Tuesday, April 17, 2012

USPTO Grants Apple Patent for Look and Feel of Graphic Interface of iTunes Store: Internet Middle Earth is Under Siege

"Ah yes", mused the monopolist inventor, "if only I could patent 'looking and feeling'. Then I would be REALLY rich and I would control everything. After all, my grandfather owned "several entire villages". Why not the world?

"Forget it!", thundered a mighty voice from the heavens, "It was I who invented 'looking and feeling' millennia ago. The world belongs to ME."

And then a thunderbolt issued from the sky, striking the inventor in the chest, inflicting a mighty wound, but not killing him. As in the Book of Job, there was still time for repentance from Satan's unbounded greed. It was the year 2004, the same year as the patent filing for the just now issued patent 8,161,411.

No repentance was made. Quite the contrary, the monopolist inventor in 2011 threatened total destruction of the "Androids" and launched a thermonuclear war against his enemies. If the world were to be destroyed, what did he care.

Enough was enough, and so, in 2012, "The Great Inventor" in the heavens took him.

But wait, over the hill, over the horizon, there suddenly appeared a lifeless vanguard of a force in Sybarian armor following a black-cloaked leader of the once Magna Graecia. Onward Sybarian soldiers!

The leader "Capo" was flanked by riders carrying the flag of ancient Sybaris, land of pleasure and luxury for the chosen few. It was an army of ten thousand mounted on Sybarian Tigers [sic, actually Dragons of Sybaris, for "Sybaris was a drakaina of Greek mythology ... dwelling on Mount Kriphis ... who terrorized the countryside of Delphi, devouring livestock and people"].

The Sybarian "warriors of dragon fire" brandished their fearsome and nigh invincible weapons, the patent rubber stamps, against which no mortal weapon was known, except reason, as rare as the honest man of Diogenes.

Internet Middle Earth was under siege.

Men shivered and women trembled, hiding their children. Dogs barked and cats wailed.

Was it to be their last free song?

ITunetknow (TM).

On the shields of the forces of evil was a serpent coiled around an apple.

It was the USPTO, clandestinely known to the intelligentsia as the United Sybarian Phantom Tiger Overlords or "Patentosh" (TM) for short.

The battle for "Internet Middle Earth" had begun in earnest.

Please note concerning the story above: Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental. Links go to sources which may have served as inspiration for what is, of course, a purely fictional story.


Don Reisinger has the real life story at CNET News in

Apple wins patent for iTunes Store user interface.

We have been studying the patent claims as well as the applicable user interface for obvious signs of any "inventions" or "discoveries" that are not obvious to anyone versed in the state of the art of the Internet and the World Wide Web and we have found....nothing.


To the skilled eye, it appears that online users are being offered music products according to millennium-unchanged banal merchant methods combining images and text that have nothing to do with innovation or discovery, but only the ultimate end of the collection of money.

Patenting a graphic interface that has obvious and essentially generic combinations of graphics and text on the screen is ... shall we say ... absurd.

Whatever the USPTO is patenting here as non-obvious is a mystery to anyone who has grown up in the digital era. All website interfaces are combinations of the same essential features, minimally altered by countless variables. If the Apple interface can be patented, then EVERY graphic interface can arguably be patented. So, unless this crazy path is changed, every commercial website owner should start getting their website patent interface application ready. And we mean that seriously.

If ever reason should return to this field, on the other hand, we would suggest that it should be made a requirement of ALL PATENT APPLICATIONS that the patent applicant specifically identify in the claims of his or her alleged invention what is NOT OBVIOUS to anyone versed in the state of the art and why it is not obvious.

Take a look at the iTunes screen shot at CNET News and pray tell what is non-obvious there and what "in God's name" has been invented other than another example of Apple greed and more patent incompetence at the USPTO.

As far as one can tell there are two worlds at work in patents:
  1. The real world, and
  2. The world as the USPTO sees it.
As long as the law favors absurd patents like this granted by the USPTO, we will have patent chaos and increasing and inexcusable infringements of USER and DEVELOPER FREEDOM. And we are for FREEDOM, and against TYRANNY.

Read the previous post at LawPundit where Sergey Brin of Google points out the increasing restriction of net freedom by companies such as Facebook and Apple. Such restriction is enabled by numerous government agencies that seemingly have no clue about what they are doing, and the USPTO is chief among these.


