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Apple Receives Patent For Accessing Sets of Apps With Different Passcodes

Unknown Lamer posted about 7 months ago | from the here-comes-another-decade-in-court dept.

Patents 156

wabrandsma writes, quoting Apple Insider "The technology, detailed in a patent awarded to Apple on Tuesday by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, deals with so-called 'access inputs' that determine what apps, device services, and functions can be accessed by a user. Apple's U.S. Patent No. 8,528,072 for a 'Method, apparatus and system for access mode control of a device,' describes a system that creates user access modes guarded by predetermined gesture inputs." Reading the patent, it appears Apple managed to patent allowing access to some programs without a passcode from the lock screen of a device while protecting others, so e.g. you can quickly swipe to make a phone call or control your music, but have to enter a code to read your email or access your word processor documents.

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156 comments

Some day .. (4, Funny)

ackthpt (218170) | about 7 months ago | (#44756895)

I'll get a patent for posting on an Apple story.

then y'all will be screwed!

Re:Some day .. (1)

gutnor (872759) | about 7 months ago | (#44756959)

So you don't think there is enough prior art ?

Re:Some day .. (3, Insightful)

ackthpt (218170) | about 7 months ago | (#44757177)

So you don't think there is enough prior art ?

Prior art never stopped a suit being filed by a shi^H^H^Hgood lawyer.

Re:Some day .. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44757555)

Prior art no longer matters: FIRST TO FILE wins.

Re:Some day .. (2)

h4rr4r (612664) | about 7 months ago | (#44757857)

That is not how first to file works.

First to file only comes into play when more than one entity files for the same patent. At that point the first one to get to the patent office wins. My preference would have been if two folks try to patent the same thing it is considered obvious enough to not get patent protection.

Prior art still applies as it always had.

Re:Some day .. (1)

DutchUncle (826473) | about 7 months ago | (#44758197)

My preference would have been if two folks try to patent the same thing it is considered obvious enough to not get patent protection.

Sorry, that doesn't make sense to me. Everyone knows there's a market niche, but nobody could make it work, and then suddenly
-- two people happen to come up with two different ways of doing it - or they THOUGHT they were different, until the examiner compared both patents.
-- a group was working on it and had a falling-out about credit or something.
My point is there could be a legitimate race involved.

Of course this assumes that a patent is only granted for demonstrating a working solution, not just a concept.

Re:Some day .. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44758697)

So, your first objection is that the solution to the problem was obvious enough that two different people (or teams) came up with the exact same solution at the same time, therefore it isn't too obvious enough for a patent. This makes sense how?

As for your second objection, patent law requires that *all* contributing inventors, and *no others* be named on the application. Failure to abide by this requirement can completely invalidate your patent, if it is discovered. No do-overs. Done. Finished.

So, it all boils down to your contention that multiple people solving the same problem (using the same method, and at the same time) somehow *isn't* an indication of obviousness.

Re:Some day .. (1)

ackthpt (218170) | about 7 months ago | (#44758073)

Prior art no longer matters: FIRST TO FILE wins.

Over a century ago Thomas Edison understood this, taking out patents in the US and Europe on work pioneered by others. He right bastard, but for over 100 years we still can't seem to get the patent system to work for the People, only for the weasels who steal others ideas and then arm themselves with lawyers

Re:Some day .. (0)

BasilBrush (643681) | about 7 months ago | (#44758533)

Every time ANY patent is reported on by Slashdot, someone always claims there's prior art.

These days that can't even be bothered to list what they think that prior art is.

Re:Some day .. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44757269)

When my patent gets approved for any logo or business name that starts with the letter "A" they will be screwed !

Prior art (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44756907)

Yet another trivial and redundant patent...

Re:Prior art (2, Informative)

halfEvilTech (1171369) | about 7 months ago | (#44756925)

no kidding my current HTC Rezound has the ability to put apps on the lock screen to view without unlocking the phone. Otherwise unlock for full access.

Prior Art indeed.

Re:Prior art (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44757283)

Prior Art indeed.

Which is completely unrelated to the patent in question so it is in no way prior art.

Re:Prior art (1)

ackthpt (218170) | about 7 months ago | (#44757289)

no kidding my current HTC Rezound has the ability to put apps on the lock screen to view without unlocking the phone. Otherwise unlock for full access.

Prior Art indeed.

