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Microsoft Leveraging iPod Patent?

CmdrTaco posted more than 9 years ago | from the i'll-believe-it-when-i-see-it dept.

Media (Apple) 487

willie3204 was one of several readers who noticed this story about Microsoft cashing in on the iPod Patent that they apparently beat Apple to. Since this song looks to be played to the tune of $10/iPod, I imagine someone will be singing the appeal song.

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Legally speaking, a stroke of genius by MS (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13329867)

Using common sense, a disgusting move far from surprising from a company who's main innovative power seems to be located in the Legal department rather than in R&D. What's next, a patent for "creating software"?

Re:Legally speaking, a stroke of genius by MS (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13330113)

Using common sense, a disgusting move far from surprising from a company who's main innovative power seems to be located in the Legal department rather than in R&D. What's next, a patent for "creating software"

Yeah, Apple has sunken pretty low nowadays, crashing small companies left and right.

Business plan for success... (5, Funny)

borawjm (747876) | more than 9 years ago | (#13329870)

1. Steal Apple's technology 2. File a patent before they can 3. Profit!

Re:Business plan for success... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13329936)

Or as Steve Jobs once pointed out, "great artists steal." (Or did you think Apple invented their GUI?)

The irony here is rich. It's just too bad you can't patent the idea of putting all of your products in effete white plastic boxes.

Re:Business plan for success... (3, Interesting)

GreyPoopon (411036) | more than 9 years ago | (#13329960)

1. Steal Apple's technology 2. File a patent before they can 3. Profit!

Erm, what am I missing here? Apple introduced the iPod in November, 2001. MS applied for the patent in May, 2002. If they are claiming that th iPod is in violation of their patent, wouldn't the fact that the iPod was released prior to the filing date at least be considered prior art???!?!?

Re:Business plan for success... (1)

It doesn't come easy (695416) | more than 9 years ago | (#13329974)

Short answer, yes.

Re:Business plan for success... (1, Insightful)

millennial (830897) | more than 9 years ago | (#13330075)

From here [testmy.net] :
Apple's application, filed a year after the iPod was introduced, was rejected July 13. The documents do not identify the iPod by name, a common omission in such petitions. It describes a "portable, pocket-sized multimedia asset player" capable of managing MP3 music files including "a song title, a song artist, a song album, a song length."
Regardless of whether Apple released the iPod before the patent (which they did), Apple failed to secure a patent before Microsoft did. November-ish 2002 would have been too late. Since Apple doesn't own the patent, they still have to pay licensing fees.

Our legal/IP system at work.

Re:Business plan for success... (4, Insightful)

GreyPoopon (411036) | more than 9 years ago | (#13330109)

Regardless of whether Apple released the iPod before the patent (which they did), Apple failed to secure a patent before Microsoft did. November-ish 2002 would have been too late. Since Apple doesn't own the patent, they still have to pay licensing fees.

Umm, no. They released the iPod in November, 2001. Although they were late applying for their patent, and therefore can no longer receive a patent on their technology, the fact that they have a product that was on the market before Microsoft even filed for their patent would automatically invalidate Microsoft's patent. Wouldn't it? We call it prior art, don't we?

Re:Business plan for success... (4, Insightful)

JonTurner (178845) | more than 9 years ago | (#13329970)

Except that it doesn't work that way. Our patent system (flawed as it may be) works on rewarding patent to the first to invent, not the first to register for patent. Since Apple can demonstrate that they were shipping product well before MSFT submitted their patent applications, this should be an easy appeal for Apple to win. It's still a hassle, though and in the end the only ones who will benefit are the lawyers.

Re:Business plan for success... (4, Funny)

lucabrasi999 (585141) | more than 9 years ago | (#13330032)

the only ones who will benefit are the lawyers.

The older I get, the more I realize that I picked the wrong career.

Re:Business plan for success... (1)

AvitarX (172628) | more than 9 years ago | (#13330105)

If you think IT people have long hours you should work with a succesful lawyer.

I worked with a lawyer who billed 3996 hours one year (he just misseed the award for 4000 so he remembered). That is 75 hours a week of time that he billed for, and as anyone who bills there time knows, a billed hour is more than an hour of work. Not a great job to have. Also, though a lot of lawyers are great people, a lot are completeassholes, and all of them have an ego, which makes the assholes harder to deal with.

