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David/Goliath Story Brewing Between Apple and iControlPad Makers

Soulskill posted more than 4 years ago | from the iprior-iart dept.

Iphone 264

relliker writes "Apple has just patented a design for an iPhone gaming add-on after admitting that the iPhone is somewhat hard to use as a games machine. The catch is that the design is not theirs. It was designed by a team of gaming aficionados, one member of which, Craig 'craigix' Rothwell of OpenPandora fame, is already twittering like mad about the shot just fired by Apple in their direction. The iControlPad team are in contact with their IP lawyer, since their design is already in production. Will Apple still try to steamroll right through them?"

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second! (0, Flamebait)

sageres (561626) | more than 4 years ago | (#31710258)

:-) EOM

Re:second! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31710908)

Well, I'm glad somebody is admitting that a touch screen is nothing resembling an effective replacement for a d-pad and buttons when it comes to gaming.

SCOTUS we beseech thee (-1, Offtopic)

kawabago (551139) | more than 4 years ago | (#31710262)

End software patents!!!!!!

Re:SCOTUS we beseech thee (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31710282)

In your rush to be one of the first posters, you completely missed the fact that this isn't a software patent.

Re:SCOTUS we beseech thee (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31710284)

The patent is for a piece of gaming hardware.

We beseech thee o Slashdot mods please RTFA.

Re:SCOTUS we beseech thee (1, Troll)

Volante3192 (953645) | more than 4 years ago | (#31710292)

This is about an iPhone docking station, essentially.

Not software.

At least checkout the links before blindly spouting off something that, while still likely to get a +5 insightful, is -infinite Offtopic.

Whoop, whoop! Hypocrisy alarm! (0, Troll)

red456 (1760250) | more than 4 years ago | (#31710388)

it's true the issue is to do with hardware, but note this: the iControlPad team [icontrolpad.com] are up in arms talking about 'their rights' and how they've been 'ripped off' and 'infringed' yet if you visit their site you will see they are more than happy to promote this - through screen-shots and videos - as method for running pirated games, such as Super Mario Kart and (what looks like) Mario Brothers DS. Could that be... 'hypocrisy'?

Re:Whoop, whoop! Hypocrisy alarm! (3, Insightful)

emkyooess (1551693) | more than 4 years ago | (#31710440)

So all emulation is piracy? Thanks for keeping me informed. And here I thought I emulated my PS1 and PS2 so I could enjoy them at the comfort of my PC with unlimited save space and with antialiasing.

Re:Whoop, whoop! Hypocrisy alarm! (-1, Troll)

red456 (1760250) | more than 4 years ago | (#31710484)

where did I say 'all emulation is piracy' exactly? if you're running an emulator on your PC and reading the PSX/PS2 original disks, then no problem - but oh, where did you get hold of the PS2 bios your emulator uses? did you dump it yourself, or did you download it from the web? that, along with grabbing copies of the ISOs and roms is piracy.

Re:Whoop, whoop! Hypocrisy alarm! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31710526)

but oh, where did you get hold of the PS2 bios your emulator uses? did you dump it yourself, or did you download it from the web? that, along with grabbing copies of the ISOs and roms is piracy.

I use a free open source replacement BIOS

Re:Whoop, whoop! Hypocrisy alarm! (-1, Troll)

red456 (1760250) | more than 4 years ago | (#31710578)

interesting, because no opensource replacement PS2 bios exists that can run commerical games. one must assume you've written it yourself - but not yet released it to the public. well done in that respect, as that's been quite some effort I suspect

Re:Whoop, whoop! Hypocrisy alarm! (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31710538)

You are incorrect Sir. If you own the game you can download a backup (you do not have to create it yourself). If you own the ROM chip, you can download it you do not have to back it up yourself.

However the people you downloaded it from are in breach of copy write, unless they confirmed with you that you are a legit owner of said code. (and I doubt they did).

Re:Whoop, whoop! Hypocrisy alarm! (0, Troll)

red456 (1760250) | more than 4 years ago | (#31710564)

that's nonsense

Re:Whoop, whoop! Hypocrisy alarm! (2, Insightful)

dan828 (753380) | more than 4 years ago | (#31710674)

And it's running an on iPhone! Apple is responsible for piracy! Get real.

Re:Whoop, whoop! Hypocrisy alarm! (-1, Troll)

red456 (1760250) | more than 4 years ago | (#31710778)

since you clearly couldn't care less about piracy and others' IP, how about this... what if Apple just turn around and say they haven't 'ripped off' the iControlPad design, they're just 'emulating' it. ha!