Maybe they could patent a phone which would let you have access to things if you bribed it

I live a poor, miserable existence, but once the NSA found out I had a mobile phone, it's been living like George, Prince of Cambridge

Re: Prior art (1)

ewanm89 (1052822) | about 7 months ago | (#44758521)

Version 4.3 of the same software on a tablet can even have restricted user profiles with own postcode that can access a whilst of applications.

Re:Prior art (1)

ackthpt (218170) | about 7 months ago | (#44757263)

Yet another trivial and redundant patent...

So how would New Zealand's anti-software patent handle this - Is this an ordinary sort of process simply moved to software or is it revolutionary technology, worthy of a patent (I know what it smells like, but to me it's about as revolutionary as the guard shouting "AUS PASSE!" in the old Castle Wolfenstein, where some guards don't care (or can be bribed.))

Re:Prior art (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44758647)

Anyone writing a program to implement "a method for access mode control of a device" would be non infringing of the patent since software cannot be patented. And, since the remaining apparatus is different from Apple's products (proven by virtue of both being under different patent clouds), the combination cannot be an infringement of the patent, since either the only important thing is the software implementing this (in which case an invalid patent) or this covers the idea, not the implementation (and again an invalid patent) or possibly that it is the idea of "doing this on a phone" which is not novel (and hence not a valid patent).

Re:Prior art (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44757849)

I wish I would get a dollar every time someone shouts "trivial" in forums regarding patents.
I would have enough money to buy me a McLaren 12C Spider in a jiffy.

Listen up. If everything is trivial I have I real good advice for you : patent it yourself and become rich.

Everyone shouting "trivial" is victim of hindsight bias.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hindsight_bias

Re:Prior art (1)

DutchUncle (826473) | about 7 months ago | (#44758225)

Umm . . . isn't this comparable to having different passwords for different things? Like email or /. accounts?

Re:Prior art (1)

BasilBrush (643681) | about 7 months ago | (#44758561)

Passwords on accounts don't stop you accessing the software. Nor does it prevent access to apps that don't have a natural concept of accounts. Nor does it have the concept of groups or hierarchies of apps which are accessed with different unlock procedures.

Re:Prior art (2)

meerling (1487879) | about 7 months ago | (#44757923)

The only thing I see different from various pre-existing things is the input method, and that's not new either, so the whole thing falls under the pre-existing and bloody freaking obvious category. Again the patent system fails to follow it's own rules.

like different users? (2, Insightful)

ragefan (267937) | about 7 months ago | (#44756923)

So basically they re-invented having different accounts having access to different apps. Only its on a mobile device, and it deserves a patent?!

Re:like different users? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44756963)

yet another stolen feature implemented on Apple (r) iCrap(tm) that they wordcrafted into something that almost resembles something new.

Re:like different users? (3, Insightful)

girlintraining (1395911) | about 7 months ago | (#44756977)

So basically they re-invented having different accounts having access to different apps. Only its on a mobile device, and it deserves a patent?!

Well, yeah. Maybe you haven't noticed the furious nerd rage over the past, I don't know... FIFTEEN YEARS about stupid patent law? Anyway... a patent was recently awarded because someone figured out how to use the speaker/mic combo on a mobile phone to transmit data acoustically. You know, like... through the air and stuff. For credit card transactions. You might well guess... they got a patent.

Nevermind that this technology debuted in the 1960s, pretty much right after the second computer was built and someone got the idea that they should be able to exchange data... and look, here's this phone thingie...

Re:like different users? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44757471)

That mobile phone thing was here some time ago and it was some microsoft crew, that did that. I don't remember anything about patents, though.

Re:like different users? (1, Insightful)

Theaetetus (590071) | about 7 months ago | (#44758463)

Anyway... a patent was recently awarded because someone figured out how to use the speaker/mic combo on a mobile phone to transmit data acoustically. You know, like... through the air and stuff. For credit card transactions. You might well guess... they got a patent.

Nevermind that this technology debuted in the 1960s, pretty much right after the second computer was built and someone got the idea that they should be able to exchange data... and look, here's this phone thingie...

I'm pretty sure they weren't using mobile phones in the 1960s for communicating credit card transactions, and the acoustic couplers they used were really sensitive to environmental noise, hence the data rates measured in baud. Maybe - and I'm going out on a limb here - just maybe, this is a different implementation than they had in the 1960s?

