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Apple's iPod Interface Patent in Jeopardy

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 8 years ago | from the portable-patent dept.

Media (Apple) 333

Gadget Guy writes "Apple has been denied on their quest to patent the iPod software interface. According to AppleInsider - 'Standing in Apple's way appears to be a prior filing by inventor John Platt, who submitted a patent application for a similar software design for a portable device in May of 2002 - just five months before Robbin submitted his claims on behalf of Apple.'" The Register also helps to shed a little additional light on the subject.

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333 comments

I'll take... (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13286535)

Alec, I'll take touchpad scrollwheels for $500...

Ha ha! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13286539)

Apple better brace for a lawsuit.

Finally... (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13286543)

No more ipods!!!

Royalties? (3, Interesting)

nexxuz (895394) | more than 8 years ago | (#13286547)

would that then mean that Apple would have to pay royalties to this guy?

Nothing will happen (5, Interesting)

pellenys (862681) | more than 8 years ago | (#13286548)

From what I see of all this, Apple will just keep throwing the patent back until it does finally get passed. What's the alternative? Microsoft sue Apple for 'inventing' the iPod interface? That would be an interesting PR escapade....

Re:Nothing will happen (5, Informative)

garcia (6573) | more than 8 years ago | (#13286568)

From what I see of all this, Apple will just keep throwing the patent back until it does finally get passed.

That's exactly what Platt did:

But Platt's playlist application also has a rejection history. It received an NFR on 17 November 2002, and a more serious Final Rejection on 14 June 2004. After further documentation was received, and extension granted, the application received another NFR on 11 December last year.
So, it's obvious that the Patent Office is looking at applications and not just stamping them through w/o checking a simple search first... So we get pissed off when they don't search and we get pissed off when they do?

You can't have it both ways.

Re:Nothing will happen (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13286651)

So we get pissed off when they don't search and we get pissed off when they do?

How does that apply here? The patent that "we" are pissed off about _did_ get through. And, justifiably, we are made because it's a (dumb) software patent.

Re:Nothing will happen (1)

MisterMurphy (899535) | more than 8 years ago | (#13286658)

It isn't whether they search for prior works or not that torques me off; its the sense that they're not following any coherent set of procedures. This is manifested both by the behaviour of not putting any scrutiny on a patent application and approving it, despite it being ludicrous. It can also be seen in rejecting a patent several times, one of them a supposed final rejection, but eventually granting it after enough tenacity. It just doesn't make a lick of sense to me, and that is what pisses me off.

Re:Nothing will happen (2, Insightful)

pete6677 (681676) | more than 8 years ago | (#13286701)

This is pretty much how the legal system works in all aspects, not just patent law. If you really really want something and continue to find ways to ram it through the courts, you'll eventually succeed. It's just a matter of how much time you have and how much you can afford to spend on lawyers.

Re:Nothing will happen (1)

MisterMurphy (899535) | more than 8 years ago | (#13286747)

IANAL, but I was a Mock one. I'm pretty sure that trying to ram a case through the legal system, having it rejected (i.e. having the judge find against you) actually makes it less likely you'll be able to ram it through, ever. This'd be owing to the fact that your first loss sets a precedent for cases of that type.

Re:Nothing will happen (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13286724)

There is a rational process of a set of procedures for reviewing and approving/rejecting patents.


Unfortunately, someone else patented it.

Re:Nothing will happen (5, Funny)

Concerned Onlooker (473481) | more than 8 years ago | (#13286713)

Pissed off? No. Shocked. Yes. I had no idea the patent office actually rejected some applications.

Re:Nothing will happen (5, Funny)

peculiarmethod (301094) | more than 8 years ago | (#13286726)

I smell an iSuit.

Re:Nothing will happen (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13286734)

Neither patent should have been granted, for fuck's sake: does ANYONE deserve a 20 YEAR monopoly on ipod-like devices? No.

