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IT News Thread, Apple have been 'inventing' again... in Other News; Firstly, here is the actual patent . This patent may also be related to or used in conjunction with United ...
  1. #16

    seawolf's Avatar
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    Firstly, here is the actual patent . This patent may also be related to or used in conjunction with United States Patent: 8665236 for a "transparent iPhone".

    Yes, there have been apps that have (seemingly) similar functionality previously. An app which allows people to text while their rear camera is activated has been available as a download for iPhones since 2009. There are similar apps for Android devices, too. However, what we don't know is:

    1. Whether or not the developers of these apps has ever patented any of these features.
    2. Whether or not their patent extends nearly as far as the Apple patent does (i.e. this feature would be embedded in iOS itself likely as an API that app developers would be able to hook into)
    3. Whether or not Apple paid any of these developers (or the "original" developer) for the rights to this.
    4. Whether Apple will be challenged and ultimately lose the rights to the patent if someone else shows prior use (and cares).

    So, my bone with the OPs original post is that it was irrational and lacking evidence as we don't have all of the facts, do we?

    EDIT: Of course, you may be against the ability for people or companies to patent software, or anything for that matter, but if that is an entirely different kettle of fish and an entirely different discussion.
    Last edited by seawolf; 31st March 2014 at 11:24 AM.

  2. #17

    HarryMonkey's Avatar
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    Putting all this patent thing to one side, what I find unbelievable is the fact that a person is rendered totally incapable of either stopping for the few seconds it takes to send a text or to ignore their phone for a few minutes until they get to their destination. I would consider myself a pretty sad individual if my phone ruled my life in such a way that I had to have an app that enabled me to walk and text at the same time.

  3. #18

    synaesthesia's Avatar
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    I understand the term more than you know - however definition may differ slightly. I refer to Apple as patent trolls as they are little more than trolls when it comes to this very subject. The richness of someone doesn't make them any less of a troll and Apple are dangerous.

  4. #19

    SYNACK's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by seawolf View Post
    Firstly, here is the actual patent . This patent may also be related to or used in conjunction with United States Patent: 8665236 for a "transparent iPhone".
    .
    2009 http://bikeglam.com/transparent-mobi...ew-generation/ transparent nokia phone concept, they were just not dickish enough to patent it before having a viable product.

    And the reality of it all is - to quote Isaac Newton "If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of giants." - that all innovation in technology is "stealing" from what came before. Do not think that mankind in 2014 is somehow smarter or more innovative than mankind in 1941. We only have the technology we have today because we are "standing on the shoulders of giants" who came before us.

    Much of what we know today only came about because of the work that originated at DARPA and PARC and has been built upon by others, including IBM, Microsoft, Apple, Google, Sun, and scores of other companies and inventors big and small.
    We are less innovative now thanks to patents which brings us back to the other conversation you were discussing, if the patent system is not stopped we are all screwed in the long run, just look at the patents on seeds in the US, how are we not driving ourselves to extinction one greedy company at a time.
    Last edited by SYNACK; 31st March 2014 at 11:38 AM.

  5. #20

    localzuk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by seawolf View Post
    Firstly, here is the actual patent . This patent may also be related to or used in conjunction with United States Patent: 8665236 for a "transparent iPhone".

    Yes, there have been apps that have (seemingly) similar functionality previously. An app which allows people to text while their rear camera is activated has been available as a download for iPhones since 2009. There are similar apps for Android devices, too. However, what we don't know is:

    1. Whether or not the developers of these apps has ever patented any of these features.
    2. Whether or not their patent extends nearly as far as the Apple patent does (i.e. this feature would be embedded in iOS itself likely as an API that app developers would be able to hook into)
    3. Whether or not Apple paid any of these developers (or the "original" developer) for the rights to this.
    4. Whether Apple will be challenged and ultimately lose the rights to the patent if someone else shows prior use (and cares).

    So, my bone with the OPs original post is that it was irrational and lacking evidence as we don't have all of the facts, do we?

    EDIT: Of course, you may be against the ability for people or companies to patent software, or anything for that matter, but if that is an entirely different kettle of fish and an entirely different discussion.
    Point 1 is somewhat irrelevant - if there is prior art, then the patent should not be awarded. It is the responsibility of the submitter to do a search for prior art.

    Point 4 is what is at stake. Who can afford to go up against Apple? Some countries would struggle with their legal prowess. Why should a little development company have to put basically their entire life on the line to fight claims in court?

