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back to article Apple is granted a patent on the rectangle. No, really

Thinking of making a thing that is portable, has a display and is rectangular with rounded corners? Well, DON'T! You'll be infringing Apple's new design patent. Apple already owns a design that describes an iPad-like slab with rounded corners, patent US D627,777. Now it's got another one and it's much simpler: behold US D670,286 …

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Meh

Piss the taking

Rearrange these words into a well known 3 word phrase.

Anyway, my cats chase a laser pointer they can see, unlike the invisible one cited in the patent. So if they want payment they can go swivel.

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Stop

Signs...

That apple really are going slowly mad.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Signs...

Going?

This was filed in 2010. By now they are all well and truly raving loonies. They are currently engaged in filing new patents for some revolutionary ideas such as a shape made up of 3 sides of variable length with the corners rounded off, a shape made up of 4 sides all of equal length with rounded corners and their proudest moment which shall probably never be surpassed a shape made of just 1 continuous rounded corner.

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OMG the D U M B S H IT E!!!

How can nobody see that these MORONS and CRIMINALS are RUNNING RINGS around innovation????

Jesus, how STUPID are people!

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Alien

Why...

Why, oh why, does no one put a stop to this?

If we are being watched by intelligent life out there then what must they be thinking of us?

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Alien

Re: Why...

"Hmm.... this primate civilization is being overtaken by dumbasses and lawyers - Oh hell. Prepare Krytonic Rays, we don't wanna stay any longer than necessary."

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Re: Why...

Why, oh why, does no one put a stop to this?

They're still figuring out a way to patent it.

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Boffin

Re: Why...

I shall invent a device to accelerate and collide lawyers and priests at relativistic speeds, and place it in the public domain.

I wonder what esoteric particles would be produced?

Suggestions on a postcard:-

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Boffin

Re: Why...

I wonder what esoteric particles would be produced?

Three different bogons: "up yours", "down with'em" and "strangle"

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Alert

Lasers...

Can I have a patent for a method to exercise patent officers using a laser, please?

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Joke

Re: Lasers...

no, that's obvious from the cat patent, now if we change that to execute...

I do have to neg the article in one respect, there are actually SIX different patents on playing with cats with a laser pointer!

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Re: Lasers...

Or better still:

"A device to entertain intelligent life-forms by executing lawyers using an autonomous high-powered laser device."

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Mushroom

glad really....

I am glad really that I dont live or work in the US of A where this patent means jack shit....

apple will push so hard with these stupid US patents that the amount of paper will become so densely packed in the US patent office that it will implode into its own gravity field creating a small black hole, just about big enough that its event horizon rests on the US boarders. in effect removing itself from the planet... sort of like a country wide "Darwin Award"

Let the rest of the world carry on with business as usual.....

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Re: glad really....

can I recommend 'After America' by John Birmingham then? It describes pretty much exactly that.

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FAIL

It's too generic a shape

Pure and simple. Coca-Cola bottles? Sure.

The noise Harley-Davidsons make? Sure (although I will admit, it may have been trade-mark or copyright).

These are both unique and clearly identify something (not going to argue the toss about patent being the correct tool, just that these two example are unique).

But a rectangle with rounded corners though? A generic shape? That already was is use for a myriad of hand-held objects....really?

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Happy

Prior art?

What about weetabix?

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Coat

felines fit as a fiddle

Catgut doesn't exactly conjure up an image of feline fitness.

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Devil

Damn

It looks like I'll have to pay royalties on all my placemats!

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nmc
WTF?

Cat exerciser & Microsoft

Forget the issue of Apple and rectangles - it's getting a bit stale.

I'm more bemused by the connection between Microsoft and the laser cat exerciser.

If you look at the patent for the laser kitty pesterer you see that it references a number of other patents and is referenced in turn by a Microsoft patent US8181265 - "A method and computer-readable medium for deterring software piracy in a volume license environment."

