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Apple Tries To Patent 3rd Party In-App Purchasing

timothy posted more than 2 years ago | from the on-the-internet dept.

Android 244

bizwriter writes "Apple has spared no effort in trying to injure its arch mobile rival through the courts, like blocking Android vendors from important markets through patent and trademark infringement suits. Now it's developing an additional angle: an attempt to patent in-application purchases from third parties, as an application filed on April 26, 2010 and made public on Thursday made clear."

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244 comments

How can this not be prior art? (4, Informative)

Gideon Wells (1412675) | more than 2 years ago | (#37649516)

Steam is a third party from Windows, I can buy programs/apps through that years before this filing. I am sure some 3rd party apps on the iPhone had in-app purchasing pre-filing of this. It wouldn't be the first time Apple patented something it saw a third party app do, however.

Re:How can this not be prior art? (4, Insightful)

masternerdguy (2468142) | more than 2 years ago | (#37649528)

Windows isn't a walled garden yet.

Re:How can this not be prior art? (1)

lennier1 (264730) | more than 2 years ago | (#37649604)

Until the attempts in Windows 8, which will have its own app store.

Re:How can this not be prior art? (2)

masternerdguy (2468142) | more than 2 years ago | (#37649684)

Yeah....To me. the entire windows 8 feature set smells of guaranteed failure.

Re:How can this not be prior art? (2, Interesting)

Nerdfest (867930) | more than 2 years ago | (#37650044)

Never underestimate the general population's ability to buy into something that is against their better interests in the long run. Apple has proven that with the iPhone.

Re:How can this not be prior art? (3, Insightful)

Calibax (151875) | more than 2 years ago | (#37650348)

I assume you are referring to the App Store and the walled garden approach? Non-computer people place very little value on having an open ecosystem. If you are not a programmer you won't be writing your own apps so having an open system is worth very little.

Given some of the drawbacks of the Android Market, it not clear see why "the general population" would consider that the walled garden approach is "against their better interests" or that an open system would offer any significant benefits.

All four of the people I know to have Android phones have installed malware at some point. I have to wonder if any of them have spyware sitting their phones right now. I'm not saying that nobody can sneak malware into the Apple store but AFAIK it hasn't happened yet. The general population probably cares much more about that than the restrictions of a walled garden.

Re:How can this not be prior art? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37649656)

XBox Live in-game purchases and PSN in-game purchases are both 3rd party apps making purchases in a walled garden system.

Re:How can this not be prior art? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37649964)

Doesn't count, as XBOX's Live games are DLC. Maybe the Avatar trinket market, but this is even predated by the hundreds of Korean MMO's which have in-game purchases for content that is already in the game.

I'm not exactly sure what Apple has patented, though I reasonably suspect that it's probably related to downloading the OS and installing it via the app store. This is something certainly no other OS is doing.

Another possibility, in regards to purchases, is likely the use of a central authority (apple account/itunes account) receipt to authenticate in-app purchases, which is something that most MMO's do not do, and PSN definitely doesn't do. Xbox Live doesn't do it either since you can basically take the HD out, plug it into your PC and copy the games-on-demand from someone elses machine. It's an entire crap-shoot when it comes to playing Xbox Live/PSN/Steam/any-PC-MMO wether the other person actually paid for the game, and hasn't hacked it.

If Apple really has a patent on checksum'ing in-app purchases, I'd be surprised.

Re:How can this not be prior art? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37650480)

I'm not exactly sure what Apple has patented, though I reasonably suspect that it's probably related to downloading the OS and installing it via the app store. This is something certainly no other OS is doing.

Lindows did it ten years ago.

Re:How can this not be prior art? (2)

TrancePhreak (576593) | more than 2 years ago | (#37649556)

I wonder when the Kindle for iPhone app was designed/started. It could potentially be prior art here.

Re:How can this not be prior art? (0)

Shoe Puppet (1557239) | more than 2 years ago | (#37649594)

How can this not be prior art?

It's not ON A PHONE!.

Re:How can this not be prior art? (3, Interesting)

Flipao (903929) | more than 2 years ago | (#37649694)

Windows XP runs on a phone [youtube.com] , Steam runs on Windows XP, therefore Steam runs on a phone. Now would you kindly go get stomped on a by a Big Daddy?

