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Apple Patented by Microsoft

pudge posted more than 9 years ago | from the i-am-switching-to-pears dept.

It's funny.  Laugh. 336

An anonymous reader writes "C|net is reporting that Microsoft received a patent on Tuesday for a new variety of apple tree. U.S. Plant Patent 14,757, granted to Robert Burchinal of East Wenatchee, Wash., and assigned to Microsoft, covers a new type of tree discovered in the early 1990s in the Wenatchee area, a major commercial apple-growing region. Dubbed the 'Burchinal Red Delicious,' the tree is notable for producing fruit that achieves a deep red color significantly earlier than other varieties. It is sold commercially as the 'Adams Apple.'" Apparently, the assignation of the patent to Microsoft was an error. Or so they would have us believe ...

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336 comments

M$... (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9070105)

Microsoft has no reason to patent a TREE. How lame.

Coming really soon... (4, Funny)

rd4tech (711615) | more than 9 years ago | (#9070108)

MS Air, the most breatheable air you can find arround. Decreased cost on large volume orders of our EULAir licences.

Re:Coming really soon... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9070154)

Quick where's my tinfoil. hard to believe the real IQ of ./'ers

Oh great. (5, Funny)

mikeophile (647318) | more than 9 years ago | (#9070217)

Does this mean I should expect the blue sky of death?

Re:Oh great. (-1, Redundant)

ExplainTheJoke (777397) | more than 9 years ago | (#9070380)

This is funny because the Microsoft Windows operating system is known for crashing to a blue screen with an error message. Later this became known as the 'blue screen of death' by users.

It isn't even april.... (5, Insightful)

phoenix.bam! (642635) | more than 9 years ago | (#9070110)

...this is a joke, right? Seriously, if the patent office is given out patents for naturally growing TREES, something is wrong.

Re:It isn't even april.... (4, Informative)

Allen Zadr (767458) | more than 9 years ago | (#9070138)

I thought joke too, but it was merely a mistake.

However, yes, genetics are patentable. This includes specific Hybriding.

Re:It isn't even april.... (4, Informative)

RotJ (771744) | more than 9 years ago | (#9070143)

I think if you develop a specific breed, you are given the sole rights to use it for commercial purposes.

Read here [uspto.gov].

Re:It isn't even april.... (1)

JPriest (547211) | more than 9 years ago | (#9070364)

I wonder if in the future famous people will obtain some type of copyright or patent on their on DNA that prevents people from cloning them.

I think in the immediate future we will make better advancements in prosthetic organs, but moving forward we will see more replacements done with real organs. e.g for the right price we will grow you a new ear on the ass of a rat and then sew it on.

This market opens up the door to some interesting things.

Re:It isn't even april.... (4, Informative)

DAldredge (2353) | more than 9 years ago | (#9070148)

Large transnational corporations like Monsanto, DuPont and others have been investing into biotechnology in such a way that patents have been taken out on indigenous plants which have been used for generations by the local people, without their knowledge or consent. The people then find that the only way to use their age-old knowledge is be to buy them back from the big corporations. In Brazil, which has some of the richest biodiversity in the world, large multinational corporations have already patented more than half the known plant species. (Brazil is estimated to have around 55,000 species of flora, amounting to some 22% of the world's total. India, for example, has about 46,000.)

© Centre for Science and Environment
Global Environmental Governance

A patent gives a monopoly right to exploit an invention for 17-20 years. To be patentable an invention must be novel, inventive and have a commercial use. Controversially though, the US and European patent offices now grants patents on plant varieties, GM crops, genes and gene sequences from plants and crops. The current WTO patent agreement, TRIPs - Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights - has been very controversial in this respect for many developing countries who want to have it reviewed, but are being somewhat blocked by the wealthier nations from doing so.

As reported by Environment News Service, "Knowledge is proprietary. It belongs to corporations and is not accessible to farmers," [Dr. Altieri] said. Altieri feels that biotechnology has emerged through the quest for profit, not to solve the problems of small farmers. "Scientists are defending biotechnology ... but at the same time there's a lot of money from corporations going into universities, influencing the researchers in those universities in the wrong direction," Altieri said.

