back to article Ready for ANOTHER patent war? Apple 'invents' wireless charging

Apple is trying to patent wireless charging, claiming its magnetic resonance tech is new and that it can do it better than anyone else. This would be cool if its assertions were true. Apple's application, numbered 20120303980, makes much of its ability to charge a device over the air at a distance of up to a metre, rather than …

COMMENTS

This topic is closed for new posts.
  1. LarsG
    Meh

    Thank God, I thought the world had ended over the last few weeks or that I'd been cryogenically frozen.....

    Apple are back in the news with patents.... I'm alive.

    1. James O'Brien
      Trollface

      Its ok Lars

      Just wait until Apple patent the DeLorean, the Flux capacitor and time travel. They have taken note of your comment and are currently hard at "work" in the "R&D" department so they can rectify this issue.

      1. AVee

        Re: Its ok Lars

        I already saw prior art for that in 1955 ;)

  2. EddieD

    Prior art?

    I think Nikola Tesla may have a few things to say on applying power at a distance wirelessly..

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Prior art?

      Think it up first then patent it without actually having built it, in the hope that technology advances far enough to make it happen... In the next 50 years.

      1. MacroRodent Silver badge

        Re: Prior art?

        > "Think it up first then patent it without actually having built it, in the hope that technology advances far enough to make it happen... In the next 50 years."

        Which is precisely what Tesla did not do, he built cool stuff without bothering too much with patents. Too bad his ideas still were decades ahead of the time. See http://theoatmeal.com/comics/tesla

        1. Ian Johnston Silver badge
          Thumb Down

          Re: Prior art?

          They weren't decades ahead of their time. They just didn't work very well. The ionosphere hasn;t become any more reflective nor the ground plane more conductive since his experiments failed.

          I do wish people would stop worshipping Tesla for the wackjob stuff he played around with late in his cereer. The stuff he did earlier is just as interesting, and actually works.

        2. Thomas 4
          Boffin

          Re: Prior art?

          @MacroRodent

          If even half of that comic is correct...wow. Why the fuck was I learning about Edison in school?

          1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge
            Thumb Up

            Re: Prior art?

            If even half of that comic is correct...wow. Why the fuck was I learning about Edison in school?"

            After a quick skim through it, yes, it's probably about half right.

            The rest of it is ripped from urban myth and the character of Tesla in Sanctuary on the SciFi Channel ;-)

    2. Blofeld's Cat

      Re: Prior art?

      Indeed. I believe he demonstrated this at 1893 World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago.

      He certainly experimented with wireless power transmission at Colorado Springs in 1899.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Prior art?

        I played around with this stuff when I was a kid and got a sound thrashing from my dad for completely buggering up any radio and TV reception in the vicinity :).

        Ah, those were the days..

      2. brudinie

        Re: Prior art?

        Apple should employ Eric Dollard - he has an amazing grasp of Tesla wireless technology:

        http://www.indiegogo.com/ericdollard

        1. JDX Gold badge

          Re: Prior art?

          That someone demonstrated wireless power transfer does not mean a specific implementation is not patentable. For instance you might use directional beaming based on tracking the device location, to greatly improve the maximum charging distance.

          The article title is deliberately misleading, this is nothing like what Nokia are doing - for once this sounds like a proper patentable idea and the issue is with the specific other company named.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Boffin

            Re: Prior art?

            "That someone demonstrated wireless power transfer does not mean a specific implementation is not patentable"

            No, but it does mean a lot of the applications become "obvious" and therefore not patentable. In theory.

            1. I think so I am?
              Thumb Up

              Re: Prior art?

              In side the minds of Apple patent trolls.

              "Nothing exists until it does, and then by the act of simply existing we at Apple must have invented it!"

              1. Adam 1 Silver badge

                Re: Prior art?

                But Apple's implementation works round corners ....

                Yes, I went there.

          2. Whitter
            Stop

            Re: Prior art?

            The new bit you add to prior art to create a new patent must be more than just "neat" or "handy": the new bit must itself be *inventive* and "not obvious to anyone skilled in the art".

            The seperate issue of patenting things you haven't (or as yet can't) make is yet another hole in IP law. But let's face it: IP law is starting to push the "collander" comparison further than you'd want a collander to go.

          3. Rob Dobs
            Holmes

            Re: Prior art?

            But it does... see a patent needs to be unique inventive and non-obvious.

            Once Tesla showed this off (for free) to everyone... ANY patents resulting from just simple mundane alterations of the the basic idea and technology are not INVENTIONS.. or if you want to calm that, they are certainly OBVIOUS ones. Its same thing with all these RETARDED internet inventions.

            Say you have a process ....something like associating a name with a number in a filing cabinet....

            Then the internet gets invented (Internet was new and worthy of maybe a few patents) just because you now associate a name with number on internet does not make it worthy of Patent!!!!

            That's the part these trolls don't get, and that our governments don't understand..... Patents are not just because you got there first. All the finger gestures in the world will be figured out and used eventually by every company... NOW that touch screens are cheap and popular. CRAPPLE does not get to PATENT and own this technology just because they have the cash to file patents.

            I propose we make a change in the law and when a company files a patent where it can be shown that a simple search would have shown the prior art, or where the invention on review is an obvious one... the loose the patent and get a fine for filling a frivolous patent..... these funds would then be used to review more similar frivolous patents.

            Crapple and certainly all the patent trolls would be bankrupt in 2 years time.

