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Did an Apple Engineer Invent FB Messages In 2003?

timothy posted more than 3 years ago | from the if-that-then-this dept.

Communications 128

theodp writes "Q. How many Facebook engineers does it take in 2010 to duplicate a lone Apple engineer's 2003 effort? A. 15! On Nov. 15th, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg introduced Facebook Messages, which uses whatever method of communication is appropriate at the time — e.g., email, IM, SMS. A day later, ex-Apple software engineer Jens Alfke was granted a patent for his 2003 invention of a Method and apparatus for processing electronic messages, which — you guessed it — employs the most appropriate messaging method — e.g., email, IM, SMS — for the job. Citing Apple's lack of passion for social software, Alfke left Apple in 2008. After a layover at Google, Alfke landed at startup Rockmelt, whose still-in-beta 'social web browser' also sports a pretty nifty communications platform."

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yes? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34293010)

So now that that's answered...

Now answer me this: what does RockMeIt mean? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34293182)

Why the fuck would the browser thing be named RockMeIt? What the fuck does "rock me it" actually mean?

Re:Now answer me this: what does RockMeIt mean? (1)

Firehed (942385) | more than 3 years ago | (#34293286)

It's actually RockMelt (lowercase "L", not capital "I"). Not that it makes a damn bit more sense, but it at least explains their icon.

Re:Now answer me this: what does RockMeIt mean? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34293294)

Well seeing as how that next to last character is a "L" it doesn't really matter what "rock me it" means since the thing is called RockMeLt. Like a machine that makes Lava I guess. Maybe it slags you?

Re:Now answer me this: what does RockMeIt mean? (1)

AHuxley (892839) | more than 3 years ago | (#34294610)

It sets like rock in your OS and melts your privacy down to one easy to track app?

Apple Claiming Credit for Something Else?!? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34293024)

I'm surprised Apple even has anthing left to take credit for.

personal computers, mp3s, the internet, and phones - it seems like Apple has already claimed credit for everything.

Now instant messaging. Great.. Sure Apple, you invented messaging. I'm sure you have already patented this brilliant innovation and will be suing your competitors shortly.

Re:Apple Claiming Credit for Something Else?!? (-1, Flamebait)

clang_jangle (975789) | more than 3 years ago | (#34293064)

Oh, for Pete's sake. The applehate dorks are really becoming insuferable.
FTFS:
ex -Apple software engineer Jens Alfke

Re:Apple Claiming Credit for Something Else?!? (1)

Elbart (1233584) | more than 3 years ago | (#34293106)

You should read on. "Alfke left Apple in 2008" 2008 occured after 2003, y'know.

Re:Apple Claiming Credit for Something Else?!? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34293132)

That's your opinion.

Re:Apple Claiming Credit for Something Else?!? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34293324)

The salient point, troll, is that the developer got the patent -- not apple.

Re:Apple Claiming Credit for Something Else?!? (4, Informative)

BasilBrush (643681) | more than 3 years ago | (#34293456)

No he didn't. Check the assignee on the patent link.

If you're an employee of a company and you invent something within the scope of that company's business, they own it. Unless you've managed to negotiate a contract that says otherwise.

Re:Apple Claiming Credit for Something Else?!? (1)

Sir Holo (531007) | more than 3 years ago | (#34295364)

I did otherwise. It is a beautiful thing.

Re:Apple Claiming Credit for Something Else?!? (0, Flamebait)

beelsebob (529313) | more than 3 years ago | (#34293210)

Oh, for Pete's sake. The applehate dorcs are really becoming insuferable.

If apple's coming up with these inventions, then fair play to them! It's not "claiming credit" in any nefarious form if you actually did invent it!

Re:Apple Claiming Credit for Something Else?!? (1)

MrHanky (141717) | more than 3 years ago | (#34293400)

Yes, it is claiming credit, and for an obvious idea. Jabber did it to other IM systems way back, apparently including email and SMS. The story is nothing but the usual fanboi wanking.

Re:Apple Claiming Credit for Something Else?!? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34295036)

The salient point, troll, is that the developer got the patent -- not apple.

Re:Apple Claiming Credit for Something Else?!? (2, Informative)

bonch (38532) | more than 3 years ago | (#34293376)

You seem to have left out one-button mice and homosexuality in your tired Apple troll, anonymous coward.

Nothing New (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34293030)

How many Apple engineers does it take to duplicate a PARC engineer's effort?

Re:Nothing New (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34293076)

How many trolls does it take to read the comments?

Re:Nothing New (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34293100)

How many anti-Apple idiots continue TO GET IT WRONG about PARC and the Macintosh?