The cost to developing countries in "pirating" their knowledge has been considerable:

"Vandana Shiva believes that the West has a clever structure in place. Using convenient patent laws as a system, the Trade Related Intellectual Property [TRIP] instrument as a stick and the World Trade Organisation [WTO] as the enforcing authority, the First World is seeking to 'rob' the Thirld World. She says in a rigorous article: "When the US introduced IPRs in the Uruguay Round as a new issue, it accused the Third World of 'piracy'. The estimates provided for royalties lost in agricultural chemicals are US$202 million and US$2,545 million for pharmaceuticals. However, as the Rural Advancement Foundation International (RAFI), in Canada has shown, if the contribution of Third World peasants and tribals is taken into account, the roles are dramatically reversed: the US owes US$302 million in royalties for agriculture and $5,097 million for pharmaceuticals to Third World countries."" -- Abduction of Turmeric provokes India's wrath, Good News India, January 2002

Some examples

In Texas, a company called RiceTec took out the patents on Basmati rice (which grows in the Indian and Pakistan regions) and have created a genetically modified Basmati rice, while selling it as normal Basmati -- and it was not against the law, either. In fact, four of the patents were withdrawn in June 2000, when the Indian government formally challenged the patent. However, it, and other incidents continue to raise controversy on patenting indigenous plants. Eventually though, 15 of the 20 patents were also thrown out by the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) due to lack of uniqueness and novelty. However, towards the middle of August 2001, three patents were awarded to RiceTec -- to variants called Texmati, Jasmati and Kasmati, all cross breeds of Basmati and American long grain rice, while RiceTec was also given permission to claim that its brands are "superior to basmati" as reported by the Guardian, who also point out the uproar that has caused in Indian political circles. The article also points out how RiceTec CEO doesn't understand why there is such a fuss over this, yet he perhaps doesn't see ActionAid's point (also mentioned in the news article) that "[t]here is growing concern that corporations are taking advantage of traditional Indian crops developed over thousands of years by farmers, without any recompense for the poor people who do all the work." (It is a further irony that the CEO is Indian in ancestry, himself.)

There has also been an unsuccessful attempt by RiceTec with Thailand's Jasmine Rice as well in 1998.

"London's Observer reported that there were more than 100 Indian plants awaiting grant at the US patent office. And patents have already have been granted to uses of Amla, Jar Amla, Anar, Salai, Dudhi, Gulmendhi, Bagbherenda, Karela, Rangoon-ki-bel, Erand, Vilayetishisham, Chamkura etc, all household Indian names. These need to be vacated.

Bio-piracy doesn't affect just India. Much of Africa and Latin America are prowling grounds for First World's knowledge pirates."

-- Abduction of Turmeric provokes India's wrath, Good News India, January 2002

A US Patent Authority ruling did manage to prevent another company from using turmeric to create bi-products because there intentions were not novel and turmeric had been around for a long time. They also canceled a patent on the Ayahuasca plant, a sacred plant for many indigenous people in Latin America.

"Patents and intellectual property rights are supposed to prevent piracy. Instead they are becoming the instruments of pirating the common traditional knowledge from the poor of the Third World and making it the exclusive "property" of western scientists and corporations." -- Vandana Shiva, Poverty and Globalization, Reith 2000 Lectures, BBC.

In India, these and other events have led to much criticism on the ability to patent many indigenous plants so easily by big corporations. Another patent causing outrage has been a remedy for diabetes involving eggplant, bitter gourd and jamun, the fruit of the rose apple tree extract. It has been common knowledge in India for centuries, yet again there is an attempt to patent it.

There were also fears in India that Europe would follow USA and Japan's examples of bio-piracy, by allowing patents of indigenous plants and life-forms, which have already led to genetically modified versions of these without sufficient proof that they are safe to consume. Well, they do not need to worry any longer, because it has actually happened.