"But the basic idea is the same!" you cry... to which I point out that in every Slashdot story when someone talks about patenting an idea, people rush to correct them and exclaim that you can't patent an idea, just an implementation. Well, if the implementation is new and nonobvious and you're not trying to claim the idea, then who cares if the idea came before. Shiat, we've had "ideas" for teleportation, warp drives, and time travel for decades. Are you trying to claim that any successful implementation of those would be obvious?

Point it out all you like (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44758755)

> "But the basic idea is the same!" you cry... to which I point out

Point it out all you like. When the patent is IN ITS ENTIRETY "use the speaker/mic combo on a mobile phone to transmit data acoustically. You know, like... through the air and stuff. For credit card transactions." then if it's being done EVEN AT BAUD RATE = 1, it's previously been done.

Is there a patent on reducing the ambient noise to clarify the sound? Yes.
A patent on recognising data packets? Yes.
A patent on mic/speaker? Yes.

Then when putting them together, what is the novel use and required patenting? If you don't even need to get a copy of the device, merely see it working to work out how to do it (since this is all this, and the above, patent says), then it is not detailed enough to re-implement from the patent and the patent is invalid.

Patents were an alternative to trade secret.

If it cannot be held as a trade secret, then it should never be patentable. Because if trade secret were never an option, then patent cannot be an alternative to it.

Re:like different users? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44758845)

I'm pretty sure they weren't using mobile phones in the 1960s for communicating credit card transactions, and the acoustic couplers they used were really sensitive to environmental noise, hence the data rates measured in baud. Maybe - and I'm going out on a limb here - just maybe, this is a different implementation than they had in the 1960s?

My old Nascom II computer recorded stuff on tape drive, at 2400 Baud, using frequencies of 1200 and 2400 Hz. I used some old tape drive with lousy quality and jitter, and even with mangled tape (rustling like anything) the interface recovered pretty much anything. It had 10 times the reliability of a CBM cassette interface at about 4 times the speed. Some discrete stuff with Schmitt-triggers and a PLL: nothing you should not be able to simulate from digital data.

Of course, with GSM there will be smarter ways to utilize the bandwidth rather than imagining a PCM signal.

Re:like different users? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44758503)

This is why I like reading comments, because you know this tech existed for years, and yet these monopoly companies are still getting patents for something stupid.
Stupid because one can easily assume, a group, individual, university, or lab could have created the same in a matter of months, days, weeks, it isn't an exclusive invention.

And even if it was created before, for some reason it was rejected, which is completely dumbfounding considering how idiotic the patent system has become.

Re:like different users? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44756983)

This is exactly why the USPTO is broken. Code like this should not be granted a patent. This is not some remarkable invention, nor is it very difficult to implement. Just doing an activity on a mobile device that is already done on a desktop, or other device, should not deem this activity patentable. Absurd.

Re:like different users? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44757549)

Thing is, it's NOT like it's done on a desktop. Look.... You flip your (most of 'em) phone up, intending to use the camera to grab that neat shot- but first you have to unlock it, then login... Or, you want to let little Timmy play "Twit Piggy Slayer" but not let him hit I-Tunes or buy a few real hundred bucks worth of in-game food. This lets you log in "Part way" to let Timmy play on your phone safely, or lets you use the phone as phone without any interference and use the camera to snap photos without having to spend the time to run through the start-up checklist. You could even require login to crank up your playlist, then lock your phone safe but still be able to change selections, skip a song, change volume, etc.

Think of it as login stages/sets; not multi-user or ACL, but similar. I think it's clever, It is original in fact, though whether worth being awarded a patent... They'd better be really, really specific as to method.

Anyway, dunno who said it, but- "It's amazing how obvious and simple something becomes once you're shown it the first time."

Re:like different users? (2)

spire3661 (1038968) | about 7 months ago | (#44757765)

Its a permission list, nothing more. Walk up to a machine on my network, and as a guest you have limited access to my network. Enter some credentials and you get full access to my network. Please explain how this patent is different from that process.

Re:like different users? (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | about 7 months ago | (#44757879)

How is that enforced?
What network layer device does that?

Or by network do you mean windows shares? Services are not a network.

Re:like different users? (0)

Too Many Secrets (449095) | about 7 months ago | (#44758481)

Don't be dense. I can easily limit access to different programs and services on any modern computer based on username/password. This is the entire basis of having a multi-user OS.

Re:like different users? (1)

BasilBrush (643681) | about 7 months ago | (#44758739)

The guest and you have different contexts. e.g. You and the guest might both have access to the word processor. But when the guest uses that computer, the word processor won't open with the last document YOU had open.