Re:Business plan for success... (5, Insightful)

Erwos (553607) | more than 9 years ago | (#13330049)

"Our patent system (flawed as it may be) works on rewarding patent to the first to invent, not the first to register for patent."

First to _invent_, not to implement. If Microsoft can produce documentation that they thought of this idea well in advance of Apple's iPod release, they can still retain the patent.

-Erwos

Re:Business plan for success... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13330005)

Apple iPod released in 2001.

Microsoft Patent Filed in 2002.

Apple Patent Filed later in 2002.

Microsoft Patent does not hold up due to Prior Art: i.e. the Apple iPod.

Worst case scenario is that Apple has to fight this to show that it is not a valid patent then no one owns the technology.

Business plan for humour (1)

wild_berry (448019) | more than 9 years ago | (#13330067)

The kind Microsoft man, David Kaefer, said that "our policy is to allow others to license our patents so they can use our innovative methods in their products". He will be coming to find you to ensure that you license their patents for your use of their innovative methods.

Re:Business plan for success... (0, Troll)

jacekm (895699) | more than 9 years ago | (#13330080)

What you mean steal and patent ? Are you suggesting, that Apple emplyees are dumb idiots that has no clue of the patent process and value to protect their invention ? JM

ftfa (3, Funny)

Evro (18923) | more than 9 years ago | (#13329871)

David Kaefer, Microsoft's director of intellectual property licensing, said it was open to letting other firms patent its innovations.

Great news source. There's a world of difference between "let other firms patent its inventions" and "let other firms license its patents."

Re:ftfa (1)

91degrees (207121) | more than 9 years ago | (#13329926)

Damn! I was going to patent every patentable idea MS had ever had and then license the patents back to them.

Worse... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13330002)

In general, our policy is to allow others to license our patents so they can use our innovative methods in their products.

What innovative methods would these be exactly? It's not as if the words 'microsoft' and 'innovation' are mutually exclusive, just that these days microsoft defines innovation as patenting a minor addition to someone elses idea whilst previously they just copied everybody else wholesale.

Like IBM situationn (5, Informative)

Feminist-Mom (816033) | more than 9 years ago | (#13329874)

There was a similar situation between AT&T and IBM in the late 80's regarding fiber optics technology. In that case the ruling was in favor of AT&T (which would be Apple in this case.)

Apple won't pay a dime to MS over this patent. (4, Insightful)

FatRatBastard (7583) | more than 9 years ago | (#13329876)

Two words: Prior Art. MS filed two months after the debut of the iPod. Apple got caught with their pants down by filing late, but I doubt seriously MS will be able to collect a dime on the patents.

Re:Apple won't pay a dime to MS over this patent. (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13329923)

RTFA. The Patent Office already ruled on this, Apple has to pay.

Re:Apple won't pay a dime to MS over this patent. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13329947)

Parent is nonsense. RTFA yourself.

Re:Apple won't pay a dime to MS over this patent. (1)

sirket (60694) | more than 9 years ago | (#13329961)

That's only the initial ruling. Apple will appeal and prior art (the iPod itself) will be considered and the whole patent will be thrown out.

-sirket

Re:Apple won't pay a dime to MS over this patent. (2, Insightful)

Average_Joe_Sixpack (534373) | more than 9 years ago | (#13329982)

but I doubt seriously MS will be able to collect a dime on the patents.
 
That's not the strategy. MS wants to tie [insert competitor here] into a lengthy expensive legal fight.

Re:Apple won't pay a dime to MS over this patent. (1)

FatRatBastard (7583) | more than 9 years ago | (#13330010)

Now that I can (somewhat) believe. If MS decides to persue this in order to distract Apple then a lot of lawyers are going to make a lot of money. Should be fun to watch.

The upside to all of this that everyone seems to be missing is that now Apple can't go around suing everyone who makes an mp3 player whose controls are anything slightly iPod'ish.

Re:Apple won't pay a dime to MS over this patent. (1)

rwven (663186) | more than 9 years ago | (#13329988)

Lets hope not. I think with all the work MS is "trying" to do to improve their image, this would completely thrash any sense of being human they have accumulated.

I think the first step in patent reform is for companies to start challenging patents that already exist. Not their pathetic plan for challenging new patents. And on another note, it's hard to blame the USPO since they're highly understaffed and underfunded all while having more patents submitted than ever before. i guess that would make the first step: giving them more resources...

