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Can You Say Prior Art?

September 23, 2010 6:16:52.397

More evidence that the patent system is completely broken - Apple has been sued over iTunes being able to download video. The patent was granted in 2009, and according to a quick Google search, the company that filed the patent has only existed since about 2005. Wikipedia tells me that iTunes was launched in January of 2001, aqnd video support was added in May of 2005. So.... the timing at least is odd. Never mind pre-existing systems based on RSS enclosures.

Generally speaking, there are two issues with this suit so far as I can tell:

  • The PTO never should have granted the patent based on prior art
  • The company given the patent hasn't implemented anything based on it

That second aspect is what I find really stupid. If a software patent can be granted based on nothing more than an idea, then we're all doomed to a future of endless litigation and stupid patents.

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posted by James Robertson

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