Re:How can this not be prior art? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37650086)

Windows XP runs on a phone [youtube.com] , Steam runs on Windows XP, therefore Steam runs on a phone. Now would you kindly go get stomped on a by a Big Daddy?

Steam is for the purchase of applications, in-app purchases are for the purchase of extensions to a SPECIFIC application (the one you are in). Steam is NOT the same, although there are some similarities. For it to be prior art, it would have to be the same.

Re:How can this not be prior art? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37650516)

So again, Steam applies - as you can purchase extensions to existing "Apps" both inside the app itself (such as TF2 and Portal) and outside it (basically everything).

Re:How can this not be prior art? (-1)

TRRosen (720617) | more than 2 years ago | (#37649702)

Prior art means nothing anymore. ------ First to file, remember !

And anyone that thinks this is Apple attempting to control everything is crazy. This is Apple making sure someone else doesn't patent it and pull a Lodsys.

Re:How can this not be prior art? (1)

JAlexoi (1085785) | more than 2 years ago | (#37649836)

Was America Invents law retroactive?
Prior art and first to file are not mutually exclusive. In fact, publicly disclosing your invention prior to filing would constitute prior art and thus be grounds for application refusal.

Re:How can this not be prior art? (4, Informative)

gutnor (872759) | more than 2 years ago | (#37649866)

First to file has nothing to do with prior art. You are just the "first to file" for a patent on something not patentable (prior art, obvious, ...). So you won't get it - and if you get it, it can be invalidated in court.

First to file only matter when 2 or more people try to patent the same patentable invention at the same time (remember, it takes years to get a patent). The patent office needs to give the patent to one of the applicants, before it tried to painfully determine the first to invent, now it just give it to the first to file.

Re:How can this not be prior art? (1)

icebike (68054) | more than 2 years ago | (#37650048)

Prior art means nothing anymore. ------ First to file, remember ! .

Go back and do your homework. You can't patent what is widely available in the market place.
Prior Art still means something.

Re:How can this not be prior art? (1, Funny)

Rich0 (548339) | more than 2 years ago | (#37649746)

I think I'd like to submit the following patent:

Claim1 - Refer to the claims of all patents that have already submitted, and add the words "on a phone" to the end.
Claim2 - Refer to the claims of all patents that have already submitted, and add the words "on a computer" to the end.
Claim3...n - Refer to the claims of all patents that have already submitted, and in turn add the words "on a " plus each word from every dictionary ever published in any language to the end.
Claim n+1...infinity - Refer to every dictionary ever written, and combine every possible set of words used any number of times into statements and consider each as a claim.

Re:How can this not be prior art? (1)

DMorritt (923396) | more than 2 years ago | (#37650524)

I think one of the infinite monkeys [wikipedia.org] has escaped and is filing the patents he accidentally wrote!

Re:How can this not be prior art? (2)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 2 years ago | (#37649764)

Mozilla is a third party from Windows, and I can buy apps through my browser. I can also wear Levi's Jeans and go to a store and buy software through my jeans. I even carry my money in a pocket of said jeans. Apple is pretty damned evil and I wonder if Jobs was a moderating force and we can expect to see even more of this in the future, or if he was a driving force and they are going to start calming down soon.

prior art (1)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 2 years ago | (#37649778)

As of late, is often seemingly ignored by the patent office.

Re:How can this not be prior art? (1)

cgenman (325138) | more than 2 years ago | (#37649808)

Outside of the digital realm, this basically describes the concept of stores. But, you know, stores "On A Computer" "On The Internet" "On A Phone!" That makes it meet the qualifications for patentability in the US 3 times over.

Re:How can this not be prior art? (1)

AngryDill (740460) | more than 2 years ago | (#37649868)

Good point. There's even earlier prior art. The patent application describes what I had used the Prodigy application to do back in 1992.

Go back further (2)

dreamchaser (49529) | more than 2 years ago | (#37649968)

A person buying produce in a Middle Aged marketplace was most likely buying from a 'third party' because the Feudal Lord du jour was the owner of the land and made the rules. I'm sure similar circumstances existed way back into late prehistory.