Re:Apple won't pay a dime to MS over this patent. (1)

gandy909 (222251) | more than 9 years ago | (#13330040)

Me thinks that would just result in even more rediculous patents being issued even faster...

Re:Apple won't pay a dime to MS over this patent. (1)

rwven (663186) | more than 9 years ago | (#13330079)

However, the patent reform plans allow for challenging any patent that's granted within 90 days of the day it's approved.

If they employed a group of people to handle these cases, I think it would make a big difference. Companies would stop spending thousands a day to patent everything they could think of because stupid patents, patents that are basically for other peoples technology (iPod) and overbroad patents would be challenged by competing companies.

You'd probably end up seeing a lot of really legit and true patents filed and there would eventually be a stop to this "patent everything you can find" crap.

You Win!!! (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13329991)

FPAP - First Prior Art Post!

Congratulations! You're the first Slashbot to write 'Prior Art' in this patent discussion! Good job winning the race, and good luck with the free karma!

Prior Art (1)

Gadzinka (256729) | more than 9 years ago | (#13330016)

Prior Art

I distinctly remember a patent case from other field, that would suggest there is no prior art in American legal sense of the idea in this case.

(I don't remember exact facts, can't find any sources, so just correct the information, if you know better.)

Some Farmaceutical Consortium developed a drug. It was based on some Indian (as in India) herb, or synthesised based on active factors from those herbs. The herb/plant/whatever and its medical properties were known in India for thousands of years, yet the patent was granted in USA. The same patent was rejected in EU after apeal.

I remember that analysss of the case explained different results by different definitions of Prior Art in EU and US. In the US known medical properties of a plant are PA if they were described in Medical or Scientific Journals. In EU PA includes also other sources, including folk tradition etc.

I know, which definition I prefer. After all, there aren't many scientific publications about the wheel...

Robert

PS I think the case of farmaceutics was described on Groklaw.

Re:Prior Art (0, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13330056)

PHarmaceutical, not Farmaceutic. Sheesh, read some news reports or get a dictionary...

Re:Prior Art (0, Flamebait)

richlv (778496) | more than 9 years ago | (#13330100)

yes, everybody must be native english speaker. especially this polish person.
dumbass

Re:Apple won't pay a dime to MS over this patent. (1)

jurt1235 (834677) | more than 9 years ago | (#13330041)

Does this then mean that apple just gets the patent overturned or that they themselves will get the new patent.

In the first case: Nice, in the second case: who cares.

Re:Apple won't pay a dime to MS over this patent. (1)

JanneM (7445) | more than 9 years ago | (#13330044)

IANAPL, but I remember hearing that in the US, you can in fact file a patent for up to a year after public prior art if you can show that you were in fact working on the patent before that time.

Which sucks, but hey, it's not like your system wasn't broken already.

If there's any intelligence... (3, Funny)

heinousjay (683506) | more than 9 years ago | (#13329878)

If there's any intelligence in the court system, this will be reversed. Guess Apple is screwed.

Re:If there's any intelligence... (2, Funny)

JonTurner (178845) | more than 9 years ago | (#13330011)

If there's any intelligence in the court system...

Ah, young Jedi. Much to learn, you have. /Yoda

It's Sky news (1)

laptop006 (37721) | more than 9 years ago | (#13329879)

Not the bloody BBC.

The only thing in there is speculation. It's doubtful that MS would get away with it for reasons that have been covered earlier (Apple's patent horde, Apple challenging the patent, etc.)

Sky News - A Rupert Murdoch Corporation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13329972)


and his nepotistic empire says it all, though to be fair SkyNews is not that bad (like Fox)
they do like to sensationalise and whip up speculation after "expert" after speculation
its where journalists who wern't good enough to work for ITN or BBC go

eh (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13329881)

Holy Slashdot Dupes, Batman!

Prior art? (1)

richdun (672214) | more than 9 years ago | (#13329883)

Doesn't the fact that iPods were shipping over six months before the patent was filed by the MS employee mean the application doesn't mean much? Every time one of these patent fights comes up I get just more and more confused.

Re:Prior art? (1)

HTTP Error 403 403.9 (628865) | more than 9 years ago | (#13329925)

That's like someone patenting the George Foreman grill after buying it on a home shopping channel.

Foreign Currency (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13329884)

pay them in canadian dollars and it will be cheaper.

