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back to article Apple wins patent for entrance to retail store

Apple has been granted a patent for the cylindrical entryway into its flagship retail store in the Lujiazui district of Shanghai's Pudong sector. Apple's retail store in the Lujiazui district of Shanghai's Pudong sector Shanghai's cylindrical variant of New York City's Apple store glass entrance cube The US Patent and …

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Erm..

Did Apple just patent the greenhouse?

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Re: Erm..

They sure did! The U.S.A. has very ignorant government workers on average, so file your patent now!

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Re: Erm..

Apple innovates again!

I cant wait to see what they will invent next. Of course I already have, but when Apple invents it again I will be very, very impressed.

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Re: Erm..

Is the pyramid at the Louvre patented?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Erm..

That looks distinctly similar to the design of the Mac Pro?

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Stop

Re: Erm..

No.

The quote in the article is from the summary, not the claims.

What they actually have patented is "A glass building, comprising: a plurality of curved glass panels disposed adjacent to each other to form a cylinder...".

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Re: Erm..

I have seen quite a few lifts ( smaller than that, I have to admit ) in shopping centres pretty much everywhere. Do I need to find a good lawyer for my retinas?

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Re: Erm..

>" since the USPTO feels that Apple is entitled to a patent on the techniques used to fabricate it."

For crying out loud. Look: it's not a difficult concept. You can not patent the cardboard box, but should you develop a new way of manufacturing a cardboard box then it is fair that you are able to patent the process.

I'm not sure why the above commentards think they are experts on architectural construction techniques all of a sudden.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Erm..

that's why they are shutdown now.

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@ Dave 126 Re: Erm..

Are you saying that replicating these:

http://www.universalelevator.com/UEC.Round.Glass.Elevator.jpg

http://www.superyachtnews.com/articles/Picture%202_4548.png

http://www.gbh-design.de/img_lb/Lehrter_elevator.jpg

deserves a patent just because it doesn't move up and down?

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Re: Erm..

@Dave 126

More a commentary on the total lack of information about what apple actuay inented in the article. Usual half assed reg reporting at its best.

You don't expect folk to comment on the article a competent news source might have written or done their own research do you?

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Re: Erm..

"For crying out loud. Look: it's not a difficult concept. You can not patent the cardboard box, but should you develop a new way of manufacturing a cardboard box then it is fair that you are able to patent the process."

While I agree with you in principle unfortunately, although there are claims which make some specific sizing and construction points, the base claim is (as usual with patents) ridiculously broad - and should not have been granted IMO (even in the absence of prior art, which is unlikely, obviousness should have applied). Certain highly specific claims may have more chance, but i'm part way through reading it and so far there is nothing described that i've not seen, not heard / had previously discussed or not obvious (e.g. glass support beams, cylinder or fins) based on even my limited experience of actual buildings, construction / engineering / architectural (which I have an interest in) techniques and materials. Here is the first claim on which things are based.

"1. A glass building, comprising: a plurality of curved glass panels disposed adjacent to each other to form a cylinder, a cylindrical support disposed about a central longitudinal axis of the building; a plurality of first glass beams, each extending from the panels to the cylindrical support; and a plurality of second glass beams, each extending from the panels to the central longitudinal axis of the building, wherein each panel comprises a monolithic glass piece, wherein each glass piece is substantially rectangular and comprises two opposing long sides extending in a height direction and two opposing short sides extending substantially in a width direction, wherein each glass piece forms an identical circular arc when viewed from either of the two opposing short sides, and wherein at least one glass piece extends from a base of the building exterior to above at least a portion of a roof beam supporting a roof of the building. "

From an initial look at the rest of the claims, most of them i've seen so far are just bollocks frankly.

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Re: Erm..

"A glass building, comprising: a plurality of curved glass panels disposed adjacent to each other to form a cylinder"

So the BFI Imax in London then? GG Apple.

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And ...