Re:Nothing will happen (2, Informative)

stuckinarut (891702) | more than 8 years ago | (#13286803)

does ANYONE deserve a 20 YEAR monopoly on ipod-like devices? No.

Does anyone deserve a monopoly that long be it a software patent or copyright? The Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act of 1998 extended copyright terms in the United States by 20 years.

As a consequence of the act, under current law, no copyrighted works will enter into the public domain in the United States until January 1, 2019 at the earliest, when the copyright on works created in 1923 would expire. [wikipedia.org]

It just about making money!

Re:Nothing will happen (0)

Elwood P Dowd (16933) | more than 8 years ago | (#13286857)

So we get pissed off when they don't search and we get pissed off when they do?

You can't have it both ways.

Uh... how about we just get pissed off every single time they grant a software patent ever at all.

Re:Nothing will happen (2, Interesting)

Utopia (149375) | more than 8 years ago | (#13286782)

Microsoft like IBM has never sued anyone for patent infringement.
The only patent suits filed by Microsoft are countersuits.

First Prime Factorization Post (2, Informative)

2*2*3*75011 (900132) | more than 8 years ago | (#13286550)

2002 = 2*7*11*13

First Half-Prime Factorization Post (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13286567)

2002 = 2*1*2*3.5*2*5.5*2*6.5

ha ha (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13286553)

:D

Good (4, Insightful)

Vandil X (636030) | more than 8 years ago | (#13286556)

Apple or not, maybe this will expose the stupidity behind the generic techno patent craze that's been going on the past 4-5 years.

Full-disclosure: I own an iPod, a PowerMac G5, and a 17" PowerBook. I love OS X. I occasionally drink the special Kool-Aid while sitting in range of the reality distortion field.

Re:Good (3, Insightful)

pauljlucas (529435) | more than 8 years ago | (#13286753)

... maybe this will expose the stupidity behind the generic techno patent craze that's been going on the past 4-5 years.
So if I develop a hardware stereo (i.e., totally implemented in hardware as opposed to software) with a novel set of knobs and switches, it's OK to patent that, but if I use software to display the interface on a screen instead and use a very novel scroll wheel it's suddenly not OK?

Care to explain that?

By the way, there have been far dumber/worse patent snafus reported here. If they didn't expose said stupidity, what makes you think this rather benign instance will?

Re:Good (5, Insightful)

squiggleslash (241428) | more than 8 years ago | (#13286836)

More or less, yeah, you can patent the technology behind the scroll wheel if you want, if it really is novel, but the software... nah. You shouldn't be able to.

You've got to remember that there are tens of millions of computer programmers out there. The chances are for any user interface "solution" you come up with, the chances are someone else will come up with the same idea, and have the resources to implement it. By patenting it (and enforcing the patent), you're not creating something new and wonderful for the world to use, au contraire, you're denying the world something new and wonderful to use, or imposing limits on its use. You've taken something that would have existed anyway, and preventing others from using it.

Think I'm wrong? Take a look at this article, you know, the one we're talking about now. Some guy and Apple both independently created this "interface." They both did the R&D, they both would have done so regardless of whether patent laws existed, but one, at the end of this, is going to get a monopoly on producing stuff with this technology. How is that fair? And what benefit has this given to the rest of us?

That's why we don't like software patents. Come to think of it, generally I don't like patents, I just know that in a small number of cases, where the cost to develop something new is high, where it is highly unlikely two or more people will come up with the same technology independently, and where the inventor intends to publish the technology widely so people can understand and use it, it's justified. In software, this is exceptionally rare.

Intellectual Property (4, Insightful)

imstanny (722685) | more than 8 years ago | (#13286557)

Intellectual property is something I have pondered on for a long time and have not come to a definitive conclusion. This case specifically brings up a very interesting paradigm:

Two people with their own intellectual prowess create the same idea. Yet, the person that manages to get to the patent office first gets the patent. Which means that, in this case, ownership has nothing to do with the original creation of intellectual property.