A number of food ingredients and plants in India have been, or have seen attempts to be, patented by various biotech firms. As this article suggests, US patent laws may be part of the problem.

As Inter Press Service reports, "Over the last 10 years, for examle, [sic] the US-based chemical giant DuPont has filed approximately 150 applications for patents on genetic resources with the European Patent Office."

While many biotech companies claim that genetically engineered foods will help alleviate hunger and increase food security, their acts of patenting the knowledge and food that has been developed over centuries itself may be a threat to food security, due to more concentrated ownership and the political advantages that goes with that. The large biotech firms are mainly from western nations, especially America. (Such control over basic resources can and has been used as a foreign policy leverage tool, as seen in the food dumping section on this web site.)
An International Undertaking to tackle the issue?

"Patent proponents keep banging on about the importance of IPR for access and innovation. But this is a smokescreen. If access was the issue, then the evidence stands against IPR: it restricts the flow of germplasm, reduces sharing between breeders, erodes genetic diversity, and, all in all, stifles research. What is actually at issue is the question of whose interests agriculture R&D should serve. IPRs are suited to the profit strategies of the global seed conglomerates that want to dominate agricultural production worldwide. The transnational seed companies are building vast industrial breeding networks in all major crops and, with their economies of scale and ownership over technology through IPR, they will shut local private and public breeders out of the commercial market. For them, IPR is simply a means for controlling the market and extracting more profit from it." -- Intellectual Property Rights: Ultimate control of agricultural R&D in Asia, by Devlin Kuyek, March 2001, GRAIN (Genetic Resource Action International).

The concerns about things like farmer's rights, genetic resources and its ownership (private patents or public ownership, as these resources have been developed traditionally by small farmers for the public), access for all to these resources, sharing the benefits etc, were being discussed in an international agreement called the International Undertaking on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (the IU). There was potential for the IU to lead to a legally binding international agreement to tackle these concerns very positively.

According to a report by ITDG, at the beginning of June 2001, titled, Who will own the genes in our food?

"The International Undertaking is the principal international agreement which could:

* Protect the rapidly eroding resources which underpin global food security, and encourage their sustainable use;
* Put pressure on governments to keep these genetic resources in the public domain, and where patents and other forms of intellectual property claims on them limit availability, facilitate access to these resources for current and future generations;
* Ensure that farmers - especially the world's smallholder farmers on whom the food security of billions of people rests - can save, use, exchange and sell seeds and other propagating material in their customary manner [Farmers' Rights]
* Create benefits to farmers from the commercial use of these resources, which they have developed and conserved." [emphasis is original]

Unfortunately, nations such as the United States, Canada, Australia and New Zealand argued that this is against the principles of the WTO and TRIPS (Trade-Related aspects of Intellectual Property Rights).

As a result of failed talks etc, a final conference was held that ended July 1, 2001.

The above predicted fears, however, came true, with what was termed a weakened text.

As a follow-up ITDG briefing mentioned, the subordination of this to the WTO "allows corporations to continue to patent genes derived from food security crops which are listed under the IU. Other types of intellectual property rights can also be applied. This kind of privatisation is eroding farmers' access to the genetic resources for food and agriculture which they have developed. It threatens the world with:

* loss of agricultural biodiversity
* loss of farmers' livelihoods
* loss of public sector research and development in agriculture
* loss of public sector seedbanks"

On November 3, 2001 the slightly renamed treaty (to International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture) was adopted by a vote of 116 to 0 with two abstentions (the U.S. and Japan).

A welcomed aspect of this treaty is that it will prevent the patenting of food that has not been genetically modified, so that traditional and public knowledge will remain public. This was one of the most contentious aspects of the text which stated that farmers, researchers etc, "shall not claim any intellectual property or other rights that limit the facilitated access to the plant genetic resources for food and agriculture, or their genetic parts or components, in the form received from the Multilateral System." Genetic Resources Action International (GRAIN), mentions that "The US, Japan, Canada and a few others tried to get this deleted at the last minute [from the final text], but they were outnumbered." That is, as reported by the UK Agricultural Biodiversity Coalition, "Shortly before finalizing the new treaty, a U.S. proposal to delete this provision altogether lost by a vote of 97-10."

