Apple Trying To Patent Anti-Tamper Tape

from the prior-art-much? dept

Apparently, Apple is trying to patent anti-tamper tape. The patent application, for a "tamper resistant label for detecting device openings," describes some adhesive tape that could be placed inside devices, which would get torn or damaged if someone opened the device. It seems like there's a ton of prior art here. In fact, e-voting machines have used an anti-tamper tape for ages that seems quite like what's described in the claims. Second, it seems pretty ridiculous that Apple is going this far to try to remove the ability of legal purchasers to tinker with devices they own. Yes, I recognize the reasoning (opening the device voids the warranty and they want to know if the warranty has been voided). But, even so, it's quite an anti-consumer position to take.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    icon
    Will (profile), Dec 11th, 2009 @ 1:43pm

    Apple

    I enjoy using apple products more then most, but the company really need to look at how they treat their customers when it comes to control.

     

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  2.  
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    senshikaze (profile), Dec 11th, 2009 @ 1:46pm

    prior art much?

    i mean hell, ADVIL has tamper tape!
    dammit, apple!

     

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  3.  
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    jjmsan (profile), Dec 11th, 2009 @ 2:46pm

    Playstation

    The Sony Playstation has tamper tape on it. This is just getting silly.

     

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  4.  
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    Grey Ferret, Dec 11th, 2009 @ 2:46pm

    Been there, done that

    A bought a computer back in the mid 90's (not an Apple) that had anti-tamper tape sealing the case. Cool idea, way to be "innovative" Apple.

     

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  5.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 11th, 2009 @ 2:51pm

    It's not anti-consumer, it's just smart.

    Why should apple be on the hook to fix a product that a customer opened up and screwed with? Apple is very generous in many places with their customers, they are just making sure nobody is taking advantage of their generosity, amongst other things.

    As for the patent, well, it would depend if they have come up with a special and unique way to do it, something that isn't obvious to the rest of us.

     

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  6.  
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    Designerfx (profile), Dec 11th, 2009 @ 2:53pm

    pro consumer apple?

    Mike, let's set the record straight. Apple was never pro consumer. They were just pro apple, and occasionally those aligned (DRM).

     

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  7.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 11th, 2009 @ 3:08pm

    Re:

    Uh...

    Apple doesn't need anti-tamper tape to avoid fixing products that were tampered with. That's generally stated explicitly in warranties - you tamper with it, they don't cover it.

    Get your facts straight.

     

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  8.  
    identicon
    USSR, Dec 11th, 2009 @ 3:20pm

    Soviet Union dit it since atleast 1960's

    In former USSR, the warranty got voided as soon as you remove
    tamper evident sticky stubs from the screw cavities (to open
    a device you need to unscrew it, obviously).

     

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  9.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 11th, 2009 @ 3:24pm

    Re: Re:

    The anti tamper tape is the evidence that something was opened illicitly so that they can void the warranty. My only question is how do they open something where they can tell the tape was triggered by someone other than them.

     

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  10.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 11th, 2009 @ 3:43pm

    Re:

    Apple? GENEROUS?!? What are YOU smoking?

     

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  11.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 11th, 2009 @ 3:57pm

    Re: Soviet Union dit it since atleast 1960's

    Also, the warranty voided you.

    Oh come on, somebody had to.

     

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  12.  
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    compgeek, Dec 11th, 2009 @ 4:08pm

    IMHO this is a move by apple to grab money: they patent something already in common usage, they can now charge everyone else who uses it. if said other people fight back, then apple can sue the smaller companies out of existence. i give it a month before they sue someone. whether the case is legit or not doesnt matter as hollywood and the music labels keep proving. all you need to win is more money than the other guy.

     

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  13.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 11th, 2009 @ 4:43pm

    I don't care if they get this patent as anti tamper tape doesn't do individuals much good, it's just good for industry. However, being that patents are generally bad, it's unlikely that a patent on something that does industry good will be granted. Only patents on things that do society good get granted in order to limit the amount of innovation that helps society and to ensure that industry optimally capitalizes on everything at the expense of society and the hindrance of innovation that helps society.

     

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  14.  
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    Esahc (profile), Dec 11th, 2009 @ 4:45pm

    Umm . . .

    I'm just . . . a patent on anti-tamper tape, really? There are latterly thousands of anti-tamper devices of all sorts made by companies 100x bigger than apple. Do they really want to open that can of worms?

     

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  15.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 11th, 2009 @ 4:46pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    "The anti tamper tape is the evidence that something was opened"

    The point is that they don't need a PATENT on anti tamper tape to avoid paying for things that have been tampered.

     

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  16.  
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    harbingerofdoom (profile), Dec 11th, 2009 @ 4:47pm

    can i just send them a few pics of my tamper resistant tape that did exactly that after i removed it from my xbox1 as prior art?

