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back to article iPad voice app back after patent spat: Mute kids get 'voices' back

A judge has saved an app that helps disabled children to make themselves understood, ruling that the two warring sides in a patent dispute will have to come to a business agreement. iPad app Speak For Yourself will return to the App Store, after a year-long patent lawsuit from patent-holder Prentke Romich that has seen the app …

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FAIL

And being able to re-define keys is *such* an original, patentable idea.

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Anonymous Coward

PRC recently released almost exactly the same app too - a snip at $300......

Seems they've also managed to trademark LAMP without anyone noticing....

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And being able to re-define keys is *such* an original, patentable idea.

if it really is, it's going to cost Prof Hawkin a fortune every time he talks.

This patent nonsense needs to be nuked from orbit.

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JDX
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@Christoph

I assume you're well versed in how these apps work, rather than simply making an ignorant comment after reading "re-definable keyboard" with no understanding of what it involves?

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Re: @Christoph

Given different bits of the iPad screen do different things at different times, if anything the "keyboard" of a touchscreen devices seems to be re-definable by its very nature, and thus the idea that you can change one part of the screen to do something else seems rather obvious here.

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FAIL

Someone else well versed in the arts of reductio ad absurdum

It's about a dynamic symbolic keyboard that redefines its self based on what has been typed previously, and it certainly wasn't obvious back in 1995.

Take a look at http://www.google.com/patents/US5748177

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Meh

Crikey

A Judge with common sense and a judgement that is more than fair.

What the hell is the world coming to!

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Re: Someone else well versed in the arts of reductio ad absurdum

> it certainly wasn't obvious back in 1995

and this is part of the problem. A patent stands for 20 years, regardless of whether it is hardware, software or the pace of innovation in the given areas. The question is whether such a period of time allows the patentee a good return on investment or just stifles innovation.

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Re: Someone else well versed in the arts of reductio ad absurdum

It's about a dynamic symbolic keyboard that redefines its self [sic] based on what has been typed previously, and it certainly wasn't obvious back in 1995.

I'd call it pretty obvious. It's just a stateful menu laid out in a multi-row grid. That sort of thing is commonplace in restaurant POS systems, for example, and those were commercially available in the mid-1990s. Prior to that you have UIs using technology such as the green-screen lightpen and "touch" [1] terminals that displayed hierarchical menus. Those are fairly close to what the patent describes.

Mind you, I'm not saying it's definitely not novel enough, particularly in the speech-synthesis application, to be worthy of a patent (if we're going to allow software patents at all). I'd need to do a lot more research before I arrived at a firm opinion either way. But I don't think it's nearly so clear-cut as "certainly wasn't obvious".

[1] Really "proximity-sense", using arrays of IR LEDs and photodetectors mounted parallel to the screen.

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jai
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what the deuce!?!?!

A patent law suit where the out come is a bit of common sense?

Is this the first sign on the coming of the end of the world or something? Next Hell will freeze over, seas will boil, the moon will be as blood, cats and dogs living together, seven seals being broken, harpers harping with their harps..... somebody tell us about the Twinkie!!

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Re: what the deuce!?!?!

Is it common sense? Detail is lacking in the article as to how much analysis of the patents in question was undertaken by the judge in finding that there were 2 "patent-infringements". Yet now the patent holders have a legal ruling that seems to state that their patents are valid.

I agree that *IF* the patents were valid, *THEN* this is a sensible judgement (although what's to stop the royalty demands from being very large?).

Unless of course the Speak-For-Yourself folks agreed that the patents were valid in their court submissions.

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Anonymous Coward

The patent holder was caught off-guard by the iPad app and has made their own similar app now. So using the patent in this case was anti-competitive.

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Anonymous Coward

Not true - they now pay the Patent Holder a chunk of cash per sale - and the validity of the Patents has not been tested....and of course, portable AAC devices get a few more years of heavy milking on the tax payer for no good reason.

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Not as heavy a milking of taxes as the previously existing Prentke Romich hardware+software product, which ran into the thousands of dollars per system.

Though one should point out that enabling these children to speak and interact with their peers increases their chances of employment (and contributing taxes) later in life.

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Hypocrisy?

Apple ... said it removed all applications with pending lawsuits attached to them as a matter of course

Applied entirely fairly, and to hardware as well as software, Apple disappears into a singularity, right?

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Nice to hear that this is over and the development team can now get back to supporting this app. At the time I called apple a bunch of twunts for suspending the app, I still stand by those comments. Only because I think this could of been handled in a better way.

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@ukgnome

I'm sure it's a legality. If Apple kept selling a known infringing app, they would be liable also. I'm sure Google does the same thing. So blame PRC, not Apple.

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Childcatcher

Re: @ukgnome

At the time it was only alleged to of infringed patents, it had not been to patent court to have this proved. Whilst I am sure they had a good case the fact remains that for a year the software was not been sold on the App store. Put simply in Daily Mail terms

Won't somebody think of the children.

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Sensible result.

It's this talking apple malarkey that's catching my attention more.

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