While the adoption of this treaty (which comes into effect after 40 nations have ratified) is a positive step, civil society organizations (CSOs) have welcomed it with concerns, stating for example that (quoting from previous link):

* It is not Fair: benefits are scarce, financial resources from OECD countries are not commensurate with the contribution made by farmers.
* It is not Equitable: it is ambiguous about ensuring that all farmers and breeders will have free access to PGRFA [the acronym for the treaty], unrestricted by IPRs [Intellectual Property Rights].
* It is not Comprehensive: just 35 genera of crops and only 29 forage species are included in the Treaty. [Emphasis is original]

Re:It isn't even april.... (1)

Trogre (513942) | more than 9 years ago | (#9070233)

*sigh*

Long live capitalism.
</sarcasm>

Validation error (2, Funny)

GoClick (775762) | more than 9 years ago | (#9070375)

Your comment could not be validated, a closing sarcasam tag was detected without a matching opening tag or valid doctype please edit your document and try again.

Re:It isn't even april.... (3, Insightful)

dj245 (732906) | more than 9 years ago | (#9070238)

Controversially though, the US and European patent offices now grants patents on plant varieties, GM crops, genes and gene sequences from plants and crops.

Well, if I seeded the hardiest of the tough corn with itself 500 times to create a new breed of tough, hardy, drought-proof corn, I would want to be able to patent it too. If I walked into the rainforest, picked a flower, and decided to patent it, that would be just wrong though.

Everything in moderation.

Re:It isn't even april.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9070255)

TROLL!! big huge repost from somewhere....

Not that I disagree, but we must discourage this behavior. I happen to agree.

Re:It isn't even april.... (1, Offtopic)

gumbi west (610122) | more than 9 years ago | (#9070350)

FYI, if you want to find where posts like this are from (i.e. who wrote it) you can google large chunks of text in quotes.

i.e. google "most contentious aspects of the text which stated that farmers" (with the quotes) and you will see that this was lifted from here [globalissues.org] This article is so long that sections may have been lifted from various places... to find them, just use google...

Plant Patents (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9070111)

Speaking of plant patents: Which patented plant are they smoking at the patent office.

Re:Plant Patents (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9070208)

I don't think they're smoking enough of it.

Re:Plant Patents (1)

GoClick (775762) | more than 9 years ago | (#9070389)

I'm pretty sure most of what's wrong at the patent office comes from the officers actually being a hybrid plant desigend to cut costs... however they can't read *yet*

I'M GONNA BE RICH FOR THIS!!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9070376)

Variety of cannibus sativa that is favored by Jamaicans with purple hairs; often used to lower blood pressure ("loosen up") causing loss of concentration and apathy ("high"), often incapacitating said Jamaicans. ...

Profit!!!

Re:Plant Patents (1)

prockcore (543967) | more than 9 years ago | (#9070392)

Apple has known about these problems for weeks, and the announcements were timed to follow the patches.

Rosemary Jane.

Christ this is old. (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9070114)

Do you guys have anything better to do than rehash news.com articles?

If they put a comments section at the ends of their articles it would put /. out of business.

And you thought THAT was bad (4, Funny)

RucasRiot (773111) | more than 9 years ago | (#9070116)

Remember Apple Records' suing Apple Computer for selling music-related products? I bet they REALLY won't like this!

Re:And you thought THAT was bad (1)

techno-vampire (666512) | more than 9 years ago | (#9070385)

I don't know if it's still true, but at one time Apple Computers was paying royalties for the name to Apple Records.

Let's end this now (2, Funny)

FunWithHeadlines (644929) | more than 9 years ago | (#9070117)

OK, I give up. I see where this is going. Let's skip to the end move now: "Hey, M$, Take my DNA and patent it and put me out of my misery now."

