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back to article Apple granted patent for microphone silhouette

As if further proof were needed that something is broken at the US Patent and Trademark Office, it took a full 411 days for their staffers to grant Apple a design patent for iOS's Siri voice-recognition icon. Not the Siri technology itself, mind you, but merely its microphone-in-a-circle silhouette icon. Design patent D671,558 …

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Joke

Re: Not only is the patent pointless but it's worthless

That someone who says this:

"It isn't a patent at all, it' s a design patent"

can with a straight face go on to call someone else a "moron" is a great source of amusement to me.

And here's your ticket for the clue train: What I was suggesting wasn't practical advice, more like commentary on the whole stupid lawyer go round that this relies upon in order for the patent trolls/bullies to be able to make the system work to their advantage.

Get on board and enjoy the ride. :)

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Meh

Dear Reg...

When you run stories on Apple "patents", please point out that a US "design patent" is, apparently, what everybody else calls a "registered design".

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Re: Dear Reg...

Indeed. I was wondering when someone would notice that design/copyright/trademarks are not the same (and should never be) as Patents.

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Barmy

Bloody stupid. A patent on what is little more than a stylised illustration of a well-known item?

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Re: Barmy

No. Because it isn't. Pay attention.

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Re: Barmy

Yes it is. Please elaborate why it isn't. I see nothing here that is actually patentable, despite having been given one. It is merely a picture. Copyright might enter into it......... but a patent? Someone has to be joking or Apple have even more influence with their first rate cattle excrement than I thought.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Barmy

say after me

Design patent,

Design patent,

Design patent.

Got it yet?

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Paris Hilton

Re: Barmy

No.

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Re: Barmy

A US "Design Patent" is what the civilised world calls a "Registered Design"

That's somewhat similar to a trademark.

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Re: Barmy

It... is... NOT... a... PATENT

It is a design patent.

Clear enough?

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Happy

Re: Barmy

Ah.. got it - as it is patently a design, it gets a design patent. Though I have also registered from what you wrote on theregister that what the Americans call a design patent, we would call a registered design, by design, presumably. Thank you for being so pat[i]ent.

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Re: Barmy

Me neither

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Facepalm

My HP 6730b laptop has this icon, sans the circle, right alongside the hole for the condenser mike. I'll go find a razor blade to scrape it off. I don't want to harm Apple in any way shape or form as they exude corporate integrity and should be placed on a pedestal.

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Silver badge

Well, my Pavilion dv6 has the symbol you describe next to the microphone socket.

But there are two differences, one is that the HP microphone graphic doesn't have the circle around it, so would be substantially different from the Apple icon, the second is that the Apple icon design is registered for use on-screen rather than being printed on a physical object.

I think your HP paintwork is safe!

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Coat

Isnt that colour CADBURY BLUE!!!!!

I see another lawsuit looming.

Mine's the one with the pockets full of unmeltable chocolate.

(Actually, its not- I've had unmeltable chocolate and it is mank!!)

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Facepalm

So now, what are the chances of the USPTO granting a patent of an icon illustrating the cross-sectional view of an egg in an egg cup?

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>>> So now, what are the chances of the USPTO granting a patent of an icon illustrating the cross-sectional view of an egg in an egg cup?

None. Because that isn't patentable.

You might get a useful design patent or registered design. Consult your IP attorney.

Next question?

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Terminology

Is a design patent in the US not the same as a registered design here?

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Re: Terminology

Yes

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Middle finger raised.

Im sorry but you have inadvertently contravened my patent clause please take that back or I will sue.

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Anonymous Coward

Looks like a sponge finger in a sundae glass.

They can keep it.

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On the positive side....

If Apple were to try and invoke their "patent rights" to sue some European company for abusing "their" logo then I'm pretty confident that the case will be laughed out of court.

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Devil

Re: On the positive side....

The equivalent of a US design patent is not called such in the EU. They might have a crack on the grounds of their community design, if any. Didn't bother to check if they had one, did you?

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Standing on the shoulders of giants

The patent cites this image (dated Monday, 22-Jun-09 11:46:11 PDT) as prior art:

http://www.clker.com/clipart-29058.html

Apple appear to have directly copied the shape of this image and surrounded it with concentric circles to make it 'unique and distinctive'.

I cannot imagine how even Apple's highly paid expert witnesses could defend a lawsuit against something with just a microphone - like, for example the Dolphin Voice Search icon on my android phone.

Also IMHO the design patent looks more like the prior art than it looks like the siri icon, so it could be argued that the competition could freely use something very similar to the siri icon. The UK court recently pointed out that the case was about copying the design patent, not copying the iPhone.

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That icon has been in Skype for years.

Like I said; that icon has been in Skype for years.

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Anonymous Coward

If the Swiss can patent a clock face and force Apple to pay up, Apple is just using the system the same way when patenting the Siri icon design.

Ps: Apple has used that microphone icon since the Macintosh IIsi launched with built-in audio recording in 1990.

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So then that is prior art.

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Devil

Whatever the Swiss clock case involved, it wasn't patents.

It might have been designs, and probably copyright.

Apple isn't "using the [patent] system" because IT ISN'T A PATENT.

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Stop

Apple isn't "using the [patent] system" because IT ISN'T A PATENT

You know, the best way of stopping all this confusion, would be to stop using the word Patent in reference to a registered design. It's not stupid to read the phrase "design patent" and assume it's a patent, it is stupid to call something a "design patent" when it isn't a patent.

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Flame

FFS, get it right..

It should never have been patented, as it's not a bloody invention, it's a graphical symbol, and instead therefore should have been copyrighted or even registered as a trade mark. Even if there's prior art that will prevent that from happening, of course.

Sodding USPTO. Always fucking up.

Sunshine, one bucket of, orbital delivery to USPTO HQ. The only way to be sure.

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Devil

Re: FFS, get it right..

It wasn't patented. They registered a design patent.

Try again, dumbarse.

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Time for El Reg to extend the icon set

It's intellectual property, and it might make a shit-load of money. Give up what you are doing now and get working on IP! I for one would be happy to pay a license fee for every comment, especially considering that we can now earn virtual base metals for our efforts.

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Anonymous Coward

"The "Inventors" of the microphone silhouette are listed as Freddy Anzures and Alessandro Francesco Sabatelli. The Reg salutes their artistic achievement."

El Reg, WTF?

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Ever heard of sarcasm?

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Facepalm

Why doesn't someone just design patent a pixel...

and be done with it?

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WTF?

Can't they tell the difference between patent and trademark any more? How is an icon "a process"?

As for prior art - try Larry King. Okay, it isn't an "icon" per say, but when viewed it is an arrangement of pixels which is quite similar...

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So its like a trademark rather than a patent, I get that, but even so its very generic.

I presume they did this to stop other apps using it to pretend to be an official siri app (cloning of a popular apps icon seems to happen a lot on the Android play store, not sure if it happens much on the Apple side but i presume it does).

So its quite logical really, even if it appears to be a bit absurd on reading the sensationalist headlines.

I would add that it would be better if the patent/trademark/whatever was for the EXACT icon image (colours/shape/shading etc) and not 1000`s of variations that look vaguely the same.

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FAIL

Huh?

Surely, this is a matter for copyright and not patent?

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