be in violation since the patent claims: a touch screen portable device that receives communications in a plurality of ways (ie. phone calls, SMS, email, etc) displaying the information in a summary screen.

I have personally written an app that locks a WM device and displays this same summary info and I did it two years ago and I wasn't the first to do it. Call me up if you need prior art. Or if you want me to testify how obvious it was to someone "skilled" in the art.

Just goes to show that no software should be patentable. Throw out all software patents and encourage innovation.

Arrgh!!! Apple Plunderin' me Treasure (3, Funny)

mpapet (761907) | about 6 years ago | (#25077049)

Ye landlubbers never seen such a frightful sight as the Flyin Apple on the starboard with the Skull-n-Bones flyin.

Ay she's a fast ship the Flyin Apple. Her hull like dull silver. No good ever come of her. I've seen her come aboard a ship in the Carribbean and all the crew were turned to shredded paper!

ARRRRR!!

Stop stealing the meaning of "steal" (1)

noidentity (188756) | about 6 years ago | (#25077295)

Please stop robbing the word "steal" of its meaning. If something was really stolen, the original owner would no longer have it. If something was ripped off, the original owner would in some way be missing something.
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