Re:like different users? (1)

khellendros1984 (792761) | about 7 months ago | (#44758637)

I can access the camera app without using my passcode, because it's among the list of apps that I've made available on my lock screen. I can take pictures from the app without unlocking my phone. If I want to manage my photo album, I have to sign in. Two levels of access. Similarly, I can sign into my phone and queue up some music. Then, from my lock screen, I can control the playback of the audio. If I unlock the phone and go to buy some music, it prompts me for a text password. That seems like three levels of access to the same app. What apple has done is to make those levels persist between different apps (If I'm allowed to buy some music, maybe I should be allowed to buy some apps too, for instance).

It's a neat idea, but it feels more like a "refocusing" of ACLs, multi-user login, or the lock screen app access I already have than it does a completely new thing. Basically, it's not revolutionary, and I think that's what most of the naysayers in the thread are complaining about.

Re:like different users? (1)

BasilBrush (643681) | about 7 months ago | (#44758827)

You describe having open access to some apps, and password protect for all other apps. And then you describe account passwords, a different thing again.

This patent allows different passwords (actually gestures) for different apps. And more than 2 categories.

It's a neat idea, but it feels more like a "refocusing" of ACLs, multi-user login, or the lock screen app access I already have than it does a completely new thing.

Inventions are never "completely new things". It's always building on the shoulders of giants. And "prior art", far from being a disqualifier for a patent, is actually included as a list in nearly all patents. Patents have to include some novel addition to what already exists, not be "completely new".

Re:like different users? (1)

Dupple (1016592) | about 7 months ago | (#44756989)

It sounds rather a lot like an Access Control List to me. I fail to see what's new about it

Re:like different users? (1)

gstoddart (321705) | about 7 months ago | (#44757149)

Purely to play devil's advocate, because I agree that it sounds like a stupid patent ...

If you get access to a different set of apps based on which passcode you enter, it's more like a context aware ACL -- when you're fully logged in you get everything, when you're 'partly' logged in you only get a subset.

Of course, I'm pretty sure the last release of Android lets you have profiles in which your kids can only access some of the apps, and you can access all of them. So I'm not entirely certain this is any different than that.

But it can definitely be likened to something like sudo, which we've had for years. This doesn't sound like it's much more than things we already have, but with a tablet. Which pretty much sums up my opinion of software patents -- a system and methodology for doing something exactly like a well-known real world analog, but with a computer.

Re:like different users? (1)

Dcnjoe60 (682885) | about 7 months ago | (#44757533)

Purely to play devil's advocate, because I agree that it sounds like a stupid patent ...

If you get access to a different set of apps based on which passcode you enter, it's more like a context aware ACL -- when you're fully logged in you get everything, when you're 'partly' logged in you only get a subset.

Of course, I'm pretty sure the last release of Android lets you have profiles in which your kids can only access some of the apps, and you can access all of them. So I'm not entirely certain this is any different than that.

But it can definitely be likened to something like sudo, which we've had for years. This doesn't sound like it's much more than things we already have, but with a tablet. Which pretty much sums up my opinion of software patents -- a system and methodology for doing something exactly like a well-known real world analog, but with a computer.

That would assume that you are logged out when your phone's lock screen is displayed. If that were the case, then you wouldn't receive all of the various notices and alerts from your account. But, since you do, then you are still logged in. It would be more akin to having to access a higher level password in an application to access certain functions. The user id hasn't changed, just the access level. For normal use, these functions are available (receive calls, control music, etc.) To access other applications/more features, you need to enter a passcode. Compare that to any SQL type database, for normal use, you use your password, for advanced use you enter an administrator type password, but you are still logged in, your access level has been temporarily raised.

This ability has existed since the 1960s. What is a bit novel is that Apple is using gestures for entering passcodes. That's fine, then patent that process, but not the whole ACL thing.

Re:like different users? (2)

gstoddart (321705) | about 7 months ago | (#44757797)

This ability has existed since the 1960s. What is a bit novel is that Apple is using gestures for entering passcodes

Of course, my problem with that is we're treating gestures like they're different from a password or any authentication token.

I'm of the opinion that password, fingerprint, security token, gesture are all substantively reduced to "sequence of bits which can be used to verify access".

So if the USPTO gave a patent to do this with each of these approaches as a separate patent, we'd end up with a bunch of identical patents in which the "authentication token" becomes the patentable part of the 'invention'. I don't think the specific authentication token is relevant to the patent.