FP (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13329887)

Frost Pist

When did this happen? (2, Insightful)

HTTP Error 403 403.9 (628865) | more than 9 years ago | (#13329889)

The US Patent Office has ruled that Microsoft has the right to charge competitors a licence fee for each iPod sold.
I know there was a denial of a patent but when did the Patent Office say Apple needs to pay a license fee? Sounds like crappy reporting using speculation rather than facts.

Re:When did this happen? (2, Informative)

squiggleslash (241428) | more than 9 years ago | (#13329952)

They didn't. They ruled that Microsoft has the right to charge (anyone) a license fee for each (device that contains technology covered by the patent) sold (or even to prevent others from selling devices containing the technologies concerned at all.) They did this by saying the magic words "Patent granted!"

Sky's interpretation is a little more specific, but is nonetheless accurate. Your interpretation of Sky's interpretation, however, is flawed. The Patent Office has not said Apple needs to pay a license fee. They've merely said that Microsoft has the right to charge one. It's up to Microsoft, at this point, if Apple needs to pay a license fee.

Re:When did this happen? (3, Informative)

HTTP Error 403 403.9 (628865) | more than 9 years ago | (#13330060)

Wrong!

Microsoft doesn't hold the patent, they have an earlier patent filing but the patent has not been granted. Microsoft does not have the right to charge Apple a licence fee for each iPod sold.

Sky is wrong.

www.coattails.net? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13329890)

Coattails [coattails.net] is for slugs!!!!!!!

Re:www.coattails.net? (1)

willie3204 (444890) | more than 9 years ago | (#13329904)

;\

lose lose (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13329891)

Should I be happy, or sad? Who do I want to win, Microsoft or Apple... :(

Re:lose lose (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13329983)

Neither root for Jesus, he died for your sins.

Is it just iPod? (1)

tinrobot (314936) | more than 9 years ago | (#13329893)

Seems like Microsoft can use that patent against any company that produces an mp3 player.

It's obscene how companies are allowed to patent the obvious. Has anyone patented buttered bread yet? If not, I'll be filing today.

Re:Is it just iPod? (1)

Winterblink (575267) | more than 9 years ago | (#13330065)

I just ate some prior art for that, sorry.

Sky News... (5, Insightful)

gowen (141411) | more than 9 years ago | (#13329894)

... is shit. The $10 figure is almost certainly a coke-fuelled[0] invention of some lazy-ass semi-literate tech-journalist needing desperately to fill space, who's noticed that such a patent exists (probably read it on some other tech news site, but felt the story needed spicing up). Until MS or Apple actually make a statement on it, this is just moronic conjecture.

[0] I mean Coca-Cola, obviously.

Facts are wrong (4, Informative)

gorbachev (512743) | more than 9 years ago | (#13329900)

Here's what the facts really are http://wizbangblog.com/archives/006750.php [wizbangblog.com]

1. M$ doesn't HAVE the patent yet, as it hasn't been granted yet
2. M$ is unlikely to get the patent, as their is prior art
3. Media outlets, incl. apparently /., reporting on the story have the facts wrong

Re:Facts are wrong (4, Insightful)

heinousjay (683506) | more than 9 years ago | (#13329912)

Ah, yes, the Wizbang blog, pinnacle of journalistic endeavors on this here internet. I now feel silly for not checking there first.

Re:Facts are wrong (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13330059)

M$ doesn't HAVE the patent yet, as it hasn't been granted yet

Are you claiming they do have the patent?

2. M$ is unlikely to get the patent, as their is prior art

Are you sggesting there is no prior art? Think there is a chance MS may not get the patent?

3. Media outlets, incl. apparently /., reporting on the story have the facts wrong

This one is questionable but basically, are you denieng based on the above there is no FUD here?

Regardless of the source or the points, they are valid points. Of course it does not make a good juicy story if you actually present all sides. People love a controversy more then the facts to make their own decision.

I'm confused.. (2, Interesting)

Marc2k (221814) | more than 9 years ago | (#13329903)

1.) I'm confused at how this works. Apple introduced the iPod in 2001, filed for a patent in July of 2002, and was beat by Microsoft for the patent by two months, according to this article. But if the technology utilized in the iPod is infringing on the patent filed for in April/May of 2002, how can the iPod itself constitute prior art, seeing as it was already shipping. How does that work?