Re:SCOTUS we beseech thee (0, Offtopic)

Arimus (198136) | more than 4 years ago | (#31710298)

This is mostly a hardware patent...

Mod parent offtopic (2, Informative)

Looce (1062620) | more than 4 years ago | (#31710304)

This article is very clearly about a hardware patent.

Re:SCOTUS we beseech thee (0, Offtopic)

MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) | more than 4 years ago | (#31710306)

This isn't about software patents. Try the next thread.

Yay for big corporations. (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31710270)

They'll steamroll right over them, and no lawyer will be able to help the poor devs. Like the KGB fellows used to say, "for every man, for every deed, there is a paragraph. And if there is none, then a new one shall be written".
Hooray for big corporations.

Re:Yay for big corporations. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31710544)

BS.

If they have prior art, Apple loses. More money doesn't grant you a win here, since it'll never even make it to court if this is the case -- when the party possessing (and interested in defending) an existing implementation knows about it before the patent is granted, it's pretty easy to get it blocked in the patent office. Big corporation or not. It's only when they already have a patent granted, you find out about it from their lawyers, and then try to fight it in court that you'll be crushed by superior lawyerpower.

But the US is _not_ first-to-file, so the filing date of September 30, 2008 doesn't mean anything. What matters is the date of invention, and if Apple conceived of the idea first (that is, before craigix et al. conceived of it) and diligently developed it to patentable form before filing for the patent, then they win (and _should_ win, given the US system), even though craigix et al. made it to market faster.

Re:Yay for big corporations. (1)

MrNaz (730548) | more than 4 years ago | (#31710880)

Being a big corp means they can find some tangentially related idea within the bowels of the Cupertino campus and call that prior art. Hell, with enough research, investigation and imagination I'm pretty sure I can find prior art for just about any modern invention going from ancient Sumeria.

That's not how prior art works (3, Insightful)

Infonaut (96956) | more than 4 years ago | (#31711014)

Being a big corp means they can find some tangentially related idea within the bowels of the Cupertino campus and call that prior art.

Prior art is implementations that have been used in the public sphere, not secrets you created in a lab and never showed anyone. And being a big corp doesn't mean Apple will win a patent case. Big guys get gunned down in patent litigation by little guys all the time. That's part of the reason so many big corporations feel we should move to a first to file system.

Apple (4, Insightful)

sexconker (1179573) | more than 4 years ago | (#31710272)

This is typical Apple behavior.
And they'll get away with it.
They always get away with it.

Re:Apple (4, Insightful)

Vintermann (400722) | more than 4 years ago | (#31710490)

and people who should know better will still jump on every new release because everyone else does.

Re:Apple (4, Informative)

Prophet of Nixon (842081) | more than 4 years ago | (#31710500)

They used to pull this shit back in the 90s when I used them too. Back when System 7 was out, there were tons of freely available system extensions and control panels on the web, and small applications that added desktop gadgets and whatnot. Well, both System 7.5 and System 8 were nothing but Apple ripoffs of extensions and control panels stolen from the community and packaged into overpriced OS upgrades. Systems 7 and 7.5 even had compatible Finders (shells), there was practically nothing different about the OSs aside from the stolen extensions. I put up with that behavior then since at the time Apple was years ahead of the rest of the personal computer market, but I jumped ship as soon as I could get a good alternative.

Short answer: (3, Insightful)

clone53421 (1310749) | more than 4 years ago | (#31710278)

Will Apple still try to steamroll right through them?

Probably. And they will fail.

How on earth does a company like Apple seem to think they can steal someone’s idea and get away with it? If this isn’t just an oops of epic proportions, the arrogance it indicates is simply shocking. I predict that they won’t back down until they are forced to and when it is much, much too late for them to avoid losing face.

Re:Short answer: (3, Insightful)

clone53421 (1310749) | more than 4 years ago | (#31710318)

In hindsight, that sounds really pollyanna-ish. I can only hope the system works, but in all honesty it’s broken almost beyond hope of repair...

Re:Short answer: (2)

sexconker (1179573) | more than 4 years ago | (#31710364)

pollyanna

I believe the morning sun's
Always gonna shine again and
I believe a pot of gold
Waits at every rainbow's end
I believe in roses kissed with dew
Why shouldn't I believe the same in you?

I believe in make-believe
Fairy tales and lucky charms and
I believe in promises
Spoken as you cross your heart
I believe in skies forever blue
Why shouldn't I believe the same in you?

