back to article Apple patents shopping lists

Apple has been granted a patent on organising shopping lists, but not on shopping itself despite appearances. At a glance the design does look like it covers lists of desired products, gathered by either scanning barcodes with a phone camera, waving a mobe over wireless NFC tags or typing in product descriptions. However, even …

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To most

people planning such a supply chain system this would be considered common sense.

To a patent official who may or may not get confused trying to find the "any key", it is rocket science.

OK I exaggerate the incompetence level of the average patent official to some small extent. But it does seem to me a certain kind of expertise is missing from amongst their ranks.

Turn the items in the shopping list into queued data requests from a browser for instance and it starts to look how routing on the Internet works.

At the risk of becoming even more abstract...T o a living room designer this kind of a system would be called Feng´-shu`i.

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Stop

Samsungs did it!

Samsungs did it!

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sounds to me like the traveling salesman...

clearly appple havent found a solution for problems solved in NP time (maybe a special subset iNP??)...

so can i sue them for wasting my time?

oh hang on they already have a patent for Siri... forget i spoke

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WTF?

Hang on a minute.....

So when I look at a list of items, decide where the best places are to look for them and then decide how to get there, the processes in my brain are infringing an Apple patent?

Sod that.

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Isn't this pretty much the same thing that Boris Johnson look alike that did the Apprentice put up and has actually started to get working without actually winning Lord Sugar's financial backing?

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fom the quality and detail of the diagram describing the patent, apple's engineers must get through many tub loads of wax-crayons when filling out the patent applications.

it is truly ludicrous, presumably they'll be sueing Amazon now for their wish lists and shopping cart, and no doubt, samsung for including NFC chips and tags in their phones (even before apple themselves have yet to do)

I dont mind people applying for and using patents to protect genuine products and systems,

Apple just seem to use a scattergun approach to patents on anything and vague ideas on the bag of their fag packets, whether or not they have a product in mind.

Then they use them to intimidate other mansufacturers from designing actual products and stifling any true innovation that might some along.

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The problem with all these patents..........

The problem with a lot of these Apple "patents" is that they *are* for obvious uses but the technology is so new the general population isn't given a moment's breath to think about innovative ways to use the technology to the benefit of others. I'm not saying barcode scanning on a mobile is new, just that it is new enough no one has really had much of a chance to play with it to date.

No doubt the data collection that goes on behind the scenes will be submerged in swathes of legal bullshit you have to agree to before being allowed to use the app - which will probably come installed by default - remember what happened to IE?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: The problem with all these patents..........

I think you'll find Apple is not the only company filling applications like this. So long as the patent system works the way it does, companies of any size are going to generate a constant stream to protect and and all scraps of intellectual property.

Do a search on Google, Microsoft, or anybody else and be equally outraged, depending of course on your preferences and prejudices

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Anonymous Coward

Re: The problem with all these patents..........

"The problem with a lot of these Apple "patents" is that they *are* for obvious uses "

Christ don't say that, the fannybois will be all over you!

(Flame away ladies)

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Mushroom

Re: The problem with all these patents...

is not the individual company, but the context within which manic patenting is occurring--one recently corrupted by lawyers/politicians camped at the margin introducing not-well-thought-out notions. In particular, software patents.

Where there's a frontier, it pays to arm yourself well, and there should be no surprise that companies of all stripes are land-grabbing because they're constrained by the context (the ever-expanding concept of "property", broadly speaking, and it's ever-deepening application). They want to ensure that they'll continue to be able to do business in future. Grabbing a patent--however dubious, however obvious--is anticipatory, low-cost, low-risk, and might just as well be done, as it puts another bullet in your bandolier (or arrow in your quiver) rather than leave you later to discover it's in someone else's.

It's utterly rational to act pre-emptively in such a system i.e. to apply for any patent with the slightest chance of being given the nod. Why express surprise and outrage at any particular instance of this behaviour? However... yank your chain much, seeing that "A..." word in the headline? I wonder if El Reg has applied for... Never mind... there's prior art, and everyone knows it.

Anyway. Forest. Trees.

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Prior art

I had an Android app that made a shopping list from scanned barcodes or pictures of packaging several years back. I can't say for sure if it was around before 2008, but it seems likely. I wouldn't be suprised to see this patent revoked if they try to enforce it.