      3. Not That Andrew

        No - he demonstated a couple of Tesla coils and claimed he was working on wireless transmission.

    3. Crisp Silver badge
      Go

      Re: Nikola Tesla?

      Surely you mean the greatest scientist that ever lived?

      1. This post has been deleted by a moderator

      2. Efros
        Pint

        Re: Nikola Tesla?

        Certainly one of the greatest practical scientists, even though he was as mad as box of frogs.

      3. Ian Johnston Silver badge
        Thumb Down

        Re: Nikola Tesla?

        James Clerk Maxwell was far more important for electromagnetism and fights it out with Einstein, Newton and Darwin for Big Daddy Scientist Of All Time.

        1. Suricou Raven

          Re: Nikola Tesla?

          Depends on your standard. The impact on the average person from Darwin or Einstein is fairly small. The practical applications are a bit of medicine from Darwin, nuclear energy and GPS from Einstein. They were both of great academic importance, but it doesn't filter down to day-to-day life. Tesla, however, invented the electric grid - he turned what may be the single most important technology ever invented from a laboratory curiosity into the power source for almost every technological item and industrial process that would follow. Never mind the wireless power dabblings: Three-phase power and his improvements to generator, motor and transformer design were the big ones.

          1. joe K 1

            Re: Nikola Tesla?

            Einstein - stimulated emission - the laser - modern communications. Just one example of how easy it is time under-estimate impact.

    4. Tom 35 Silver badge
      Trollface

      Re: Prior art?

      But did he "applying power at a distance wirelessly - on a mobile device"?

      1. Mike Richards Silver badge

        Re: Prior art?

        'But did he "applying power at a distance wirelessly - on a mobile device"?'

        There are photos of Tesla holding lightbulbs that are lit without having wires attached so it depends on your definition of a mobile device.

      2. Frumious Bandersnatch Silver badge

        Re: Prior art?

        re: Spurious tacking on of "on a mobile device". I'm getting pretty sick of this. From now on when Apple come up with a "new" patent for something "on a mobile device", I'm going to run their patent through this page and rush down to the patent office so I can patent the new invention "on a mobile device - in bed!"

        In fact, I''d love to filter Reg Comments through the same script (just to preserve some slim semblance of sanity in the world) but it appears that it doesn't support entering URLs any more.

      3. Stoneshop Silver badge
        Boffin

        Re: Prior art?

        But did he "applying power at a distance wirelessly - on a mobile device"?

        I'm fairly sure Tesla himself didn't, as iWhatever devices were a bit thin on the ground back then About as thin as common sense is at Apple's legal department. But let's test what he COULD have done.

        /me wheels out a Tesla coil and positions it some distance from an iWhatever. What did the patent say, one meter?

        *throws the switch* For SCIENCE

    5. gkroog
      Joke

      Re: Prior art?

      Tesla coil, bitches!

      1. Dale 3
        Happy

        Re: Tesla coil, bitches!

        No that would be Facebook.

        If Yahoo, it would be Tesla! coil!

        But today it is iTeslacoil

        Or perhaps pr-iOr art.

    6. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Prior art?

      Whilst completely true about Tesla, this has never stopped large companies like Apple from patenting the obvious and in a way that obviscates it so the lamentable patent clerks will just tick it thru to approval.

      Give it a few years and they will probably patent time travel as a means to obtain patents!

    7. Alpha Tony

      Re: Prior art?

      'I think Nikola Tesla may have a few things to say on applying power at a distance wirelessly..'

      I think Apple's lawyers may have a few things to say about Tesla stealing their idea using the dirty underhand tactic of thinking of it first.

    8. fajensen Silver badge

      Re: Prior art?

      Nikola Tesla and Maxwell are clearly infringing on Apple's proprietary technology!

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    If it works better than QI and has benefits such as smaller coils or lighter coils then it's a good thing. But I doubt Apple can improve something as simple as induction. If they could then AC transformers could be more efficient too.

    It just shows how far behind Apple are now, even Nokia and Palm beat them to market with wireless charging. Palm were one of the first with their proprietary system and Nokia are one of the first to release a QI based phone.

    1. dotdavid
      WTF?

      "It just shows how far behind Apple are now"

      Sorry, now? Apple have rarely been first to market with a technology; what they do best is innovate around the user interaction side of things to make a technology that's already been invented far more usable for the average punter. They do this by designing very usable UIs, and/or locking it down so it works seamlessly with other Apple products.

      Wireless charging will only really work if it either becomes so cheap you can get one for each of your devices, or they finally come up with a standard so your charger will work with all your stuff. Granting Apple a patent in this area won't really help with either of those.

      1. Adam 1 Silver badge

        agreed

        ... And yet amazingly it is the same company behind iTunes for Windows.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Retina displays were way ahead of the competition when introduced. They had Intel produce a special lower power processor for the first Macbook air, using a smaller process than the rest at the time.

        iPhone 5 uses a thinner combined touchscreen display.

        iPhone was the first to use Gorilla Glass, Steve Jobs was looking for some decent glass for the original iPhone and Corning found a design they had sitting on the shelf for decades.

        There are many other examples, you can't say Apple hasn't been on the cutting edge at times.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          "hey Intel, here's a fat check, gimme some of your first production run on the new process"

          Innovation!

          "hey Samsung, here's a fat check to help you build your next LCD fab"

          Innovation!

          "hey Corning, here's a fat check, gimme some of that Gorilla glass that you didn't need my help coming up with"

          Innovation!