"Middle Earth is being devoured by Sybarian dragons."

Sergey Brin of Google Sees Internet Freedom Threatened by Facebook and Apple

Dan Farber of CNET News has the story at

Google's Sergey Brin: Facebook and Apple a threat to Internet freedom

After you read that, see the next posting for confirmation that Brin is absolutely right.

Google Gets G-mail German Trademark after Battle

Karin Matussek at Bloomberg BusinessWeek News reports that Google Gets German Trademark Rights for G-mail, Ends Battle

Hat tip to GigaLaw.

Crossposted from LawPundit.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Google Art Project Goes Global Beyond Painting to Sculpture Street Art and Photographs: Users Can Creat their Own Gallery

The Google Art Project has gone global beyond painting to sculpture, street art, and photographs.

At the Official Google Blog see Going global in search of great art.

Users can create their own gallery:

"An enhanced My Gallery feature lets you select any of the 30,000 artworks—along with your favorite details—to build your own personalized gallery. You can add comments to each painting and share the whole collection with friends and family. (It’s an ideal tool for students.)"

Going global in search of great art | Official Google Blog

Going global in search of great art | Official Google Blog: - Sent using Google Toolbar

Douthat X-Rays The Man With the Google Glasses: Is Human Interaction and Communication Improving or Suffering in the Digital Era?

Ross Douthat at the New York Times has an article definitely worth a read in The Man With the Google Glasses.

The human "isolation" that the digital world can produce is unquestioned, but we wonder if Douthat is giving us "a fair and balanced" picture of what is actually happening out there in the real world.

For example, I just received an email this morning from someone who I had not seen or contacted since high school and who found me through Facebook.

In pre-digital days, such a refreshment of old school ties decades later was next to impossible. People moved away and disappeared into the mass of planetary humanity, with little chance of locating such lost contacts later.

In the digital era, finding old friends and classmates is much easier and is not an "isolated" incident by any means. Quite the contrary, in my family alone, I am guessing that dozens of contacts have been re-established in recent years with lost friends, relatives and acquaintances -- all through the Internet. Marvelous.

One must thus ask if Douthat's article might reflect one of the primary ailments of arch conservatism, which is an understandable but nevertheless skewed romantic nostalgia for the past that does not bear up to critical scrutiny.

Just how good were "human contacts" in the days before the digital era? and are they really "worse" today, as Douthat suggests?

As written at by Zoe O’Donoghue in “Friend Me”: The Impacts of Technology on Human Interaction, Running Head: Technology and Human Interaction,
"Certainly, the ways humans are interacting with each other are changing, and this is changing us.... Natalie Pennington maintains that while social networking sites like Facebook are drastically changing the way we interact, this change is not necessarily a bad thing.... She asserts, "You can learn a lot more about a person from their Facebook profile than the questionnaire they filled out to get a dorm room" (Pennington, 2008 ["Will You Be My Friend: Facebook as a Model for the Evolution of the Social Penetration Theory" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the NCA 94th Annual Convention, TBA, San Diego, CA, Nov 20, 2008.])." [Link added by LawPundit]
When this writer looks back, for example, on high school and college days, just how well THEN did we KNOW the people that we were interacting and communicating with? The answer in many cases is, not very well! We may have interacted together, but that interaction was often superficial. Modern digital communication may be no better in that regard, but likely no worse, and perhaps even better, when all is said and done.

At LawPundit, we previously quoted the famed novelist Thomas Wolfe on human isolation and loneliness:
"The whole conviction of my life now rests upon the belief that loneliness, far from being a rare and curious phenomenon, peculiar to myself and to a few other solitary men, is the central and inevitable fact of human existence".
Personal contact and digital communication serve as opportunities to come out of ourselves and to interact with the world around us.

The rest is up to us.

For this writer, the digital world has INCREASED our social community positively and substantially.

Although we do not doubt that others can have experienced this new world negatively, we are optimistic -- on balance -- that modern means of digital communication, as supplements to the tried and true alternatives of personal contact, are potentially welcome and useful additions to human life.

Indeed, we would suggest that is WHY they are so popular.

Hat tip to CaryGEE.

Crossposted from LawPundit.

Friday, April 13, 2012

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