Re:Nothing New (2, Insightful)

Pharmboy (216950) | more than 3 years ago | (#34293302)

Yes, because even though Steve Jobs said:

"You could argue about the number of years it would take. You could argue about who might be the winners and losers in terms of companies in the industry, but I don't think rational people could argue that every computer wouldn't work this way someday."

Steve Jobs, talking about the PARC Alto
(http://www.vectronicsappleworld.com/macintosh/creation.html)

...it is obvious that the PARC didn't play a role in inspiring the Lisa or Mac or future Apple products. Even though Steve got them to invest 1 million dollars into Apple (which paid handsomely for Xerox and was mutually beneficial), surely you are right, and the PARC played no role in inspiring Apple to create the GUI paradigm that is still used on Apple and MS products today. I'm starting to think that the PARC was just a CLI anyway, and all the thousands of articles and photos on the PARC is just another part of an elaborate and unnecessarily complex and convoluted conspiracy against Jobs. That would be the obvious conclusion, wouldn't it?
</sarcasm>

So did Apple duplicate PARC's efforts? Considering it was on a different platform and they had no access to the source code of Xerox, I'm guessing yes, they actually did duplicate the concept and ideas of the PARC. Just as MS did to Mac, and Gnome is trying to do to Windows.

William Shakespeare said it best: "Good authors borrow, great authors steal."

Re:Nothing New (3, Informative)

BasilBrush (643681) | more than 3 years ago | (#34293520)

Even though Steve got them to invest 1 million dollars into Apple (which paid handsomely for Xerox and was mutually beneficial)..."Good authors borrow, great authors steal."

More specifically Xerox end of the deal was they opportunity to buy pre-IPO Apple stock. Something they couldn't have got otherwise. It's not theft if it's a deal - it's a transaction.

Re:Nothing New (3, Insightful)

t2t10 (1909766) | more than 3 years ago | (#34293590)

Sure, it was "a deal"; that's not the issue. That doesn't change that Apple has been wrongly claiming to have invented much of this technology, not just in their PR, but also in lawsuits. And it doesn't change the fact that Apple has a tendency to misrepresent where their ideas come from.

In fact, Apple simple doesn't have a research lab. They have good software developers, UI designers, and engineers. They get most of their idea either by copying others or by buying companies.

Re:Nothing New (0, Troll)

Belial6 (794905) | more than 3 years ago | (#34293848)

Ok, maybe good software developers, but a UI designer that puts a green plus on the UI that makes the window bigger, and has you put your disk in the trash to take it with you simply cannot be called good UI designers. That, and an engineer that cannot figure out how to put a battery door on an MP3 player or phone cannot be called a good engineer. Actually, after using iTunes, you can't say they have good software developers either.

Apple has good advertising, and a willingness to be an early adopter on new trends. Everything else is pretty mediocre.

Re:Nothing New (1)

t2t10 (1909766) | more than 3 years ago | (#34294474)

Apple has good advertising, and a willingness to be an early adopter on new trends. Everything else is pretty mediocre.

Oh, I agree; I was speaking relative to the rest of the PC industry, which is even worse. For every idiotic thing Apple has done in the OS X UI, and for every bug and crash in iTunes, Microsoft has two or three in their equivalent software.

At this point, actually, some of the best UIs and engineering are in FOSS.

Re:Nothing New (3, Informative)

jo_ham (604554) | more than 3 years ago | (#34294482)

When you grab a disk image or a disk in OS X, the trash can icon changes to an eject icon. I assume you're talking about OS X here, since you have joined this point with the restore button function. On OS 9 I can't remember exactly what the trashcan did when you grabbed a disk, since I tended to use the key combo for "put away" rather than using the mouse. I'd fire up the old 9600, but I can't remember where it is right now.

Plus means "bigger" so the window getting bigger seems like an accurate description of what the UI element does (maximise has never really been an Apple paradigm, so expecting it to do what it does on Windows and calling it bad UI is just a non-sequitur). A more salient criticism of that particular element, called the "restore" button is that it flips between two window states when you click it - so it can go from big to small, or small to big, all the while with a plus symbol that appears on hover. That is inconsistent/mislabelled UI and should be changed, but that's not what you were complaining about - your issue was that it got bigger when you clicked on it, and it is marked with a plus sign. I really can't see the issue here.

They are perfectly capable of putting a battery door on an mp3 player, and have given a sound engineering explanation for why they chose not to (using the extra space you save by not having a removal mechanism, battery bay, contacts, hinges and latches to increase the size of the battery itself, and to simplify the internal layout when you don;t have to consider where a battery would be inserted or removed). To simplify that down to "poor engineering because they can't figure it out" is a gross oversimplification and wilful ignorance of the design decisions behind the iPod and iPhone. You may not agree with it, but your conclusions about why they went that way just don't mesh with reality.

iTunes does need some rework. The fact that it is still a Carbon app in this day and age shows that is is hauling some cruft around with it. Not that it's worse than Cocoa, just that it has been technically deprecated by Apple themselves). I don't agree with the realignment of the window buttons - breaking Apple's own guidelines, and certain other UI elements in it.