Re:Go back further (3, Funny)

dreamchaser (49529) | more than 2 years ago | (#37649976)

Grrrrr...Middle Ages, not Middle Aged. Even with preview my middle ages brain sometimes typos.

Re:How can this not be prior art? (1)

Hentes (2461350) | more than 2 years ago | (#37649984)

In fact, if you buy something from an online store you are probably using a third party browser.

Re:How can this not be prior art? (1)

Tharsman (1364603) | more than 2 years ago | (#37650250)

I hope this does not get awarded, but my guess is they are going for a different approach of "service to offer in app purchase to a third party app".

Steam is, on itself, selling stuff for itself. If you want to buy DLC for a Steam game, you do that from the main Steam app.

Their claim may be one about being able to buy the DLC from within the app, but having the store (Steam or Apple) process it.

If that's what they are going for, I am not sure there is any prior art (Google offers it now in Android but it was added way after Apple offered it for iOS devs.)

Paypal may get close to that, since they have offered ways for you to process transactions from within applications, but they all required you to go through a web GUI and were not necessarily processed by the same store that initially sold the product (as they say, the Devil is in the details.)

Again, I honestly hope it does not get approved, but they MAY have reason to think it deserves a patent.

Re:How can this not be prior art? (1)

DarkXale (1771414) | more than 2 years ago | (#37650540)

Actually steam might apply again. Both Team Fortress 2 and Portal 2 (Valve's own titles at that) feature in game stores for purchasing of content (such as Hats). These in game stores use your steam account in order to process the transaction. If theres any pre-depositet money, it uses that first. If there isn't any, it'll use your regular account information (your credit card) to complete the transaction. Again - this is all handled with the game's own menu.

Re:How can this not be prior art? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37650252)

You're just pissed because you can't afford a real computer. How does it feel to be stuck with Linsux or Winblows?

Patent Requirements (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37649538)

I've finally realized how these types of patents keep cropping up.

The dumber the population gets, including experts, the more the phrase "non-obvious" covers.

Re:Patent Requirements (1)

cshark (673578) | more than 2 years ago | (#37649728)

That and it's as old as the internet.

Re:Patent Requirements (1)

RobinEggs (1453925) | more than 2 years ago | (#37649832)

I've finally realized how these types of patents keep cropping up.

The dumber the population gets, including experts, the more the phrase "non-obvious" covers.

I don't think it's that, most of the time. It's just that information accumulates at a much faster rate than people can keep up with; this almost never came up until the last 50 years or so. While some people have made ignorance a kind of vogue I think even they do it out of subconscious fear, for the most part.

Information overload can overwhelm basic cognitive skills like pattern recognition, and that must affect a patent office crippled by bad law and under-funding to the point that their backlog until recently was years worth of work.

I really don't believe that stupidity is becoming more common. Across the human race I'd still bet the ratio of "educated and/or intelligent" to "ignorant and/or stupid" has remained stable enough. It's just that the Red Queen hypothesis applies to human intelligence and education; save true geniuses even the most bright and educated are running as fast as they can just to remain static in overall cognitive power, and really we're all falling ever further behind the rate of global knowledge accumulation.

Dilbert and Dogbert on knowledge gaps [butterfunk.com]

typical (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37649554)

It seems that now jobs is no longer the next dickhead is just as freakin bad

Re:typical (1)

YodasEvilTwin (2014446) | more than 2 years ago | (#37649576)

TFA:

application filed on April 26, 2010

Apple's Future (-1)

krisamico (452786) | more than 2 years ago | (#37649610)

So this is what Apple will do now that Steve is gone -- sit around and troll patents. This wouldn't hurt a competitor or a platform -- only people (developers).

Re:Apple's Future (1)

Dyinobal (1427207) | more than 2 years ago | (#37649666)

sorry to burst your bubble but this kind of behavior isn't new for Apple. Thanks to Apple though it does appear to becoming standard operating procedure for all the tech giants these days.