          I'm off to Innovate myself some MP3's at Amazon.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            "hey, turtlenecked engineering eunuchs, here's some fat stock options, design me a phone with bare metal antenna conductors that will short if you try to use the phone with a human hand"

            Innovation!

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          'retina' wasn't cutting edge

          OpenMoko had 295ppi on sale a month after the release of the first iPhone, and that was an off the shelf lcd even then. I suspect Apple were waiting for mobile CPU/GPUs that could render smoothly at that resolution before they brouht it to the mass market with a catchy name.

  4. Tony Rogerson
    Thumb Down

    Appl$

    And people thought Microsoft were bad!

    They need to pull their finger out and innovate rather than litigate.

    1. Michael H.F. Wilkinson Silver badge
      Joke

      Re: Appl$

      Should Appl$ not be Appl€

      (yeah, wrong currency, but it does look better)

      1. Esskay
        Happy

        Re: Appl$

        How about ¢rapple?

        But, given their profit margin, the dollar sign would still be more appropriate...

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Appl$

          Yeah ¢rapple how original - how about dumdroid next?

          1. Esskay
            Thumb Up

            Re: Appl$

            ^Not bad! Presumably you're referencing the city of Dum Dum, in Kolkata, India - unfortunately, that's actually a place! Not a currency! (FYI the currency is the Indian Rupee, which doesn't really work - "Rupeedroid" - see?)

            Good effort though, keep trying!

          2. W.O.Frobozz
            FAIL

            Re: Appl$

            How about Dum Dum Droid? As in dum-dum bullets that do the maximum amount of damage (to Apple and their idiot fans)? Google could get Mark Hollis to do a commercial for them. And it would be much cooler than stupid dancing silhouettes just because it's Mark Hollis.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Appl$

        A₱₱L€

        That's: Pesos, Lempira (Honduras), Euros

        Or, if you like, with the Macedonian Denar: ден₱₱L€

    2. Wize

      @Tony Rogerson

      As much as I liked your post and wanted to upvote it, I have an automatic habit of downvoting anyone who throw currency symbols into company names (Microsoft often gets a dollar symbol for its S) or adding letters to drag down the name (prefixing Apple with a C).

      Its a habit I'm not planning to change either.

      I enjoy constructive criticism of companies, not childish name calling.

      1. Steve I
        Joke

        Re: @Tony Rogerson

        Wize - then your a poo-poo head and you smell.

        And get out of the playground....

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: @Tony Rogerson

        Here Here for Wi$e, and his unscrupulou$ observation$.

      3. Gannon (J.) Dick
        IT Angle

        Re: @Tony Rogerson

        I'll remember not to use any Currency Symbols when I reference "Foxconn Labor Policy" or "Apple Human Resources" then.

    3. Androgynous Crackwhore
      Devil

      Re: Appl$

      Don't forget rip-off Britain!...

      ¢rA₱₱£€

    4. Lord Elpuss Silver badge
      WTF?

      "Innovate rather than litigate" ?????

      Tony,

      Where does it say anything in the article about litigation? This is about innovation vs. non-innovation.

  5. ForthIsNotDead Silver badge
    Stop

    Healthy?

    I'm not sure that I like the idea of it. There's evidence (both for and against) to suggest that mobile 'phone signals are potentially hazourdous to health. Just try putting an egg on your mobile, and then call TalkTalk customer support (or anyone else that will keep you on hold for 30 minutes). Enjoy your egg.

    I'm not sure I like the idea of all these 'waves' permeating my body every time I drive my car or sit in a Starbucks (ha, like *that's* going to happen).

    I think it's a good job our eyes can't all these radio waves. It probably wouldn't be a pretty sight!

    1. It wasnt me
      WTF?

      Re: Healthy?

      Holy Wow. I was going to write a rebuttal to the assertions of your post, but its so full of unsubstantiated nonsense that I am compelled to conclude that you are a troll. Or is there a link from the Daily Mail to The Register for some reason today?

      1. auburnman
        Trollface

        Re: Healthy?

        He's just a shill for the egg-farming/Mobile telephony complex.

    2. Esskay
      Facepalm

      Re: Healthy?

      Yeah, I know what you mean! Although it could be worse - with all these visible light radiation emitting devices and contraptions in out pockets, attached to our ceilings, on the front of our cars - imagine how horrid it would be to have them all hitting our bodies as we walk around! It's a good job our eyes can't see all of those -

      Hang on....

    3. Vic

      Re: Healthy?

      > Enjoy your egg.

      I doubt I would. I'm really not that fond of raw egg.

      Vic.

    4. Psyx
      Stop

      Re: Healthy?

      "I'm not sure I like the idea of all these 'waves' permeating my body"

      You appear to have wandered onto a technology site by mistake. I think you may be searching for throwyourclogsinthemachines.fr

      1. sventamagotchi
        Pint

        Re: Healthy?

        and of course I thought that website might exist ... quick buy the domain!

        throwyourclogsinthemachines.fr

        1. Field Marshal Von Krakenfart
          Trollface

          Re: Healthy? @sventamagotchi

          Yes, buy the domain and then sue Psyx for infringement of your IP, it's what crApple would do.

    5. John H Woods Silver badge

      @ForthIsNotDead

      "Just try putting an egg on your mobile, and then call TalkTalk customer support (or anyone else that will keep you on hold for 30 minutes). Enjoy your egg."