2.) The last sentence of the article states, So far, 21 million iPods have been sold worldwide, 18 million in the last year alone. Is THAT true? were there only 3 million iPods in the hands of consumers prior to January, 2004?

Re:I'm confused.. (1)

mattyohe (517995) | more than 9 years ago | (#13329971)

in response to the number of iPods sold:

Im unsure of the total, but last quarter they sold 6,155,000 alone.

Re:I'm confused.. (1)

squiggleslash (241428) | more than 9 years ago | (#13329975)

The rule in the US is not "first to publish" or "first to ship" but "First to invent". If Microsoft proved they "invented" the iPod UI before Apple did, then they get the patent.

If it were the opposite way around, then you couldn't have companies patent things and never publish anything other than the patent. Hmmm. That makes far too much sense.

Re:I'm confused.. (2, Insightful)

Marc2k (221814) | more than 9 years ago | (#13330092)

Agreed that would make a little too much sense. I realize that it's "first to invent", but with a IP/Legal team like Microsoft's, I'd imagine that when they want a patent, they have a filing in the USPTO's mailbox by 3:45pm the same day. Thus, I can't imagine any court believing that TWO companies, both very much aware of patent law, sat on the same invention/patent filing, one of them already having a product using said covered invention already invented and shipping.

I mean really, with this logic, I could send dated, notarized legal correspondence with some plans on how the UI for a teleportation device would work, then not only wait until someone puts a product to market, but until it actually becomes widespread and profitable, before filing a patent for the technology, so long as the company that makes said teleporter forgets to file a patent.

Rolling over? (3, Interesting)

DoubleDangerClub (855480) | more than 9 years ago | (#13329906)

Apple won't just give in to this easily. At the same moment, Microsoft is sore that they haven't been able to break iTunes success, or get into the portable audio market as well as the iPod has. They've known about this patent issue for a while, I'm sure, they just had no drive to take this to the limit. Anyhow, I'm sure people can agree that this isn't a done and done deal. How many people think Apple would simply pay the fees? or that this has to do with the impending Apple x86 battle with windows?

Prior Art... (2, Interesting)

droptop (558616) | more than 9 years ago | (#13329910)

...I think I saw it on BoingBoing; Here in America, it's "Invented First, not Filed First".

Re:Prior Art... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13330017)

Here in America, it's "Invented First, not Filed First".

In Soviet Russia, inventions file YOU first.

What's that sound? (0, Flamebait)

TripMaster Monkey (862126) | more than 9 years ago | (#13329914)


Oh...it's the other shoe dropping.

Funny, when I said 'if you can't beat 'em, litigate 'em to death, I guess', in this [slashdot.org] discussion, several people took offense.

How's that crow taste?

Re:What's that sound? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13329992)

MS still doesn't have the patent, and probably won't get it. This is still a dead topic. No shoe's have dropped.

Re:What's that sound? (1)

XO (250276) | more than 9 years ago | (#13330089)

Actually, it could be a rather ingenious thing. Rather than Microsoft litigate Apple to death, put Apple in a position where they want to litigate against Microsoft, THEN cause Apple to drain it's resources to the point where it becomes no longer viable. Maybe.

Doubt it, but it's possible.

Just imagine what would have happened... (1)

blcamp (211756) | more than 9 years ago | (#13329927)

If Xerox had patented this [wikipedia.org] .

Re:Just imagine what would have happened... (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 9 years ago | (#13330029)

They would probably have licensed it. More interestingly, what would have happened if Apple had patented using dirty regions to only redraw part of the screen. I very much doubt that they would have licensed them to MS or MIT (for X) and so last year would have been the first time anyone other than Apple would have been able to produce a relatively modern GUI. This is my favourite example to cite when talking to legislators about software patents.

Re:Just imagine what would have happened... (1)

squiggleslash (241428) | more than 9 years ago | (#13330087)

I'm guessing that Apple would have had to give Xerox something in return for being able to use Xerox's technology. Maybe a crapload of stock, for instance.

Essentially, in other words, exactly what happened...

MS could also refuse to license (2, Interesting)

ehack (115197) | more than 9 years ago | (#13329930)

AFAIK licensing a patent is not compulsory. They could demand compensation for ALL of the ipods already sold (before the patent was granted hehehehe) and then forbid Apple from making more ipods.