Watch out (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9070120)

When that tree crashes, you get more than a blue screen of death.

Using linux is stealing (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9070123)

When you use linux, you participate in a communist scheme designed to prevent software professionals from being compensated for their work. So switch back to windows xp you scumbags.

Microserfs have a sense of humour too! (5, Insightful)

coupland (160334) | more than 9 years ago | (#9070125)

While the patent application itself has no information to link it to Microsoft I can't help but imagine this was the brainchild of a Microsoft employee who is a Mac enthusiast and who has a decent sense of humour. Obviously this is not a Microsoft patent but I suspect we have a MS huckster with a penchant for the kind of humour that's popular on /.

Good for him/her, if you spend all your time scowling at Microsoft your face will freeze that way. Ya gotta smile from time to time. :)

Re:Microserfs have a sense of humour too! (5, Funny)

erikharrison (633719) | more than 9 years ago | (#9070185)

the kind of humour that's popular on /.

I think you mean poplar. *snicker*

You know! Like the tree!

Apples grow on trees! It's a tree joke!

Anybody? Please? *sigh*

There goes my hope for ever having a +5 Funny post . . .philistines . . .

Re:Microserfs have a sense of humour too! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9070246)

Thou failth it.

Re:Microserfs have a sense of humour too! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9070322)

nah, from what i heard it was a total accident. we got a good laugh out of it, though. :-)

Microsoft Patent : You (2, Funny)

Dozix007 (690662) | more than 9 years ago | (#9070127)

Just in, Microsoft has now patented it's users ! The Copyright Department of the US Gov. issued this copyright after it's head offical recieved an "anonymus" gift of 25,000,000,000. Microsoft claims patenet on it's users due to the fact it has integrated idiots across the nation into it's system, and they can't fuction without it :P

Re:Microsoft Patent : You (2, Funny)

Mike Hawk (687615) | more than 9 years ago | (#9070235)

The other OS creators responded saying that they intend to submit prior art but haven't actually invented end-users yet.

A story about a plant patent? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9070128)

Slashdot: News for botanists. Stuff that makes you wonder what plant-derived illegal substances the editors are abusing.

ooo (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9070130)

*runs out to patent fungus on his toes*

wow (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9070132)

Sun patents the Moon, news at 11...

Re:wow (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9070251)

And MS recently settled with Sun, so they have access to Rev. Moon's fanatics around the globe....

Interesting. (5, Funny)

The Human Cow (646609) | more than 9 years ago | (#9070136)

Unfortunately, in order to eat this apple you're going to have to have two mouths, 350 teeth, and the stomach the size of a small child.

Ask... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9070283)

...and ye shall receive. Two mouths [ebaumsworld.com] (sorry Ebaum).

Robert! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9070139)

Bobby Burchinal apparently has forgotten that I discovered his genetic code and have patented him so I assume ownership of any of his patents (whether they're of other life or not).

A tree (2, Funny)

RubberDuckie (53329) | more than 9 years ago | (#9070140)

Interesting that you can patent a tree you 'discovered', and did not create. Perhaps I'll patent air.

Re:A tree (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9070197)

Why, did you discover it?

Hineapple, of course (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9070225)

The kind of apple one discovers (and the kind Microsoft should patent) is a hineapple.

Lindows meet Microsoft (1)

Neo-Rio-101 (700494) | more than 9 years ago | (#9070141)

Hey, if this is a good enough stunt for Lindows to pull on Microsoft... why can't Microsoft do it too?
(But this time do it right by getting patents)

Maybe Apple can retaliate by getting a patent on a particular type of four-paned window.....

Re:Lindows meet Microsoft (4, Funny)

irokitt (663593) | more than 9 years ago | (#9070239)

New Microshatter windows! They spontaneously shatter, allowing you to enjoy the deep blue sky (hereby trademarked as the Blue Screen of Delight)! Pick one up today! And another! And another....

Error. (4, Funny)

dj245 (732906) | more than 9 years ago | (#9070144)

Apparently, the assignation of the patent to Microsoft was an error.

