In case you were wondering, it turns out that ringtones are patented. Yes, for some reason, patent organizations in Europe, the US and Israel all found the idea of playing music on a phone instead of rings to be a patentable idea. If there were some complex technology involved in making a phone play music instead of a ring, perhaps this would make some sense, but it's really just a device playing a song. How is that patentable? Of course, for those of you who think ringtones are annoying, you could hope that this guy would stop them from being used. Instead, as you would probably expect, he's using the patents to force companies like Siemens (wait, didn't Siemens pay Benq to take their handset business away?) to pay him truckloads of cash. Update: As pointed out in the comments, the specifics of the patent make it a little bit more focused than any ringtone. It covers recording your own ringtone or customizing your own ringtone on the phone -- which doesn't seem much better anyway. It still involves an idea that doesn't seem patentable. Why is recording your own ringtone on a phone a patentable process? It's no different than recording it on another device.
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