back to article Apple preps iPhone face recognition

The US Patent and Trademark Office published 33 new Apple patent applications on Thursday, bringing the total filed in July to 55 - and we're not even a third of the way through the month. Today's cluster of creativity ranged from flexible cabling to scrolling lyrics, but the bulk of the filings described new powers for the …


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  1. TrevorPrinn
    Jobs Horns

    Fun for the lawyers

    There's already an object-identification app in the app store. It snaps barcodes and looks them up on Amazon.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    not quite sure

    the object identification passes the non obvious and prior art test. they've certainly shown this sort of technology on CSI before, at least with fingerprints if not other objects too. Take a photo of a fingerprint with the phone, send it over the network and details of the criminal come back.

    as for obviousness, shazam does this with music, but the visible light caveat distinguishes it from that i suppose.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    RFID read, compare over a network... Only a million examples of prior art...

    Honestly, does the American patent office do any checking before granting things?

    I'm gonna patent farting, then throw lawyers at people leaving curry houses!

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Gates Halo

    Microsoft already did it

    Surface has object recognition, Natal has object & facial recognition, and Xbox Live has (had?) that annoying feature to make your voice sound like a robot.

  5. Charles Manning

    The patent system won't change.

    It is very easy to get a patent for an existing idea by just changing the usage scenario.

    Even though face recognition on a computer is well known, and you and I know that a mobile phone is just a computer in a different box, face recognition on mobile phone is sufficiently novel to get a patent.

    Of course many people will say that this is a problem with software patents, but the same issue applies to all patents. Whenever a new widget or technology comes along there are a rash of new patents.

    Gluing table legs to table tops is well known, but invent these new things called chairs and suddenly you can patent gluing chair legs to chair seats.

    It's not just software patents, it is the whole patent system that's broken.

    USPTO makes pots of cash for Uncle Sam and patent lawyers make pots of cash through applications. But the real money for patent lawyers comes when a patent is challenged.... that's the big win. Thus crap patents are worth more to them than good ones.

    For any change to happen, the patent system experts, ie the existing practitioners, would be consulted and they would have to want the change. Since the status quo is serving them very well, they won't steer the USPTO towards change.

  6. TJ 3

    Patent office

    These were only filings, not granted patents. These simply mean Apple "wants" the patents, not that they are granted. Otherwise they would issue patent numbers.

    I can see all the Apple fanbois conversing with their Iphones, walking down the street, the Fanboi crying, the Iphone yelling "I made you! I can destroy you!" (Insert voice of Richard Nixon, Why not?) feeding off said fanbois distressed facial features. I hope this works, that would be awesome. Now all it needs is arms, legs, and a small boy named Will Robinson.

    For my Blackberry, because I still control it (for now)

  7. Ian Michael Gumby Silver badge

    Prior art ...

    Object / face recognition already exists.

    The concept? See Eden of the East a Japanese Anime.

    Also the Nokia E90 platform can scan bar codes already too. So too could Japanese phones from what I've heard....

    So on both fronts, concept, technology... shouldn't past muster. Of course you have a lot of patents to go through ...

  8. Lol 1

    It's all been done before

    I saw the gadget show present these technologies on a few new smart phones in development ages ago (incidentally none of which was an iphone), just because it's done on an ipod makes it patentable?!? wtf

  9. Paul Hates Handles


    Face recognition, eh?

    /starts work on "BASTARD DETECTOR V1.00" :)

    *beep beep beep beep beep* You're a bastard! \o/

  10. jai


    not sure about the museum example myself

    last time i took a mobile phone out in a museum and pointed it at a piece of art the security guy couldn't run across the room fast enough to stop me from taking a picture

    i doubt you'd be able to fob them off by saying, i was just looking up more information becausae your little plaque here doesn't say anything useful

  11. Matthew Ellen

    recognition systems

    Recognition systems should be un-patentable: prior are the human brain.

  12. magnetik

    move along, nothing to see here

    Japanese phones have had face recognition for many years now, this is nothing new. In fact, some Japanese phones use face recognition to unlock your phone instead of the traditional "type in your PIN" feature we typically use.

    There's also an app on the iPhone app store that will identify books from a photo of the cover. (no barcode required) You can even have the app take you straight to Amazon to buy your own copy once it's identified the book.

    The US patent office is rubbish. How many billions of dollars do companies waste every year going to court over ridiculous patents?

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