Re:Nothing New (0)

AJWM (19027) | more than 3 years ago | (#34293148)

None. Apple hired PARC engineers when they bought the designs.

Re:Nothing New (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34293198)

How many PARC engineers does it take to duplicate a PARC engineer's efforts?

Re:Nothing New (1)

binarylarry (1338699) | more than 3 years ago | (#34293288)

How many screaming jobs' does it take to duplicate a PAC engineer's efforts?

Re:Nothing New (1)

noidentity (188756) | more than 3 years ago | (#34293300)

How many blog postings to Slashdot before we realize that it's just a glorified blog, with stupid attempts at wit that are just annoying?

Re:Nothing New (3, Informative)

bonch (38532) | more than 3 years ago | (#34293366)

None, since those engineers were hired by Apple, and Xerox engineers themselves have said Apple didn't rip them off. Did you know that the standard "File Edit View Window Help" menu layout originated at Apple? As did "cut-and-paste?"

Undeterred, the anonymous cabal of Apple-haters that has taken hold on Slashdot in the last six months will continue their efforts.

Re:Nothing New (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34293794)

yes they have. iirc the woman who was the head of PARC at the time is still very vocally bitter about it.

Re:Nothing New (0, Redundant)

toby (759) | more than 3 years ago | (#34293918)

"Xerox engineers themselves have said Apple didn't rip them off"

Which is an understatement, really, since Apple formally licensed Xerox technology.

Re:Nothing New (1)

marcello_dl (667940) | more than 3 years ago | (#34295102)

> the standard "File Edit View Window Help" menu layout originated at Apple?

they had done a great thing by making it standard through guidelines and libraries, but IIRC the menu bar is the smalltalk object browser bar simplified. Grossly oversimplified, for my personal taste.

Re:Nothing New (1)

nametaken (610866) | more than 3 years ago | (#34295328)

You must have missed the memo. Apple is the new Microsoft. ;)

Re:Nothing New (1)

mretondo (809932) | more than 3 years ago | (#34295334)

"File Edit View Window Help", "cut and paste", please, that was just the powder frosting on the cake. The Xerox system was pathetic by the Lisa and Mac standards (don't get me wrong they had great technology but not for end users). Apple invented overlapping Windows (thanks Bill Atkinson for your Regions), Model dialogs, the Menu Bar and with it Drop Down Menus, the single mouse button (click-drag-release). They came up with the idea the everything could be done with one mouse button and click-drag-release i.e. Drag and Drop. Copied Xerox my ass. Apple legally acquired Xeroxs technology unlike Microsoft who just copied it from Apple.

Re:Nothing New (1)

mickwd (196449) | more than 3 years ago | (#34293392)

More generally:

".....was granted a patent for his invention of a Method and apparatus for ${TASK} which -- you guessed it -- employs the most appropriate ${TASK_OPTION}.....for the job."

There's a term for this - it's called Being An Engineer.

Re:Nothing New (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34293688)

15! = 1,307,674,368,000. That's quite a bunch of engineers.

Re:Nothing New (2, Funny)

Ihmhi (1206036) | more than 3 years ago | (#34294022)

Three. One to read the code, one to write the code, and one to lube up the giraffe for the post-launch party.

Re:Nothing New (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34294226)

"How many years did it take for KDE to be almost totally like Windows 95?"

How about ICQ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34293036)

In about 2000/2001 ICQ allowed people to email your ICQ account or SMS it via a number you were allocated (in South Africa I think). They could also deliver messages via SMS but only in some countries and once they realised the cost the number of countries supported seemed to keep shrinking. It may not quite have been there but they seem to have been heading in that general direction years before apple/fb did.

Re:How about ICQ? (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34293046)

ICQ isn't buzz compliant. Please rephrase your statement completely in terms of apple, facebook and twatter.

Re:How about ICQ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34293098)

Wow, you're old school. I forgot those companies exist anymore; I wuphf! (I'd link to it but every page autoplays sound or video.)

Re:How about ICQ? (1)

Snowmit (704081) | more than 3 years ago | (#34294066)

I don't see what Google Buzz has to do with any of this.