Re:Apple's Future (2)

gutnor (872759) | more than 2 years ago | (#37649926)

Thanks to Apple though it does appear to becoming standard

That has always existed. Various tech companies have sued competitors like crazy - all the big corps have tons of cross licensing agreement. For some reason, big companies managed to convince us that they were nice people and only got patent to protect against evil companies (troll). That is simply not true - they use their patents in the way that is the most profitable to them, like they do with everything else. They are companies, not some sort of charity.

Re:Apple's Future (1)

NoobixCube (1133473) | more than 2 years ago | (#37650358)

I'm always full of great ideas. I should become a patent troll ;)

Re:Apple's Future (1)

Cyko_01 (1092499) | more than 2 years ago | (#37650692)

well he did tell them to "stay hungry, stay foolish"

shorten the duration (1)

kylemonger (686302) | more than 2 years ago | (#37649622)

Maybe we should let companies have these patents, but drop the protection time down to a few years. That way you can stall innovation, but not for long, which gives incentive to set reasonable licensing terms.

Re:shorten the duration (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37649680)

Yep, 2-3 years in tech today is a lifetime compared to the pace of business when patents were invented.

Re:shorten the duration (2)

olsmeister (1488789) | more than 2 years ago | (#37649744)

Lawsuits and appeals last longer then that.

Re:shorten the duration (2)

Teun (17872) | more than 2 years ago | (#37650012)

So?

Re:shorten the duration (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37649682)

No you need to redefine non-obvious here. It should be obvious to everyone (rather than just those CS/E degrees) that this patient is obvious and has prior art.

You need to be more creative or in the first 3 posts to get karma like that.

W.W.S.D.? (1)

RevWaldo (1186281) | more than 2 years ago | (#37649644)

Yeah, probably this.

.

Acceptance of patents as weapons (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37649660)

Typically on slashdot, we get annoyed when we see someone trying to patent something we would characterize as a straightforward application of technology. As I watch this keep happening, I'm almost wondering if this practice of patents-as-weapons can EVER be successfully stopped.

By now, large companies have millions upon millions of dollars invested in the status quo. Any serious reform to the patent system, even just the software patents in the US, would end up flushing all of that money down the drain. Businesses are paying that money to gain weapons against their competitors - in the best case as deterrents against lawsuits, in the worst case as ammunition for the business world equivalent of carpet bombing. If all of a sudden they could no longer serve that purpose, all of that investment would be an utter waste.

Even the philosophical side of the issue is not entirely clear cut - a lot of people don't see the worth of anything if it can't be "monetized" in some fashion. To those people, any argument against software patents is going to look like wealth destruction for no purpose. If the only thing you value is commercial assets and how they can be used in the business world, things like free software are value-destroying net-negatives for society and need to be stopped. Sort of like the arguments that the Environmental Protection Agency and related regulations need to go - if the invisible hand of the free market doesn't protect things like health and the environment, then by definition they are not valuable and worthy of protection. Same for "academic freedom" and "open source" work-for-free hippies - they aren't optimal when it comes to money extraction, so they need to go.

The same dynamic is the reason for people advocating for infinite copyrights (or effectively infinite, at least) - once copyright expires, value is destroyed. The broader cultural wealth of a society with a rich public domain is not a monetary asset, and therefore is not an asset at all. As long as people with the power to influence lawmaking decisions continue to think this way, it is unlikely we will ever see anything resembling real patent reform.

Things like the GPL and other open source licenses represent the counter-culture to those trends in the copyright world, but patents have a "pay to play" disadvantage that limits the ability of people without financial resources to have an impact. Which is by design, of course - those with money want to maximize it's utility and power, and diluting it by allowing penniless students, academics and hobbyists to interfere with their moneymaking schemes would never do.

an alternative view perhaps? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37649668)

I'll probably be voted down for this but I can't help thinking that semi obvious things like this are clear targets for people/companies to patent.

However, unless someone tries to patent X there will always be some unvertanty over its legality. Are there hidden patents somwhere just being dusted off and about to be used against me?