As soon as Apple find out who's responsible for that big glass building in Norwood (you know, the one that burned down in 1936), they've got a suit coming too ...

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Norwood

For the benefit of our American readers, that is Norwood in South London, not Norwood, Mass.

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This rounded corners thing is getting ridiculous.

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Coat

Next thing, they'll accuse consumers of not entering the store correctly.

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Only if the customers complain of a bad reception.

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"Apple's crack legal team may come a-knockin' at your front door"

They have to throw lawsuits since it would be unwise to throw stones.

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Anonymous Coward

Next up... a meta-patent

Apple patents the Fandroid-Winder-Upper, which begins with a patent application...

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Apparently the USPTO did not google

Something googling "glass buildings" brought up:

http://www.thecoolist.com/glass-buildings-15-creative-uses-of-glass-in-architecture/

See in particular the dramatically curved National Grand Theater of China ...

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Apparently the USPTO did not google

Not to mention the Crystal Palace

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The Apple Hajj

All the Apple worshipers have to make a pilgrimage at least once in their lives and walk around the glass cylinder.

These companies have such an inflated sense of themselves and their products.

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Re: The Apple Hajj

Clockwise or counter-clockwise, barefoot or sandalled?

Are stones allowed? (to stone the devil: Samsung)

Fandroids gotta know.

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Re: The Apple Hajj

a pilgrimage at least once in their lives

Only once in their lives? I'm sure that in the Book of Jobs it actually says "once a year, otherwise ye will just not be cool".

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Happy

Does The Government Shut Down Affect The US PTO?

It might appear that the US Government shut down may affect the pay of the USPTO. In which case I do hope they may be hard at work since they may be getting paid exactly what they may be worth.

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Re: Does The Government Shut Down Affect The US PTO?

Unfortunately it does not.

All US govt agencies which are self-supported by fees are fully operational. This includes USPTO, visa issuing (but not immigration checks), etc.

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The US PTO has about 28 days of reserve funding

I glanced at an (incomplete) list. US PTO had the longest reserve. Second place had 14 days. Perhaps diverting R&D budgets to lawyers is critical to the funding of congress critters.

The bit that got me was the quoted paragraph. If a feature may be part of an invention, then a product that lacks the feature is still covered by the patent. Try that paragraph again without the optional features:

The invention relates ... to a building made using building panels.

That is all that is left. According to this one paragraph, glass, layers, curves, fins, beams, fittings and a roof are not required to infringe this patent. Apple have patented the garden fence - among other things. With work like this, why does the PTO get any funding at all? If lawyers want a patent system, they should fund the PTO themselves. While we are at it, deny them access to the courts. They can publish free abstracts of what a patent achieves, and charge people who want to read about how it is done.

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Prior art at the Louvre?

I admit that I have not read the patent itself, but the parts quoted in the article seem to cover the Louvre pyramid. Glass panels, glass roof, "connected by a plurality of fittings", etc. The pyramid is an entrance, too.

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Yet more prior art? Ever been to the Louvre?

One of the more public entrances, and definitely not the quickest, to the Louvre in Paris, has an iconic glass entrance - I.M. Pei’s glass pyramid.

Has Apple run out of creativity, that is, non-lawyer creativity?

P.S. The Carousel du Louvre (99 Rue de Rivoli) is an underground shopping mall in Paris and has an entrance to the Louvre. It has automatic ticket machines. Another entrance is the Porte des Lions, but I digress.

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Pint

Erm...

I can't see why this deserves a patent... A copyright on the design, maybe... but I don't see this as an INVENTION... merely a different visual presentation...

Gotta be wine o'clock somewhere... where's my wine glass El Reg?

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Re: Erm...

With you on this. Patenting buildings is silly. You normally patent the means of fabrication. But then this is the USPTO we're talking about, proof that the spirit of Monty Python is alive and well.

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If Apple can patent that I'm gonna patent everything I can think of, chairs, doors, tables...

I'm gonna be RICH!