Re:How about ICQ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34293890)

From reading the article, the invention states that the sender gets immediate notofication that the message was sent successfully. Forwarding a SMS to an email server on another system is not covered by the patent. When the first claim is 215 words and it takes 7 years to get the patent approved then you know there are gaps in the patent that you can drive a truck through. This patent exists because some asshole at Apple gets money every time a patent is approved so they wouldn't let the concept go. Instead they made it so specific as to be useless.

I hate software patents... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34293042)

But I hate the jerk behind facebook more. I surely hope the patent holder sues.

Re:I hate software patents... (1)

CarpetShark (865376) | more than 3 years ago | (#34294330)

A patent for this should not exist. To me, it's pretty obvious any time you open an IM client and someone isn't on, that email should be chosen instead. It's the simple next step you take as a human, so automating it is a simple, obvious step too.

Also, IM clients like pidgin do something very similar when you merge the same contact's accounts on different networks (including non-IM networks like IRC and Facebook) and double-click to send a message.

Ironic (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34293082)

The quote at the bottom of the page:

"And Now for something completely different."

15! (1)

wjh31 (1372867) | more than 3 years ago | (#34293090)

1.3 trillion?

Same idea (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34293114)

The Apple developer may have put forward the idea in 2003, but this same technology was a key plot point in the movie AntiTrust, which came out in 2001. And the concept wasn't new then. So, no, an Apple Engineer didn't invent the new FB messaging system, it's an old idea. FB just happens to have implemented it.

Re:Same idea (1)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 3 years ago | (#34293272)

Which is why this entire patent nonsense is exactly that: nonsense.

Re:Same idea (0)

westlake (615356) | more than 3 years ago | (#34293274)

this same technology was a key plot point in the movie AntiTrust, which came out in 2001.

Fiction doesn't count.

Re:Same idea (3, Insightful)

vakuona (788200) | more than 3 years ago | (#34293374)

Why doesn't fiction count? If it's obvious enough to a person who is writing 'fiction' why should a patent be awarded. I could trawl through old Star Trek movies looking for ideas, and patent the concepts I get from there.

Re:Same idea (4, Informative)

Theaetetus (590071) | more than 3 years ago | (#34294132)

Why doesn't fiction count? If it's obvious enough to a person who is writing 'fiction' why should a patent be awarded. I could trawl through old Star Trek movies looking for ideas, and patent the concepts I get from there.

Because prior art only counts for what it teaches or enables one of ordinary skill in the art to do. Otherwise, it's considered "non-enabling prior art". H.G. Wells wrote about a time machine. Can you read his book, and then build one? No. So, it hasn't added a time machine to the public domain other than the concept of a time machine, and granting you a patent on a working time machine (should you be able to design and build one) wouldn't be removing anything from the public domain.

It's not a matter of "fiction" not counting - highly descriptive fiction would count as prior art for everything it describes in sufficient enabling detail. The issue is that most fiction isn't that descriptive, and doesn't actually teach those ideas.

Re:Same idea (1)

Tordre (1447083) | more than 3 years ago | (#34295306)

but if you have a time machine you can go back before the story came out and patent it then

Re:Same idea (4, Informative)

MrHanky (141717) | more than 3 years ago | (#34293432)

Wrong. A Donald Duck story from 1949 was once cited as a prior art example, denying a patent on a method of raising a sunken ship. Link [iusmentis.com] .

Re:Same idea (1)

robot256 (1635039) | more than 3 years ago | (#34293936)

You mean back when prior art was actually a considered before granting/denying a patent? Or did that come up in a law suit like everything else?

Re:Same idea (1)

robot256 (1635039) | more than 3 years ago | (#34293956)

And then I RTFL and answered my own question. Of course it was struck down after the fact, no patent clerk is going to look up Donald Duck before granting what is otherwise a creative patent.

Re:Same idea (1)

adavies42 (746183) | more than 3 years ago | (#34294354)

and heinlein invented the waterbed [wikipedia.org]

Telegraphs, Smokesignals, etc (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34293120)

Everything is an invention based partly on something that existed before.

same feature proposed publicly on Polarbar Mailer (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34293130)

IIRC, someone proposed on a Polarbar mail list the same feature of adding tracking a user's online presence and delivering mail to the appropriate service. I don't recall the year but it could have been in the late 1990s or early 2000s. That might put a damper on that patent should they try to enforce it.

An awesome guy (-1, Redundant)

SoftwareArtist (1472499) | more than 3 years ago | (#34293136)

Before moving to the iChat team, Jens Alfke worked on Apple's Java VM. He was incredibly active on their Java development mailing list, and spent more time helping people to solve their programming problems and generally going beyond the call of duty than almost anyone else I've ever seen. He's a smart, creative guy, and I'm not at all surprised to learn he was doing innovative work in this area man years before Facebook.