To me, it's the functionality of granting granular access, which we've had for a very long time. It doesn't become a different mechanism because you use a fingerprint, a picture of your face, a gesture or whatever.

To me if I could already do this with a password, WTF difference does it make if it's suddenly using a gesture?

Re:like different users? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44758039)

This is just the goverment admitting there's a difference between a password and a passgesture(?).

So remember kids, the next time the feds are holding you without charge and demanding you give up your password, feel free because its a passgesture they need to get into whatever they want, and this more or less says its not the same!

Re:like different users? (1)

Twylite (234238) | about 7 months ago | (#44757323)

Sounds more specifically like Role Based Access Control [wikipedia.org] (RBAC). You can define RBAC with a Subject (identity-based access control with roles) or without a subject. In the latter case authentication is tied to authorising a role, rather than authenticating a subject who has (or can authorise) a role.

Re:like different users? (1)

Dcnjoe60 (682885) | about 7 months ago | (#44757415)

It sounds rather a lot like an Access Control List to me. I fail to see what's new about it

Because Apple said it's new, that's what.

Re:like different users? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44757507)

but it's done with gestures! So reapply all your patents, that ended with "with computer" and just put "with gestures" after that.

Re:like different users? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44757035)

This is essentially patenting a fucking password-protected folder.

Completely absurd.

Re:like different users? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44757095)

Prior art:
NSA backdoor key to all your private data + normal user key(s) for the user. :)

Mobile is different (1)

goombah99 (560566) | about 7 months ago | (#44757131)

Mobile and cloud computing present special challenges. Google is a particular problem for me. Consider chromebook. I have one password, my google password, and that logs me into the computer but it also gets my e-mail, and my google wallet. Anyone can remotely access my google docs if they have my password. Even worse is that I use my google mail account for all my banking and purchases (amazon) and other sites. So anyone who gets in can do a password reset on those, which will send the new password to the google mail account, and I'm destroyed.

So what about two facto ID. Well this is where mobile compounds things. Usually your mobile device is your second factor. So your mobile device not only can access your gmail but it gets sent the 2nd factor as a text message. So if you loose your phone there's no benefit for two factor ID. If you toss last-pass or some pasword wallet into the mix, again losing the phone can be your undoing.

What I try to do to ameliorate this is to maintain a separate password recovery e-mail account that is not hooked to the phone. But that really doesn't work. most sites don't have the ability to have regular e-mails sent to one e-mail address but password recovery go to another. For example, you probably want to get all yout paypal receipt or amazon receipts sent to your regular e-mail so you will see them immediately if there is activity. So there's no way to do that if you also want the password rest e-mail to go to an off-mobile-device account. Likewise Sites that want two-factor ID don't have the facility to prevent the mobile device from playing the role of both factors (password input device and 2nd factor generator).

Thus there is a lot of room for innovation in the cloud and mobile arena. Segregating authority and access in a more fine grained way is the path forward. Apple is pushing the ball here. It's not a complete solution yet.

I suspect what apple is doing is trying to breakdown the inconvenience of entering a password. right now we have one gate to the castle. Once you are in you have the run of kingdom. So that gate has to be secure, and therfore inconvenient. It would be nice to be able to trade weaker levels of security for convenient access to some applications. that would make it easeir to have some security, not all or nothing. so for example, perhaps my message notifications could be guarded with a gesture whereas my e-mail is secured more tightly.

if they could extend that so that some senders messages were secured even more tightly it would be on the way to solving my problem on the client side even if the servers don't cooperate with segregating password resets from regular e-mail.

Re:Mobile is different (1)

The-Ixian (168184) | about 7 months ago | (#44757639)

This is off topic but your points about having "all your eggs in one basket" are well taken.
 
I ran in to a similar problem about a year ago when I lost control of a couple of domains that I no longer used. I had been using those domains for years, tinkering with various Google services and whatnot and unfortunately for me, I didn't unlink those domains from those services before they were picked up by someone else.
 
Over a period of about a week, I was in a battle to wrest control of my Google and other accounts from the hands of someone who was using my old domains to reset password on my accounts. It was a very sobering experience to say the least.
 
I now do exactly as you outlined in your e-mail, which is to say that I have a separate "vault" account that I have specifically for the "password reset / alternate" e-mail fields of all the services I use.

