back to article Firms fight over universal remote control patents

One For All remote control maker Universal Electronics (UEI) has begun legal action against Logitech after the manufacturer of Harmony remote controls refused to re-license a number of its patents. Logitech maintains that the intellectual properties in question, which it did license in 2004, no longer apply to its products. …

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Alert

17 patents?

Crazy

There really should be NO patents on something as simple and obvious.

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Agreed

How hard can it be to do little more that replay an IR signal?

Heck, my old PalmPilot could record IR signals and play them back. Great for annoying people. :-)

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Happy

The Harmony does more than just replaying IR

Push a button once, and it cleverly does everything in the right order so that the correct items are switch onto the correct settings.

Don't know if this is anything to do with the patents, but it's definitely something a bit more than just replaying IR

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Macros then

Bloody obvious (from keystrokes to mouse events; it's all been done before), and IIRC the old Palm could do that too.

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Well..

There's a case for *a* patent - the invention of the IR remote itself. Maybe stretch a point for a learning remote.. but 17 patents is indeed nuts.

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Can I patent pitching a brick

as a means and method for permanently switching off any television, or any audiovisual playback or recording device, or any other device controlled by IR remote control, or any other electromagnetic or ultrasonic means, without any learning involved?

Just a thought

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Universal remote

That was invented years before IR remotes. It was called getting the person closest to the device to press the button. My father was particularly good at it.

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Flame

Meh, Harmony remotes..

I'm normally against patenting trivial stuff like this but I wouldn't mind seeing Logitech lose this one. I had a Logitech Harmony for about 18 months & have been left feeling burned by the whole deal. It wasn't cheap, the supplied software was junk & the whole experience of using it was frustratingly slow (did you know you can change the intra-button delay to as little as 100 milliseconds? That's still too bloody slow). When the most used buttons started to wear out I was disappointed to say the least. Being something of an electronics tech I thought "hmm, probably just needs the switches cleaned or summat". Nope. The most-used buttons (volume up/down, channel up/down etc) are bits of bent tin held captive under a piece of sticky white plastic, while the lesser-used button groups are made with a conductive rubber mat - exactly the sort found in 99% of remotes which stand daily use for aeons.

So, Logitech can burn in hell for all I care. I'd honestly expect a £100 remote to feature *proper* switches, not the bit of bent tin held in place by sticky tape trick those awful credit-card sized remotes use.

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My old Mid range harmony remote

Has worked perfectly for 7+ years except for the 6 button which was broke when I got it and I never bothered to exchange it.

During that time its worked perfectly and can transmit faster than my newest AV equipment can react.

The website which was a little clunky at times has been much faster in the last few years.

About the only complaint I have is that the newer mid range remotes are limited to too few pieces of equipment compared to my old model.

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HP-48

My HP 48 calculator worked just fine as a remote. Sadly it was lost in a flood.

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Anonymous Coward

One more time, with feeling...

The patent system needs fixing.

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Coat

why cant they...

Live in harmony and have one patent for all their remotes .

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Ultrasound

"There's a case for *a* patent - the invention of the IR remote itself. Maybe stretch a point for a learning remote"

Actually they are a copies of the Ultrasonic remotes. Hence the the choice of 35kHz to 43kHz for "carrier" frequency.

There is some cleverness about "learning" a code. Having a pre-built library is simple.

There was a radio in 1930s with motor drive for "memories" and a "wireless" remote. But there was no "learning version".

I don't think one-4-all was 1st learning or universal remote.

Personally I think the Harmony Remotes and higher end "one-4-alls" are grossly overpriced. But that's another story.

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Ultrasound remotes

I am old enough to remember those things!

We had a mid 1960's color tv with a 4 button ultrasound remote.

My older brother, being a ham radio operator, was curious as to what frequencies the remote used. One day, he borrowed a friend's AF generator. He started it at 20kHz and kept on increasing the frequency, and all of a sudden the volume stepped from low to medium, then high, and then finally off. He found the volume control frequency. Continuing up, he found the mute, channel up and channel down control frequencies.

The "interesting" part of this remote control was that NO BATTERIES WERE REQUIRED!

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Joke

I'm confused

Which one is iOS powered and which one is Android powered?

If I don't know that, how can I know which company to attack and which to defend irrespective of the merits of this particular case?

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