Rockmelt? (2, Interesting)

Jugalator (259273) | more than 3 years ago | (#34293138)

The web browser which solves this problem? And I quote Daring Fireball since I agree:

"They solved the problem of Chrome having a nice, simple, minimalist interface."

I have to wonder how much RM *really* do for the user, compared to Chrome with various Facebook extensions.

DataMineMe@facebook.com (1)

SnowHog (1944314) | more than 3 years ago | (#34293158)

Isn't the cat out of the bag? Facebook is one giant data mining scheme for advertisers. Why would anyone opt-in for that, especially when it comes to email?

Re:DataMineMe@facebook.com (1)

MrQuacker (1938262) | more than 3 years ago | (#34293254)

Never underestimate stupid users.

Re:DataMineMe@facebook.com (1)

JazzXP (770338) | more than 3 years ago | (#34293430)

Isn't Gmail the same. And yes I use Gmail. That said, I trust Google more than Facebook.

So is Google... So what? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34293526)

The same exact words could be used to describe Google. I don't have any problem with that: Ads are fine, they allow me to use a lot of great services for free so I've learned to live with them (though I block the most annoying flash banners, etc.). Now, datamining companies want to make the ads more targeted so that I would actually see more ads about the subjects that I'm interested in? Sign me up. Really, I'd prefer that. Everyone wins.

Combine handy services with that? Ones that allow me to do completely new things or save me time and trouble when doing the old things? Awesome.

Now, there is the issue about potential abuse of data. But in real life, these aren't as horrible as they are in tinfoil hat wearing geeks' minds. I'd rather just vote for sane data protection laws and then take the risks (which I do, in fact, consider to be rather small. And if something bad happens, it is likely to happen to 500 000 000 people at the same time. Which would make it a lot less bad for each individual.) than stop using great technology because of some doomsdayscenarios. It's the same mindset I have about nuclear energy, really.

Work on implementing, not patenting (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34293166)

Talk (i.e. "how to make a smart messaging system") is cheap, running code is not.

Woof! (1)

Dahamma (304068) | more than 3 years ago | (#34293168)

I don't understand... I thought it was invented by an underachieving officer worker at a paper factory in Scranton, PA.

Ryan Howard owns the patent (3, Funny)

John3 (85454) | more than 3 years ago | (#34293186)

Ryan Howard already has this up and running...it's called Wuphf! [wuphf.com]

Re:Ryan Howard owns the patent (1)

feepness (543479) | more than 3 years ago | (#34293484)

Ryan Howard already has this up and running...it's called Wuphf! [wuphf.com]

Yeah, but they'll be out of funding a week from today!

prior art? (3, Insightful)

jc42 (318812) | more than 3 years ago | (#34293194)

The main point of the patent's claims seems to be the selection of protocols based on a set of criteria. I'd wonder how many zillions of examples of "prior art" we can dig up for something that is basically keeping a list of alternative protocols/routes, and selecting one of them.

Thus, part of the "handshake" used in the venerable uucp system was a pair of messages, in which one end effectively says "I have the following protocol packages: X, Q, V1, V2, V3, R7, and C", the other end looks at the list, and send back a message saying "Let's use protocol package R7". The simplest implementation would simply pick the first name in the list that both have, but other versions would pick the fastest or cheapest or most reliable protocol.

The value of this is that it made for easy introduction of new protocols, typically when new hardware became available. Thus, when Ethernet came out, a bunch of people developed on a uucp package for it, and new releases of uucp would contain the Ethernet protocol. Whenever two ends found that they had an Ethernet route to each other, they could use it, but they could still talk to releases without Ethernet as they always had, using an older protocol. Eventually, uucp also had a TCP package, and it was fun watching uucp transfer data via TCP at speeds much faster than FTP or SMTP could. (I think this is probably no longer true, though.)

In any case, the idea of a comm-link setup routine choosing among a list of protocols (or drivers or hardware or however you like to think of it) is a lot older than the events in this story. I wouldn't be at all surprised to find such approaches that date back to the 1950s. After all, it really is something that should be obvious to any competent engineer who has even the simplest computer available to set up the connections.

Re:prior art? (1)

volkerdi (9854) | more than 3 years ago | (#34293216)

I'd wonder how many zillions of examples of "prior art" we can dig up for something that is basically keeping a list of alternative protocols/routes, and selecting one of them.

Unfortunately, as of about a week ago, USPTO will no longer consider prior art as one of the tests of "obviousness" when deciding the validity of a patent claim. I wish I was kidding, but I'm not.

Re:prior art? (2, Insightful)

harlows_monkeys (106428) | more than 3 years ago | (#34293260)

Cite?