Re:like different users? (2)

Kumiorava (95318) | about 7 months ago | (#44757143)

I think the novel idea here is that if you enter different passwords into same account you get different functionality. Especially useful on shared home iPad or computer or tv where you don't have need for separate accounts. Don't know if there is any prior art to this, but it sounds like a clearly different compared to user accounts in traditional sense.

Re:like different users? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44757215)

This is nothing new, I wrote code to do this in the late 80s for green screen applications, and it certainly wasn't remotely novel back then. This is nothing more than doing something that's been done for decades, but on a different front end, and why the US patent system is utterly broken and servers mega-corps more than ever (and the massive amount of lawyers that needs this stuff).

Re:like different users? (1)

gl4ss (559668) | about 7 months ago | (#44757601)

..they're separate accounts just with different word for "account".

or they're just accounts with secret names and no password.

or they're just passwords which protect certain functionality.

Re:like different users? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44757627)

I think the novel idea here is that if you enter different passwords into same account you get different functionality. Especially useful on shared home iPad or computer or tv where you don't have need for separate accounts. Don't know if there is any prior art to this, but it sounds like a clearly different compared to user accounts in traditional sense.

No, this isn't different. This is the same as having elevated privileges within a single account, like when you want to add a printer or install something on your domained computer at work. Or when you want to do something in ubuntu and you need sudo. Or when you are on just about any embedded device with access controls and you want to login as root or as a user.

Of course, you could also think of it as two accounts that share the same data and username.

Overall, I don't think there is anything remotely novel about this, except for the fact that apple hasn't allowed it on iOS yet.

This is a product of those guys sitting around the big Apple ideas table and saying "hey, I gave my kid my iPad so he could play candy crush and he emailed the whole company a youtube video of him playing minecraft. We should invent a technology so that doesn't happen!" and all the Apple geniuses said "brilliant!" while the rest of the world says "I wish I could just make my kid his own account so I don't have to buy a second iPad."

Re:like different users? (1)

TheCarp (96830) | about 7 months ago | (#44758405)

It certainly didn't seem like a terribly novel idea to me when I was writing code to implement it a few years back. The project never went anywhere but, it seemed to me to just be the most obvious way to implement a "duress" password that could be used to set off an alarm. Slightly clever but, I assumed it had already been done since it was so freaking obvious.

Re:like different users? (1)

Zontar The Mindless (9002) | about 7 months ago | (#44758803)

I seem to recall at least one Star Trek TOS episode where giving an alternative countersign alerted the Enterprise crew that you were in some kind of trouble such as being held under duress. Isn't that the same thing, more or less?

Re:like different users? (1)

Ronin Developer (67677) | about 7 months ago | (#44757321)

I was watching "Men that Made America" this weekend. It was covering JP Morgan and how he forced George Westinghouse to give up his rights to A/C by threatening him with patent litigation after Westinghouse (and Tesla) won the Niagara Falls power generation project. Westinghouse was 100% in the right...but, he knew he didn't have the financial resources to beat JP Morgan in court. He turned the rights over to JP Morgan. That is how GE became synonymous with A/C power production.

Even if this is prior art or an invalid patent, who has the resources to challenge Apple? And, it's possible that while portions may be thrown out, would enough be thrown out to invalidate the patent?

Yes...firmly agree that software patents should be abolished.

Re:like different users? (1)

bugs2squash (1132591) | about 7 months ago | (#44757503)

Fine, grant the patent.
But if it is ever used in litigation by the holder it should be subject to re-certification by the USPTO. The USPTO will have to verify to the court that it meets current eligibility criteria. If it does, the law suit may proceed, if it does not the patent is revoked there and then.

Re:like different users? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44757353)

no no, its not multiple users, its slightly different in a worse way than that

Re:like different users? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44758269)

Hey man, you can't have a sudoers list on a Phone!

Re:like different users? (1)

BasilBrush (643681) | about 7 months ago | (#44758669)

No. Different accounts would mean that the apps would have different context depending on which account you used. For example if I had a document open in a word processor when logged in as Bill, then logging in as Ted would not have that document open. Even if the two accounts happened to have edit permissions to that same document.

That is not what's happening here.

Groundbreaking (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44756951)

Absolutely astonishing proof of innovation, no one, other than Apple, could come up with this. Brilliant!

Thank God for patents! (2)

Laxori666 (748529) | about 7 months ago | (#44756957)

Constantly protecting and promoting innovation! Why, without patents, there's no way Apple would be going out on a limb to develop such advanced technology as needing one type of access method for some functionality and another type of access method for others! And if anyone should dare to steal this brilliant idea, or to develop the same exact one by accident because it is bleeding obvious, then let them be sued into oblivion for unfair whatevery. This will surely help us consumers by giving us less choice and higher prices.