A Microsoft spokesman refused to comment on the substance of the error, but alluded to a secret project named "Money Tree". When corrected that money does not in fact grow on trees, but rather on bushes and shrubs, the Microsoft spokesman paused in contemplation, then ran quickly to his car shouting "Eureka!". Microsoft stock finished up 1/4 to land at 26.30.

Re:Error. (2, Funny)

gnunick (701343) | more than 9 years ago | (#9070216)

Apparently, the assignation of the patent to Microsoft was an error.

Well, we all know what a house of assignation [infoplease.com] the Patent Office has become lately, so it's no surprise to me that these sorts of things are going on!

Re:Error. (5, Funny)

dthree (458263) | more than 9 years ago | (#9070264)

"When corrected that money does not in fact grow on trees, but rather on bushes and shrubs"

Would that be a microsoft hegemony?

"hedge o money"?

nevermind.

Worms (3, Funny)

RucasRiot (773111) | more than 9 years ago | (#9070145)

Betcha that Microsoft apple gets attacked by a lot of worms called Sasser. Blue Seeds of Death?

Read the article... (5, Informative)

erick99 (743982) | more than 9 years ago | (#9070151)

Read the article folks, it was a mistake.

A Microsoft representative confirmed that the assigning of the patent to the company was a mistake..

The article does go on to discuss the huge inventory of legitimate tech patents that Microsoft has and how they plan to license more of same.

But the software giant has been a prolific patent generator in other areas. The company embarked on a campaign late last year to generate more revenue from its patent portfolio, offering to license widely used inventions such as its ClearType font technology and FAT storage format.

I think that the writer thought "Microsoft patenting Apple" was a humorous intro to Microsofts rather deep pile of patents.

Happy Trails!

Erick

This story does not have enough jokes. Really. (4, Funny)

rasafras (637995) | more than 9 years ago | (#9070153)

"Apple patented by Microsoft."
"sold commercially as the 'Adams Apple'"

We need some more, like...
"Just some more worms for Microsoft"
"Do they have plans for authentication?"
"Microsoft shows the softer side of a monopoly"
...and so on...

Tsk Tsk (5, Funny)

g3head (771421) | more than 9 years ago | (#9070155)

I knew the patent office was slow, but dang. April Fools day was over a month ago...

Apparently.. (1)

Metallic Matty (579124) | more than 9 years ago | (#9070156)

Apparently the apple has been mistakenly assigned to Microsoft.

This is clearly a Microsoft plot to install their propreitary software on produce world wide.

Re:Apparently.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9070178)

And you post is clearly a pear-shaped loser's plot to try to be funny. Guess what, butt licker- it aint workin.

In other news... (5, Funny)

dj245 (732906) | more than 9 years ago | (#9070160)

Apple (AAPL) registered a patent for a new device designed to transmit radient energy from the sun from outside houses to the interior of the house, using 4 glass pieces affixed in a wooden frame. Apple calls their new development a "Window". Apple stock finished up 1/2 to wind up at 26.65

Stupid patents (1)

3ryon (415000) | more than 9 years ago | (#9070164)

Kinda funny, but it highlights the stupidity of our patent system. I wonder if I should patent the mold in my shower as a lethal weapon [slashdot.org]. Perhaps I'll name it SporediferousBillGatesium.

Apple Tree? (4, Funny)

ejaw5 (570071) | more than 9 years ago | (#9070165)

What kind of (tree based) data structure is this? How would one go about making it AVL? ...and I thought B-Tree was bad.

The correction to the patent (4, Interesting)

statusbar (314703) | more than 9 years ago | (#9070189)

Microsoft has filed with the Patent Office for a certificate of correction to re-assign the patent to Burchinal, the representative said.

Why should Microsoft have to file a certificate of correction? The process is wrong - What if Microsoft decided 'Hey, we are going to keep the patent. You just try to take it back'. It is the patent office's mistake.