You may say I'm a fool
Feelin' the way that I do
You can call me Pollyanna
Say I'm crazy as a loon
I believe in silver linings
And that's why I believe in you

I believe there'll come a day
Maybe it will be tomorrow
When the bluebird flies away
All we'll have to do is follow
I believe that dreams can still come true
Why shouldn't I believe the same in you?

You may say I'm a fool
Feelin' the way that I do
I believe in friends and laughter
And the wonders love can do
I believe in songs and magic
And that's why I believe in you

You may say I'm a fool
Feelin' this way about you
There's not much I can do
I'm gonna be this way my life through
'Cause I still believe in miracles
I swear I've seen a few
And the time will surely come
When you can see my point of view
I believe in second chances
And that's why I believe in you

Re:Short answer: (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31710422)

BURMA SHAVE

Re:Short answer: (5, Insightful)

Nadaka (224565) | more than 4 years ago | (#31710356)

They probably think they can get away with it because they have gotten away with it multiple times before.

Re:Short answer: (1)

gilesjuk (604902) | more than 4 years ago | (#31710450)

Simple, if the other person who had the idea doesn't have a patent then someone else will patent it.

Re:Short answer: (2, Insightful)

clone53421 (1310749) | more than 4 years ago | (#31710478)

That’s perfectly true, but if you’re already in production it’s pretty easy to show you had prior art...

Re:Short answer: (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31710634)

That's fine and dandy, but you stil can't go around claiming someone stole your idea when you made no effort to protect it.

If you're not going to bother applying for a patent, you forfeit your right to decide who can and cannot implement your idea.

Prior art stops the second party from suing you over the patent, and may even invalidate it, but it doesn't grant you the rights of the patent holder, since, shock, gasp, you have to have applied for and be granted the patent to have those rights.

I'm pulling for Apple, personally - if you don't want anyone else to patent your idea, you should patent it before they do, even if you don't want to restrict anyone from implementing your method - get the patent and license it out freely.

Also, make damn well sure that what's being patented is in fact your method - hooking on analog controls via a chasis connected by serial connection doesn't quite qualify, and if you think it does, you forfeit ever complaining about vague patents in the future.

Re:Short answer: (3, Insightful)

clone53421 (1310749) | more than 4 years ago | (#31710754)

If you're not going to bother applying for a patent, you forfeit your right to decide who can and cannot implement your idea.

They probably thought it was pretty obvious and thus not patentable. In any event, they have no basis to complain that Apple is producing a competing product, since they obviously did not file a patent of their own. However they have every right to be outraged that Apple filed for a patent, which would keep them from producing a product that they conceived of first.

Re:Short answer: (2, Insightful)

dan828 (753380) | more than 4 years ago | (#31710756)

So your reason for rooting for the big corporation to stomp on the little guy is that the little guy failed to used the badly broken patent system to protect their idea from the corporate behemoth? When said behemoth has a full time staff of patent attorneys, and the little guy is probably just some start up with engineers that foolishly thought they could just make cool stuff and sell it without having a patent attorney on staff?

Re:Short answer: (1, Interesting)

The Empiricist (854346) | more than 4 years ago | (#31710474)

How on earth does a company like Apple seem to think they can steal someone's idea and get away with it?

How do you know they stole the idea? Independent invention is possible. If the iControlPad creators had filed for a U.S. patent, there is a good chance that they would be engaged in interference proceedings [wikipedia.org] to determine who has the right to the patent.

In the United States, an inventor has twelve months after an invention becomes known to file for a patent. The fact that Apple filed for the patent after iControlPad became known doesn't mean anything by itself. What matters is whether Apple's employees were the first inventors (based on factors such as conception date and diligence in reducing the invention to practice).

Re:Short answer: (4, Insightful)

clone53421 (1310749) | more than 4 years ago | (#31710530)

Independent invention is possible.

True enough... but it also throws the non-obviousness of the patent into question. If multiple people came up with the idea simultaneously it might have been obvious, and if so it shouldn’t be a patentable idea.

Heads , I win, Tails, You Lose. (4, Insightful)

westlake (615356) | more than 4 years ago | (#31710476)

How on earth does a company like Apple seem to think they can steal someone's idea and get away with it?

You can't patent an idea, you can only patent an implementation of an idea.

If Apple's controlller is significantly different - Apple wins because users rarely look beyond Apple and the Apple app store - and developers will follow their lead.

If the controllers are too much alike, Apple wins on the patent.