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Holmes

The only solution to this problem is when a company is awarded a spurious patent like this and then said company try to sue someone for using this system then the USPO should be held accountable for the rogue patent being granted by both firing the idiot that granted it and make them pay all the legal fees involved. I'm sure then the USPO would due the correct thing and check that future patents aren't so obvious!

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Money?

"lack of any obvious way to make money out of such a product"

Just like the restaurant / home reno review sites you just blackmail the stores for a good rating on the system.

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And just why do we pay these boneheads?

The patent examiners are either incompetent, corrupt, or have been told to approve anything that they don't understand by their "superiors". The current patent situation, world wide, is an outrage, and it is costing EVERYONE a lot more than just pocket change every year.

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Coat

What is the guy in the picture doing?

At first glance, that picture says to me:

"Wiggle your phone around and shopping things happen".

Naturally this is far too technical and restrictive a defiinition (read: we can't sue everyone for using it) for Apple to use in their patent.

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Anonymous Coward

Register patents click-bait

1. Publish inaccurate and provocative headline

2. Harvest ad clicks from inevitable flame-fest

3. Profit (in the short-term ... )

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Anonymous Coward

Apple's, er, innovation....

Says it all.

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Trollface

Apples next patent to be granted by the USPTO, the iLungs.

You simply breath in and oxygen is absorbed into the body..........

Or iSight, simply lift the eye lids to enable the user to see what is going on around them.....

Wow, they are sooo invovative and cool. I must have one of there products so people think that I'm cool too!

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Anonymous Coward

Pay up

I actually own the copyright on that troll icon, which means you guys are going to owe me a lotta money.....

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I've just added a copy of the patent submission document to my Google Shopping list........ Its suggested a couple of places to buy one from and the prices whilst also giving me some handy reviews.

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FAIL

ROFL

http://www.satiritron.com/2010/10/27/us-patent-office-patented-forced-to-close/

Patent #6,433,927, “A system to allow for the awarding of original product design and creation, with a mechanism to grant the exclusive right to product said design, for a specified period of time,” was granted to Mr. Montiero despite the obvious fact that such a system already exists, and the fact that the part-time clerk could offer no evidence that he was, in fact, the creator of such a system.

Just shows how much faith we should have in the USPO

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Prior art

I've had a device for doing just this for years. It's called a wife.

I don't think its unique. I thought that writing and then organising shopping lists on the basis listed here was so common as to be considered a sterotype.

This is why software patents are such a stupid idea. They are just taking something that loads of people do naturally without giving it a second thought and are then claiming to have invented it.

Its not even like they are coming up with some neat method of performing the task.

Its claiming to own something everyone does anyway - but sticking the word mobile into the application as if that should make any damn difference.

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Milk, Bread, Catfood... Ok, Apple now sue me.

Even with the bells and whistles of barcode scanning, this should NOT be patentable.

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FAIL

"However, even Apple wouldn't try to pull a stunt like that"

Really?

http://www.google.com/patents/US20120117504?dq=touch+screen

This patent describes how to install and manage applications on a mobile device - it describes the App Store.

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Pint

Apple going Bananas?

From 'Insanely Great' to 'Greatly Insane' - I personally couldn't have dreamed of a sadder commentary on corporate-think & the consumer society than patenting a method for remote shopping. Looking for future revenues is all fine & good, but this? Will they sell it as an app? Will they charge for the service? Or will they simply sue when some other organisation comes up with something similar?

As for myself, I know all the shops in my area, I generally know the best deals for items I'm interested in, I get to see the produce & how fresh/what condition it's in and I get to interact with things called 'people' while I'm shopping, a generally enjoyable experience. Plus, getting to know some of the 'people' that work in the shops I regularly frequent has had a beneficial effect on my wallet beyond the 'todays special' deals.

Besides all that, sometimes I just enjoy doing things without an 'app'

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Flame

This patenting of things like this

is getting fucking ridiculous

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Want to save money on your weekly shop?

Either a) get an iphone, get this app, scan all your previous purchases and obtain a map to all the relevant shops, or b) save money right now by not spending £30pcm on a mobile contract.

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