Re:prior art? (2, Informative)

volkerdi (9854) | more than 3 years ago | (#34293334)

http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20101108/02464211754/us-patent-office-makes-it-harder-to-reject-patents-for-obviousness.shtml

Uh, no. (3, Informative)

Theaetetus (590071) | more than 3 years ago | (#34294230)

http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20101108/02464211754/us-patent-office-makes-it-harder-to-reject-patents-for-obviousness.shtml

Yeah, there was a big stink when that story first appeared on Slashdot, all because of people who didn't actually bother to read the USPTO guidelines. The Supreme Court described 7 tests for obviousness in KSR, back in 2006. Since then, there have been several dozen court cases. The new guidelines describe those cases to clarify the 7 tests. However, only 4 of the tests have been issues in the several dozen court cases, so in describing them, the new guidelines only talk about those 4. However, they state:

The decisions of the Federal Circuit discussed in this 2010 KSR Guidelines provide Office personnel as well as practitioners with additional examples of the law of obviousness. The purpose of the 2007 KSR Guidelines was, as stated above, to help Office personnel to determine when a claimed invention is not obvious, and to provide an appropriate supporting rationale when an obviousness rejection is appropriate. Now that a body of case law is available to guide Office personnel and practitioners as to the boundaries between obviousness and nonobviousness, it is possible in this 2010 KSR Guidelines Update to contrast situations in which the subject matter was found to have been obvious with those in which it was determined not to have been obvious. Thus, Office personnel may use this 2010 KSR Guidelines Update in conjunction with the 2007 KSR Guidelines (incorporated into MPEP 2141 and 2143) to provide a more complete view of the state of the law of obviousness.

Sheesh. Complaining that they're now not considering prior art as one of the tests of "obviousness" is like complaining that Apple isn't making laptops anymore, because you saw an ad that only shows a picture of the iPhone or iPad, regardless of the text at the bottom that discusses using an iPhone with your Apple Macbook laptop: not only are you wrong in your FUD-based interpretation, the thing you're citing says you're wrong.

I don't get this (4, Interesting)

sootman (158191) | more than 3 years ago | (#34293196)

I know I don't speak for the world but I totally don't get the idea of "we'll get the message to them, somehow." I want to control the "somehow." If it's a short message that warrants interrupting whatever they're doing, I'll text. If I'm already sitting in front of a computer and a longer conversation is required, I'll IM. If it's more detailed and/or not time sensitive, I'll email, and furthermore, depending on what it is, I'll send it to their home address or their work address. Sometimes I want a conversation, sometimes I want a monologue. Not all mediums are equally good at or suitable for all types of communication.

Not every message requires an immediate response. Some messages very much don't need an immediate response. If I'm emailing someone and want them to look at something complex online, the last thing I want to do is have them get the message right this second while they're in the grocery store. I do, however, want to send it now because that's what I'm doing. If I'm on IM with someone and they're going to step away from their computer and start driving a car I very much do not want the conversation transparently shifting to SMS.

And finally, one-size-fits-all messaging becomes even less desirable as you move across time zones. It's bad enough that I work with people in another time zone and they always want to schedule "mid-morning" meetings that are actually in the middle of my lunch. I don't want my work or my friends following me everywhere I go. My life is cut up into chunks: work time, family time, friend time, me time. I like being able to enforce a little solitude and cut off any arbitrary group at any arbitrary time just based on where I am and what devices I'm near.

Re:I don't get this (1)

Naturalis Philosopho (1160697) | more than 3 years ago | (#34293828)

I don't have mod points today, but you'd get one if I did. Great argument against one-size-fits-all messaging.

Re:I don't get this (1)

CodeBuster (516420) | more than 3 years ago | (#34295056)

Not every message requires an immediate response.

This is something that many people today, heads down and furiously texting on their phones, don't seem to understand. They waste their time sending or receiving meaningless or trivial texts instead of doing something, anything, that might have some lasting benefit for themselves or others. Those Windows 7 spots (really? [youtube.com] ) might have a point; not about Windows 7, but about the whole texting culture in general.

Who cares? (2, Insightful)

Seth Kriticos (1227934) | more than 3 years ago | (#34293296)

I have genius ideas around 3 times a day. Nobody gives a damn, ideas are plenty everywhere.

Are we really going to start nitpicking that someone had the idea of one or the other successful product someone else made successful?

Facebook did something people enjoy and long for with it. Good for them. The guy that thought of it first obviously failed with that for about 7 years.

I know, it's just random trolling on the front page, but it irks me.

Disclaimer: I don't have a Facebook account, nor am I very found of them. I don't own an Apple device or product either.

Re:Who cares? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34293910)

Your disclaimer is pointless and makes you look like a tool.

