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."

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