Feeds

Apple challenges Reg to patent duel

New invention has familiar ring

Gartner critical capabilities for enterprise endpoint backup

Apple will fill in some long-awaited missing features from its iPod and iPhone mobile players, a patent application published this week suggests. There's just one problem: Much of Apple's "invention" was dreamed up by Reg readers several years ago - and one embodiment is already on the market.

Publication 20080189390, Remote access of media items tackles the problem of discovering that bits of your home media collection are inaccessible on your iPod or work PC. It describes bouncing the media over a network between devices. The patent application was filed in February 2007.

If implemented, it's sure to be a popular feature. How do we know? Well, wind back to 2002 and you'll see our mailbag bulging with chatter about the "BluePod". This was less than a year after the launch of the original iPod, which was then a Mac-only, Firewire-only novelty item that had yet to capture the public's imagination. Why not stimulate demand, we wondered, by adding a couple of simple technologies: Bonjour (then called Rendezvous) and wireless networking?

"You could get promiscuous with strangers: You could pair and exchange a song on the same short bus ride. You could create short, ad hoc personal broadcasts, to anyone else with a Bluetooth iPod. You could have a 'what am I listening to?' menu option and share your choice with anyone within discoverable range."

Fast forward two years, and here's a bit more "prior art" we knocked up:

The social, self-filling iPod: more music, and more friends

One better, much of what's described in Apple's patent has been delivered in software form by Orb Networks, and in hardware by Sling. It even has an unlovely buzzword: "Placeshifting", although Orb calls it "MyCasting". Orb first showed off its technology in 2004, and has since signed deals with mobile operators including 3, here in the UK.

Orb clearly has grounds to make Apple's lawyers work for their fees - an invention can't be granted if it's already on the market, even if that mechanism is hidden.

But a quick glance at Title 35 of the US Patent Act confirms that "a person shall be entitled to a patent unless [our emphasis] the invention was known or used by others in this country, or patented or described in a printed publication in this or a foreign country, before the invention thereof by the applicant for patent, or… (b) 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."

Published? Check. Described? Check. More than one year ago? Check. I think that's us covered.

Reg readers won't need reminding how important it is to defend one's intellectual property. They'll be after Flame of the Week™ next. We await the envelopes. ®

Boost IT visibility and business value

More from The Register

next story
6 Obvious Reasons Why Facebook Will Ban This Article (Thank God)
Clampdown on clickbait ... and El Reg is OK with this
No, thank you. I will not code for the Caliphate
Some assignments, even the Bongster decline must
Fast And Furious 6 cammer thrown in slammer for nearly three years
Man jailed for dodgy cinema recording of Hollywood movie
Caught red-handed: UK cops, PCSOs, specials behaving badly… on social media
No Mr Fuzz, don't ask a crime victim to be your pal on Facebook
Barnes & Noble: Swallow a Samsung Nook tablet, please ... pretty please
Novelslab finally on sale with ($199 - $20) price tag
Ballmer leaves Microsoft board to spend more time with his b-balls
From Clippy to Clippers: Hi, I see you're running an NBA team now ...
Video of US journalist 'beheading' pulled from social media
Yanked footage featured British-accented attacker and US journo James Foley
Assange™: Hey world, I'M STILL HERE, ignore that Snowden guy
Press conference: ME ME ME ME ME ME ME (cont'd pg 94)
Call of Duty daddy considers launching own movie studio
Activision Blizzard might like quality control of a CoD film
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Endpoint data privacy in the cloud is easier than you think
Innovations in encryption and storage resolve issues of data privacy and key requirements for companies to look for in a solution.
Scale data protection with your virtual environment
To scale at the rate of virtualization growth, data protection solutions need to adopt new capabilities and simplify current features.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?