Apple deserves this - they have been a strong supporter of the patent system - now they will see that what it really boils down to is that the more money you have for lawyers the more money you can extract from ny corporation with less money for lawyers. Essentially, lawyers have replaced soldiers.

Re:MS could also refuse to license (4, Insightful)

ThosLives (686517) | more than 9 years ago | (#13330018)

Essentially, lawyers have replaced soldiers.
Let's see how your lawyers fare when soldiers use guns on them.

Lawyers only work when everyone agrees to abide by the lawers and judges. People generally only agree to this because some "soldiers" somewhere are willing to enforce what the lawyers and judges say. I only care about lawyers and judges because of the guys with guns behind them.

People in the US in particular seem to forget that the only real way to enforce anything is with force.

Re:MS could also refuse to license (1)

GizmoToy (450886) | more than 9 years ago | (#13330078)

And unfortunately for Microsoft, the iPod was out before they filed for their patent, which invalidates it. It's only common sense. Otherwise, I could go to the store and buy some amazing device, notice it doesn't have patent protection, patent the device myself, then sue the original designer out of business. It doesn't work that way, and that's why this is a non-story.

patent reform (2, Insightful)

colmore (56499) | more than 9 years ago | (#13329934)

Lots needs to be done to reform patent law, but it seems like an obvious first step would be, if devices "based" on your patent have been out for years and you still don't manufacture anything similar, the patent is null and void.

Patents were designed to protect actual products, not simply stick flags in the ground and say "mine."

Microsoft, Apple- who cares? (3, Insightful)

Enrique1218 (603187) | more than 9 years ago | (#13329937)

Apple is a pretty large company with a strong legal department. I am sure if there is a loophole or prior art, they will find it. If not, Apple has billions in the bank. I am not losing any sleep though I cringe at the thought of giving Microsoft money. Ah, who I am kidding- there is no way to use a computer without paying something to those guys.

Do No Evil and MSFT (0, Offtopic)

agsharad (303407) | more than 9 years ago | (#13329938)

Can anyone imagine Google trying to pull off something like this? Yet, every so often, we do see articles touting that Google is slowly but steadily becoming more MSFT-like in their sense of ethics.

At present they are far, far away from that, but who knows what will happen in 10-15 years? While being optimistic in the matter, it might be prudent to keep your eyes open.

Re:Do No Evil and MSFT (1)

antifood (898331) | more than 9 years ago | (#13330073)

That kind of came out of left field...

Defensive? I think not (2, Interesting)

Rick and Roll (672077) | more than 9 years ago | (#13329939)

There are a lot of Microsoft apologists that will come out and say that Microsoft only uses their patents defensively, as if there's nothing wrong with what they're doing.

Well, that hasn't been what they've been saying lately. They've been talking about licensing fees. Guess how people collect on those?

Right now I believe they already charge Apple licensing fees for the FAT file system. I guess they're making their IP division directly generate revenue.

Please boycott Microsoft products. They eventually use anything they make for consumers against consumers.

Dupe? (1)

imroy (755) | more than 9 years ago | (#13329941)

Isn't this a dupe of a previous story [slashdot.org] ?

A Subject! (1)

jim_v2000 (818799) | more than 9 years ago | (#13329942)

Maybe neither of them should get a patent...notice how there's already a gazillion MP3 players floating around?

A Dangerous Game (4, Insightful)

ergo98 (9391) | more than 9 years ago | (#13329955)

I develop with Microsoft software. My desktops are all Windows desktops (though I run Linux in virtual sessions). I target the Microsoft environment because, in my analysis and for the industry I target, it is the best choice. I've even been accused on Slashdot of being a Microsoft astroturfer countless times for shooting down misguided and misinformed anti-"M$" FUD. While I've been a bit put off by some of Microsoft's prior actions, I could always see their position. I have never owned a Mac, and I don't own an iPod.

Yet this action absolutely disgusts me.

Microsoft seriously risks turning off, and scaring away, the people who have the influence and persuasive power and technical know-how to maintain Microsoft's position. Hearing some scumbag talking about "licensing their innovation", when he's really talking about a deplorable abuse of the patent system, really makes one ponder what's the next (we already got hints from the sad reality that Microsoft considered buying Claria). Previously it was Microsoft the Evil to the conspiracy theorists and the people with an axe to grind. The title is becoming more real to the mainstream.

