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[News] Economy Benefits from Death of 'Thought Monopolies', Apple Gains Nothing

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Ruling to Block “Business Method” Patents May Spur Innovation, Say
Entrepreneurs and Investors

,----[ Quote ]
| It’s what everyone has been talking about lately. No, not the election—
| software patent reform. (Bear with me, non-IP folks.) Last Thursday, the U.S. 
| Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit rejected a patent application from a 
| company called WeatherWise for a method of managing the risk involved with 
| energy costs. The court ruled that in order to be patentable, a process must 
| be tied to a “machine or apparatus, or transform a particular article into a 
| different state or thing.” That means abstract processes known as “business 
| methods” can no longer be patented. A classic example of a patented software 
| business method is Amazon’s one-click process for online purchases.        
| So how will this ruling impact software innovation, particularly for startups 
| and investors? The news has caused quite a stir in the Seattle tech community 
| (and elsewhere), with some entrepreneurs worrying about their ability to 
| protect their fledgling intellectual property. Meanwhile, some venture 
| capitalists view the ruling in a positive light, as protection 
| against “patent trolls” that acquire business method patents and then sue 
| software startups for infringement. As Fred Wilson of New York-based Union 
| Square Ventures puts it in a blog post, “It’s a huge tax on the 
| startup/technology ecosystem and it’s hurting innovation.”        


Apple outlines shift in strategy, rise in R&D spending, more

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| It also makes the new observation that, "The Company believes the duration of 
| the applicable patents that it has been granted is adequate relative to the 
| expected lives of its products. Due to the fast pace of innovation and 
| product development, the Company’s products are often obsolete before the 
| patents related to them expire, and sometimes are obsolete before the patents 
| related to them are even granted."     



Steve Jobs Patents "The Dock"

,----[ Quote ]
| If you're a PC, you may be unfamiliar with The Dock, the bar of icons that
| sits at the bottom or side of a Mac and provides easy access to Apple
| applications. But don't count on it becoming a standard on the PC. On
| Tuesday, the USPTO awarded Apple — and inventor Steve Jobs — a patent for
| their User Interface for Providing Consolidation and Access, aka 'The Dock,'
| after a rather lengthy nine-year wait.


Software Freedom Day (Party!)

,----[ Quote ]
| The problem is patents. LLVM’s license allows more room for Apple to use
| software patents than the GCC’s licenses do. And Apple now has the
| opportunity to maneuver themselves into a place where through those patents
| they can dominate the software that can be run on their machines. Those
| bastards!


Apple files for patent on multiple input technique

,----[ Quote ]
| As the patent application explains, computer systems generally have various
| means of input, but usually these are all independent of each other and not
| combined.


Apple files notification screen patent, is this really that unique?

,----[ Quote ]
| It is a bit strange that a patent would be needed for something like this
| that even basic feature phones already use in some manner.


Apple files UI elements patent relating to hierarchical menus, more

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| On January 31, the US Patent & Trademark Office published eleven of Apple’s
| patent applications in total. This particular report centers on Apple’s
| patent application titled  User interface elements for hierarchical selection
| of items  while listing several continuation patents. Apple’s current patent
| generally relates to user interface elements.

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