If a company tries to patent X and the patent application gets refused then it makes it harder for other companies to come along and try the same trick.
As we have seen with the Lodsys patent troll cases can pop up out of nowhere and hit not the likes of apple or google but the developers themselves. Could this be an attempt by apple to block off the sort of thing that Lodsys is trying out? On the face of it, this application seems to be pretty similar to what Lodsys are claiming. Perhaps apple have spotted some gaps this the Lodsys patent's scope and are getting in with their application before Lodsys modify their patents to cover it themselves.

Frankly all this schennanagins are getting rather silly and should be stopped ASAP. However until the various Patent Offices around the world pressure their governements to sort the laws out to stop this madness, then it will continue.
   

Re:an alternative view perhaps? (0)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 2 years ago | (#37649792)

Why? The patent office long ago figured out that they get more money from approving patents than from rejecting them. They don't care if patents later get overturned - the consequences are zero.

Surprise! (1, Insightful)

Ariastis (797888) | more than 2 years ago | (#37649674)

Meet the new Microsoft.

Re:Surprise! (2)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 2 years ago | (#37649810)

Nah they still have to work on that other 60% market share.

Re:Surprise! (1)

mydn (195771) | more than 2 years ago | (#37649902)

What other market share? They have 100% of the iPad market. Any time you arbitrarily define a market, you can define it in such a way that someone has a monopoly. Just like the false claim that Microsoft had a "monopoly". There were many CPU architectures that Microsoft did not even work on. At the same time that Apple refused to let other companies produce hardware that their operating system could run on. There was always plenty of options to choose other than Microsoft. Apple is far, far more malicious than Microsoft ever was.

Re:Surprise! (2)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 2 years ago | (#37649916)

Yes and Kimberly Clark has 100% of the Kleenex market. Wtf is wrong with you? An iPad is a tablet computer, and there are plenty of other tablet computers that are not iPads.

Re:Surprise! (1)

mydn (195771) | more than 2 years ago | (#37649958)

My point exactly.

The Stupidity...It Burns (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37650202)

How the hell can someone be so mind boggling stupid as you?

Re:The Stupidity...It Burns (1)

mydn (195771) | more than 2 years ago | (#37650300)

Coward.

Re:Surprise! (1)

shutdown -p now (807394) | more than 2 years ago | (#37650130)

Just like the false claim that Microsoft had a "monopoly". There were many CPU architectures that Microsoft did not even work on.

"Desktop computers" was (and is) a meaningful category that bears no relation to CPU architecture.

Re:Surprise! (1)

mydn (195771) | more than 2 years ago | (#37650162)

And you could run a variety of operating systems on "Desktop Computers".

Re:Surprise! (1)

shutdown -p now (807394) | more than 2 years ago | (#37650240)

Yes, you could. But in practice >90% of people ran Windows.

Re:Surprise! (0)

mydn (195771) | more than 2 years ago | (#37650242)

If that's what they choose to do, that's their choice. There was plenty of freedom of choice. There was never a "monopoly". There were even "Desktop Computers" that could not run Windows.

Re:Surprise! (1)

Gen_Music (2420986) | more than 2 years ago | (#37650532)

Well imagine if IBM had patented the PC, then turned around and sued everyone for making IBM compatibles? There would either be no PC market, or it would be an IBM only market, but it would have grown at half the rate due to lack of competition and choice. Kind of reminds me of the growth of nearly every Apple business interest. Apple may claim to be innovators, but really they are trying to systematically cripple everyone else with patents instead of innovating for themselves.

Re:Surprise! (3, Insightful)

Bieeanda (961632) | more than 2 years ago | (#37650232)

Want to have some real fun? Find a recording of Apple's 1984 Olympic ad and compare Big Brother's selling points to Apple's mode of operation over the last ten years or so.

Apple is far worse than MS ever was (2)

artor3 (1344997) | more than 2 years ago | (#37650614)

Perhaps if Microsoft had successfully banned the sale of all non-Windows computers on the grounds that they came in rectangular boxes, there might be a comparison. As it stands, Apple is far, far worse than any major corporation in memory.

Hmmm... (3, Insightful)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 2 years ago | (#37649760)

There had better be a very good reason why 'in-app purchases from 3rd parties' are somehow not similar to buying stuff through a web browser...