Re:A Dangerous Game (3, Informative)

argent (18001) | more than 9 years ago | (#13330077)

In case you missed it, you don't need to turn in your Windows licenses yet. This is all speculation, and it's not even Microsoft basher speculation for the most part, it just seems to be journos trying to get a scoop by making stuff up.

Though Microsoft has recently created 11th hour license fees on the FAT file system, and I'm sure Apple's paying those on every iPod sold.

Anyway, this looks like a better story. [wizbangblog.com]

Re:A Dangerous Game (1)

ergo98 (9391) | more than 9 years ago | (#13330107)

This is all speculation, and it's not even Microsoft basher speculation for the most part, it just seems to be journos trying to get a scoop by making stuff up.

No doubt we'll see how it all evolves, and by the theoretical rules of the USPTO this should all be cleared up (i.e. you can't run and patent someone else's released invention and then tell them to pay you). My problem comes from the fact that Microsoft is playing these games. e.g. presuming that David Kaefer knows what he was commenting about, Microsoft is playing along and seeing how far they will get. That is most certainly not cool. Furthermore I'm not buying the B.S. "defensive patent" explanation for Microsoft recent nonsense patent flurry. I do think this is a corporate direction Microsoft is turning.

The Microsoft - Apple Wars (4, Interesting)

indole (177514) | more than 9 years ago | (#13329956)

My own theory is that Apple declared War on Microsoft when they announced their intention to release an x86 version of OS X. The OS is the powerhouse of Apple's future success. This could be a very serious competitor to Microsoft Windows. Really, who isn't interested in trying a polished functional alternative to XP? Now Apple's opening salvoes have been returned by Microsoft pulling this licensing garbage.

Really. This is all out war now.

Re:The Microsoft - Apple Wars (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13330097)

Eh? How is it a "war with Windows" when it will ONLY run on Macs? Come the final release, it'll be so dependent on custom Apple chips and hardware, you'll still need to buy a Mac to run it. JUST LIKE NOW.

And even if someone spends months binary-hacking it to work on vanilla PCs, how many Joe users are going to warez a .torrent of it, repartition and install?

OS-x86 will be Apple-only, just like now, and people will buy Macs to use it. It doesn't suddenly put Microsoft under any more competition.
The chip changes, but THAT'S IT.

In summary, you're a completely fucking clueless dipshit who follows Slashbot groupthink like a fucking sheep. Grow up.

Microsoft again? (1)

JelloG3 (621113) | more than 9 years ago | (#13329963)

to me it looks like another way that Microsoft has used the laws of patents to gain profits off the coattails of another companies hard work.... the only way Microsoft can take "credit" for some sort of good product..... such a shame.

Has anyone else actually READ the patents? (5, Informative)

angrist (787928) | more than 9 years ago | (#13329967)

The last time this story came up I dug up the actual patents in question. (Don't have the links handy atm) IANAL but from what I could gather, the patents don't overlap.

The Apple patent covers all the basic iPod functionality, scroll wheel, music, video (forward thinking I suppose), etc etc.

The Microsoft patent is for something called "Auto DJ". Basically it's software that allows you to pick several songs as positive seeds, and at least one as a negative seed, and based on your choices it will generate a playlist from your music library. Sounds like a DAMN good idea ... although knowing MS the execution would end up like Clippy *shudders*

Re:Has anyone else actually READ the patents? (5, Funny)

timster (32400) | more than 9 years ago | (#13330013)

"I see you're trying to make a playlist. Would you like me to get jiggy with it?"

Re:Has anyone else actually READ the patents? (1)

XO (250276) | more than 9 years ago | (#13330116)

I saw that implemented on some sort of music player software that I was browsing on Freshmeat, a long time ago. I think it may have been a CD player app, or maybe it was a general purpose audio or even multimedia player. Could never get the damn program to work, so I never got to check it out.

Is Slashdot really full of idiots? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13329989)

I'm really disappointed in the comments on /. recently. Don't you idiots know it doesn't matter when a patent was filed, it only matters when the idea was conceived? MS could have thought it up 10 years ago for all you know. Most of you don't even know what the patent covers.

Patents are a needed and time honored vehicle for developing new products. Scrap the system to your own detriment. No one will spend billions on R&D if whatever they come up with can be ripped off for free.

And those of you that said MS stole from Apple to get this patent - prove it.

