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AMZN, AAPL, GOOG, MSFT Chase 'Got Milk?' Patents

theodp (442580) writes | about 2 years ago

Google 1

theodp (442580) writes "Among the new iOS 5 features is Reminders, which Apple explains this way: 'Say you need to remember to pick up milk during your next grocery trip. Since Reminders can be location based, you'll get an alert as soon as you pull into the supermarket parking lot.' But does Reminders infringe on a newly-granted patent to Amazon for Location Aware Reminders, which covers the use of location based reminders to remind a user 'to purchase certain items such as, for example, as milk, bread, and eggs'? Or could Reminders run afoul of Google's new patent for Geocoding Personal Information, which covers triggering a voice reminder or making a computing device vibrate when a user approaches a location if 'one of the user's events is a task to pick up milk and bread'? Not to be left out of the 'Got Milk?' patent race, Apple also has a patent pending for Computer Systems and Methods for Collecting, Associating, and/or Retrieving Data, which covers providing a reminder to a user whose 'to do' list includes 'get milk' when the user's location matches 'a store that sells the item "milk."' Which should not be confused with Microsoft's pending patent for Geographic Reminders, which allows users to specify reminders such as 'pick up milk if I am within a ten minutes drive of any grocery store.' That all four tech giants chose to pursue remember-the-milk patents — and the USPTO is considering and granting them — is all the more remarkable considering that Microsoft suggested location-based reminders were obvious in a 2005 patent filing, which informed the USPTO that 'a conventional reminder application may give the user relevant information at a given location, such as 'You're near a grocery store, and you need milk at home.' So much for that immediate patent quality improvement promised by the America Invents Act!"

1 comment

Again, software patents are BAD (1)

cjcela (1539859) | more than 2 years ago | (#38112512)

So this will end up either in: A) Crippled software because the patent holder cannot possibly develop all the applications for all the platforms, B) More expensive software because in order to write a simple 'reminder' application you will need to pay patent rights, C) Large companies making patent agreements, and the little guys, without a gigantic patent portfolio to negotiate with, squeezed out of the market. And the idea is not even innovative, if you work with mobile devices that are location-aware, this is pretty basic. So how does this exactly helps innovation, USPO?
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