No wonder there is so much patent litigation - that has so many conditionals, it could cover absolutely anything.
Apple has been granted a patent for a new device, and because of the components listed and the sketch accompanying the filing, several sources have said it could be the near-mythical iWatch. At first glance, it doesn't look like the most exciting of patents. But beneath a preamble about boring old housings for electronic …
Technically the independent claims 1, 12 & 17 are a flexible microwave band antenna, a camera with glue and a pizza box with a display respectively. The dependent claims then go on to add everything but the kitchen sink, perhaps I missed it, in the obvious hopes that something would stick and oddly it seems it all has.
Exactly my thoughts. In my (long gone) youth I used to put Velleman electronics kits together if I was too lazy to design the circuitry and PCB myself, and generally used the box it came in. It appears I may have prior art here, and so has probably half the planet.
What happened to the non-obvious requirement?
I patented that comment a few articles ago.
Actually everyone else has said already anything I'd need to say.
"doesn't look like the most exciting of patents"
So like every other pointless Apple "patent". Is this one though an actual patent or what we would call a "Registered Design", like shape of a Coke Bottle or Classic steel Hobbs Kettle?
Maybe patents should be a bit like planning permission - once granted, you need to do something with it, or else it lapses. That opens up the way from someone else to then do something to take the concept forward *within a reasonable timeframe* rather than the current position which seems more like "I've patented it and won't do anything with it, and you can't do anything about it"
How can you patent something like that? What invention or innovation does that include? If the box, for example, were specifically sized to act as a wave guide for some specific frrequency that increased reception by a wonderful percentage on the basis of man years of lab testing I would get it but if its just a box it is beyond credible.
I think the crucial bits are claims 1 , 12 and 17
1. refers to support structure and dielectric housing with flexible printed circuit which includes printed antenna and finally conductive foam. This seems very specific.
12. refers to camera window fitted inside camera window trim structure inside a housing. Unless there is something very specific about trim structure I do not see how this could be innovative, but what do I know
17. refers to device housed inside a basket with four corner brackets. Seems quite specific to me, but is it innovative I dunno.
Don't forget the really important bit that makes it "non-obvious":
16. The apparatus defined in claim 15 wherein the camera window trim structure has grooves on the curved exterior surface.
Grooves?! They're putting grooves on the curved exterior surface?!!! OMG!!!
Anybody could make a camera window trim structure with a curved exterior surface, but it takes true genius to see the potential of putting grooves on it!
Apples latest product: THE iSOMETHING
A flat square (or square-like) device with rounded corners and no definable purpose.
The iSomething may or may not contain something and will almost definitely get you sued if you try to create a similar box with something in it that infringes on our 'intellectual' property.
There are already people queuing up outside Apple stored to get one.
Complain about it all you like, and even play the iVictim, but you know it to be true. If Apple were to release a (patented!) device for toasting bread that cost £250 and had an Apple logo on the side of it, you know damn fine fanbois the world over would be queueing to buy it on launch day.
This is exactly why the patent applications system need seriously overhauling, hopefully by people with a modicum of common sense.
Apple is, I am sure only one of many who indulge in this stupidity, I wonder how many people on the planet can include 'Patent Troll' as a skill on their resumes?
>Apple is about to patent the concept? Now? ...Really?
No, they're not. If you skim through the patent application before you comment on it (a crazy idea, I know), you'll see its not describing a concept at all. Its is concerned with a method of mounting a flexible PCB of adjustable length within an enclosure, using 'conductive foam' amongst other techniques.
I don't know enough to judge whether it has merit as a patent, but at least I know that I don't know enough.
The many references in the application to using a vacuum to test the seal of the gaskets, and of 'conductive foam' (useful for securely mounting parts in a device subject to shock) do suggest a wristwatch-like device.
The patent is about how to mount components INSIDE of a case. The shape and size of the case is therefore unimportant. It would apply to anything from a new model laptop through to a hypothetical iWatch. It isn't a design patent, it is not about the shape of the device.
Steve, Why then does that allow itself to be patented ?
Isn't that a bit like saying, I have a cardbaord box and I like to fill up in the following manner........, therefore I will now "patent" my method and thereby disallow all others form filling up their boxes in the same way.
What is actually being patented ? Isn't there a notion of "invention" involved in a patent.
I am not arguing that what you are saying is wrong, it's just that I do not understand how this is justifiable.
>What is actually being patented ? Isn't there a notion of "invention" involved in a patent.
A good question, and one that I can't answer from the application- the language is a little obtuse. However, just because I don't understand it doesn't mean that there isn't something of merit in it.
For sure, I'm no fan of the way these patent applications beat around the bush, dscribing many aspects of a device or system but not emphasizing the supposed novel concept.
What I can gather is that it is describing a specific method of assembling a device with a flexible PCB, using overlap.
As I understand it Dave 126 has it right. The components are mounted on some sort of flexible band, and the band is slipped over some sort of support core.
To use the box analogy, while you can't patent packing items in to the box you CAN patent a new way of using packing materials and laying things out so that you can use a smaller box and the contents are better protected.
I had something delivered by Royal mail this morning. It was a box with rounded corners (they might have been square before it was posted) it had stuff in it, was glued together and had a window on the front. You could see text and words on the paper in the window and the box contained a camera.
Apple, you owe me two hundred and ten trillion dollars, about 3 time global GDP should cover it, I shall send you my account details in one of my patented boxes.
It's worse than that. Inside the box was a camera. Inside the camera there may be a flexible circuit board. Which probably has sensors, holes, conductive or non-conductive foam and rounded corners. YT would show plenty of teardowns of stuff with flexible PCBs, various mountings and attachments so I'm curious what's novel about Apple's proposed method. Other than prehaps another novel way to make it unserviceable by anyone other than approved suppliers.
From the Patent application filled in March 2012:
This relates generally to electronic devices, and more particularly, to structures for mounting components within electronic devices.
Electronic devices such as portable computers and cellular telephones contain electrical components such as displays, wireless circuitry, sensors, and communications buses. It can be challenging to mount desired electrical components within an electronic device housing. Space is generally at a premium, particularly in compact devices. If care is not taken, device performance may suffer or device housing structures may be bulkier than desired.
It would therefore be desirable to be able to provide improved techniques for mounting components within electronic devices.
But basically it still boils down to them patenting pretty much all of the sensible and concievable ways of making smaller consumer orientated consumer devices in a manner vaugue enough to ensure that most other manufactures will fall foul of this (if not one many many others) that they hold.
I feel there is merit somewhere with this story, of the ifad, 'wrist action' and combining them for those 'zealot' like people that might perhaps like to play with those items, on their own, late at night etc. Perhaps the added joy of now having one on their wrist for example and the fact it could whip them into a frenzy of happiness?
The is more than enough to somehow combine them into a joke or sarcastic dig at people that like the 'I' products, but it escapes me at the moment.
I've seen much of what is in the patent in other devices. The testing of glued joints by using vacuum is as old as paint. In the world of tech, you can't move up to the next level if you don't have some patents to show. The same thing goes for companies that produce products with lifetimes measured in months. The value of the company is in it's IP and patents. An automobile company would still have value after closing down just for the replacement part business. Most tech is throw-away, so hard value is in all of the used office furniture and filing cabinets.
I would be amazed if Apple went to court over this patent. It's not very strong.
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