A. bunch. of. idiots.

The Prior-Art-O-Matic (2, Funny)

mattyohe (517995) | more than 9 years ago | (#13330000)

From the website: http://thesurrealist.co.uk/priorart.cgi [thesurrealist.co.uk]

"It's a series of randomly-generated product ideas! It raises questions about the nature of prior art in patenting issues, has some inspiring ideas, and is occasionally amusing!"

Design #1384685891

It's a shower head that jumps like a frog and displays pornography.

what's wrong with the us patent laws.. (1)

gl4ss (559668) | more than 9 years ago | (#13330021)

...is exactly this: "The iPod was launched in November 2001 but Apple waited until July 2002 to file for a patent; Microsoft snuck in to license some of the technology the previous May.".

you can base your patent on someone elses product... and this is supposed to cultivate innovation? nope.

(ianal, but in europe if it's shown publicly it's not patentable anymore - so you can not patent things that you already launched nor you can patent things that your competitor already launched)

iPwned (3, Interesting)

mikeophile (647318) | more than 9 years ago | (#13330024)

The iPod was launched in November 2001 but Apple waited until July 2002 to file for a patent; Microsoft snuck in to license some of the technology the previous May.

Doesn't previous art count for anything anymore?

Re:iPwned (1)

lux55 (532736) | more than 9 years ago | (#13330062)

That would be my thinking as well. If the iPod was out for some time before Microsoft filed its patent application, then how can Microsoft file a patent claim against a product that predates its application? The product under dispute is itself prior art, regardless of whether Apple filed for the patent or not.

Apple fails at Patenting (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13330026)

windOWNED! [ytmnd.com]

Regardless (1)

jav1231 (539129) | more than 9 years ago | (#13330027)

Does it really matter if they collect or not? I mean, yes it does but my point is the fact that they went after the patent is part and parcel of their philosophy. This, in my opinion, is as bad or worse than domain squatting. All you "M$ isn't so bad" folks can eat a little crow. If you think M$ is anything short of Evil Incarnate, you have serious mental issues.

I called this. (1)

millennial (830897) | more than 9 years ago | (#13330045)

When I learned that MS owned a patent for something used in the iPod, but wasn't making money off of it, I posted this [slashdot.org] :

"That... doesn't make sense. Why would they file a patent for it, but then allow Apple to develop, create, and market the device?"
It simply didn't make sense to me that MS wouldn't try to make a buck off of their patents, as vague as they may be. Now, they've followed the predictable course of action.

Monopoly back at it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13330047)

Microsoft has declared war against every company in their industry, including Linux. They use dirty tricks (no news here) to achive their goals. Fortunatly most their efforts suck! Lucky for us.
I would not want to live in a world where I am forced to use there nasty shit.

Possible solution to some of the problems (1)

ebrandsberg (75344) | more than 9 years ago | (#13330054)

I propose: When a company files more than 10 patents in a year (not even approved, just files) or are holders of more than 20 active patents total, then they are then qualified as a "responsible IP authority", meaning they are held to a higher standard of understanding IP law and of reviewing their patent applications for prior art. In this, if they are found to have attempted to patent something that has prior art that they reasonably should have known about, then it would be constituted as FRAUD, and if they persued licensing of this patent to anybody, they would be liable for 10x the attempted license fees as if they were damages AND legal costs for the third parties in defending their rights to use the IP.

FIling date, US rules (2, Interesting)

dereference (875531) | more than 9 years ago | (#13330055)

Something seems amiss here, and I don't mean the obvious part about (ab)using patents in this manner. I'm talking about the way patent "dates" are handled under the US system, which is different than it is just about anywhere else in the world. First, from TFA we have:

Lawyers at Bill Gates' firm filed a patent for technology behind the hugely successful digital music player two months before Apple.

immediately followed by:

The US Patent Office has ruled that Microsoft has the right to charge competitors a licence fee for each iPod sold.

The misleading bit is that this is a non-sequitur; the USPTO does not consider the filing date as material. The date of claimed invention is the only date that matters in the US.

So, it seems this must have been decided based on something other than the filing dates. Perhaps some other technology within the iPod was "invented" earlier by Microsoft, but then it's quite misleading to imply that the two-month difference in filing dates was the issue. Plus, as I've mentioned elsewhere, it's not up to the USPTO anyway to decide who has what rights in the case of a conflict; the courts decide these matters in the US.

It's important to note that TFA is a UK source, so there simply may be some confusion and assumptions made based on their local patent rules.

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