A matter of numbers? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34293318)

How many people did it take to dream up the Hoover dam? How many people did it take to implement this idea?

I can day dream up all kinds of ideas. Does that make me better than the people who actually make them into a working reality?

The blurb is just more fanaticism that is obscuring what's at the root of all of this. And if this Apple engineer is such hot shit why was his idea still on the shelf 7 years later?

Re:A matter of numbers? (1)

mug funky (910186) | more than 3 years ago | (#34293616)

claim 1: a system and method for retaining large volumes of water
claim 2: a system and method for driving a turbine via water pressure
claim 3: a system and method for converting mechanical energy (produced via claim 2) into electrical energy.

Commercial (1)

lyinhart (1352173) | more than 3 years ago | (#34293320)

Forget about that social messaging patent. The fellow should get a patent for an algorithm that automatically generates commercials like the one for Rockmelt. E.g. a pseudo screencast featuring a voiceover and folksy music, just like Google and Apple commercials.

Salute the patent, and not the man, private! (1)

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) | more than 3 years ago | (#34293328)

If you work for any serious company, or even an non-serious one, you will know that patents belong to your employer, and not yourself. It's in the fine print of your contract. Hell, my company, an IT firm even has first right on patents that I might come up with, that have nothing to do with their IT business. In other words, if I step in some dog shit, and come up with an idea for a better doggie pooper scooper, I need to get a waiver from from my employer to be able to patent it myself.

And patents have long since left the realm of inventors, and are now the bitches of lawyers. My patents are accessible in the Internet, list me as the Inventor, and my employer as the assignee. From the lawyer's description of the ideas and implementations, you would have no idea what the things was good for. I showed one to an IT colleague, and he was totally perplexed, and only understood what it was good for when I explained it to him in plain IT English.

So despite what TFS implies, patents don't travel with employees. They belong to employers . . . for ever . . . and ever . . . and ever . . .

Re:Salute the patent, and not the man, private! (1)

Steeltoe (98226) | more than 3 years ago | (#34294388)

Patents solve no problems today other than making lawyers rich and collusion of huge corporations to squash out creative competitors.

1 Person's Software Diamond is Another's Dirt Clod (4, Informative)

theodp (442580) | more than 3 years ago | (#34293360)

Steve Jobs in 1991: [cnn.com] Somebody at IBM a few years ago saw our NextStep operating system as a potential diamond to solve their biggest and most profound problem, that of adding value to their computers with unique software. Unfortunately, as I learned, IBM is not a monolith. It is a very large place with lots of faces, and they all play musical chairs. Somewhere along the line this diamond got dropped in the mud, and now it's sitting on somebody's desk who thinks it's a dirt clod. Inside that dirt clod is still a diamond, but they don't see it.

Re:1 Person's Software Diamond is Another's Dirt C (0)

t2t10 (1909766) | more than 3 years ago | (#34293754)

NeXTStep was really just Mach, Objective-C, Display Postscript, and a clone of Xerox's UI and UI architecture, all technologies NeXT copied or licensed from somewhere else. It would have died a well-deserved natural death if Apple hadn't wanted Steve Jobs, the person, back.

IBM already had better technology in-house. Instead of NeXTStep, they created a kick-ass Smalltalk development environment that allows much more rapid application development than NeXT ever did and allowed them to deliver apps on Windows. It addressed the niche market NeXT was addressing much more effectively and probably was far more widely used than NeXT ever was.

Even if IBM could have foreseen that Jobs moved to Apple and resurrected NeXT technologies, not buying into NeXT would still have been the right business decision for IBM given how Apple ended up handling NeXT licensing and evolution.

Re:1 Person's Software Diamond is Another's Dirt C (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34293974)

Are you out of your mind?
Visual Age Smalltalk never went anywhere and never provided anything like NeXTstep/Openstep/Cocoa
http://www-01.ibm.com/software/awdtools/smalltalk/

NeXT's UI was very innovative and was widely and poorly copied by Windows 95 and CDE.

Objective-C is a cross between Smalltalk and ANSI C and was created to enable smalltalk style object oriented programming while preserving compatibility with millions of lines of C code. I argue that more people are programming today with the smalltalk part of Objective-C than ever programmed with smalltalk directly. That is exactly because of the C compatibility.

Mach was created at Carnegie Mellon and achieved wide success including as the basis of the Open Software Foundation (OSF 1) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Open_Software_Foundation. One of the creators of Mach, Avie Tevanian, retired from Apple as executive VP for software after having previously been an executive at NeXT. You would criticize NeXT for adopting a widely supported open operating system foundation?

