back to article Apple drops 'thermonuclear' patent bombshell

Apple has launched a new patent assault on its competitors, one that appears to unleash the nukes that Steve Jobs reportedly told his biographer Walter Isaacson he was going to drop on Google's Android. "I'm going to destroy Android, because it's a stolen product," the late Apple cofounder told the author of the überpopular …


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  1. Sorry that handle is already taken. Silver badge

    Well, Huey Lewis is stuffed.

    And so too are 19 American states.

    Will they stop at nothing?!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      APRIL FOOL APRIL FOOL.........

      El Reg you B*****ds!!!!!

      1. Yamal Dodgy Data

        Re: APRIL FOOL

        still you can't be too sure when patent law is involved.

        1. Steve Evans

          Re: APRIL FOOL

          Too true, best we go check that patent number, I wouldn't put anything past the US patent issuing morons!

        2. Primus Secundus Tertius

          Re: APRIL FOOL

          The Onion reported some years ago, but not on 1st April, that Microsoft had patented 0s and 1s.

      2. Sorry that handle is already taken. Silver badge

        Re: APRIL FOOL

        Yes, hence the joke alert icon.

        This happens every year on 1/4. Do we really need some bore to announce to the world that they know what the date is every damn time?

      3. Ignazio

        Re: APRIL FOOL

        They had me at bisecting diagonals.

    2. Bob Vistakin

      Re: Well, Huey Lewis is stuffed.

      This is pretty funny, but don't forget the real joke here - teasing the fanbois about an iPhone5, then releasing a mere software update in the same case and calling it a new phone, then doing exactly the same with the iPad. How long before the users are blamed for holding that wrong each time they burn themselves? Anyway, this is surely the real secret to Apples wealth - by targeting those with lower IQ's, their isheep literally will buy anything they're told to.

      Hats off El Reg, nice one. Could have posted a report on the stellar WP7 figures along with Nokias employee satisfaction rating being the highest in the tech business, too. But only today, natch.

      1. Yamal Dodgy Data

        Re: Well, Huey Lewis is stuffed.

        Ouch ! .. look at those down votes

        the fanboi's really don't like it when a comment cuts close to the bone

        1. Matt Bryant Silver badge

          Re: Re: Well, Huey Lewis is stuffed.

          A sense of humour? Unfortunately, there is no Apple app for that.

      2. Walt French

        Re: Well, Huey Lewis is stuffed.

        Way to totally miss the spirit of the post, by spewing retreaded, same old blather in a pompous, self-important, preachy, superior tone. Oh, at least you included some totally made-up, likely false facts; too bad they ALSO were condescending at best, the very opposite of funny.

      3. JDX Gold badge

        Re: Well, Huey Lewis is stuffed.

        speaking of sheep, what about the herd mentality to jump on the "Apple users are stupid" bandwagon?

        1. Miek

          Re: Well, Huey Lewis is stuffed.

          I guess it's far too easy a stereotype to fall into.

        2. N13L5

          jump on the "Apple users are stupid" bandwagon?

          What do you need explained about:

          Reduced functionality to avoid overtaxing the user?

    3. Arctic fox

      Well, April Fool joke or not is there not something familiar in the attitude here?


      "It's still a rectangle," he sniffed. "And we own the rectangle."

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      the real April Fool...

      Is telling us that we would get the Ice Cream Sandwich update in the first quarter of this year!

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Well, Huey Lewis is stuffed.

      Tomorrow, I am going to get a patent on using letters and numbers on an electronic display. I am going to be rich! Yeaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa

    6. Euripides Pants

      Re: 19 American States stuffed

      Nope, just Colorado and Wyoming - they're the Rectangle States

  2. This post has been deleted by its author

  3. Jim_aka_Jim

    Had me till the description of the patient: look at the date people.

    1. Thomas 4


      ...but I'm sure I wasn't the only that had to stop and wonder for a moment.

      1. Blain Hamon

        The date is correct, and the patent is real...

        If you search the USPTO, there IS a patent number US001042012, dated Oct 22, 1912. Only it's for an air valve for radiators. Ah, the good old days when patents were actually about real things,

  4. beast666

    Nice try...

    Not as good as The Guardian's attempt tho... Shaun Ryder as adviser for the govt... oh how we all laughed.

    1. Andrew Moore

      Re: Nice try...

      No, that one's true.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Not fair

    It's still March in California, you scumbags ;-)

    1. David Gosnell

      Re: Not fair

      Makes up for Google's (rather cute) Quest Maps launching early?

  6. stuartnz

    Thoroughly duped - well played! I shall now slink off and try to double my neuron count by growing another one.

  7. 0_Flybert_0


    almost tricked me into installing quick time !

  8. William Boyle
    Thumb Up

    Happy April 1!

    Har de har de har... :-)

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I'm pretty sure there is prior art for this joke...

    Such as in your very own comment columns every time this has come up for discussion...

  10. Drefsab


    the daft thing is this story is totally believable, I could see apple doing just this if they thought for a second they could get away with it.

    1. Spikehead
      Thumb Up

      Re: meh

      The even dafter thing is, I can see the US Patent Office granting this patent!