If Apple loses on the patent, it wins on mass production, shelf space, visibility, marketing - and price, if it chooses.

Re:Heads , I win, Tails, You Lose. (1)

clone53421 (1310749) | more than 4 years ago | (#31710556)

Yeah, that’s accurate. It would, though, at least prevent Apple from suing these guys for infringing the patent (well, it should). Apple would still probably drown them with its huge name recognition...

Re:Heads , I win, Tails, You Lose. (4, Insightful)

butlerm (3112) | more than 4 years ago | (#31710996)

You can't patent an idea, you can only patent an implementation of an idea.

That is the rhetoric, but in actual practice the raison d'etre of patent attorneys is to make the patents they write so broad that they encompass entire classifications of inventions. A land grab, more or less.

If an "implementation" were all that was at issue, in the field of software copyright would be more than adequate. Instead we get patents granted for the entire field of social networking implemented using the industry standard technology that has been around for decades. Or purchasing things on a web browser with one click. Or any conceivable copy on write filesystem, etc.

This is how it is supposed to work (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31710932)

If the small company did not publish their invention or patent it, then they were keeping their invention as a trade secret.

The whole reason for patents is to give people and companies incentive not to keep trade secrets. The incentive not to keep trade secrets is that some other entity may independently re-invet your "secret", and if the other entity patents it, you are screwed. You may end up owing royalties to the competitor who disclosed the invention in the form of a patent.

Could that be what happened here?

The US' legal system follows the Golden Rule: (3, Insightful)

Draek (916851) | more than 4 years ago | (#31710286)

"He who has the gold makes the rules". So yeah, Apple will try, and Apple will succeed in steamrolling through them.

Sucks to be you, iControlPad guys. Here's hoping you at least don't get sued for patent infringement on top of this.

Re:The US' legal system follows the Golden Rule: (1)

BitZtream (692029) | more than 4 years ago | (#31710342)

Unless you're delusional thats the way the world has always worked and always will.

Re:The US' legal system follows the Golden Rule: (1)

onefriedrice (1171917) | more than 4 years ago | (#31710370)

The US' legal system follows the Golden Rule: He who has the gold makes the rules.

Exactly; like Bernard Madoff. Oh wait... If he made the rules, he probably would have exempted himself from a life sentence.

Re:The US' legal system follows the Golden Rule: (0, Flamebait)

iamhassi (659463) | more than 4 years ago | (#31710438)

No, Madoff had the gold and everyone wanted a piece. Since he couldn't pay off the govt he's serving a life sentence

Re:The US' legal system follows the Golden Rule: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31710472)

He upset the people with the money.

Re:The US' legal system follows the Golden Rule: (4, Informative)

Major Blud (789630) | more than 4 years ago | (#31710462)

"He who has the gold makes the rules.
So yeah, Apple will try, and Apple will succeed in steamrolling through them."

Not necessarily. See BlackBerry vs. NTP.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/BlackBerry [wikipedia.org]

Re:The US' legal system follows the Golden Rule: (3, Insightful)

c0d3g33k (102699) | more than 4 years ago | (#31710492)

It is precisely this attitude that allows injustice to prevail in the world. Congratulations, you've just enabled evil.

Re:The US' legal system follows the Golden Rule: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31710992)

Acknowledging a fact != enabling evil

Re:The US' legal system follows the Golden Rule: (1)

RyuuzakiTetsuya (195424) | more than 4 years ago | (#31710808)

Is it apple's fault the iCP team didn't file a patent for their device?

Re:The US' legal system follows the Golden Rule: (5, Insightful)

cusco (717999) | more than 4 years ago | (#31710988)

You shouldn't **have** to file for a patent just to make something. Patents are only for keeping other people from making something. If 20 companies want to make versions of the iControlPad that's fine, but apparently Apple feels the need to keep anyone but themselves from making a device like that (including the original inventor). Hope you enjoy your over-priced proprietary version (with trendy styling) of a product that could have cost a frack of a lot less if anyone but Apple were making it.

Even if the patent is invalidated the iControlPad guys are out in the cold, because Apple will drown them under a flood of lawyers.

Isn't this what the term "prior art" is for? (1)

bistromath007 (1253428) | more than 4 years ago | (#31710302)

Mind you, I am under no illusions that any judge will respect that if so, deep pockets always win. But I am nearly certain this is exactly what prior art means. Maybe not, I'm not an expert.

