This article captures my views in a nutshell. Clearly, for the smart phones, there is a 'before iPhone' and an 'after iPhone'. The difference is not in the details (rectangles, rounded corners etc) - it is how the whole thing is put together, how it works with networks, itunes store, apps etc and what we can use it for. Not sure if such a 'system design' can be patented - but that is what the iPhone is. And it was unique when it came to the market.
It's worse than simply allowing people to patent the obvious -- the system also allows people to patent minor variations on prior art, or to re-patent old inventions that have simply been implemented in new technologies.
In so many modern patents, it's almost a joke to refer to some of them as inventions. The stuff that passes for "invention" these days undermines the meaning of the word, and undermines the difference between true innovation and mere product development.
"The patent system is stuck in old, arcane language. It’s deluged by a daily tsumani of applications and old patents, many of which were granted by examiners who lacked the expertise, time, systems—and budget--to conduct thorough reviews."
How would you know? Have you ever filed and prosecuted a patent appln? Have you ever invented anything?
All this talk of bad patents is but a red herring fabricated by a handful of large tech firms as a diversion away from the real issue...that they have no valid defense against charges they are using other parties' technologies without permission. It’s not about reforming the system. It’s about legalizing theft!
The objective of these large firms is not to fix the patent system, but to destroy it or pervert it so only they may obtain and defend patents; to make it a sport of kings. Patents are a threat against their market dominance. They would rather use their size alone to secure their market position. Patents of others, especially small entities, jeopardize that. For example, the proposed change to eliminate the use of injunctions would only further encourage blatant infringement. Any large company would merely force you to make them take a license. They would have little to lose. Everything would be litigated to death -if a small entity can come up with the cash to pursue. That's what these large multinationals are betting against.
Please see http://truereform.piausa.org/default.html for a different and informed view on the patent system.
DONALD.RUSS is correct, "A big problem is that we are
allowing people to patent the obvious."
The solution is not to further complicate the USPTO, but
instead realize it's limitations and streamline it.
Patent examiners can't be expected to assess
obviousness, so this is best left for litigation, if a
claimed infringement ever gets that far. The best job
for the USPTO at this point is just to be a recording
The bottom line is that the patent system was meant
to keep one entity from stealing the intellectual
property from another, but it has turned in to some
sort of game show where the first to claim a certain
arrangement of objects wins the prize. There are good
reasons why history is filled with cases where
independent entities have come up with an idea at the
same time, and I don't see a reason the patent system
should accuse one of these two entities of stealing.
With the USPTO, the government has become a barrier
to entry to the market for innocent small companies
in the name of some "invention" that is really some
arrangement that has not been published before, or
a "design" that has nothing radically new about it.
An English court as condemned apple on the same patent.
My old palm was working fine with the internet, also the screen was the top of the line for those times.
How may times have you looked to a Hunday side way and thought it was a BMW. I thing Hunday was the originator of the style.
Apple did not invent the computer, it not invented the GUI, it not invented the mouse and did not invent the cell phone.
Patent law were written by big boy lobbyists so they do not defend the little guy against the powerful.
As the iPhone was coming out I purchased my second smart phone, the AT&T Tilt made by HTC. It had a full web browsers (I used Opera until they jumped ship to Apple), the office suite, SD card, media player and thousands of apps as well as some things that Apple has yet to implement.
I had to put up with the iSheep proclaiming how Jobs had invented the smart phone and it was perfect. Now I have to watch as Apple claims to have invented rounded corners and oval slotted speakers that were in my pocket years before.
A big problem is that we are allowing people to patent the obvious. Prior art. Boxes. The Altoids company should litigate the ass off of Apple for stealing its tin box shape.
I think that there should be a multi-level screening process to design patents and the burden of proof should be on the applicant. Show the iPhone housing to the first level and the reply should be "Prior art, rejected" and then Apple would have to show an appeals panel how this shape was unique to the function of the product and that it wasn't just another case. Patents should be unique and hard to get.
Apple should be careful who it sues because there are some critical utility patents that they have infringed on that could be taken out and used against them. Look at Google and its acquisition of Motorola Wireless. I believe that was a tactical move to say to Apple “Go ahead, we dare you”.
Chanj, I *think* the patents involved primarily are "Design Patents" rather than "Utility Patents." Loosely speaking, "Design Patents" cover visual shapes, to prevent, hypothetically, New Balance from creating a shoe that looks exactly like a Nike shoe. So Design Patents don't usually have much to do with engineering.
Apple stock is record high now due to the rumor of ipad mini that has 7 inch. If this is true, then is it also a copy of other android devices that has similar "look and feel"? I see why ipad mini news is exciting, but at the same time, I wonder how Samsung and other 7inch tablet maker would react...