  6. #21

    seawolf's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by localzuk View Post
    Point 1 is somewhat irrelevant - if there is prior art, then the patent should not be awarded. It is the responsibility of the submitter to do a search for prior art.
    Point 1 is only irrelevant if Point 2 meant the patented feature was too close in functionality to another patent or prior art.

    Point 4 is what is at stake. Who can afford to go up against Apple? Some countries would struggle with their legal prowess. Why should a little development company have to put basically their entire life on the line to fight claims in court?
    Only if Point 3 did not occur, and it very well may have. Otherwise, the true inventor may hold out for 5-10 years and then ask the patent office to reexamine the patent providing ample proof of prior art (and having apps sold since 2009 would more than suffice. The threat of an invalidated patent that would open Apple up to a dead certain loss in court would likely convince them into paying up handsomely. That's how these things often work out because its cheaper than going to court.

  7. #22

    localzuk's Avatar
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    That's not generally how patents get overturned in the USA. Court cases are usually the way it happens, and even then often they don't actually overturn the patent - the bigger player just ends up buying the complainant off. Aka. "Settled out of court". So, the end result remains - a patent that shouldn't exist continues to exist.

  8. #23

    LosOjos's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by seawolf View Post
    So, my bone with the OPs original post is that it was irrational and lacking evidence as we don't have all of the facts, do we?
    Irrational? Hardly! I posted a link to an article I had read and my opinion on it and asked others for their opinions. At what point did I become irrational?

    We have all the evidence we need - as they have done many times before Apple are patenting an idea that they did not come up with and that has already been well implemented for years before they filed for the patent. They may or may not get the patent; they shouldn't, but somehow seem to succeed quite often; and they may or may not use the patent to sue others who have already implemented this technology. Obviously we cannot see in to the future, but we can reflect on the past and I don't think even you could argue that Apple has a track record of doing exactly what I've described.

    I have already acknowledged that Apple are not the only ones to have acted like this, but this thread is about Apple's latest 'offence'

  9. #24

    CHR1S's Avatar
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    I just like to think Seawolf had that list of patent trolling companies pre-saved in a document ready to whip out as and when needed

  10. #25

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    Quote Originally Posted by LosOjos View Post
    Irrational? Hardly! I posted a link to an article I had read and my opinion on it and asked others for their opinions. At what point did I become irrational?

    We have all the evidence we need - as they have done many times before Apple are patenting an idea that they did not come up with and that has already been well implemented for years before they filed for the patent.
    So, MP3 players with usable scroll wheel interfaces and music stores that were usable as well as and capacitive touch full-touchscreen, actually usable phones and tablets were well implemented prior to the iPod, iPhone and iPad? OK. I'm sure you were referring to other things.

    Most of the time, Apple doesn't bring out something entirely new. They just bring out something that works better than what came before it. Sometimes much better, sometimes only a little. There were plenty of music players before the iPhone and there were even touchscreen phones and PDAs years before the iPhone. It's just that no one had hit upon just the right implementation and interface before Apple brought their products to market. Remember mobile web browsing before the iPhone - wow, it was horrible. Now, very good.

    They may or may not get the patent; they shouldn't, but somehow seem to succeed quite often; and they may or may not use the patent to sue others who have already implemented this technology. Obviously we cannot see in to the future, but we can reflect on the past and I don't think even you could argue that Apple has a track record of doing exactly what I've described.

    I have already acknowledged that Apple are not the only ones to have acted like this, but this thread is about Apple's latest 'offence'
    But, based on your line of thinking then Microsoft, Google, Blackberry, Sony, and Ericsson are also patent trolls.

    Has Microsoft's court victory exposed Google as a patent troll? | Computerworld Blogs
    Rockstar Consortium - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    As Apple and these other companies have also been the victims of real patent trolls (those who make nothing, and exist only to sue others) they are merely using the current patent system to protect themselves and to gain advantage over competitors. Why was the Rockstar consortium formed by these companies? Because they were being attacked by patent trolls and didn't want these patents to be used against them (and because Google had already swallowed up thousands of patents with the Motorola purchase - it was a defensive move).

    That being the case, is the real problem that Apple (and other companies) are "stealing" ideas; or, is it a messed up patent system? I think it's a messed up patent system and that tech companies have been forced to play this game.