Re:Intellectual Property (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13286608)

"ownership has nothing to do with the original creation of intellectual property"

uh duh? That's why we have companies that are nothing but lawyers and patent portfolios. Patents are commodities.

Re:Intellectual Property (5, Informative)

pauljlucas (529435) | more than 8 years ago | (#13286613)

Yet, the person that manages to get to the patent office first gets the patent.
That's not true. If the first person publishes/distributes first without patent, then it becomes prior art for the second patent that is then not granted because of the prior art (or is granted, but then thrown out). Hence, nobody gets a patent.

Re:Intellectual Property (1)

sharkb8 (723587) | more than 8 years ago | (#13286673)

Actually, you have a year to file a patent after publishing your idea.

Re:Intellectual Property (4, Informative)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | more than 8 years ago | (#13286738)

So, what's the ruckus about?

The iPod shipped October 23, 2001. This other patent was filed May 2002.

Did this other guy publish prior to the iPod shipping?

Re:Intellectual Property (1)

sharkb8 (723587) | more than 8 years ago | (#13286796)

The original iPod probably didn't have the features covered in the patent. I know they didn't have the touchy-scroll-wheel in the first couple generations, it was just bottons covered by a white ring. I'm not sure about the interface.

Re:Intellectual Property (4, Insightful)

Apple Acolyte (517892) | more than 8 years ago | (#13286860)

The iPod shipped October 23, 2001. This other patent was filed May 2002.

Should not all fevered speculation over this issue cease due to the salient fact of the parent post, of which many of us were quite aware? The iPod itself, which has remained essentially consistent in interface from day one, serves as prior art. It is not as if anyone can contest the iPod's date of market origin. So where's the beef?

Re:Intellectual Property (1)

pauljlucas (529435) | more than 8 years ago | (#13286816)

Actually, you have a year to file a patent after publishing your idea.
And this has what to do with the scenario I presented? Again, if the first person does not patent their invention, then what the second person does is moot. The second person can not file (or keep) a patent on the idea.

Whether the first person might eventually patent his idea is irrelevant to my point.

Mea culpa (1)

pauljlucas (529435) | more than 8 years ago | (#13286840)

Uhm... OK. My morning tea kicked in and I see your point. Sorry.

Not exactly (3, Informative)

autopr0n (534291) | more than 8 years ago | (#13286696)

The first inventor can go out and patent the idea up to 2 years after publicizing it.

Re:Not exactly (1)

pauljlucas (529435) | more than 8 years ago | (#13286783)

The first inventor can go out and patent the idea up to 2 years after publicizing it.
I never said anything about time so don't assume the scenario I presented happens within the 2-year window.

Re:Not exactly (1)

sharkb8 (723587) | more than 8 years ago | (#13286835)

1 year, not 2:
35 CFR 102(b):
A person shall be entitled to a patent unless--
the invention was patented or described in a printed publication in this or a foreign country or in public use or on sale in this country, more than one year prior to the date of the application for patent in the United States, or

Re:Intellectual Property (1)

nolife (233813) | more than 8 years ago | (#13286636)

The purpose of filing for a patent is to give you legel credit for creating the idea. You have to start the process somewhere and someone has to valididate that your idea is truely unique somewhere.

Are you implying someone specific in this case got burned by waiting to make the idea official? How do you know the other party did not start working on this idea 5 or 15 years ago?

Re:Intellectual Property (2, Insightful)

Ruie (30480) | more than 8 years ago | (#13286654)

My take on this is that there are two kinds of intellectual property:

  • intellectual property - i.e. control of what others can do with their own intellect
  • intellectual property - i.e. having derived from and/or requiring usage of intellect
We are in a time when the second becomes more and more important, while the laws sadly focus on the first.

Re:Intellectual Property (1)

SuppleMonkey (846625) | more than 8 years ago | (#13286661)

But that's part of the point. Even if you think up something grand all by yourself, if someone else has already thought of it first, you're out of luck for a patent. By using the term "original creation" you're implying that someone thought of it first.