I've been trying to think of some plausible connection between these two patents - especially if you link it with one of the cited patents:- US5194007 "The United States of America as represented by the Secretary of the Navy Semiconductor laser weapon trainer and target designator for live fire" then the mind begins to boggle.

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Re: Cat exerciser & Microsoft

I've been trying to think of some plausible connection between these two patents

Easy!

Microsoft produce software (allegedly!)

Software is used to watch YouTube videos.

YouTube was created to watch "funny" (allegedly!) cat/kitten videos.

Cats/kittens chasing laser pointers are "funny" (allegedly)

Therefore MS own the kitty laser chase exercise patent.

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Anonymous Coward

If I go to the USPTO to try and view the orignal patent document I'm forced to install a plugin...Apple Quicktime.

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Uh?

Am I missing some important detail that causes this to make any sense?

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Re: Uh?

Yes you seam to have missed the bit that its in Wonderland^W America

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FAIL

surely there is some way...

... to have this sort of nonsense overturned on appeal. This can't continue.

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El Reg are GENIUSES!

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2012/04/01/apple_patent/

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Bonkers

SURELY the US patent office must be corrupt and taking back handers, no one is this stupid right?

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Anonymous Coward

AHHHHGGGGGGGG

Makes me glad to NOT live in the US of A...

Who the hell approved such a patent??

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Trollface

Meanwhile, in Beijing...

not a single fuck was given.

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WTF?

Apple would have a difficult time seeking compensation for this patent.

There is so much prior art, that whomever allowed this patent to even be submitted must have been comatose when they rubber stamped it.

Any court, when faced with the plethora of prior art, would invalidate Apple's patent. It probably wouldn't even cost that much money. Give the courts a box full of thin rectangular devices with rounded corners that were invented before Apple applied for the patent, and ask them to chose one at random.

Hint: almost any episode of Star Trek TNG would suffice.

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Pint

prior art

but what if the jugde said that they couldn't show the prior art to the jury, then you might get some stupid judgement, giving stupid damages. Could even be in the region of a billion dollars!

I know, I know, that would never happen....

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Go

iMoebus

Courtesy of 1 Infinite Loop.

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Headmaster

Playing cards

All playing cards need to be withdrawn and redesigned quickly then.

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Facepalm

Now If....

Only Stanley Kubrik was still around, I'd be suing Apple for copying his black rectangle from 2001: A Space Odyssey.

This is Madness!

Madness? This is Cupertino! o.O

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Anonymous Coward

Hey Carlos...

dee dee dee

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So when does their filing of a flat surface go through too?

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Trollface

Acurate

Well at least they decided to include the scratches on this one.

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A patent is not a good idea

Quiz: Answer the following question: At its most basic, a patentable invention is:

1. A great idea

2. A solution to a problem

3. Both of the above

4. None of the above

The correct answer is "4. None of the above."

If you visit the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) site (www.uspto.gov) you will quickly see that many patents are neither great ideas or solutions to any real problem.

The Patent Office only verifies that the description and claims, AS DESCRIBED by their inventors or patent attorneys, are new, unique, and not obvious to the Patent Office.

The examiners DO NOT verify that an invention actually works or that it can ever be, built. They try only to correctly verify that the invention is patentable and has not already been patented.

From "Intellectual property. Everything you wanted to know but were afraid of being told… " at http://www.ciri.org.nz/downloads/Intellectual%20Property.pdf

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Just shows that Apple is completely running out of ideas so they have to try and patent something that's been around since Roman times.

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Boffin

As I keep explaining...

I hold the patents on 'respiration', 'cell osmosis', 'mitosis as a method of reproducing lifeforms', and 'ATP transportation of chemical energy within cells for metabolism.'

As such, I don't ask for much, I just demand that Apple CEASE AND DESIST from infringing my patents.

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FAIL

ahhhhhhhh

Now I see what Samsung have copied. Clearly they were wrong to copy this newly patented design.

