Feeds

Apple challenges Reg to patent duel

New invention has familiar ring

Security for virtualized datacentres

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. ®

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

More from The Register

next story
The 'fun-nification' of computer education – good idea?
Compulsory code schools, luvvies love it, but what about Maths and Physics?
Ex-US Navy fighter pilot MIT prof: Drones beat humans - I should know
'Missy' Cummings on UAVs, smartcars and dying from boredom
Facebook, Apple: LADIES! Why not FREEZE your EGGS? It's on the company!
No biological clockwatching when you work in Silicon Valley
Happiness economics is bollocks. Oh, UK.gov just adopted it? Er ...
Opportunity doesn't knock; it costs us instead
'Cowardly, venomous trolls' threatened with TWO-YEAR sentences for menacing posts
UK government: 'Taking a stand against a baying cyber-mob'
Sysadmin with EBOLA? Gartner's issued advice to debug your biz
Start hoarding cleaning supplies, analyst firm says, and assume your team will scatter
Doctor Who's Flatline: Cool monsters, yes, but utterly limp subplots
We know what the Doctor does, stop going on about it already
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Cloud and hybrid-cloud data protection for VMware
Learn how quick and easy it is to configure backups and perform restores for VMware environments.
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.