Prior Art is no longer an issue. (-1)

TRRosen (720617) | more than 2 years ago | (#37649762)

First to file means prior art means nothing in a patent case. It doesn't matter who did it first just who thought to patent it first.

Note - We must realize that the combination of first to file and software patents is a death sentence to open software and individual innovation.

Re:Prior Art is no longer an issue. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37649820)

From what I understand, prior art has increased in scope. Where before the only prior art that counted was other patens or scientific publications.

Now any kind of publishing is prior art, if anything was published before the patent application in first to file, the patent is dead.

In the previous version, people can sit on an idea for decades without publishing, then file for a patent, and will win over any prior art (including patents) publications during the "sitting-on-it" period. This is how standard organizations were submarined.

Re:Prior Art is no longer an issue. (1)

psxndc (105904) | more than 2 years ago | (#37649970)

First, let me say thanks for trying to have a reasonable and non-torch and pitchfork carrying conversation on the subject. Now then...

From what I understand, prior art has increased in scope. Where before the only prior art that counted was other patens or scientific publications.

Not exactly, though it has been broadened somewhat.

Now any kind of publishing is prior art, if anything was published before the patent application in first to file, the patent is dead.

This is actually how it has been. Anything that was "generally accessible to the public" in the US counted as prior art, e.g., public use or sales, publications, etc. It used to be that public use outside the didn't count as prior art, although publications and papers outside the US did. Now public use anywhere counts.

Sitting on the idea wouldn't really work against standards organizations though because they typically published their standards, which would then be irrefutable prior art one year after they were published. Most submarine patents died in 1995 when the law shifted to the patent term being 20 years from earliest claimed priority date.

Re:Prior Art is no longer an issue. (5, Insightful)

psxndc (105904) | more than 2 years ago | (#37649822)

I am a patent attorney. You are clearly not.

You have no idea what you are talking about. First to file did not change anything prior art-wise. It did not get rid of prior art. I cannot see you doing something and then file a patent application on it myself. Please, for the love of god, stop spreading this bullshit FUD around. You and everyone like you that keeps saying this is making the slashdot community dumber with your posts.

Re:Prior Art is no longer an issue. (2)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 2 years ago | (#37649838)

I am a patent attorney.

I wouldn't say that too loudly around here, doc. We hang boys like you in this town...

PS - the above was an attempt at humor. If you find it offensive, well, too bad.

Re:Prior Art is no longer an issue. (2)

psxndc (105904) | more than 2 years ago | (#37649908)

No offense taken. I've been around slashdot a long long time (see userid).

I am usually hesitant to say I am a patent attorney. And once upon I time I tried to educate the slashdot crowd and help them navigate the nuances of patent law. But it's gotten so bad over the last four or so years I don't even bother unless I something egregiously wrong. This first-to-file-means-I-can-steal-your-invention or prior-art-no-longer-exists keeps getting posted and I just had to say something.

Re:Prior Art is no longer an issue. (1)

gnasher719 (869701) | more than 2 years ago | (#37650576)

This first-to-file-means-I-can-steal-your-invention or prior-art-no-longer-exists keeps getting posted and I just had to say something.

I thought "first-to-file" means I can't steal your invention anymore by faking documentation that I invented it earlier than you.

Re:Prior Art is no longer an issue. (1)

amiga3D (567632) | more than 2 years ago | (#37649980)

I should have known that first to file didn't mean first to file. It is, after all, legalese. Pray tell, since you are a patent attorney, just what does first to file mean in real english versus the gobbeldy gook that serves for legal double talk

Re:Prior Art is no longer an issue. (5, Informative)

psxndc (105904) | more than 2 years ago | (#37650118)

We shifted to first to file to get rid of "interferences" which, contrary to the hype, were really not much of an issue. The rest of the world is first to file, so it made sense for us to shift too. Here's what it means:

Under the old system, say I invented X on January 1st and you invented X (exact same thing) on March 1st and neither of us know about the other person's inventing X. If you immediately file a patent application on April 1st, and I continue tinkering and perfecting, and finally file a patent application on September 1st, I win because I was the first to invent (assuming I can prove it by documentation and I was in fact diligent).

Under the new system, you win because although we both invented the same thing, you filed your patent application first. That is all first to file means.