<tinfoilhat place="on">What if the copies of Microsoft Office that were sold to the Patent Office were given a hidden feature of inserting Microsoft into patents that matched specific keywords?</tinfoilhat>

--jeff++

Re:The correction to the patent (1)

servoled (174239) | more than 9 years ago | (#9070211)

Why do you assume that they have to? What makes you think that the original applicant can't also file a certificate of correction?

Forbidden Fruit (3, Funny)

J Nny (678075) | more than 9 years ago | (#9070190)

Hmmm....Adam's apple, the apple taken from the tree of wisdom. Joy. Just remember, God hath commanded that all ye who tasteth of the forbidden fruit be condemned to hell. Say hi to Billy when you get there.

But it *Was* a Mistake (4, Funny)

ewhac (5844) | more than 9 years ago | (#9070195)

Said an unnamed representative from the USPTO, "Oops, sorry, that one was supposed to go to Monsanto. Honestly, keeping track of evil amoral corporations these days is a real Pain-in-the-Ass(R)."

Schwab

Mistakes (1)

nadolph (661727) | more than 9 years ago | (#9070198)

I believe this could be a mistake.
But will it be a mistake when Microsoft patents all our other favorite foods.

"Triple Fudge Cake, By McCain in partnership with Microsoft Foods Inc."

how was this patented? (1)

sleepnmojo (658421) | more than 9 years ago | (#9070200)

The fact that anyone could patent an apple just goes to show you that the patent system needs to be redone. How this was even passed on to anyone, given prior 'art' is beyond me.

Even though Microsoft supposedly didn't get the patent; I wonder if the true patent holder will now sue all apple farmers, saying it infringes on their patent.

Re:how was this patented? (2, Informative)

servoled (174239) | more than 9 years ago | (#9070228)

This patent only covers a specific type of apple, not apples in general. Plus, I think plant patents opperate a little differently the utility patents, although I really don't know that much about plant patents.

Plant patent information can be found here [uspto.gov] for anyone that is really interested in the subject.

Patent Systems Are Flawed (5, Interesting)

RabidChicken (684107) | more than 9 years ago | (#9070221)

This is exactly why we should take a serious look at whether the United States should have a patent office at all.
The original concept of the patent system was fine in an era or rural agriculture and home shops. The economics of Perfect Competition (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Perfect_competition) required something governmental to effectively reward the researcher.

Today that is quite different.

The small, lone inventor is now a myth because 1) research on technical things (Software Patents aside, those are just bad period.) is done now by large universities and businesses who only can license other technologies and pay the research. 2) the patent application system is prohibitively expensive for any small player. Furthermore, so many applications are filed a year, the office spends about 17 hours an application. 17 hours is not enough to have a generally education person (not even necessarily someone in the field) to take a serious look at the invention. The only way one can compete with a patent is through cross-licensing one technology for another which allows the companies in competition to produce the same product. That makes the patent system moot to all but those entering the market, who get screwed.

The argument goes on, but for the sake of briefness I'll cut it off there at a gross generalization.

Why, for the sake of God's Green Earth, can anybody claim a patent on something that has grown in the ground, DISCOVERED (not invented), and not researched. I don't care, quite frankly, who discovered it, I want to know if there was any human invention in its creation. If there isn't, the patent system has failed on a fundamental level because it's. Not. An. Invention.

Are there any nations with sane copyright, patent, and other laws?

If I know Microsoft (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9070227)

It'll be Burchinal Red Delicious version 3.1 before you'd want to bake a pie with one.

Apple is sueing... (3, Funny)

AchilleTalon (540925) | more than 9 years ago | (#9070232)

apparently they object Microsoft cannot use the name apple to identify the tree and/or the fruits of the tree.

Rumors are going wild about Microsoft thinking seriously to throw the towel and rename it's invention Aspire.