And since that time travel patent they submitted next week was approved last year they'll have no more problems in court.

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We only need someone to patent a rectangle with square corners and thats the market f****d for sure

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Anonymous Coward

Won't work in the UK afaik.

A patent isn't valid if it's already been publically demo'd, or so I thought.

Thus, if anything has ever been rectangular, with rounded corners, then it can't be patented.

Or am I wrong?

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Anonymous Coward

Dear Reg

See those "upvote" and "downvote" buttons? Dodgy ground...

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Alert

Good Golly, Miss Molly!

I thought no one could beat the joke found here:

http://www.theonion.com/articles/microsoft-patents-ones-zeroes,599/

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Facepalm

What kind of FK'd UP people work in the patent office?

There HAS to be some bribing and under the table funding going on for these kinds of simpleton patents to be approved.

It's as if Apple is a rotten spoiled child and is trying to see how far they can test the level of stupidity of the people in this organization.

People need to start getting shot for this kind of blatant stupidity. If there are zero consequences then how can you expect people to abide by reasonable expectations of society.

Ok, In all serious now, this just shows how FK'd UP this system has become. I think there needs to be some serious investigations into the ethics of the Patent Office employees.

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A 3
WTF?

Applicability to UK?

In the UK you may register a design (it's not considered a patent) these are the rules...

For its registration to be valid, a design must:

* be new

* have individual character.

A design is considered to be 'new' if no identical (or very similar) design has been published or publicly disclosed in the UK or the European Economic Area (EEA). For example, a design would not be considered new if it had been 'published' on an Internet website viewable in the EEA before the date it was filed. However, you can apply to register a design in the UK up to 12 months after the designer first discloses it.

The term 'identical' covers designs whose features differ only in 'immaterial details'.

Individual character means that the appearance of the design (known as the overall impression) is different from the appearance of other already known designs.

This is assessed from the view of the "informed user", a person who is familiar with the kind of product in question, and the amount of design freedom will be taken into account.

You may not be able to register your design if:

* It is not a design by legal definition as described above

* It is offensive

* It consists of, or includes, certain protected flags and international emblems

* It is solely dictated by the product's technical function

(source : http://www.ipo.gov.uk/types/design/d-about/d-whatis.htm)

In the UK I think Apple's 'patent' fails on almost every count plus the attempt to patent this is offensive. However I do encourage them to try, It will be amusing to see them humiliated in the press and their own web site again.

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Anonymous Coward

Swinging a swing sideways was also patented!!

http://patft.uspto.gov/netacgi/nph-Parser?Sect1=PTO1&Sect2=HITOFF&d=PALL&p=1&u=%2Fnetahtml%2FPTO%2Fsrchnum.htm&r=1&f=G&l=50&s1=6368227.PN.&OS=PN/6368227&RS=PN/6368227

Fortunately all the claims were later overturned, but this WAS granted initially !!! My kids are relieved that they don't have to pay royalties in our back yard anymore !!!

I keep wanting to contact the author to ask if he did this as a joke just to show how F^%*ed up the patent system is.

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Devil

Patent complainers 50% likely to have caused the problems with patents

I'll bet half (or more) of the people commenting about how the patent office is stupid, then vote for governments that promise to cut taxes and reduce regulation and the public service.

So, you are getting what you voted for. For years the patent offices have not had the manpower to investigate each patent before accepting it, due to reductions in resources, and the increasing number of applications. Instead, the only mechanism left to them is to pass on the responsibility for evaluating patents to the court system. They check the paperwork is filled out, and let the "free market" fight it out.

So, stop voting for conservative "we will reign in the crazy spending" politicians, and you might instead get a government that can "reign in the crazy patents" by spending to support the patent office.

Instead of leaving the industry to "self-regulate" via the court battles. While we all suffer from the "collateral damage" it is doing to innovation and putting up the prices of equipment (that $1B for Apple has to come from someone somewhere buying Samsung products!).

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