Now, if I publish about my invention on March 15th, after you invented but before you filed your patent application, my publication is prior art and kills your patent application. DEAD. This is why prior art is not gone under first to file. It used to be that my publication would not autokill your application and you could "swear behind" my publication, showing you invented it before I published.

Now, same set of facts, but say you didn't really invent anything and instead knew about my work, when you file your application on April 1st, you still need to submit an Oath that you believe you are the first to invent X. If you sign that oath and you in fact didn't invent X - you just copied my work - you have committed fraud on the Patent Office and your patent is unenforceable. DEAD. This is true under the old system and the new system. This has nothing to do with the change to first to file and this is why first to file does not allow you to just copy someone's idea and get a patent on it even though there isn't one.

The last scenario is a bit of a prickly pear, but it's not because of first to file - it's the same under the old system. If I invent X and sit on it, using it in secret for years and years and then you independently invent X and file a patent application on it, and your patent is granted, you can then sue me for something I have been doing for years. Remember, if I had published, your patent application would have been DOA, so it is designed to encourage people to publish early.

Hope this helps.

Re:Prior Art is no longer an issue. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37650704)

So, if two people independantly come up with the same invention at the same time that should be proof of obviousness. An obvious solution to a new requirement.

Re:Prior Art is no longer an issue. (1)

captainproton1971 (1838798) | more than 2 years ago | (#37650786)

My goodness, a highly informative and non-inflamatory post in a Slashdot patent thread... thank you very much.

I still hope the current patent system crumbles to pieces (sorry, I imagine that might make your job a little harder), but I do appreciate the intelligent responses.

Re:Prior Art is no longer an issue. (1)

Rob Y. (110975) | more than 2 years ago | (#37650030)

Perhaps, but if this patent is as obvious and unoriginal as posters here are implying, and it still gets granted, and it's somehow more likely to get granted, then first to file has effectively been changed by the new law.

Admittedly a lot of if's. But, if anything in the new law effectively grants a greater presumption of originality than before, and a prior art claim requires you to sue to override the stupidity of the patent office, then first to file grants a temporary monopoly to anybody that can frame an idea in such a way as to get it past the asleep at the wheel bureaucrats a the P.O. Maybe this isn't a significant change from the old status quo, but it sure feels like it.

Re:Prior Art is no longer an issue. (1)

psxndc (105904) | more than 2 years ago | (#37650046)

If this patent gets granted, it has nothing to do with whether the system is first to file (new) or first to invent (old). I'm just saying "rail against the patent office all you want, but at least understand why you're doing it."

Re:Prior Art is no longer an issue. (1)

An Ominous Coward (13324) | more than 2 years ago | (#37649844)

Your understanding of "first to file" is incorrect. The concept of prior art still exists, and can still be used to overturn a patent or prevent it from being granted. It does eliminate the (difficult and often arbitrary) process of determining who "really" came up with and acted on something "first" when two entities attempt to patent the same invention.

Re:Prior Art is no longer an issue. (1)

JAlexoi (1085785) | more than 2 years ago | (#37649858)

I wonder why prior art is still valid defence in Europe then... Oh, my guess some people are just uninformed.

First Person Shooter Patent (1)

Decessus (835669) | more than 2 years ago | (#37649842)

Is there a reason why nobody has patented the ability to play a game in the first person perspective? I don't know anything about patent law, but this doesn't seem any less ridiculous than other patents that have been approved and defended.

Really? WTF (1)

shoehornjob (1632387) | more than 2 years ago | (#37649906)

WHATEVER. Apple should just stop being an a$$hole and play nice with the other 4 year olds in the playground.

Re:Really? WTF (1)

digitallife (805599) | more than 2 years ago | (#37650008)

Why?

I'm not trying to ge a dick. In fact personally I think large corporations should be broken up. But WHY, from Apples perspective, should they stop?