  11. #26

    LosOjos's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by seawolf View Post
    So, MP3 players with usable scroll wheel interfaces and music stores that were usable as well as and capacitive touch full-touchscreen, actually usable phones and tablets were well implemented prior to the iPod, iPhone and iPad? OK. I'm sure you were referring to other things.
    Well I didn't name any of those things but it's interesting that you choose those as they are perfect examples I think. Apple didn't 'invent' any one of those products, they took existing products and undeniably gave them a good polish, which is fine. To then claim they invented those products is both false and a huge two fingers up to the many, many developers before them who put in the work to get those early products to market, products which Apple's R&D team could use as a basis to say "this is what's wrong with these, this is how we can improve them." Again, it's the audacity of Apple's marketing that causes such strong reactions from the tech community at large.

    Quote Originally Posted by seawolf View Post
    Most of the time, Apple doesn't bring out something entirely new. They just bring out something that works better than what came before it. Sometimes much better, sometimes only a little. There were plenty of music players before the iPhone and there were even touchscreen phones and PDAs years before the iPhone. It's just that no one had hit upon just the right implementation and interface before Apple brought their products to market. Remember mobile web browsing before the iPhone - wow, it was horrible. Now, very good.
    Finally, we agree on something! You're quite right, Apple did improve the UI on a lot of early smartphones and tablets. But an improvement is not an invention, and therein lies the problem.

    Quote Originally Posted by seawolf View Post
    But, based on your line of thinking then Microsoft, Google, Blackberry, Sony, and Ericsson are also patent trolls.
    Yes, that is correct, they've all done their fair share of patent trolling. I never claimed otherwise. This thread started as a reaction to Apple's latest round of patent trolling (potentially) though, hence them being named in the OP.

    Quote Originally Posted by seawolf View Post
    That being the case, is the real problem that Apple (and other companies) are "stealing" ideas; or, is it a messed up patent system? I think it's a messed up patent system and that tech companies have been forced to play this game.
    Oh yeah the buck definitely stops with the current patent laws, no doubt about that.

    I think the reason a lot more people get angry when Apple do this as opposed to others, is that Apple have then gone in the past to advertise these 'new' technologies as their own, duping people in to buying in to technology Apple did nothing but polish.

  12. #27

    tmcd35's Avatar
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    It's interesting how eat-up and anti- people become over successful companies. Apple, Google, Microsoft, Facebook, IBM. Whatever happened to "the device does what I need it to do and suits my needs". Does it matter if Apple "invented" the touch screen interface or not? Really?

    The key thing with Apple is that they are a design company, a boutique label, more prosumer than consumer. They've never really been a mass market outfit prior to the iPhone and I don't think they were necessarily aiming for mass market appeal when they developed the iPhone (certainly not at that price any way).

    What Apple have always been good at is taking good ideas from elsewhere. Maybe improving on them slightly. Combining them with other good ideas and in the process coming up with something evolutionarily better than what had been available before.

    The iPhone is a good case in point. Not the first MP3 player, not the first Smartphone, not the first touchscreen phone, not the first PDA. Hell, even the UI was largely ripped from PalmOS. But they where the first to bring all the components together in one compelling package with a design flair other companies rarely match.

    Credit were credit is due.

    If the original developers of "transparent texting" are that bothered by Apples patenting then they can always (try and) do something about it. I'm buying Android next time because, to my mind, UI and case designs of only caught up with Apple in high end devices in the past 18 months or so - and Android is cheaper.

    Personally I think all this Apple bashing is just a load of old nonsense based on little more than a total misunderstanding of Apple as a company. It's simple - they're not Android and don't want to be. Same can be said about the silly Internet fanboyism and company bashing that goes on for most of the really successful IT firms.

    On a related note I think software patents are the scourge of the IT industry and should be banned! Apple, Samsung, Google, Microsoft all seem to be constantly in court these days trying to extract royalties from all sundry based on little more than the contents of a few IF statements.

  13. #28
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    Hey we all know Android had "Pull down the notification screen" before iOS did.

  14. #29

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    Quote Originally Posted by SovietRussia View Post
    Hey we all know Android had "Pull down the notification screen" before iOS did.
    Yes, but we all know Android also would have looked like the Blackberry if the iPhone had never existed.

  15. #30
    Pottsey's Avatar
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    Just wait till people say Apple invented “ray tracing” just because they will most likely be one of the first to implant it in mobiles.



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