I'm going to patent the bleeding obvious and patent...
...the comment track on websites like ElReg.
All you people here am my lawsuit beatches and I look forward to trolling you relentlessly.
As if further proof were needed that something is broken at the US Patent and Trademark Office, it took a full 411 days for their staffers to grant Apple a design patent for iOS's Siri voice-recognition icon. Not the Siri technology itself, mind you, but merely its microphone-in-a-circle silhouette icon. Design patent D671, …
"The Skype microphone doesn't have a circle around it."
No, but I've seen the same symbol -microphone+circle- in many laptops, next to the microphone jack. And in many home sound systems also.
Seriously, the mofos at the USPTO who approved this crap should have their performance reviewed. Drastically. ;)
No but the link posted by an AC above does (below). Basically it looks like they taken the two icons and merged them to get a "Unique" one. If we really need to have these type of patents then the real test should be to show a few random people pulled off the streets the icons for a few seconds, wait 5 mins and see if they can identify the apple one.
Just popped open the app drawer on my phone and, lo and behold, an essentially identical icon is used for the Voice Search app. It even has rounded corners!
These design patents are silly. At least they haven't managed to snag a real patent on the thing. Things aren't that far gone yet.
My first thoughts were of Sansui, Technics, and Pioneer. If i could scream and rend the universe to billions of sub sub sub sub sub particles, and etch the uspto as the blame, i sure the hell would.
There should be a bullet in the kneecap for every approver and every submitter of a bleeding obvious, tear-jerkingly simple design. I though a copyright might be sufficient. But, this shit just raises the bar for those who cannot dream of patenting because such people will not have the money to bri, ummm, pay for an approval. So disappointing. It loweres the standard, and further justifies all the lambasting the uspto gets. Pathetic state of affairs.
But not with the BBC's 90 years of the BBC exhibition
It does seem a tricky claim to defend = "The patent has value because the icon is so obviously and instantly recognisable as a microphone'
My crappy labtec speakers model LCS-1060 have this very symbol for the speaker socket, very much predating the 4th October 2011 date of apple's however given that the icon is a silhoette of a number of real microphone designs (not owned by apple) and I would imagine very much in the public domain due to age it looks like another example of US companies being able to patent anything they like.
When I started working at KRST in Albuquerque (a wonderful progressive rock station in the seventies that lost its mind and identity in the 80's by going (gak!) country-western), we had an RCA 77-DX microphone in both our main and production studios. Looks real similar. Who owns RCA nowadays? Oh, yeah, NBC Universal. Now there's an outfit with enough lawyer horsepower to give ol' Apple a good run for the money.
Please all send the following email message to the USPTO to this address:
Please be advised that you have granted patent D671,558 in error as the amount of prior art is overwhelmingly against there being any value to this so called patent of an icon for the Apple “Siri” Microphone.
Failure to reject this patent constitutes a violation of civil law that protects the owners of all prior art.
See link below showing the overwhelming evidence that contradicts ANY and ALL claims of microphone icon originality by Apple Corporation.
You have 30 days to reply to this notice with evidence that this erroneous patent has been revoked.
Failure to comply will be met with the full force and intent of civil law.
I looked at that link and do you know, out of all the images it shows, there are only four that look anything similar to the Siri icon. Your evidence is not as 'overwhelming' as you would like to think.
Similar is not the same as identical so I doubt your threat would get anywhere.
You have to wait until the 1.9 million Google Microphone images finish loading.
As far as I am concerned, anything that has the same general outline is prior art but there are at least a dozen that are too close to not have been copied by Apple.
At the very least, this is the artists version of plagarism if not full out theft of prior art.
With retina displays, you can just buy and digitise/scale a real, actual photo of a microphone (taken in the 50s, perhaps) and just display that).
Better still, just buy exclusive licenses to 100s of photos of microphones and patent a new innovation called "User selects microphone photo/icon of their choice"......
As an iFanboi (really, you can drag my OSX laptops from my cold, dead hands), I fear I'm looking at the slow decline and death of Apple to this idiocy.
It's not a patent for a "icon of a silhouette of a microphone" - it is a patent for this very specific icon of a silhouette of a microphone.
So it's pointless because there are any number of silhouettes of microphones that you might come up with, and it's worthless because it's very easy to make an icon that looks enough like the Apple patented one that it is recognisable as such, but is sufficiently different to not qualify as a violation of the patent itself.
