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  1. urkel's Avatar
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    [Note: Please don't make this a flame thread. I don't understand patent law fully so I'm genuinely curious and saying "Apple suxors" doesnt detracts from the conversation]

    Every week it seems like Apple patents something new, but not necessarily "new". Today it's a new "Front Facing Camera, a few days ago they were granted one on "Capacitive Multitouch Displays". Is this stuff really their idea? If an idea is so obvious in the progression of technology that giving a patent to one company will tie the hands of the competition?

    Multitouch - Microsoft Surface. Tom Cruise in Minority Report. Wikipedia talks about IBM and other companies doing it. But now phone OS's are scared to use it in fear of lawsuits? It's a touch screen, of course you'll use more than one finger to TOUCH it.

    In-Screen Camera - Apple patented a Camera Behind the LCD last year, but in every Sci-Fi movie then people aren't having a video conference staring right above the screen. They're staring right into it which means the "idea" has been around since the 1930's

    Multitouch Trackpad - It's something I love about Macbooks, but PC manufacturers can't do it because according to the US patent office then Apple "invented" it. Cmon. Two-finger click has been around forever but moving those two fingers in a direction is Apple's idea?

    iPod Scroll Wheel - This was probably the begining of Apple's "lets patent everything" tirade. It's a wheel that you spin to adjust volume and click to change function of rotating that same wheel. My dad had a stereo receiver in the 1970's that worked exactly like the original iPod wheel. What if Apple abandons the Nano in favor of touchscreen? For the rest of time NOBODY can use that simple concept anymore?

    I can go on and on with Apple patents but it's not only them, even obvious things like the "buy it now" patent or "one touch purchase" belong to someone. It just seems annoying to see technology get restrained from progressing because some jerk owns a patent for something obvious.
  2. angiest's Avatar
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    Lest you forget, someone successfully patented the use of a laser pointer to entertain a cat. And someone tried, unsuccessfully, to patent a crustless PB&J sandwich.

    I agree with the concept of patents but they have gotten seriously out of hand in the US and are not much better elsewhere in the world. The idea is that governments encourage innovation by granting (in the US, protected by the Constitution) a temporary monopoly on a technology or product, but after a fairly short period of time the patent expires, and in order to obtain a patent all of the relevant information to build said product passes into public knowledge. Ideally, patents should cover new inventions or new uses of something that is not obvious to someone trained in the field. Unfortunately, people trained in the field don't work in the patent office, and in the US at least successfully applying for a patent is enough to grant (partial) legal protection, hence you can sue others for using your "invention," and unlike criminal law the onus is on the defendant to prove the patent invalid or that no infringement occurred.

    Of course, IANAL.

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