Re:Intellectual Property (1)

nero4wolfe (671100) | more than 8 years ago | (#13286761)

Somewhat off topic, but there is a famous invention where it really mattered who filed the patent first; the telephone.

As I recall, both Alexander Graham Bell and one other person (I forget the name, but he was involved with founding Western Union) filed a patent for a telephone on the same day. Bell's filing was a few hours earlier than the other.

There were legal battles for a number of years about actual ownership, and who was actually allowed to sell phones. Eventually Bell won. I think the legal battles were partly responsible for the founding of AT Bell needed capital to pay his legal bills.

Re:Intellectual Property (5, Informative)

sharkb8 (723587) | more than 8 years ago | (#13286769)

The United States is not a first to file Country. In fact, it's one of the last first to invent countries. The patent protection runs from the time you file, because the applicaiton is concrete prrof that you have "reduced the invention to practice". If you get bounced by prior art, in some cases you can antedate the prior art by showing through inventors notebooks, test results, etc, that you conceived the idea at a time earlier than the prior art and were dilegently working to reduce the invention to practice. In the present Apple case, they probably have nothing showing an inventin date earlier than the prior art.

The moral here is, if you're working on something cool, soemthing that you might want to patent, write it down. Even a diagram or sketch can help you if it's dated.

Re:Intellectual Property (2, Insightful)

VikingDBA (446387) | more than 8 years ago | (#13286856)

Regardless of who thought of it first or who filed first, if two independant people come up the same idea, assuming neither is aware of the other's work, wouldn't that imply that the invention fails the "not obvious to and expert" test?

What are the merits of a patent in this case? (2, Interesting)

rob_squared (821479) | more than 8 years ago | (#13286559)

Serious question. I don't have an answer, and I'm trying to foster some discussion.

They have: DRM, Large music base, their own portable MP3 player that's compatible.

Are they worried about people confusing Yahoo's or Mircrosoft's offerings with iTunes?

my comparison (2, Insightful)

domipheus (751857) | more than 8 years ago | (#13286668)

I agree fully here, it just seems stupid in my view.

I seem to keep comparing this to a thing like Walls patenting the IDEA of ice cream, and Hagen das then going and making lovely ice cream, much better than Wall's. In my view, hagen das have the better product, they should not be penalised. It is consumers which decide who gets rich, not bloody patents - which seems to be the craze now.

An odd view, but somone must agree with me!

Re:What are the merits of a patent in this case? (1)

Nom du Keyboard (633989) | more than 8 years ago | (#13286729)

Are they worried about people confusing Yahoo's or Mircrosoft's offerings with iTunes?

No. They're worried that they might lose a few cents to someone else in a market they believe God has granted to them alone.

big deal (1)

hsmith (818216) | more than 8 years ago | (#13286560)

good for the consumer, it will force apple to stay on the cutting edge because their competition can easily copy their interface. competition = innovation = win for consumers

Re:big deal (1)

MadCow42 (243108) | more than 8 years ago | (#13286594)

>>competition can easily copy their interface

In this case you're wrong... nobody said that the interface wasn't patented, just that APPLE couldn't patent it. It's fully possible that the guy that filed the patent 5 months previously could wave that around a bit.

MadCow.

It is a big deal (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13286720)

good for the consumer, it will force apple to stay on the cutting edge because their competition can easily copy their interface. competition = innovation = win for consumers

Forced R&D spending due to lack of IP protection == higher product costs, which leads to a comptetive disadvantage to the company doing the "innovating" since they are effectively doing R&D for all the "copiers". Tell me again how this is a good model? Apple tried this with their great clone experiment way back when, and showed why it just does not work. How about the competition being forced to also innovate, which fosters competition, improved product (vs umpteen variations of the same one).

It would be humorous to note... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13286561)

that John Platt works for Microsoft :)

http://research.microsoft.com/~jplatt/ [microsoft.com]

Re:It would be humorous to note... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13286621)

Oh no! But it's always M$ that copies apple! I don't believe you!