Re:Really? WTF (1)

Gen_Music (2420986) | more than 2 years ago | (#37650578)

Because of how bad they got their ass kicked the last time they tried the patent troll business model on M$. If they had won, windows might have never existed, and if it did it would have an Apple watermark on the background despite the fact that they could have been destroyed by prior art once again. Apple never invented the GUI, but they patented it so they used it as a weapon to try and stop the Microsoft juggernaut. :S

patenting something you don't do (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37649956)

is that allowed? to patent something you have 100% no control of?
Hello I would like to patent the patent...yes the idea of a patent, I thought of it years ago...oh and make that a patent-pending just in case

And the evil goes on. (0)

Issarlk (1429361) | more than 2 years ago | (#37649988)

Apple will continue to be the same company with Steeve Jobs indeed.

Re:And the evil goes on. (1)

jo_ham (604554) | more than 2 years ago | (#37650206)

This was filed in 2010.

What was your point again?

Re:And the evil goes on. (1)

TimHunter (174406) | more than 2 years ago | (#37650408)

Steve manages to commit his perfidious deeds from beyond the grave. What a fiend!

Poster cant read (1)

TRRosen (720617) | more than 2 years ago | (#37649990)

This is not present in-app purchasing or in-app purchasing in general. It is purchasing from within the app from an external source with external information but without actually leaving the app. I think the crux of this is you could buy something via an add in an app without leaving the app itself.

And remember the new rules are if you dont patent it somebody else can and sue you for your own idea and you have no defence.

Back to the old Apple hatin' days... (1)

JAlexoi (1085785) | more than 2 years ago | (#37650100)

So. After a few days of sympathy for Steve Jobs, we're reminded why Apple is losing their "darling" status in the tech world.

Edison was a Patent troll (0)

pbjones (315127) | more than 2 years ago | (#37650122)

Edison had 1000+ patents, some appear to minor variations on previous works, why don't we complain about Him? as this article is just more anti-apple trolling, why does /, bother?

Re:Edison was a Patent troll (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37650230)

Cause he's dead and not suing competitors instead of competing with them based on product value? Just a guess.

Re:Edison was a Patent troll (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37650284)

Easy there fanboi. Who told you to take your head out of the sand? The new iphone isn't out yet. Thier actions speak for themselves. Don't bother yourself with reality. Everyone is just haters. Uh huh.

Re:Edison was a Patent troll (1)

Gen_Music (2420986) | more than 2 years ago | (#37650612)

Cos he isn't creating walled gardens left right and center so nobody else can actually use the things that Apple allegedly 'created' (but didn't create due to prior art).

Re:Edison was a Patent troll (1)

artor3 (1344997) | more than 2 years ago | (#37650628)

If the best you can say of Apple is, "Hey, they're only about equally bad with Edison!", then that speaks volumes. What's next? If China invades Taiwan, will you be chiding us for talking about that instead of Alexander the Great?

Four Years (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37650208)

For four years more they will be able to use the creations Steve left.

Afterwards with a bit of luck they will end up just like in the '90s, if they keep behaving like this.

Apple destroying innovation (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37650452)

Apple seems determined to destroy any form of innovation with these ridiculous patents.
Ironic, they steal everybody else's ideas and then sue people who may be any form of competition.
Apple have got to the stage where they can't innovate and are losing the tech battle, so they simply use their money and mindless followers to destroy whoever they can.
Steve left behind a great legacy, "steal", "lie", "sue" and "limit innovation" at all cost.
And yet another example that the patent system is a joke.

It is now 2011. It appears Apple wants it all. (2)

El_Muerte_TDS (592157) | more than 2 years ago | (#37650472)

It is now 1984. It appears IBM wants it all. Apple is perceived to be the only hope to offer IBM a run for its money. Dealers initially welcoming IBM with open arms now fear an IBM dominated and controlled future. They are increasingly turning back to Apple as the only force that can ensure their future freedom. IBM wants it all and is aiming its guns on its last obstacle to industry control: Apple. Will Big Blue dominate the entire computer industry? The entire information age? Was George Orwell right?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1984_(advertisement) [wikipedia.org]

if you can't beat 'em.... (3, Insightful)

Cyko_01 (1092499) | more than 2 years ago | (#37650630)

sue 'em until you can!

LOL what's next patenting ALL purchases? hahaha (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37650686)

it's amazing how much stupid shit apple tries to patent. Let's patent making babies next LOL

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