      I like my eggs cooked, thanks. But do feel free to try it yourself.

    6. t.est

      Re: Healthy?

      If you like your egg raw, you will enjoy it.

      A phone will not cause heat to anything of that magnitude so you can cook an egg on it, nor pop a popcorn. Just so you know that youtube clip was a fake one.

      Other than that I agree on that you should be cautious, as we have little clue of what various health issues we could get from various energy levels of electromagnetic radiation. We do know that visible light is even good for our health, but we also know that both x-rays and radioactive radiation are unhealthy. They are all based on the same physics, and all go under the name electromagnetic radiation.

      Want to know more visit wikipedia

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electromagnetic_spectrum

    7. Androgynous Crackwhore
      Boffin

      Re: Healthy?

      Actually, this has been scientifically demonstrated. The excreriment used a raw egg and two mobile phones thus:

      1. A raw egg was placed between two mobile phones

      2. One of the two phones was used to call the other

      3. The egg exploded

      Don't any of you read your email?

  6. This post has been deleted by its author

  7. Steve Todd
    Stop

    Hysteria from el Reg, who would have thunk it

    Patents are about implementations, not the basic idea of doing something. Inductive coupling dates back to the days of Tesla and is well out of patent. Apple are claiming a particular method of wireless charging to power a set of peripheral devices like keyboards and mice at ranges up to 1 yard. This doesn't block anyone else from using wireless charging, just from using it for the same reason.

    1. Grikath Silver badge

      Re: Hysteria from el Reg, who would have thunk it

      Other than that this coupling, and it's associated technology has been used, abused, recycled, and rehashed in countless ways for over a century, so the actual implementation would have to be pretty damn revolutionary to be patentable in an ordinary way. Simply sticking "mobile device" into various gramatically convenient spots doesn't make a new invention worthy of a patent. Outside the US, at least.

      But we all know this isn't about invention, but the New Deal of Big Business, which is carving out your turf in IP territory, so that competition can be executed in the courts. Never mind the burden on the legal system(s) of various nations and the cost to the tax-paying punters without tax havens living in said countries.

    2. JetSetJim Silver badge
      FAIL

      Re: Hysteria from el Reg, who would have thunk it

      So, like if there was a patent on an electric cable it would be legit to grant patents on electric cables to power devices? Hmmm

      Methinks the PO should come up with a category of "vexatious patent applicant" and sin bin applications from such folk...

    3. Vic

      Re: Hysteria from el Reg, who would have thunk it

      > Patents are about implementations

      No, patents are about *inventions*

      A neat implementation of someone else's invention does not warrant a new patent.

      Vic.

    4. Esskay

      Re: Hysteria from el Reg, who would have thunk it

      Inductive coupling being out of patent means not only that anyone can use it, but that it can't be patented again y someone else (or even the same person). Thus whether or not it's out of patent is irrelevant to the article - the fact that it exists (and has existed for over 100 years) is enough. At it's core, I believe the "implementation" of inductive charging is more or less the same across the board - there isn't a set of "Apple Physics" (tm) that work better than "Standard Physics" (tm) - Their method of coupling/blocking devices may be their own, but that's not the issue with this patent application. If you're referring to the ability to transfer power from a device to another (instead of a charger to a device) they might be on to something - but whether that's patentable (or is just an extension of the use of the original patent) is debatable.

      As for "a particular method of wireless charging to power a set of peripherals", I believe that's pretty well covered by the standards that already exist, which cover various methods and materials being used - simply because Apple's patent is slightly more specific in describing the devices doesn't mean it's covering new ground.

      1. Stoneshop Silver badge
        Boffin

        Re: Hysteria from el Reg, who would have thunk it

        there isn't a set of "Apple Physics" (tm) that work better than "Standard Physics" (tm)

        Apple definitely thinks otherwise, which gives rise to such matters as Antennagate.

    5. Chemist

      Re: Hysteria from el Reg, who would have thunk it

      Patents are about implementation but are also about novelty. Wireless charging is not novel unless the would-be inventor can show a significant improvement in some aspect of the process ( efficiency or safety ....). If they can they can patent THAT but it wouldn't cover wireless charging in toto

    6. Field Marshal Von Krakenfart
      FAIL

      Re: Hysteria from el Reg, who would have thunk it

      Steve Todd

      Patents are about implementations, not the basic idea of doing something.

      That comment just blows the "round corners" patent out of the water then, doesn't it.

  8. g e
    Holmes

    Don't worry

    Inductive resonant coupling? Sounds an awful lot like a radio style tuned circuit so they'll not be able to do it for at least two reasons...

    • It's obviously been done before elsewhere many times to some extent
    • Apple are shit at antenna design, it won't work because you 'Put the charge transmitter on the desk the wrong way'

    1. Grikath Silver badge
      Go

      Re: Don't worry

      Actually, given that the patent attempts to confuse the matter by re-naming a loop antenna to "magnetic antenna" (look it up, it's in there... ;) ) you *can* Hold It The Wrong Way, as last time I checked the electirical EM field was perpendicular to the magnetic EM field, so presumably the "magnetic antenna" wouldn't work perpendicular to the magnetic field, or at vastly reduced efficiently if you don't position it juuust right..

      1. g e
        Pint

        @Grikath

        Ha!!

        Confounded by the left-hand rule! (Or is it right-hand for magnetism, never can remember)

        1. Joe Pineapples
          Joke

          Re: @Grikath

          Nobody "Flemming" remembers that rule!

