Saturday, January 26, 2008

Smartphones patented - everyone sued a minute later

This has to be one the funniest things I've read for ages. Apparently a company called Minerva took out a US patent on essentially a "mobile phone with removable storage, an internet connection, a camera and the ability to download audio or video files". It was accepted and formally made live on Tuesday.

At one minute past midnight on Tuesday, the patent holding company then simultaneously filed lawsuits against Apple, Nokia, RIM, Sprint, AT&T, HP, Motorola, Helio, HTC, Sony Ericsson, UTStarcomm, Samsung and others. More info here.

7 comments:

The Last Boy Scout said...

Now that is thinking outside of the box.

anthonynorth said...

Have you got a new toy, Dizzy? You've got mobiles on the mind today.

poons said...

whoever came up with that beauty must have chronic elephantitis cos that takes massive balls

Scary Biscuits said...

It just goes to show the irrelevance of patents in the modern world. The Patent Offices are just another corrupt government organisation.

They keep pushing the boundaries of what can be patented to increase their income (they don't pay the litigants legal costs).

We have lost sight of why patent (and copyright) law were created. They weren't created for the benefit of inventors but for the benefit of society. It is in society's interest that somobody who spends 10 years developing a product (e.g. Dyson) should be rewarded for his labour.

It is clearly not in society's interest that the increasingly whimsical items submitted for patents are protected. Patents are now generally acting against the public interest by stifling innovation.

Worse, patents don't protect vulnerable inventors because anybody with deep pockets will generally win in the current system regardless of merit (Dyson was very lucky and only just managed to hang on to his patents).

Therefore their scope should be drastically reduced or even abolished altogether.

The same should be done for copyright, particularly music. It is ridiculous that a song recorded in an afternoon by say, Cliff Richard gets 70 years' protection. It's just a way of making the rich richer at everybody else's expense whilst simultaneously keeping young talent out of the market.

Arthur Dent said...

Almost certainly an urban myth, as any fule kno you can't patent any pre-existing device, or even an idea for a device that has entered the public domain.

dizzy said...

Yes, the patent link to the US patent government website is only an illussion

Arthur Dent said...

Novelty is a fundamental principle of all patent law.

"Novelty is a patentability test, according to which an invention is not patentable if it was already known before the date of filing, or before the date of priority if a priority is claimed, of the patent application"

http://www.uspto.gov/web/offices/pac/doc/general/novelty.htm

Since this patent has apparently been approved by the US Patent Office it must have buried in the verbiage some novel application, currently not available in existing objects. As such, it would not be possible to win a patent infringement case against a current manufacturer, although you could, of course, file a complaint and generate lots of publicity from gullible bloggers.