USPTO uses first to file rule not first to invent (5, Informative)

presidenteloco (659168) | more than 4 years ago | (#31710368)

If you file at USPTO in September 2008, you get
priority over inventions revealed by others as early
as October 2007.

Wacko system. Yes. But that's the way the US patent law
works. It basically means, file your patent as soon as designed, before you reveal your invention.

I'm not supporting this system. Just saying how it is currently
defined.

Re:USPTO uses first to file rule not first to inve (3, Insightful)

david_thornley (598059) | more than 4 years ago | (#31710424)

Also, the summary mentions that the controller is in production. Was the design released with the controller? The patent doesn't go to the first person to think of something, or even make and sell it; it goes to the first person who is willing to tell the world about it in a patent application.

Wrong (5, Informative)

Dachannien (617929) | more than 4 years ago | (#31710652)

The US is the only country in the world that has a first-to-invent system. Resolution of this (when two applicants each believe they separately invented the same invention) is called an "interference" between the two conflicting parties, in which each inventor attempts to prove that they were the true first inventor of the claimed invention.

For publications, the one year "grace period" is only guaranteed for one's own publications of an invention. If you publish an invention on 1 September 2007, you have one year, until the first business day on or after 1 September 2008, to file your application for that invention. But if the prior art is a publication authored by someone else, the grace period does not apply unless you can prove either (a) reduction to practice of the invention before the prior art date, or (b) complete conception of the invention before the prior art date coupled with due diligence until reduction to practice or the filing date.

Any publication more than one year before the filing date always counts as prior art, even if you can prove you had reduced your invention to practice before that publication - and even if the publication was your own work. Public use or sale in the US more than a year before the filing date also counts for this.

Re:Isn't this what the term "prior art" is for? (1)

Trev311 (1161835) | more than 4 years ago | (#31710518)

An interesting thing to note is that this was filed for all the way back in 2008. I'm not too sure of the Open Pandora's history, but if their design that would be prior art was not publicly available when the patent was filed would it still be prior art? Apple sure does some evil things, but I almost wonder if they would have even known of the Open Pandora in 2008 (not that it makes this any more right).

Also, not being an expert either maybe someone here can explain, does the product have to actually be shipping for it to be prior art? If not, then wouldn't all basic mp3 player patents be void since the idea itself has been around for decades?

Re:Isn't this what the term "prior art" is for? (1)

gnasher719 (869701) | more than 4 years ago | (#31710598)

Also, not being an expert either maybe someone here can explain, does the product have to actually be shipping for it to be prior art? If not, then wouldn't all basic mp3 player patents be void since the idea itself has been around for decades?

The invention must have been _published_ to count as "prior art". And a year or two ago the rules in the USA have changed that adding two and two together also counts as prior art: If invention A does X, and invention B does Y, then this counts as "prior art" for putting A and B together and getting X and Y.

There will be discussions how widely available a publication has to be to count as "published".

Re:Isn't this what the term "prior art" is for? (1)

atomicthumbs (824207) | more than 4 years ago | (#31710868)

The Pandora is a game console, made by the same people who make the iControlPad. The company is called OpenPandora.

Seems Apple also patented the Nintendo DS... (2, Interesting)

NeutronCowboy (896098) | more than 4 years ago | (#31710334)

See figure 5 [patentlyapple.com] of the patent application. Not sure what this means for the whole thing. Did someone at Apple just throw together a few ideas, and patent them all? The language and the "art" seems vague enough for it. Unfortunately, I'm not a lawyer, so I have no clue whether something like this means that the entire patent application can be tossed out, or whether vague language means it can't be enforced.

Either which way, this is about as lame as patent applications come. It really sounds like someone looked around at existing platforms and said "let's patent them all."

Re:Seems Apple also patented the Nintendo DS... (3, Insightful)

AresTheImpaler (570208) | more than 4 years ago | (#31710428)

The figure you linked is of a hardware device (ipod touch/iphone) inside a dock that has an auxiliary screen. The nintendo DS is a single device with 2 screens. They are very different. Tho, the figure does look like a nintendo DS a lot.

What I find interesting is what one of the websites linked by the twitter account said about filing date:
"The Apple patent was originally filed in Q3 2008, while the iControlPad first got covered by Pocket Gamer in May 2008."

It would be interesting to know if apple has anything that would demonstrate they had been working on this patent before may 2008, or even before the icontrolpad group thought about it. Wouldn't that demonstrate prior art?