  11. gujiguju

    Apple commented to...

    You almost had me...until you mentioned that Apple commented to you and answered your queries.

    That ain't gonna happen for a while longer, me thinks. ;)

    1. BorkedAgain
      Thumb Up

      Re: Apple commented to...

      Yup. That was the only part of the whole article I couldn't believe...

  12. Colin Brett

    Publish and be damned

    I suggest we let this story go viral and see how many others pick it up and run with it.

    Links on FB, Twitter, Linked In ...

    Spawn of Satan because it's Apple, right?


    1. This post has been deleted by its author

    2. quartzie

      Re: Publish and be damned

      publish it on any other day and you'll surely find enough people believing it - especially with Cupertino's track record.

  13. Jeroen Braamhaar
    Thumb Up

    I call April Fools. Ingeniously worded though!

  14. eSeM


  15. Anonymous Coward


    Well done El Reg!

    You nearly had me until you said Sewell responded to you!

  16. volsano

    Merely a smoke screen

    This jokesuit is merely a toe in the water by Apple whose real atomic patent is the one that controls the use of the letter i ("whether lowercase, capitalized, iconificated, or otherwise embellished" to quote the patent) to start the name of a product or company or "other assemblage of humans".

    Intel, ICI; Ice cream, Instant whip; Ireland, Iran: just a few of the well-known brands at risk from this patent.

    Worse, it makes a general claim to the whole art of beginning a word with a letter at all. Some say this will drive all latinate alphabet users to adopt Chinese, at least in commercial writing and advertising.

  17. Number6

    Ah yes...

    I'd forgotten it was that day. Entirely plausible until it got to the bit about the rectangle, at which point I woke up a bit more and realised the date.

  18. Edward Hull

    You got me.


    The register posts so little at the weekends, I presumed it was a Friday entry...

    Then I believed it because it sounds so typical of the apple v the world cases...

    Then I read the date.

    Icon, because I do.

  19. VWDan
    Thumb Up


    But I miss the days when this joke would be completely obvious, rather than one you have to check out/ Let's face it, they really would do it if they could.

  20. JOKM

    So Square

    THe scary thing is, how close to the truth this is. Patent law was meant to protect the individual inventor and instead its used as a stick to beat him with.

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Well played

    9 paras in before the oddities reached a threshold and I checked the date.

    All too believable, though, isn't it?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Well played

      Only if you don't understand patent law

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: Well played

        The evidence appears to indicate that no one, least of all the USPTO, understand patent law.

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Margaret Thatcher is dead

    imagine my disappointment

  23. ChrisM

    Spoiled a bit by the linked story at the bottom.... but as said above, the game was up when you mentioned Apple responding

  24. Tom 7

    Typical lack of real innovation.

    Anyone should realise patenting sub-atomic particles is the way to go.

  25. jubtastic1

    That put a smile on my face

    Well done.

  26. nematoad

    As yes, but...

    This is hilarious, but the news that Facebook was trying to grab the word "book" was published a few days ago and so presumably is NOT an April Fools joke. Even though it is.


  27. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Too easy, Reg. Got it straight away. You need to be a bit more subtle when trying to pull the wool over the eyes of the calibre of readership you get he....

    ...oh, wait.

  28. Robert E A Harvey


    Taking the piss out of Apple, patents, and the obesssions of your own commentards. Well done.

    Can I also point out:,,1156__181267300_,00.html

    1. stu_ekins

      Re: Hmm

      Thanks for the BMW link. Very much enjoyed that one.

      Half expected, "new 3-series aimed at the non-cock market", but I guess that would have been too predictable.

      1. Robert E A Harvey

        Re: Hmm

        More original than:

  29. Chris 69

    Good laugh but..

    BMW still do this stuff best...

    "Its a car gym, but not as we know it"

  30. A. Lewis

    Oh, you!

    You nearly got me...

  31. jonathan keith

    Totally unbelievable

    An Apple flack talking to The Reg? Come on, what do you take us for?

  32. Hollow

    Oh for gods sake! ROFL!

    I fell for this completely, I didn't twig at all, that it was an April Fools, until I read the comments. Just goes to show that literally NOTHING surprises me in the whole patent war thing now. I actually laughed when I read it, not because I thought it was a good April Fools post, because I just can't help but laugh at the patent crap they keep throwing, if I didn't, I'd cry.

  33. Trollslayer
    Thumb Up

    So close...

    As the best April fools needs to be.

    but please don't give them ideas!

  34. Winkypop Silver badge

    Almost got me


    But whacky Apple patents can be stranger than fiction sometimes.

  35. Adam McCormack

    Loving Gmail tap

  36. Adam McCormack


  37. Haku

    You should've gone with this:

    "From April, DHS vets all passengers from UK heading to East Canada, Cuba, the Carribbean & Mexico" even though the planes don't enter US airspace.

    Took me a little searching to discover it wasn't an April fool's joke by The Independent (the article date could have been faked), those Americans are taking the piss and the UK government should grow a backbone and tell the US to fuck off.