What Apple hope to do is use it to bully little guys with. YOUR ICON VIOLATES OUR PATENT! STOP USING IT OR PAY UP OR WE'LL SEE YOU IN COURT
As I keep saying... the solution to the whole patented DESIGNS (as opposed to INVENTION) debacle is for people to refuse to play the game. Get a threat of court action, just ignore it. Get a court summons. Just ignore it. Get a court order awarding damages to a plaintiff. Just ignore it.
The point at which anybody tries to get the system to actually, physically compel you to do anything will be the point at which the system is forced to take a long hard look at itself and realise it is being abused.
No, but it will prevent the court from finding in their favour. The objective of holding the patent in this case is to be able to hold the THREAT of court action and the cost of merely appearing in court over someone.
A: "Hey, that's our design. Stop using it."
- "No it's not, we came up with it by ourselves. Leave us alone."
A: "It doesn't matter. We hold a patent on this design. Time to lawyer up buddy..."
- "Oh crap. Damn. Right, ok, we'll get our design boys right on it."
>>> it is a patent for this very specific icon of a silhouette of a microphone.
It isn't a patent at all, it is a design patent.
>>> it's worthless because it's very easy to make an icon that looks enough like the Apple patented one that it is recognisable as such, but is sufficiently different to not qualify as a violation of the patent itself.
Then presumably Apple believe it it worth protecting their "special" variation. The difference between the prior art is a recognized factor in any court's assessment of the extent of a design patent, so this whole thing takes care of itself. Something that lends a little irony to certain commentards' blather above.
If it's useless, let Apple waste their money. Who cares.
>>> The point at which anybody tries to get the system to actually, physically compel you to do anything will be the point at which the system is forced to take a long hard look at itself and realise it is being abused.
Ah no I believe that would be the point at which the bailiffs earn their living, you hope like hell it is a limited liability company that you have just bankrupted, and you cross your fingers the court doesn't issue an arrest warrant for you personally. Moron.
That someone who says this:
"It isn't a patent at all, it' s a design patent"
can with a straight face go on to call someone else a "moron" is a great source of amusement to me.
And here's your ticket for the clue train: What I was suggesting wasn't practical advice, more like commentary on the whole stupid lawyer go round that this relies upon in order for the patent trolls/bullies to be able to make the system work to their advantage.
Get on board and enjoy the ride. :)
Yes it is. Please elaborate why it isn't. I see nothing here that is actually patentable, despite having been given one. It is merely a picture. Copyright might enter into it......... but a patent? Someone has to be joking or Apple have even more influence with their first rate cattle excrement than I thought.
Well, my Pavilion dv6 has the symbol you describe next to the microphone socket.
But there are two differences, one is that the HP microphone graphic doesn't have the circle around it, so would be substantially different from the Apple icon, the second is that the Apple icon design is registered for use on-screen rather than being printed on a physical object.
I think your HP paintwork is safe!
The patent cites this image (dated Monday, 22-Jun-09 11:46:11 PDT) as prior art:
Apple appear to have directly copied the shape of this image and surrounded it with concentric circles to make it 'unique and distinctive'.
I cannot imagine how even Apple's highly paid expert witnesses could defend a lawsuit against something with just a microphone - like, for example the Dolphin Voice Search icon on my android phone.
Also IMHO the design patent looks more like the prior art than it looks like the siri icon, so it could be argued that the competition could freely use something very similar to the siri icon. The UK court recently pointed out that the case was about copying the design patent, not copying the iPhone.
You know, the best way of stopping all this confusion, would be to stop using the word Patent in reference to a registered design. It's not stupid to read the phrase "design patent" and assume it's a patent, it is stupid to call something a "design patent" when it isn't a patent.
It should never have been patented, as it's not a bloody invention, it's a graphical symbol, and instead therefore should have been copyrighted or even registered as a trade mark. Even if there's prior art that will prevent that from happening, of course.
Sodding USPTO. Always fucking up.
Sunshine, one bucket of, orbital delivery to USPTO HQ. The only way to be sure.
It's intellectual property, and it might make a shit-load of money. Give up what you are doing now and get working on IP! I for one would be happy to pay a license fee for every comment, especially considering that we can now earn virtual base metals for our efforts.
So its like a trademark rather than a patent, I get that, but even so its very generic.
I presume they did this to stop other apps using it to pretend to be an official siri app (cloning of a popular apps icon seems to happen a lot on the Android play store, not sure if it happens much on the Apple side but i presume it does).
So its quite logical really, even if it appears to be a bit absurd on reading the sensationalist headlines.
I would add that it would be better if the patent/trademark/whatever was for the EXACT icon image (colours/shape/shading etc) and not 1000`s of variations that look vaguely the same.
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