Re:Seems Apple also patented the Nintendo DS... (1)

tsm_sf (545316) | more than 4 years ago | (#31710718)

The figure you linked is of a hardware device (ipod touch/iphone) inside a dock that has an auxiliary screen. The nintendo DS is a single device with 2 screens. They are very different.

They're both agglomerations of older tech, surrounded in plastic, with identical functionality. One of them is very different because it comes in two parts?

Adding to the list of Apple's offensiveness (5, Insightful)

erroneus (253617) | more than 4 years ago | (#31710340)

Things like the Beatles owning the rights to the "Apple" brand and allowing them to use it so long as they stay out of the music business, and then doing the iTunes music store was bad enough... then challenging Apple Records over their name which predate's Apple Computer's? Putting a rightful competitor (Franklin) out of business when they improved on the Apple 2 computer they were allowed to create. There's probably a lot worse things that just aren't coming to mind at the moment and these multi-touch patent holders who were somehow unsuccessful in stopping Apple from selling their multi-touch devices and especially unsuccessful at preventing Apple from bringing new infringing devices to market.

Apple is a pretty evil company. I know... -1 troll, but new like this is bringing Apple closer to the level of Sony in my mind.

Re:Adding to the list of Apple's offensiveness (1, Insightful)

onefriedrice (1171917) | more than 4 years ago | (#31710414)

Apple is a pretty evil company. I know... -1 troll

Actually, playing on the anti-Apple sentiment gets you on the fast track to +5 Insightful.

Re:Adding to the list of Apple's offensiveness (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31710430)

Speaking with wisdom and reserve gets you +5 Insightful, not simple anti-Apple claptrap.

Re:Adding to the list of Apple's offensiveness (2, Insightful)

dissy (172727) | more than 4 years ago | (#31710502)

Speaking with wisdom and reserve gets you +5 Insightful, not simple anti-Apple claptrap.

You are clearly new here.

Wisdom and reserve gets you +1 Troll.
Stating cited facts gets you +1 flamebait or overrated
Hating on any company that is both successful financially and making changes (for better or good, but changes none the less) to the world is +5 Insightful.

And just to put this post back on topic, here is my opinion-based list of companies commonly hated on here:

Yeay: Google, wikileaks, Steve Jobs (but not Apple these days), the pirate bay, and the guy that made hamster dance.
Nay: Microsoft, RIAA/MPAA, SCO, and Rupert Murdock.

Re:Adding to the list of Apple's offensiveness (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31710686)

Possibly. But if there is one group that abuses mod points more than any other groups[1], it's the Apple fanboys. Say something against Apple, and your comment is by default modded "overrated". Of course there was going to be a counter-reaction.

[1] Actually, Libertarians are worse, ironically.

Re:Adding to the list of Apple's offensiveness (1, Insightful)

jo_ham (604554) | more than 4 years ago | (#31710614)

Wisdom, reserve and citations gets you -1 Troll, anything even *remotely* anti-Apple, regardless of how ludicrously thin and rumour-filled will get +5 insightful.

Replace "Apple" with MS, Google, Facebook, or any other large company for the same result.

Re:Adding to the list of Apple's offensiveness (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31710766)

Bullshit. Almost all comments with Apple apologetics will get at least one "insightful" mod, no matter how contrived, cliched and utterly wrong they are.

Re:Adding to the list of Apple's offensiveness (1)

feepness (543479) | more than 4 years ago | (#31710664)

Speaking with wisdom and reserve gets you +5 Insightful, not simple anti-Apple claptrap.

Don't dismiss the power of "...to the level of Sony" as well.

Re:Adding to the list of Apple's offensiveness (1)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 4 years ago | (#31710590)

Sometimes the bastard deserves the righteous slapdown and it's not just another instance of "everyone is plotting against us".

Re:Adding to the list of Apple's offensiveness (1)

KillShill (877105) | more than 4 years ago | (#31710760)

Apple is a pretty evil company. I know... -1 troll

Actually, playing on the anti-Apple sentiment gets you on the fast track to +5 Insightful.

Credit where credit is due.

Re:Adding to the list of Apple's offensiveness (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31710584)

And oh the irony http://www.osnews.com/story/23089/Apple_Slapped_with_Multitouch_Patent_Lawsuit

Re:Adding to the list of Apple's offensiveness (1)

bill_kress (99356) | more than 4 years ago | (#31710804)

Kinda the opposite of Sony though, don't you think?

I mean if you assume IP is good, then Sony is great and Apple is evil...

But if you don't like IP? Apple is robin hood standing against the IP hoarders of the country.