Conceptually different (1)

MrLint (519792) | about 7 months ago | (#44756961)

Is this really any conceptually different than different privileges for different accounts? Or account exclusion on different tables in a database?

It would also seem to just be moving the privileged chain to another level from UN/PW to current user/passcode.

Touchdown for Android? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44756969)

My Android smartphone has my employer's email available via Touchdown's sandbox and to access it, you need a separate password (which works great as I can hand my phone to my 10 year old and let him play games with it, but not violate any rules about other people accessing my email.)

folder patents (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44756997)

Remember kids...folder passwords are Apple's idea.

P.A.T.E.N.T (3, Insightful)

RedHackTea (2779623) | about 7 months ago | (#44756999)

Prevent Any Tangible Evidence of New Thought
or maybe
Penetrate Anally To Ensure No Talent

I don't know, just spitballing here. Any takers?

Enough Already... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44757015)

News flash, Apple, Microsoft, Samsung, HTC, Google, and others apply for and receive patents for literally THOUSANDS of concepts every year. It really isn't news-worthy. Sorry. Let me know when they (and I don't just mean Apple - I mean anyone) actually IMPLEMENTS the patent or decides to otherwise use the patent. Otherwise, it amounts to "company came up with an idea that the lawyers were able to write up into a patent so they did as lawyers do and patented it".

So entirely NOT newsworthy.

THOUSANDS of patents, each company, every year.

Business as usual.

Re:Enough Already... (1)

gnasher719 (869701) | about 7 months ago | (#44757597)

News flash, Apple, Microsoft, Samsung, HTC, Google, and others apply for and receive patents for literally THOUSANDS of concepts every year. It really isn't news-worthy. Sorry. Let me know when they (and I don't just mean Apple - I mean anyone) actually IMPLEMENTS the patent or decides to otherwise use the patent. Otherwise, it amounts to "company came up with an idea that the lawyers were able to write up into a patent so they did as lawyers do and patented it".

This one sounds quite useful, so I would think that Apple is going to implement it. It might even be novel, because I haven't seen anyone doing it before. On the other hand, I surely disagree with the USPTO on the meaning of "obvious".

Re:Enough Already... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44757717)

novel? windows goes to login screen after x minutes of inactivity, this ammoounts to clicking the guest account

Re:Enough Already... (1)

oji-sama (1151023) | about 7 months ago | (#44758239)

Also Kid's Corner in WP8. Unlock to use anything, swipe left without unlocking to access user selected programs (games). This patented thing does extend this a bit.

Prior Art (2)

Hardhead_7 (987030) | about 7 months ago | (#44757093)

On Android, I have a lockscreen widget and the camera app is accessible without unlocking.

Re:Prior Art (2)

MrManny (1026106) | about 7 months ago | (#44757181)

While I agree about the.. questionable nature of the patent, it was filed in 2010 -- i.e. before that functionality became part of Android. (Though if you could access the camera from the lockscreen with third-party apps, feel free to disregard my silly comment.)

Re:Prior Art (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44757239)

It wasn't filed before computers had different logi's and priv levels to access different subsets of apps and data.

Re:Prior Art (1)

Dcnjoe60 (682885) | about 7 months ago | (#44757575)

While I agree about the.. questionable nature of the patent, it was filed in 2010 -- i.e. before that functionality became part of Android. (Though if you could access the camera from the lockscreen with third-party apps, feel free to disregard my silly comment.)

I'm pretty sure that even my Treo let me answer the phone while the screen was locked and a few other features, too. And that was long before Android or iOS.

It's about the Children (1)

Brandon Eckert (3042145) | about 7 months ago | (#44757339)

I'd venture to say that this is a way to allow you to give your iPad to your kids, let them use their own login and have access to their own set of apps. Everyone is jumping on the kiddie tablet bandwagon.

Re:It's about the Children (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44757449)

Actually its so enterprise users can have a single device for say a whole retail departement in a store.

Re:It's about the Children (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44757673)

Actually it's for anyone that has 1 device but multiple users. I think they invented user accounts sometime in the 70's, but it might have been before that. Granted this innovation is for different privilege levels using the same account data, but I'm going to go out on a limb and bet that pretty soon they'll get the novel idea of letting users segregate their datasets based on variations in login credentials.