          1. Will Godfrey Silver badge
            Happy

            Re: @Grikath

            So True, so true.

            I actually once got a job - over another candidate - because I simply admitted I couldn't remember which was which. The other guy tried to bullshit his way out of it.

  9. Mystic Megabyte Silver badge
    Linux

    Xtal

    Wow! Plucking energy out of the air to power a radio receiver. Crystal sets got there first by 100 years,

    <=== my nuclear powered pet penguin

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Xtal

      Not just out of the air, 'up to 1 metre' but gathering energy to power headphones from THOUSANDS of Kilometres away!

  10. PipV
    Big Brother

    Whiter than White

    I had better put my Wireless rechargeable toothbrush on to charge now, before I am banned. Fruit acid is very bad to enamal erosion so I am informed. :-)

    1. Brewster's Angle Grinder Silver badge
      FAIL

      Re: Whiter than White

      But does your rechargeable toothbrush charge "at a distance of up to a metre, rather than requiring close proximity"?

      We need an RTFA icon.

      1. Trevor Marron

        Re: Whiter than White

        One mm is distance of UP TO one metre. Like your broadband speed at home, you know, up to 24Mb but you only actually get 4Mb.....

        1. Brewster's Angle Grinder Silver badge

          @Trevor Marron

          Point taken. But "up to 1m" is still better than "up to 1mm"...

          1. Dan 55 Silver badge
            Boffin

            Re: @Trevor Marron

            Up to 1m is nonsense, it's just pre-emptively patenting some company coming up with a wireless changer which works over slightly more distance (e.g. 2-3mm).

    2. The Specialist

      Re: Whiter than White

      If I am not mistaken, the technology used on the toothbrush chargers is called "Air-Gap Transformers". Not efficient at all.

  11. Zombie Womble

    You'd have to be as dumb as a bag of spanners to think this is a new invention.

    Fortunate they still have plenty of fanboys that will believe just that..

  12. FartingHippo
    Stop

    Way out of this

    You know, if Samsung and HTC diverted some resources into properly manning the US Patent Office, and manning it clueful people, they'd be quids-in over the long term.

  13. Panicnow
    FAIL

    Its the US Patent Office not Apple that is to blame

    The US patent office does no serious discovery when awarding patents. As a result they keep awarding dodgy patents.

    From the US perspective this is great, as they get lots of international-lawyer-dollars into their economy. And due to the various treaties, extend technological colonialism.

    Now where the documentation for my idea of putting a circular disk pivoted on a solid bar to counter-act rolling friction....

    1. Ken Hagan Gold badge

      Re: Its the US Patent Office not Apple that is to blame

      Yes indeedy. Apple can't really be blamed for playing according to the local laws.

      If anyone should be declared a "vexatious patenter" it is the USPTO, which has been inflicting this crap on the rest of the world's patent offices for 20 years now. The RotW should impose a moratorium on honouring US patents until the US clean up their act.

      1. RICHTO Silver badge
        Mushroom

        Re: Its the US Patent Office not Apple that is to blame

        The RoW already doesnt care about US patents. They are mostly meaningless outside of the USA.

    2. Mer Ner
      Joke

      Re: Its the US Patent Office not Apple that is to blame

      You might want to check there's no prior art for this circular disk idea. Although I'm sure it won't matter to the USPTO. I can see it being very popular idea, revolutionary you might say... Better make sure you patent it for mobile devices as well, just to be on the safe side.

  14. This post has been deleted by its author

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Devil

    I recall....

    Nicoli Tesla... Edison, articles from popular mechanics - in the 40's and 50's about electric cars charging at the stop lights...

    Even articles in the 60's, etc., all the way through to now.....

    Something about Electron Volt or some thing.....

    Wireless recharging of consumer goods.....

    When are we going to patent a way to kick Apple lawyers in the balls without getting caught and sued for the patent?

    1. Stoneshop Silver badge
      Mushroom

      Re: I recall....

      When are we going to patent a way to kick Apple lawyers in the balls without getting caught and sued for the patent?

      "Transmitting kinetic energy into a (male) legal scholar's gonads as a way of signalling extreme disagreement with the activities of the recipient of the energy transmission."

      There's plenty of prior art, so USPTO should award this patent to Apple post-haste.

      1. Invidious Aardvark
        Joke

        Re: I recall....

        Apple are now busy applying for a patent for "Transmitting kinetic energy into a (male) legal scholar's gonads as a way of signalling extreme disagreement with the activities of the recipient of the energy transmission using a mobile device."

  16. Steve Martins

    3 strikes rule for patents...

    To stop all this patent trolling there should be a system where if you try and patent 3 obvious ideas in a row you are banned from patenting anything for a year. Retrospectively that should keep apple out of the game for the best part of a century!

  17. jestersbro
    Coat

    Wirelessly Charging Mobile Devices!

    Fantastic!

    If only electric car makers had thought of using induction charging for cars we, wouldn't need all these stupid cables and charging points from our houses and in the streets.

    On a serious note, will your Apple i(nduction)Phone be alright in these car (et al) charging areas or will we see a spate of overcharged fanbois catching fire and exploding?

    1. Gio Ciampa

      Re: Wirelessly Charging Mobile Devices!

      "If only electric car makers had thought of using induction charging for cars"

      Already being done it seems - http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-18984160

  18. Arachnoid

    Hmm,,,waits for Apple to patent audio and visual media entertainment using high frequency transmission over air waves next

  19. billium
    Coat

    May be a way around using Apple's patent would be to throw your phone on an inductive cooker to charge.