Re:It would be humorous to note... (0)

neildiamond (610251) | more than 8 years ago | (#13286699)

But, but, but... Microsoft NEVER INNOVATES!

Re:It would be humorous to note... (1)

shawn(at)fsu (447153) | more than 8 years ago | (#13286827)

Totally off topic but I seem to rememebr MS being the first to offer a optical mouse?

Re:It would be humorous to note... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13286849)

what kind of optical mouse? They've had optical mice that used grid mousepads for a long time prior to the creation of the one's were familiar with today and I doubt Microsoft had a hand in those, seems like something SGI would have done.

Good. (1, Troll)

agent424 (906054) | more than 8 years ago | (#13286562)

I hope the original Patent Holder takes Apple to court for Patent Infringement, and bilks them for all the money he can. It will only go to show Apple how absurd an idea these kinds of patents are.

Re:Good. (0, Troll)

agent424 (906054) | more than 8 years ago | (#13286644)

Troll, eh? Okay, replace Apple with Microsoft and then mod.

Re:Good. (0, Troll)

northcat (827059) | more than 8 years ago | (#13286812)

Replace "Apple" with "Microsoft" or any other company and you would have been modded +5 Insightful. It's contrasting to see so many positive responses towards Apple in this story.

Awww cat caught your patent? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13286563)

Take that patent bitches. I laugh at your misfortune, haha.

Prior Art (surely in the Top 10 /. subject lines?) (2, Insightful)

BarryNorton (778694) | more than 8 years ago | (#13286564)

Never mind prior art claims between these patents, it's only the inclusion of the words 'portable media player', or similar, that stops the whole stack from being toppled by very clear prior art... This system is clearly ridiculous.

Re:Prior Art (surely in the Top 10 /. subject line (1)

Ironsides (739422) | more than 8 years ago | (#13286604)

Never mind prior art claims between these patents, it's only the inclusion of the words 'portable media player', or similar, that stops the whole stack from being toppled by very clear prior art... This system is clearly ridiculous.

In other words, the whole thing should be thrown out under the "non-obvious" clause.

Re:Prior Art (surely in the Top 10 /. subject line (1)

plover (150551) | more than 8 years ago | (#13286765)

I liked this line describing the patent from El Reg: "rotating an input device to navigate in a linear fashion through a user interface"

Did Sony not patent the scroll wheel on the Clie? Has Sony not used this on cell phones, too? Those devices were introduced in the 90s, not 2002 as Microsoft's prior art patent claims.

Re:Prior Art (surely in the Top 10 /. subject line (3, Insightful)

PepeGSay (847429) | more than 8 years ago | (#13286802)

Volume knobs anyone? Radio Tuners? Combo Locks? List goes on and on.... Linear progression represented on a wheel.

Re:Prior Art (surely in the Top 10 /. subject line (1)

BarryNorton (778694) | more than 8 years ago | (#13286817)

Has Sony not used [the scroll wheel] on cell phones, too?
They certainly have, it was used on the old Nokia 7100s too (one of my favourite monochrome screen phones)... and they certainly had hierarchical menus. What's more, as we all know, phones and 'media players' have converged anyway, so what's the ('technical') difference?

Wrong link for the patent (4, Informative)

dan dan the dna man (461768) | more than 8 years ago | (#13286581)

Platts patent is here [uspto.gov] I personally cant see the relevance of the patents to each other but IANAPL :)

Patents good now? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13286592)

I get the impression from the "tone" of the headline and summary that patents are good as long as Apple owns them. Reality check here.

Obviousness (2, Interesting)

Dr. Evil (3501) | more than 8 years ago | (#13286598)

It would be nice if two people patenting the same thing at roughly the same time could be used as a test to indicate that neither patent is valid and both are obvious.

...but that would make sense.