So many people modded funny (1)

INeededALogin (771371) | more than 9 years ago | (#9070248)

And to think how worried I was when I first read the title

Too bad their isn't a microsoft tree that Apple accidentally be given a patent on:-)

Not front page worthy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9070254)

Why in the world is this frontpage news?

imagine! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9070256)

imagine a beowulf cluster of these!

dispute! (4, Funny)

potpie (706881) | more than 9 years ago | (#9070257)

I would like to contest that it was I and I alone who invented the apple tree and as such I will be suing.
-God

The Final Solution... (1)

CODiNE (27417) | more than 9 years ago | (#9070270)

Patent deep red colored Apples and sue Job's & company out of existence! =-o If only there was some prior art!

Heh...

Re:The Final Solution... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9070327)

I knew there was a reason OS X v10.3 went to the brushed-chrome finish!

How the hell? (2, Insightful)

nihilogos (87025) | more than 9 years ago | (#9070278)

Do you get a patent on flora by finding it growing in a field?

Re:How the hell? (4, Informative)

crem_d_genes (726860) | more than 9 years ago | (#9070386)

Like this... [original-r...icious.com]

Almost all apple seeds will bear crab apples if planted, so a tree that bears edible fruit in the wild is truly unique. Orchard trees are grafts, usually they have a crab root (or another suitable apple tree) and the fruiting portion is whatever type is desired. Very few apple trees self pollinate so crab apples(which stay in bloom longer), or other varieties that are in bloom at the same time as the variety planted are needed nearby. All that's needed to finish the mix is a healthy hive of bees.

Patent? (1)

berkut7 (761778) | more than 9 years ago | (#9070300)

What I want to know why a patent was granted for something that was discovered? I thought patents were for invented stuff...

Red Delicious Apples circa Windows 98 (1)

fantastic max (690355) | more than 9 years ago | (#9070302)

If I recall correctly, around 1998 or 1999 Washington apple growers were going bankrupt and ended up buldozing their orchards while refusing government bailouts. The problem didn't come from having bad trees or blights or whatever. The problem came from years of misguided selective breeding. Apple farmers were so caught up on making perfect looking red delicious apples that had that beautiful waxy red look on its own. The only problem with these apples was that they were completely flavorless and resulted in low sales. Bet this discovery is just result of this bad breeding. Maybe this is the future for M$. Wishful thinking anyway...

Adam's Apple? (1)

Otter (3800) | more than 9 years ago | (#9070319)

Am I the only one who finds prominent adam's apples (the one on your throat) unsettling? As a name for a food, it strikes me as utterly unappealing. Even more unappealing than Red Delicious apples normally are.

Re:Adam's Apple? (1)

Golgafrinchan (777313) | more than 9 years ago | (#9070356)

There was a time in my youth when I thought that a "window" was a looking glass for the rest of the world. Microsoft ruined that idealistic view. Now they're trying to do the same for fresh fruits. Heathens.

They just give it to them by default now (5, Funny)

GoClick (775762) | more than 9 years ago | (#9070353)

With 800,000,000 patents day they just assume it's for MS and then sort it out after, it actually saves money that way.

Apple pricing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9070373)

Here is Microsoft's apple pricing:

Apples XP are $3/lb

Costumers who have previously purchased Apples 95 or Apples 98 can get Apples XP for $2.50/lb. A valid license, um, I mean receipt, is needed

Apples Longhorn will likely be available sometime in 2008. They will likely be very tasty, but they will also have very high digestive system requirements.

What makes apple good (1)

sumdumass (711423) | more than 9 years ago | (#9070374)

Asuming these apples are good and delicious, I guess Microsoft can now say "So get a mac, We invented what make apples good"

As if it must be some marketing ploy.

Assignation? (2, Informative)

ziani (255157) | more than 9 years ago | (#9070377)

Apparently, the assignation of the patent to Microsoft was an error.

So there's a twist to the tryst?

Perhaps you meant assignment.

Assignation (1, Funny)

DaoudaW (533025) | more than 9 years ago | (#9070381)

I RTFMed, but I haven't a clue what assignation is being discussed. But it would be like the folks at Redmond to deny it. Hell, even Clinton denied his assignation.
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