    Instead of 20 years for a patent, 5 years would be more fair.

  20. The FunkeyGibbon
    Trollface

    Could I patent 'Patent Trolling'?

    Or do the actions of every major tech company in the world mean I can't have that due to prior art?

    Troll face for my company logo...

    1. TeeCee Gold badge
      Facepalm

      Re: Could I patent 'Patent Trolling'?

      No, you can't have that for this reason.

      Unfortunately the professional trolls are much better trolls than you are.

      1. Stoneshop Silver badge
        Coat

        Re: Could I patent 'Patent Trolling'?

        Well, you could try "Having a Patent Awarded without Filing a Patent". That's certainly non-obvious and innovative; even Apple still files patents to have them awarded.

  21. This post has been deleted by a moderator

  22. mrfill
    Happy

    Next weeks news...

    Apple patent the iWheel. Its round, it has a hole in the middle.

    1. gkroog
      Trollface

      Re: Next weeks news...

      A hole in the middle for the iWheel 1, but when the iWheel 2 comes out, THEN they'll offer the option to have one without a hole in the middle, as if that's a new innovation: the iWheel Solid...

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Like NFC, the fannybois claimed wireless power was a useless fad.

    Now behind-the-times Slackle are claiming that they invented it, and are obviously looking to introduce the tech into the next monstrosity that is iPhone.

    Behind the times as usual.

  24. FlingoBingo
    Thumb Down

    My turn

    I'm going to apply for a patent for a system to prevent people floating away. It'll be called 'gravity'. While I'm at it I'll register another one for a system to illuminate an open space. That one's called 'light'.

    Someone stop the world please so I can get off.

  25. waxy41
    Happy

    I can imagine an Alliance For Wireless Power meeting in the future:

    "Brothers! Brothers! We should be struggling together!"

    "We are!"

    "We mustn't fight each other! Surely we should be united against the common enemy!"

    "The Consortium for Wireless Power!?"

    "No, no! Apple!"

    "Oh, yeah..."

    1. Tom 38 Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Re: I can imagine an Alliance For Wireless Power meeting in the future:

      Don't mention the Popular Wireless Power Front - fucking splitters.

  26. James Coombs

    Toothbrush

    Does this mean I'm going to have to pay Apple royalties to carry on using my electric toothbrush?

  27. Francis Vaughan

    Total bollocks from el Reg

    Seriously, we get two articles on this patent in one day on el Reg, and it appears that in neither case have the authors actually bothered to read the patent, or if they have, they lack the technical competence to understand it. What we do get is the now very tired Apple bashing fest that is fast making technical commentary from el Reg on anything to do with Apple essentially worthless. This is sad, there was a time where el Reg was actually worth reading for such commentary. It no longer is.

    1. The patent does not attempt to patent near field charging. Got that? Really it doesn't. The title alone should be a give away: "Wireless power utilization in a local computing environment" Note the bit about "utilization." It is a patent on how to use wireless power in an innovative manner.

    2. The innovative bit about the patent is the re-radiating of power from one device to another, and a protocol for controlling this. Go down to the claims section and have a look. The claims is where the actual meat of what is patented is. The stuff earlier is explanation, it isn't what is claimed for patent cover. Indeed the rules of patents require that you cover any earlier contributing technology. If you see something in a patent that you have heard before, it is there, not because of some nefarious attempt to re-patent existing technology, but due to a requirement to place the new work in the context of what has gone before. Not doing this can cause the patent application to fail. Note that you can't be expected to cite provisional applications from competitors - they are secret until the patent is approved.

    Seriously, this article is so bad it should be deleted. It is an embarrassment to both el Reg and the author.

    1. Peter Simpson 1
      Coat

      Re: Total bollocks, all right

      "The innovative bit about the patent is the re-radiating of power from one device to another"

      Let me get this straight: "re-radiating" is somehow better than just letting the end device pick up the power on its own? Recovery of radiated power by the re-radiator is necessarily inefficient, as is the process of "re-radiation" (whatever that may be). I guess it'll work as long as the battery in the "re-radiator" holds out.

      Up to a meter, huh? I'll believe it when I see it work without something melting or the disc on my electric meter spinning faster than light.

      //it's the one with "Secrets of Free Power" in the pocket, thanks

      1. gkroog
        Go

        Re: Total bollocks, all right

        ' "re-radiating" is somehow better than just letting the end device pick up the power on its own?'

        Its better for Apple since it will let them make money off of someone else's patented technology. Someone else did all the hard work of developing it, and Apple just had to figure out a way for them to get in on it and make money off of it.

        Other companies may have done the same, but Apple's the one most likely to sue over it.

        And I'd like to know if WiPower's original patent includes something like this. As we've learned in a previous story (http://www.theregister.co.uk/2012/11/07/apple_loses_patent_case_facetime/), Apple's engineers pay no heed to the IP of other companies when developing products.

    2. Steve I
      Coat

      Re: Total bollocks from el Reg

      Attempting to reason with a group of illogical people is like trying to teach a cat to scuba-dive by providing written instructions.

      1. Francis Vaughan

        Re: Total bollocks from el Reg

        Sadly true. Seven thumbs down and counting. One assumes that the down-voters also lack the technical ability to understand what I wrote. I have come to the conclusion that there is a core group that will down-vote any comment that does not actually slam Apple, and even comments that are neutral to Apple will attract their down-vote. The stream of comments to this article that suggest that many see it as simply a forum for Apple bashing, and nothing more rather reinforces this view. It is becoming no better than YouTube comments.