Re:Obviousness (3, Insightful)

pauljlucas (529435) | more than 8 years ago | (#13286633)

t would be nice if two people patenting the same thing at roughly the same time could be used as a test to indicate that neither patent is valid and both are obvious.
Just because 2 people out of 6 billion think of something doesn't make it obvious.

Re:Obviousness (2, Informative)

sharkb8 (723587) | more than 8 years ago | (#13286703)

There is, it's called an interference. Basically, it's a way to see who devloped something first. However, they don't generally judge both patents on the merits during an interference, just the date of invention. The junior patent applicaiton will then have to narrow the scope of their claims to avoid the senior patent.

wow this is new (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13286600)

Appearently the USPTO computer system just got upgraded, appearently they have the ability to "reject" patents now.

Hold on just a damn second.... (2, Funny)

Conspiracy_Of_Doves (236787) | more than 8 years ago | (#13286601)

Are you saying that the US Patent Office actually rejected a patent application? For any reason, much less prior art?

Holy crap! This is unprecidented!

Re:Hold on just a damn second.... (1)

MustardMan (52102) | more than 8 years ago | (#13286762)

As long as they keep approving devices which violate the laws of thermodynamics, I will be able to sleep well at night.

Parent is funny, but its quite true... (3, Informative)

hoka (880785) | more than 8 years ago | (#13286775)

Freshie year of college (not that long ago) I wrote a short research paper on tech patents. Included were statistics showing the influx of patents around the tech boom, and more importantly the acceptance rate of these patents. What you could clearly see is that the acceptance rate was very high, and it wasn't because everybody was innovative. It's because at the time, the patent examiners wern't as technical in the relevant field of the patents they were examining, but this hasn't really changed much up to today. Since patents are mostly written to be over-generalized on purpose, its hard to get a real idea of what the patent is trying to do, and therefore hard to come up with prior art or to determine whether it is innovative, non-obvious, etc. Not even the computer system upgrade and bringing in more patent examiners has appeared to help with the quality of the accepted patents, or the immense backlog of patents thats causing problems.

Re:Hold on just a damn second.... (1)

WhatAmIDoingHere (742870) | more than 8 years ago | (#13286828)

You should try to get a patent on that.

2 points (5, Insightful)

cascino (454769) | more than 8 years ago | (#13286607)

2 important things to note:
1. John Platt is officially "Manager of the Knowledge Tools Group at Microsoft Research." Which would be very bad for Apple, except that...
2. This isn't a final rejection, and certainly isn't as serious as the AppleInsider article makes it sound. Read the article on the Register for more info (I know this is /., but it's worth a shot). Basically Apple has a lot of patents on the iPod, such that even if Mr. Platt's patent were to stand the test of time (it has several rejections against it as well), the iPod's most important features would be safe from litigation.

Re:2 points (1)

I8TheWorm (645702) | more than 8 years ago | (#13286667)

This isn't a final rejection, and certainly isn't as serious as the AppleInsider article makes it sound.
But Platt's playlist application also has a rejection history. It received an NFR on 17 November 2002, and a more serious Final Rejection on 14 June 2004. After further documentation was received, and extension granted, the application received another NFR on 11 December last year.

I don't know that it jeopardizes Apple in any way, but not only is it actually a final rejection, it's not their first final rejection (whatever that means).

Re:2 points (2, Informative)

Joe Decker (3806) | more than 8 years ago | (#13286755)

But Platt's playlist application also has a rejection history.

Moot.

The rejection of Platt's patent would in no way invalidate it's use as prior art for invalidating a different patent. One of the great things about patent applications, even rejected ones, is that they form a trail of prior art that can be used to invalidate future attempts to patent ideas.

Re:2 points (1)

I8TheWorm (645702) | more than 8 years ago | (#13286846)

It's not moot, in that it proved one of the parent's points incorrect... that being that it had not had a final rejection.

Now, given that it had more than one final rejection, I'm going to have to spend some time finding out what this new definition of "final" actually is.

Re:2 points - 1 reply (1, Troll)

Nom du Keyboard (633989) | more than 8 years ago | (#13286766)

the iPod's most important features would be safe from litigation.

