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'PatentGate' allegations denied by Apple

Misunderstanding, not malfeasance

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There is no "PatentGate." That's the word from FutureTap, the company which The Reg reported last Friday was concerned about Apple's lifting of the look-and-feel from its flagship app and including an illustration of it in a recently published patent application.

"Apple is contemplating steps to attribute the screenshot in the patent application to FutureTap. The patent application in question does not claim as inventive the pictured user interface nor the general concept of an integrated travel services application," Apple senior patent counsel Anand Sethuraman wrote to Ortwin Gentz, founder and chief executive of FutureTap, developer of the app in question, Where To? - GPS points of interest.

In a posting on his company blog, Gentz writes that an earlier post of his that noted the similarites between Where To? and Apple's patent application had "ignited a true blogosphere frenzy."

That may be an understatement. Gentz lists a full 56 articles concerning Apple's faux pas, including stories not only in FutureTap's home country of Germany, but also in Italy, France, Japan, and Poland, among others.

Gentz says it's now time for a worldwide stand-down, seeing as how the issue has been "resolved amicably." He does, however, understandably add: "I can say we wouldn‘t ever have considered the story alarming had the screenshot included a short attribution notice."

So now Apple is "contemplating steps" to give FutureTap recognition for its look-and-feel, Gentz is "thankful for the great support of the community," and Where To? has received oodles of global publicity.

The matter is settled. As we noted in our original story, PatentGate was indeed "a mere tempest in the proverbial teapot."

Satisfied, Gentz advises: "And now, let's go back to work." ®

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