Display Postscript delivered a WYSIWYG get 2D graphics system with bezier paths, alpha transparency, floating point coordinate system, network transparent client server architecture, etc. at a time when both Mac and Windows used 16 bit integer coordinates and 256 color palette modes. Furthermore, Display Postscript was also used by Sun Microsystems' NeWS in 1986.

NeXT were brilliant at selecting the right technologies to integrate into a system. Mach, BSD Unix, Display Postscript, Objective-C, the precursor to Cocoa frameworks, ... It was and remains a dream come true software development environment.

Re:1 Person's Software Diamond is Another's Dirt C (2, Interesting)

t2t10 (1909766) | more than 3 years ago | (#34294558)

You would criticize NeXT for adopting a widely supported open operating system foundation?

I didn't "criticize" NeXT for adopting any of these technologies. I pointed out that most of them didn't come from NeXT to begin with. If IBM had wanted those technologies, it could have gotten them elsewhere, but they actually had better technologies.

Visual Age Smalltalk never went anywhere and never provided anything like NeXTstep/Openstep/Cocoa

VisualAge Smalltalk did something much better: it gave people a good environment to develop custom apps that actually ran on Windows. It always remained a niche player, but so did NeXT. IBM then switched to Java and has been spectacularly successful with it in the corporate market.

NeXT were brilliant at selecting the right technologies to integrate into a system. Mach, BSD Unix, Display Postscript, Objective-C, the precursor to Cocoa frameworks, ... It was and remains a dream come true software development environment.

NeXT was a failing company when Apple bought them; IBM betting on them would have been madness and IBM would have gotten screwed.

And NeXT didn't select "the right technologies" at all. DisplayPostscript was a total failure, not just at NeXT, but also at IBM and Sun (all of which tried it); Apple got rid of it. Objective-C never caught on as a mainstream language until Apple shoved it down their developers' throats. Mach's microkernel approach was an architectural disaster and Apple just rewrote it and turned it into a monolithic kernel.

Are you out of your mind?

No, I just know what's going on, unlike you apparently.

Prior Art (1)

ozbird (127571) | more than 3 years ago | (#34293402)

"I invent nothing, I rediscover." -- Auguste Rodin

Re:Prior Art (1)

mug funky (910186) | more than 3 years ago | (#34293628)

but that's not rockmelt, that's bronzemelt.

And thousands of other people thought of it too (1)

monoqlith (610041) | more than 3 years ago | (#34293638)

including me.

They just don't happen to have a several hundred million user-large social network to serve as their user database.

moral of the story... (1)

t2t10 (1909766) | more than 3 years ago | (#34293640)

Don't patent your idea at company A if you're going to create startup B to make the idea really happen.

Prior art? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34293786)

WUPHF, WUPHF!

I don't like patents anymore.

Re:Prior art? (1)

jappleng (1805148) | more than 3 years ago | (#34293938)

I don't understand what WUPHF, WUPHF! means but I agree with your statement there! Software patents have no place in this world.

Pior art from 1999 (1)

kbg (241421) | more than 3 years ago | (#34294148)

From: http://www.thefreelibrary.com/Iceland+Telecom+Among+World's+First+Operators+to+Implement+Ericsson's...-a057889293 [thefreelibrary.com]

Iceland Telecom (Siminn) is among the world’s first operators to run a
commercial field trial of Ericsson’s communications portal iPulse – an
intelligent, IP-based application, simplifying and making
communications more convenient for users.

With iPulse which is jointly developed with OZ.COM, Iceland Telecom will
be able to offer its subscribers an application that instantly and easily
connects users to each other by mobile phone, pager, Personal Digital
Assistant (PDA), home phone or computer using a simple point-and-click
contact menu. With a click of an icon, users can create profiles that indicate
when, by whom and how, they want to be reached so they have the most
efficient communication methods across multiple networks and multiple
devices.

I wonder if CAKE represents prior art (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34294288)

When I was designing the CAKE protocol [cakem.net] in 2003 I already had the idea of doing this. It was 'Key Addressed Crypto Encapsulation' for a reason. The idea was to choose whichever transport method was handy for the message.

A friend's interest has got me working on this again. Hopefully I can get a working system together soon so other people can play with it.

I wonder if CAKE represents prior art (2, Interesting)

Omnifarious (11933) | more than 3 years ago | (#34294620)

When I was designing the CAKE protocol [cakem.net] in 2003 I already had the idea of doing this. It was 'Key Addressed Crypto Encapsulation' for a reason. The idea was to choose whichever transport method was handy for the message.

A friend's interest has got me working on this again. Hopefully I can get a working system together soon so other people can play with it.

ex-Apple software engineer Jens Alfke was granted (1)

moxsam (917470) | more than 3 years ago | (#34294794)

a patent...WHAT?!?

Does Steve know about this?!
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