Are you referring to the Apple logo?

I know you can't be talking about the batteries.

The mouse that clicked (2, Insightful)

lepus97230 (457918) | more than 8 years ago | (#13286630)

Wait a minute... you can get a patent on "clicking the left button of a mouse to order goods and services from a web site" when there's clearly a decade of prior art, but the iPod interface isn't good enough?

Inovative? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13286634)

From the Register article ...

"describes rotating an input device to navigate in a linear fashion through a user interface."

Didn't I do this when using the 'Paddle' on my Atari 2600 two decades ago? Doesn't seem so inventive.

Ridiculous beyond belief (4, Interesting)

RapmasterT (787426) | more than 8 years ago | (#13286641)

It's hard to imagine anyone keeping a straight face while applying for a patent on something as trivial/universal/obvious/pre-existing as as a method of traversing a linear menu. Every MP3 player I've owned, going back to the RIO 300 used a variation of a thumbwheel and click menu. How did Apple decide they "invented" this?

Re:Ridiculous beyond belief (1)

Procrastin8er (791570) | more than 8 years ago | (#13286764)

Didn't you know that all good ideas came from Apple. They invented the GUI, the Mouse, etc....
;-)

Re:Ridiculous beyond belief (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13286767)

We've had the wheel mouse for the best part of a decade, I rotate that to traverse list. Or how about the mouse, it has a ball that rotates, so I rotate that to traverse lists. Or how about specialist graphics stations from the 80s with large track balls, weren't they rotated to traverse lists ever?

This is a shockingly bad patent, which even without prior art is obvious, we all rotate things to cause linear motion (the crank handle for instance, been around for 1000s of years), tacking on that it happens to be on a portable media player doesn't make it an invention!

Re:Ridiculous beyond belief (1)

RapmasterT (787426) | more than 8 years ago | (#13286822)

we all rotate things to cause linear motion
don't tell me what to do.

In Jeopardy? (0, Flamebait)

autopr0n (534291) | more than 8 years ago | (#13286671)

I thought Slashdot hated patents, and software patents especially? And on something as stupid as a software interface?.

But I guess the rules don't apply to Apple.

Apple may just buy the patent from Platt.

Apple? Buy a patent from Microsoft? (1)

everphilski (877346) | more than 8 years ago | (#13286737)

Wow.

-everphilski-

Re:In Jeopardy? (1)

argent (18001) | more than 8 years ago | (#13286754)

What's your point?

If someone else gets a patent on the iPod user interface, isn't that a perfect example of why software patents are a problem?

They are trying to patent a tuner knob? (5, Insightful)

Confessed Geek (514779) | more than 8 years ago | (#13286684)

From the Register Article:
"describes rotating an input device to navigate in a linear fashion through a user interface" I think the car radio on my Dads 1950 Ford did that. I rotate the knob and it moves the channel indicator in a linear fashion across the "user interface" showing which radio frequency I'm tuning to.

Oh wait, if you put "e", "i", before it or "computer/Network/Internet" after it - something invented 50+ years ago it is suddenly NEW! Welcome to the new iMillenium!

MS vs Apple...vs.... (1)

LuciferBlack (905438) | more than 8 years ago | (#13286705)

I hope Cthulhu gets into the mix. Because really as long as someone is gonna win a patent battle I want a *real* evil and not some half-assed evil. :)

tempest in a teapot (3, Insightful)

mstone (8523) | more than 8 years ago | (#13286716)

The article from the Reg shows that this is probably a non-issue. AppleInsider makes all sorts of grand claims in its own article, but doesn't supply the facts to back them up.

What's actually happening seems to be a fairly normal, even boring, patent registration process for a couple of ideas that look vaguely similar if you want to write a click-whoring article about them. It hardly counts as putting the iPod interface in 'jeopardy'.

Won't someone think of the corporations?! (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13286731)


How will Apple ever make money on the iPod without patent protection?