At least that's what this sounds like. I'm sure on other fronts Apple is using their IP to put other poor slobs out of business, so this isn't any sweeping generality, just a comment on the previous post.

Why develop for the most closed company? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31710344)

This is why people should think twice about making things for apple products. It is like operating in China, you can make a lot of money, but the big brother can pull the plug and smash you at any moment.

Re:Why develop for the most closed company? (3, Insightful)

copponex (13876) | more than 4 years ago | (#31710408)

you can make a lot of money, but

See your preposition there? That's all anyone ever thinks about.

The world makes more sense now, doesn't it?

Re:Why develop for the most closed company? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31710624)

man, I really hate apple, they are soooooo closed..
http://www.opensource.apple.com/ [apple.com]
http://webkit.org/ [webkit.org]

Re:Why develop for the most closed company? (1)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 4 years ago | (#31710640)

Microsoft is the same way. That really does put you in a bad position if you want to make money doing 3rd party support for any payware OS.

Sadly enough, Apple is no Knight in Shining armor. Steve Jobs is just as bad as Bill Gates, he just has a little more style.

I just looked at those patents... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31710366)

Did they really just patent pretty much every phone/multimedia device/portable gaming-thingy in existence? Something smells fishy and it's not the salmon I ate for dinner.

Re:I just looked at those patents... (1)

erroneus (253617) | more than 4 years ago | (#31710460)

No, what they are patenting is a device that turns an iPhone/iPod touch into a portable gaming system.

The devices in question are all feature enhancing docks, not the gaming system as a whole.

Re:I just looked at those patents... (1)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 4 years ago | (#31710676)

It seems like they are trying to patent a joypad with an ipod dock connector.

That seems like something that shouldn't be patentable.

There's no reason that bogus trivial patents can't apply to physical things too. Infact, if you watch enough educable you can see where companies go about patenting trivial stuff specifically to prevent their designs from being copied. Nothing particularly inventive is going on.

Just Wondering (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31710380)

Is anyone else bothered by the fact that the posted story about apple stealing someone's idea is actually the second story submitted.
See [slashdot.org]

Re:Just Wondering (1)

mkiwi (585287) | more than 4 years ago | (#31710626)

I was trying to think of why Apple would seemingly do something so reckless so I visited the icontrolpad website.

Playing devils advocate, there are three issues I see that could derail these developers:

  1. On the top of their site, they clearly indicate that their controller is for jailbroken iPhones.
    While jailbroken iPhones/iPods are generally considered a good thing by nerds, the courts might not see it the same way.
  2. Since they are using jailbroken iPhones, it is quite possible that they are not paying Apple for the rights to use Apple's proprietary connector.
  3. When they decided to sell the gaming accessory (i.e. profit from it), they opened up a legal can of worms because they need to pay the fee for the connector.

While this move by Apple is deeply troubling morally, legally there may be nothing the icontrolpad devs can do to stop a lawsuit with our current laws.

I wish the dev team the best because their innovation has helped and inspired so many people.

Re:Just Wondering (1)

plusser (685253) | more than 4 years ago | (#31710840)

Since they are using jailbroken iPhones, it is quite possible that they are not paying Apple for the rights to use Apple's proprietary connector.

I'll think you will find that the connector is patented, so no doubt unless the manufacturer intend to licence the connector (which means the product will have to work with non-jailbroken iphones), they do not have much chance on challenging the patent, since they are already breaking one. It also makes me think that if the idea was so great then why didn't icontrolpad patent the idea themselves (after all, there were other touch screen based systems that could of done with something similar even before Apple launched the iPhone)

To be honest though, with what is being published on the icontrolpad website, surely it would be cheaper to build their own game console as they appear to be demonstrating games that were written for other handheld games platforms.

Apple's lawyers (1)

Torodung (31985) | more than 4 years ago | (#31710454)

I'm guessing Apple's lawyers have already done discovery on this when they applied for the patent, and have a strategy to retain it in the event of legal action.

In other words: "They have a fight, triangle wins." Beware, oh particle man!

--
Toro

Apple's patent strategy (1)

unix1 (1667411) | more than 4 years ago | (#31710456)

It seems like Apple's patent lawyers are actively looking out for technology that has been invented/developed but hasn't been patented yet (and is at least somewhat related to their products); and filing patent applications for them. See "multi-touch."

The purpose is dual:

1. Prevent others from patenting the same thing;
2. Use the patents to defend or preemptively attack competitors (see Nokia and HTC respectively).