  38. Hitco Tex

    So If Apple own the rectangle...Do they own Laptops, Tv's Glass Tables, Chairs,Fish Tanks etc?

    Or do they think the 1st April is for fools?

    I'm gonna patent the circle and all the world will be mine....all mine ....

  39. Boris the Cockroach Silver badge


    got me too for the first few paragraphs





    But then the nightmare hit me..... what if it is'nt !

  40. Harry Sheppard

    Unbelievable as Apple are talking to El Reg!

    When has that ever happened?

  41. The BigYin

    Great fools!

    Very believable too as I think some Oz chappie managed to patent the wheel (or was it the circle)?

  42. stucs201
    Thumb Up

    Patent number

    Nicely done.

  43. Snark

    Almost got me...

    You had me believing it until you got an answer back from Apple when you pressed them. Now that was totally unbelievable, everyone knows they'll never talk to El Reg.

  44. Dave 126 Silver badge

    Wheel patented in Australia

    C'mon Reg, an April fools day joke should be dafter than reality to play fair!

    This above from July, not April... Still, I don't trust Patent Office Clerks; they start thinking that time slows down when you go faster and other fantastical things. Nutters!

  45. stupormundi
    Thumb Up

    how very very appropriate

    nice one. beautifully sums up apple patent activity

  46. Rentaguru

    pulling of an april fool when el reg is always too hungover to publish sundays isn't easy

  47. Greg D

    had me going there!

    right up till I saw the patent number... 1,042.012... 1/04/2012

    I guess the Americans wouldnt have got that since they use backwards dates, putting the month first.... that still gets a wtf from me every time.

  48. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    You absolute bastards

    You had me right up until the point where Apple broke their silence with El Reg and said that they owned the rectangle.

    Well done chaps!

  49. Gerard Krupa

    Weak joke

    To quote Homer Simpson "don't give up your day job... whatever that is"

  50. eulampios

    funny and almost true

    Nice joke, El Reg. Too plausible to laugh too loud though :)

  51. Will Godfrey Silver badge

    Not bad. Not bad at all, although I always treat everything on April 1 with extreme caution.

    ... and to the commentards that got all serious.

    You must have an incredibly unhappy life!

  52. JaitcH

    I wonder what recreational drugs Apple lawyers use?

    At a recent count Apple had OVER 800 patent claims against it which is more than it has claims against others.

    If it were ever able to persuade a judge they had the rights to a rectangle, it would take minimal effort to make straight-sided object sprout curves.

    QUOTE: "A quadrilateral having all four interior angles of 90°, opposite sides that are parallel, and congruent diagonals that bisect each other."'

    So adding a curve would destroy the 90° argument, as well as the opposite sides that are parallel. Since it is early in the morning, my time, I'm not even going to figure the diagonals. But if that is 'thermonuclear' we have little to worry about.

    Maybe this would be the patent claim that would force yet another patent law review world-wide.

    What's next, the wheel or the circle? I think Fred Flintstone would have something to say about that. At least Yabba dabba doo!

  53. Anonymous Coward
    Big Brother

    Beware, El Reg!

    Surely Apple has found a way to patent all jokes featuring Apple?

  54. Bush_rat

    Curse you, you deceptive tricksters!

    That's alright though, cause i patented April Fools Jokes, so suit up!

  55. Tim Bates

    April fool's?

    Or telling the future?

    Actually - I hope no Apple management types read this article... They might get ideas.

  56. pip25

    I... actually believed the rectangle claim too

    Have to think about this for a minute. Am I this biased against Apple, or have patent wars become so insane that I'm no longer surprised by anything?

  57. web_bod

    I had to go and have a lie down half way through reading this - really lost my rag - feckin' April fools shite should carry a health warning.

    Well done though - b**ds!

  58. DvorakUser

    Got me.

    Although this doesn't sound too far-fetched for Apple (or even Microsoft), what really tipped me off was when I thought for a second about the patent number. Good one, guys.

  59. Guy 2


    Love the patent number ;-)

  60. James O'Brien


    Nice one Reg. You all owe me a new keyboard cause I just killed mine from the tea I was drinking while reading the patent. The whole Apple owning the "rectangle" thing had me laughing my ass off.

    As for the delay in me posting this, its my day off so it shows you how much I care to check news sites :P

  61. bpfh

    Here is the patent guys

    It's for a radiator valve :),042,012.PN.%2526OS%3DPN%2F1,042,012%2526RS%3DPN%2F1,042,012&PageNum=&Rtype=&SectionNum=&idkey=NONE&Input=View+first+page

  62. This post has been deleted by its author

  63. Crofty616


    Its funny because it could be true.... :(

  64. sisk


    An April Fools article that links to a patent for a valve that releases hot air from radiators. That brought a smile to my face.

  65. AnonymousNow

    Today, IP law is simply a mechanism of corruption

    The policy behind IP law is to encourage people to create new tools and new ways of solving problems. Today, IP law is simply a mechanism of corruption, a tool to keep the .01% in domination so no one can create anything that they will not then own. And it's just one reason why the 99.9% are being destroyed.

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