You FAIL 1t (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13286749)

for 4ll practIcal

Rack and Pinion (1)

fozzmeister (160968) | more than 8 years ago | (#13286758)

The interface as not revolutionary at all, its just a standard Rack and Pinion adapted. This can (or could) be found on cars, as well as lock gates (which actually go up and down too) and probably in a million other places too

Big deal (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13286768)

Oh no, the very future of the way people build little rotating wheels into small electronic devices may be at stake. Will everyone who wishes to do so have to pay a tithing to Apple? Will they have to pay a tithing to this other five-months-early guy? Will anyone who wants be able to build a little wheel that awkwardly scrolls through menus? Who knows?

I just... I'm sorry. I just can't make myself care.

2000 (2, Funny)

boatboy (549643) | more than 8 years ago | (#13286778)

Apple's iPod Interface Patent in Jeopardy
I'll take Patents Gone Wild for $2000, Alex.

Hush now (1)

clambake (37702) | more than 8 years ago | (#13286791)

Don't worry sweetie, Apple is a big company with LOTS of money, they won't lose in court just because som silly legal code goes against them.

That's it... (1)

RiotNrrd (35077) | more than 8 years ago | (#13286826)

I'm gonna go to the patent office RIGHT NOW and patent "Using computers to do stuff".

Who's with me?

My two pence worth. (1)

cheezemonkhai (638797) | more than 8 years ago | (#13286852)

- What on earth has the Platt patent application got to do with the iPods user interface.

- There are plenty of examples or rotary dials controlling linear scales. My old walkman had one as do most older radios.

Turn the wheel clockwise the line on scale goes up.
Turn it anticlockwise the line on the scale goes down.

How on earth is this new?
I'm sorry but much as I like apple this really isn't anything new.

fuck A trollkore (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13286853)

inventing ex3usees

Very Badly Titled (4, Informative)

Nom du Keyboard (633989) | more than 8 years ago | (#13286858)

Apple's iPod Interface Patent in Jeopardy

This is very badly titled. They don't have this patent yet. It's their application that's in possible jeopardy.

Patent Pursuit: The board game (4, Funny)

denis-The-menace (471988) | more than 8 years ago | (#13286864)

Coming soon:
Tagline: "patent or be sued!"

Object: Patent everything you can and profit from the work of others.

Method of play:

-Everybody starts with venture capital of $100,000.
-As you go around the board you collect cash (via sales cards), Patents (via patents cards) that you can buy if you want, and inventions (via inventions cards).

-sales cards: gives you the option to sell a product if you have the invention card for it.

-patents cards: You buy them If you want for $100. Any patents not bought are put into the "Public domain" pile. A player can only hold a patent card for up to 10 turns, after which they go the the "Public domain" pile. After you pay, you must spin the "Patent Pending" wheel. (NFR - Final Rejection - Approuved) Each time you do not get "Approuved" you pay a additional $100 and spin again. If you are broke or don't want to spin, the Patent card goes to the "Public domain" pile.

-invention cards: Are free when you land on the square on the board. If the "invention" is already patented by another player, that other player CAN sue for the cost of the patent. The patent owner can also not reveal that he/she hold that patent cards for up to 10 turns. The player with the patent card can, at the time of his choosing, sue the player with the Invention card for twice the "Sales" that player has received.

Note#1: If a patent card is bought and another player already has the "Invention card", each place $10000 in a pile and each spin their own USPTO wheel (Patent Wins - Invention wins -settlement). Both wheels must match. If not, each player adds another $5000 to the pile, and spin again. This can continue until one or both players run out of money. If Settlement is the outcome, the pot is split between players.

Note#2: On a whim a player can sue another player for "patent infringement". Same rules as Note #1. (Notice that no cards are used. Like in real life, the player who has the most money is likely to win)
Final Rejection

Patent pending, copyrighted, "Patent Pursuit" is a registed trade mark of denis-The-menace of Slashdot.
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