We talk a lot here about bogus patents, so some people seemed surprised that we didn't link to yesterday's hyped up story about a certain consumer electronics company's new patent that supposedly covered the interface for MP3 players -- including (of course), the iPod. Something about the story just didn't seem right, and Forbes has put their finger directly on the issue. While most of the patent stories we write about are either just as the patent is approved or (more likely) when a firm tries to hold another firm hostage with a lawsuit, this one (including the specific fact that it covered the iPod) was being trumpeted directly by the company itself. The company's announcement was also tied to a conference call, and while reporters expected the conference call to be about plans to sue Apple, instead, it was about their own latest products -- a conference call that most would have ignored otherwise. In other words, all of the posturing about the patent covering the iPod was nothing more than a publicity campaign, knowing that plenty of reporters and bloggers would focus in on the story. If the company actually does go after Apple for infringement, that might be a story -- but the story yesterday was simply using a silly patent for a silly promotion.
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