        1. Steve I
          Paris Hilton

          Re: Total bollocks from el Reg

          There is certainly a hard core of commentators who are genuinely incapable of understandting technical articles, guilty of just scanning headlines for keywords (and as the headline is wrong too, this is not a good strategy) and commenting on what they think it said, or just troll.

          I actually hope it's the 3rd option, as surely there aren't enough stupid people around for either of the first 2 to be correct, are there?

        2. Jop
          Holmes

          Re: Total bollocks from el Reg

          Unfortunately the Apple fanboi in you was so bright there was no need to confirm that 90% of your posts in the last 3 months are related to Apple or iProducts. I did it anyway and got a stalker badge to sew on!

          Just waiting for Nintendo to come along and claim WiPower is a Trademark infringement...

  28. Stretch
    Flame

    iFire

    Its magically and revolutionary and you can use it for cooking.

    1. Field Marshal Von Krakenfart
      Flame

      Re: iFire

      However you will also have to buy the official approved (and expensive) iLogs in order to light you iFire.

  29. Jim Carter
    WTF?

    If I remember right...

    The CIA had technology that could do this from several miles away. Or so Will Smith said when he was on a press junket for Enemy of the State on the Big Breakfast back in 1998.

    1. vis1/0n

      Re: If I remember right...

      Oh, please.

      It was documented back in the 70's in one of the Nancy Drew or Hardy Boys books.

  30. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    wireless induction goes back to the dawn of time

    thought wireless induction went back to the dawn of time - wot with galvani, voltz hertz, maxwell, gauss, marconi, tesla, eddison - to name but a few - might have patents on this or their respective businesses long after their earthly passing.

    btw - isn't apple something you eat - not choke on when you see attempts to dazzle patent officials?

    still apple has to try something - otherwise likely will run out of dosh in 10-20 years time - after all, what is there that apple could invent that anyone would want, let alone buy?

  31. Rolf Howarth

    Successive refinement...

    As the article points out, someone else already has a patent on the basic idea of wireless charging. In order to be able to do anything in that area without paying exhorbitant licensing fees Apple therefore has to try to refine and improve on what the other patents say and patent that improvement, however minor a detail it might address. They can then use their patent when negotiating cross-licensing deals with the other patent holders. Effectively it just gives them a bargaining chip to sit at the Consortium for Wireless Power table, it doesn't mean they're planning a patent war.

  32. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Advice for the ignorant (thats me)

    So what makes this one different to older 'Wireless Power Utilization In A Local Computing Environment' patent applications from Apple?

    eg:

    http://patentscope.wipo.int/search/en/WO2011062827 (and others)

  33. Gel

    Wireless charging over distance.

    I have done charging with solar panels from sun. (still radio waves, albiet higher frequency) (very long range)

    I have done charging with crystal sets. (medium range but very low power.)

    induction hobs?

    microwave cookers?

    It is obvious. But it may not be safe at higher charge rates.

  34. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    HP TouchPad Touchstone

    Does the HP TouchPad Touchstone count as prior art?

  35. Marketing Hack Silver badge
    Unhappy

    Get ready for another 5 years of patent trolling news stories....

    /sigh

  36. Number6

    Splashpower

    Anyone remember Splashpower? They probably did it several years before Apple's patent application, although Amway ended up with their portfolio.

  37. Wile E. Veteran
    Devil

    Oh, my. What will they think of next?

    The illustration from the patent app is a simple parallel resonant circuit. Tunable because of the variable capacitor. Uses an inductor with a core, presumably iron given the frequencies involved. Goes back to Marconi and before.

    Magnetic coupling ain't new. That's how a transformer works. "At a distance?" -- depends on the distance. Air-gap transformers are pretty common in a lot of applications, particularly at RF. "Transfer of power?" Any audio or RF device does that. Only the power level varies.

    Unless Apple has discovered a new law of physics there is nothing new here. At best it is a development of existing ideas and technology, not a non-obvious invention.

    The USPTO is out of control and works only as a shill of the highest-paying entity. Time for major reform.

  38. Alistair Silver badge
    Facepalm

    I'll admit that this patent might have a leg to stand on.

    Mostly because I'm not that up on the patents that do exist and the finer points of the patent itself.

    I just want that the next 26" 16x10 LCD monitor I buy can radiate a recharge to my cordless keyboard and trackball so that I don't get interrupted mid-incident call by having to change the damn batteries. I *like* cordless trackball and mouse that don't clutter desk with cords.

    And -- I want the whole damn thing contained in the *batteries* themselves so I don't have to buy a proprietary keyboard and trackball......

    On that note, off to the patent filing website.....

    (D'oh for the obvious part)

    1. david wilson

      Re: I'll admit that this patent might have a leg to stand on.

      >>"I just want that the next 26" 16x10 LCD monitor I buy can radiate a recharge to my cordless keyboard and trackball so that I don't get interrupted mid-incident call by having to change the damn batteries. I *like* cordless trackball and mouse that don't clutter desk with cords."

      Wouldn't a cordless device which gave good early warning of low power (and/or had some motorbike-style 'reserve tank' approach) be a workable solution, at least to having 'surprise' running-out of power?