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Already submitting my patent "A process whereby one ca enter and exis ta room via an absence of material in the external structure leading to the interior. This abscence of material may be replaced with a wooden, metal, plastic, glass or any other solid object, shaped to fill the gap and attached to one side of said absence of material via a set of hinges. Other methods for filling the abscene may include two sets of solid objects which may slide on runners in order to open up a percentage of the width of the material absence, or a rotary device which allows people entry by spinning on a central axis.

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Anonymous Coward

May?

So, the building may be constructed from glass panels. Presumably that means it also may not be. Which means Apple just patented buildings in general.

We all now have to go back to living in caves, unless they've already patented that.

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Stop

To all commentards:

El Reg journalists have on numerous occasions published articles giving the impression that large companies (with Apple as the most obvious example) try to patent old things. Said journalists do so by quoting any part of the patent text they find amusing.

What they don't do is quote the appropriate parts of the patent text.

As I have written earlier about this article; the quote in the article is from the summary, not the claims.

The word "may" in the claims would never survive a legal test and Apple´s patent lawyers know this (unless it is much more carefully used).

Having said that, I don't agree with Big Business policies of patenting anything that can make them money, but please comment on the right issues (such as the good and bad sides of patents), not an illusion of evil companies created by taking quotes out of context.

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Re: To all commentards:

So do you, or do you not, approve of the patenting of a building? Because to me, and pretty much any right-thinking person (including most commenters here) it seems ludicrous.

Patent a method of joining glass panels, fine. Patent a method of manufacture of curved glass panels, fine. Patent a method of erecting the panels on site, fine.

Copyright the overall look of the building, fine.

You can't copyright a widget, and you shouldn't be able to patent an architectural design or work of art. But clearly someone has made a judgement call that patents are more valuable than copyright, and they're firing off every single thing they've done to see what sticks.

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Re Re: To all commentards:

I personally do not approve of patenting of a building, nor do I agree with US PTO on what constitutes an inventive step or for that matter their definition of "obvious to a person skilled in the art".

However, saying that Apple has tried to patent a garden fence based on the summary of this patent is to me going a bit too far.

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Mushroom

plurality

If you see that word in a patent, then it's obviously bogus...

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I'm curious?

Where's the restroom? How do they take a piss? Do all Apple employees wear diapers?

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Re: I'm curious?

They don't take any old 'a' piss, they take fully patented 'the' piss. It's a high-end piss, as you can tell from the golden colour.

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Re: the golden colour.

I thought it was 'champagne'?

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Re: the golden colour.

For more informed consumers

They understand these are synonymous for the brand

All I see is another slow trudging decline to the small end of town for Apple.

They have managed to do it with every other product they have had and I don't see

that changing.

As usual Apple have no grey area in their assumed brilliance..

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plurality or pluralities

Its about time the word 'plurality', when used in a patent claim, were established as a sufficient and automatic reason to invalidate the claim. Along with the rest of the tedious language and writing conventions that usually combine to make content and meaning unintelligible to almost everyone 'skilled in the art' of the field to which the patent purports to apply.

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There is a rogue country

There is a country which issues patents on obvious things, has a large population of religious extremists, has a huge arsenal of nuclear weapons and no functioning government... Something needs to be done. Can anyone please call the UN Security Council?

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Anonymous Coward

American Idiots

If I remember correctly, some time ago, they (some company - I think Monsanto) wanted to patent Basmati rice and neem leaves whihc have grown i South Asia since millenia !

Rascals, these Merkins.

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Apple better be ready to give me a big payout.

I've applied for a patent for "as system by which a sovereign state may grant a set of exclusive rights to an inventor or their assignee for a limited period of time, in exchange for the public disclosure of the invention."

I've patented the patent.

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The glass entrance is only meant to distract from the HSBC sign in the background, dubbed the world's most incompetent bank.

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Facepalm

And for their next trick...

.... Apple will patent the door...

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