This makes sense within the current patent system because if they don't do it, someone else might; and then Apple might end up on the defensive. Given that USPTO is extremely lenient with patents and bear no responsibility whatsoever, having the patents locked up in your safe automatically gives you an upper hand against others. Now it becomes a matter of someone having an incentive and financial means to challenge your legal 17-year government granted and protected monopoly.

Good luck!

Filing date? (1)

ridgecritter (934252) | more than 4 years ago | (#31710470)

According to the USPTO site, Apple filed this application on September 30, 2008. If this pre-dates publication or sale of the iControlPad technology, iCP is in a poor legal position. I'm not familiar with iCP's stuff, does anybody know when it was first marketed or described in a publicly available form?

Re:Filing date? (3, Informative)

nathan s (719490) | more than 4 years ago | (#31710628)

You can see this on their website: http://www.icontrolpad.com/ [icontrolpad.com]

Looks like the posts date back to May 2008.

Hasn't been patented yet (1)

Dachannien (617929) | more than 4 years ago | (#31710488)

Apple hasn't received a patent on this yet. TFA refers to U.S. Patent Application Publication 2010/0081505, which was published Thursday and isn't a patent. It's just an application for a patent. In fact, the application hasn't been examined yet, as viewable in Public PAIR [uspto.gov] .

Re:Hasn't been patented yet (1)

AresTheImpaler (570208) | more than 4 years ago | (#31710570)

oh the irony! I went to the website you linked, and look at the words the recaptcha made me type... I wonder if I'm in some kind of NSA/CIA blacklist now :'(
http://img532.imageshack.us/img532/9273/recaptcha.png [imageshack.us]

am I missing something? (2, Interesting)

ConfusedVorlon (657247) | more than 4 years ago | (#31710512)

Why is anyone patenting the idea of docking some controls to an iphone?

seriously - how is this non-obvious.

let's have some prior art

1) keyboards (yup, they connect to most things)
2) any number of gaming controls for phones

blah blah blah

go make one, sell it, I wish you luck.

keep the patent lawyers out of the game.

Apple must be in the wrong (1)

93 Escort Wagon (326346) | more than 4 years ago | (#31710546)

If someone said it on Twitter, it must be true.

Re:Apple must be in the wrong (1)

myowntrueself (607117) | more than 4 years ago | (#31710558)

If someone said it on Twitter, it must be true.

Twitterlogic would have very simple truth tables?

Re:Apple must be in the wrong (1)

relliker (197112) | more than 4 years ago | (#31710650)

I'm checking the karnaugh maps. The logic seems sound. Confirmed. The twitterer says the truth.

iCade's dreams crushed (2, Insightful)

CoffeeDog (1774202) | more than 4 years ago | (#31710592)

I guess this answers the question of if ThinkGeek would consider trying to make the iCade accessory real.

Here we go again... (0)

AmigaMMC (1103025) | more than 4 years ago | (#31710594)

Another product from the iSue You company

Oh well (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31710670)

Fuck Steve Jobs and all his faggot fanbois.

*sigh* This is why we have a patent process. (2, Interesting)

RyuuzakiTetsuya (195424) | more than 4 years ago | (#31710752)

iControlPad didn't patent their device, they don't even have a device on the market, and they've been working on it for nearly 2 years now. They had a 6 month head start on Apple announcing *anything* and they didn't bother talking to an IP lawyer about filing a patent first? You've got to be kidding me.

I hope the iCP team learns something from this.

Sherman tank "somewhat hard" to use as a beverage (1)

Sir Realist (1391555) | more than 4 years ago | (#31710820)

"somewhat hard to use as a games machine." *snarf* Understatement of the year. My toaster makes a lousy aircraft carrier too; why would I care?

Apple is not a friend of FOSS (2, Insightful)

rahvin112 (446269) | more than 4 years ago | (#31710866)

Apple is not a friend of FOSS, at best they are one step down from MS. Given the opportunity or threat they will sue Linux companies without hesitation. Their suit against HTC was a direct shot at Android and is a dozen of bogus software patents on stuff they didn't invent. People, please stop supporting Apple with your purchases if you value FOSS, you only justify their suits and threats.

Did anyone else notice... (4, Informative)

BillX (307153) | more than 4 years ago | (#31710934)

that the product is not the only piece of IP being steamrollered? As late as Nov. 09, posts on http://icontrolpad.com/ [icontrolpad.com] have referred to the product under the shortened name 'iPad' (or Ipad, or ipad). Apple's iPad announcement probably put a formal stop to that (Jan 2010?)

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