      Surely it can't be hard for the device not simply to flash an LED, but to tell its driver wirelessly that it's getting low on power and only has N hours/days left, triggering some user-configurable warning to pop up on the screen?

      If there's not enough demand for devices to do any of those things, one might wonder if there's enough to make wireless charging for other manufacturer's kit a feature monitor makers think worth adding to their monitors.

      1. armster
        Alien

        Re: I'll admit that this patent might have a leg to stand on.

        Try using any actual Apple mouse. They give you a warning message 2 days, 2 hours and 5 minutes before they stop working. I would still prefer a mouse that 'just works' without me going for the battery charger whenever the 2 hours left message comes on.

  39. Number6

    Efficiency

    So how much of the power radiated by the transmitter is actually received and used for charging, and how much is sent off into space? The point of the close-contact stuff is that it allows fairly tightly controlled fields to improve the efficiency. If something is a couple of metres away then much if the radiated power is going to be absorbed by everything else in the room. I guess it'll help keep you warm in the cold season.

  40. David 45

    Looks like old technology

    Nice diagram of a tuned circuit there! Where's the EF86 valve? ("Tube" to our brethren across the pond!)

    1. Will Godfrey Silver badge

      Re: Looks like old technology

      You need an EF80. The EF86 is an audio valve - then again maybe you want to 'hear' how well it's charging your gizmos.

      No, wait. Go the whole hog and use an AC/VP1.

      1. David 45

        Re: Looks like old technology

        Ha! Slip of the fingers/brain interface. Had to look that beast up. http://www.r-type.org/exhib/aaa0320.htm

        Yeah, that oughta do it! Variable moo as well. Wow!

  41. All names Taken

    You are all correct no?

    I may be mistaken (apologies if so) but I'd guess that Apple has a device of sorts that uses a well known observable and historic fact that things can be charged wirelessly.

    Trouble is interference, charging the wrong things by mistake, making things run hot or even interfering with other devices into carrying voltages they should not have might also be historic problems?

    If so, maybe the Apple has patented a way or a technology to avoid some of those undesirable results?

    I guess time will tell.

  42. This post has been deleted by its author

  43. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I'm still waiting for Apple to patent Pie.

  44. tom dial Silver badge

    Patents

    Patents are, and always have been, evidence of successful rent seeking. There *may* be some social benefit from the fact that the patent documents must disclose the invention so that others may build upon it (the alternative being to keep the invention a trade secret). My admittedly untrained observation is that many or even most most of the software related patents I have read tend strongly to obscure the nature of the invention, which turns out after study to be pretty obvious to anyone even moderately skilled in the arts of programming. Indeed, it has for some years been my opinion that a programmer who fails to infringe at least a patent a day is not being very productive.

  45. armster
    Unhappy

    Did anyone look at the patent before commenting?

    I think the patent talks about distance charging, not inductive mat charging which has indeed been around for years. If I read this correctly it will be used for the Apple mice and keyboards, and will be integrated in future macs (but I could be wrong). Certainly nobody builds anything like that currently, and I don't know enough about the Wireless Power Alliance patents to see if they have anything similar. The older patents are certainly very different.

    1. Steve I
      Facepalm

      Re: Did anyone look at the patent before commenting?

      "Re: Did anyone look at the patent before commenting?" - if you mean the downvoters then bear in mind that that is The Register i.e. of course not. All those pages of technical information and all the mouth-breathers think that it simply say says:

      <adopt caveman voice> "We Apple. We charge no wire. hur hur hur. We first."

    2. Drewc (Written by Reg staff) Gold badge

      Re: jesus tittie fucking christ

      Read the house rules. We operate post-publication moderation for most people on the vast majority of stories.

      We are happy to moderate all your comments before publication.

      Please don't do this again.

  46. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Stategic

    Apple are dirty in their methods to sell more units. Probably just doing this as a strategy to halt Samsung sales in the future via the courts, just like before. Claim a broken patent and bang, no more samsung sales in Germany for a month!

  47. Nameless Faceless Computer User
    Devil

    You can't pay me enough money to install a wireless charging pad anywhere in my home which is an EMI and AC electrical field generator.

  48. Sil

    The inNOvation company

    Didn't you know they invented rounded square?

    It is said Apple is preparing to patent circles, squares and black colored turtlenecks too.

  49. Anonymous Coward
    Devil

    Actually... something smartera.

    OK I am worldly and wise but what I do know about, and what I am proficient in, is merely a matter of practice...

    Some I practice much and some I practice little.

    While I am sort of probably getting the term wrong, with that Apple patent theft / of that little diagram of the transformer coil and the capacitor, the term, "a charge coupling" transformer?" seems to fit the bill?

    I have seen shit loads of that circuit in transformer design circuits.... Inductive coupling...

    That circuit is as elementary as basic wire wound transformers, light bulbs, resistors,

    Like a half wave pulse rectifier.......

    This Apple patent scam is fucking crap. "Oh we are taking out a patent infringement on something that has been around since Voltair took a shit one Sunday morning, or was it when Layden took a piss in a jar on Monday morning?"

    Ooooo this such bullshit................

    There must be some 400,000,000 circuit diagrams in the last 200 years before the meat heads at Apple ever fired up their brain cell over the issue.

  50. scarshapedstar
    Thumb Down

    Malum delenda est.

  51. nowster
    Boffin

    Prior art would not be Tesla but Heinrich Hertz using a portable tuned loop, looking for tiny sparks in a darkened room.

This topic is closed for new posts.

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2019