Re:It's about the Children (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44757571)

Well it's a way to allow sharing of iDevices, of which that is one use-case ... but well done on your kiddie tablet bandwagon jumping :)

Let's hear it for the USPTO! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44757423)

Huzza! It is good to see that the USPTO hasn't lost its ability to grant patents on totally stupid stuff... Now I can expect to gain much dosh for my patent (pending) for Serial Respiration as a Means to Promote Health...

Deined (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44757497)

On the count of prior art: Kid's Corner on WinMo. You swipe in a pre-determined manner (right-to-left on the lock screen), and it grants you access to a user-defined set of apps.

Gotta be more to it than that (1)

T.E.D. (34228) | about 7 months ago | (#44757501)

Reading the patent, it appears Apple managed to patent allowing access to some programs without a passcode from the lock screen of a device while protecting others, so e.g. you can quickly swipe to make a phone call or control your music, but have to enter a code to read your email or access your word processor documents.

I doubt that highly, as this is excatly how Windows has behaved since Vista in 2006.

I wonder.... (1)

Dcnjoe60 (682885) | about 7 months ago | (#44757551)

Either the patent office has the most computer-illiterate patent reviewers or there is an intentional just approve anything mentality there, at least where Apple is concerned. I wonder if Samsung had applied for this patent if it would have been approved?

patent ? (1)

Torvac (691504) | about 7 months ago | (#44757621)

patent for accessing something without access code on a mobile device? or stuff that kinect does, but on a touchscreen instead of air ? and instead of "gesture" its now an access code represented by a gesture ?

Crappy patent overview (4, Insightful)

sootman (158191) | about 7 months ago | (#44757877)

1990s: "... on a computer!"

2000s: "... on the Internet!"

2010s: "... on a mobile device!"

Cyanogenmod (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44757965)

Doesn't Cyanogenmod already do this?

Prior Art from about thirty four years ago (1)

cstacy (534252) | about 7 months ago | (#44758033)

@enaBLE (capability) wHEEL
Password: ******

There are other (and even older) examples; that is just the one that occurred to me first...
Some versions of Unix support capabilities, of course. Here we are using the word "capability" in a more abstract sense like the non-technical word "permission"; the system need not be capability-based. So it seems to me that all that Apple has patented is the use of the lock screen and PIN as the UI to enable the capability: the password determines which capabilities will be unlocked. And lock screens and PINs are nothing new. And inputting different passwords to cause different effects is not new, either. A good modern example of such security-through-obscurity is TrueCrypt hidden volumes. I haven't read the patent, but it seems like every element is old hat, and the combination seems pretty much "...on a mobile device".

Yet another useless patent... (1)

Firethorn (177587) | about 7 months ago | (#44758037)

I know my android already has some of this for alarms and music, and I would indeed like to see it expanded - I want my email to be protected, but I want to be able to hit pause on my workout program easier.

Re:Yet another useless patent... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44758115)

android has this so long as your app has a lock screen widget; there's also lock screen widgets that will do this for apps that don't... this is a ridiculously stupid patent proving how broken the system is yet again

You might want to read the actual claim (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44758589)

Here is the patent claim 1. Remember, in order to infringe a patent claim, you have to have ALL ELEMENTS. If even one thing is different, you don't infringe that claim.

1. A method for changing the an operational mode of a device, comprising: receiving a first gesture from a user while the device is in a locked mode, wherein while in the locked mode all applications except an unlocking application are inaccessible to the user, wherein the unlocking application grants access to at least one application that was heretofore inaccessible, wherein the first gesture is associated with a first unlocked mode of the device; determining if the first gesture is recognized by the device; changing the operational mode of the device from the locked mode to the first unlocked mode using the unlocking application in response to the first gesture only when the first gesture is recognized, wherein while in the first unlocked mode at least a first application associated with the first gesture becomes accessible; receiving a second gesture from the user while the device is in the first unlocked mode, the second gesture associated with a second unlocked mode of the device; determining if the second gesture is recognized by the device; and changing the operational mode of the device from the first unlocked mode to the second unlocked mode in response to the second gesture only when the second gesture is recognized, wherein while in the second unlocked mode at least a second application associated with the second gesture becomes accessible, wherein the first unlocked mode allows access to applications in a first group of applications, the second unlocked mode allows access to applications in a second group of applications, and the first group of applications and the second group of applications are mutually exclusive.

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