     

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  17.  
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    Money Mike (profile), Dec 11th, 2009 @ 4:52pm

    Re:

    At first glance, I also thought this was absolutely ridiculous. I've seen plenty of devices that have these anti-tampering stickers, but then I figured what's different about this:

    "...some adhesive tape that could be placed inside devices"

    It all makes sense! Apple wants to put the sticker inside the device so you don't even know if you're about to void the warranty. At least with every one of these stickers I've ever seen, it's been on the outside, so I knew what I was getting myself into. In fact, I've read about people who are able to take the stickers off and put them back on perfectly without leaving any evidence.

    I'm not sure exactly how Apple would get the sticker inside (maybe close one side and pry up the open side a little bit, in order to stick it the closed side), but that's pretty smart. I have to admit that if a device has one of those stickers on the outside, I'm much less inclined to open it up and tinker with it (don't get me wrong - I don't mean the sticker will stop me), but if I don't see one on there, I have no reason not to take a look inside.

    To me, there are only two reasons to do this:
    1. They feel safer putting it on the inside because then it's virtually impossible to take it off without leaving evidence; or
    2. They just want to be dicks and catch people who otherwise wouldn't have opened it if they had seen a sticker.

    If it's #1, which is more likely, it doesn't really add up to me. I have no data to back this up, but I feel like the type of consumer who is savvy enough to get the outside sticker off without leaving evidence is the same type of consumer who isn't going to screw up anything that would cause the need for repair. Of course, they are savvy enough to hack it, probably in order to make it perform better, but shouldn't they be allowed to do what they want if they purchased it?

     

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  18.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 11th, 2009 @ 5:07pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    You miss the point: Have they come up with a new and unique tamper tape that merits a patent? Example, have they found a manufacturing method that allows them to install special tamper tape in the inside rather than outside, or perhaps bridging between certain parts that need to come apart, or perhaps using a method that would show connectivity if untouched, and not work if tampered?

    There is plenty of potential methods here other that a sticky sticker on the outside of the case.

    There is (once again) a stunning lack of information in a post that is trying to slam Apple.

     

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  19.  
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    Brent Ashley (profile), Dec 11th, 2009 @ 5:21pm

    Schrodinger's tape?

    Surely before you open it, the tape can only possibly be described as simultaneously tampered with and not tampered with. Thus by installing such tape, Apple is guaranteed to have the option to honour the warranty or not as they see fit.

    A cunning plan, worthy of Baldrick himself.

     

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  20.  
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    ChurchHatesTucker (profile), Dec 11th, 2009 @ 5:45pm

    Re: Re:

    "...some adhesive tape that could be placed inside devices"

    This is like placing a deadbolt ON THE OUTSIDE of a door. It hasn't been patented, but not because it's a super clever idea. Rather the opposite.

     

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  21.  
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    wayscj (profile), Dec 11th, 2009 @ 6:25pm

    good article...thanks a lot for the information!ed hardy ed hardy
    good article...thanks a lot for the information!laptop battery lapto

     

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  22.  
    identicon
    opps, Dec 11th, 2009 @ 7:01pm

    Police Line - Do Not Cross

    The local government will have to license the silly thing

     

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  23.  
    identicon
    Ryan Diederich, Dec 11th, 2009 @ 7:12pm

    Everyone who seems to think...

    ...that this is a stupid idea. Why on Earth would Apple put tamper evident tape inside if they had to tear/activate/whatever it to open it? Obviously they are trying to create a way to check and see if the device was opened WITHOUT opening it themselves. If they use a metallic tape they could check via X-Rays or whatever. Maybe a light on the back will turn red from then on.

    Thats s great idea, since it would help people buying them on say eBay. Show me the tamper light.

    I should patent that.


    If the patent is for a new method of manufacturing or system to install this tape, then Im all for it. Although, it doesnt help their sales at all, maybe even hurts it, so I dont believe the patent is neccesary.

     

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  24.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 11th, 2009 @ 7:47pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    "There is (once again) a stunning lack of information in a post that is trying to slam Apple."

    Of course, given the fact that you haven't even read the article, I expect your response to reflect a stunning lack of information.

    "The filing with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office describes a specialized label that attaches to multiple locations inside of a device. Disassembling of the hardware would rip, damage or affect the label, which could then be detected by the manufacturer.

    Such labels could be U-shaped or zigzagged, and could be made from paper, plastic, or a metallic foil."

    (from his link)

    and given the stupid patents that the patent office does grant and the stupid patents that intellectual property maximists apply for, it's not surprising that they would apply for something that has prior art already.

     

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  25.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 11th, 2009 @ 7:50pm

    Re: Everyone who seems to think...

    But devices already have tamper tape that allows me to check if it's been open without having to open the device. So I just don't see the point.

     

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  26.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 11th, 2009 @ 8:20pm

    Re: Re:

    You clearly have no clue what you're talking about. They need anti-tamper tape to know whether it has been tampered with, because people smarter than you (and probably a generation or two younger) know how to tamper with devices and keep their tampering non-obvious.

     

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  27.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 11th, 2009 @ 8:24pm

    Re: Re: Everyone who seems to think...

    They don't have electronically monitored and / or algorithmically protected tape! What if a new tape included a printed circuit that responds to an input current in a specific way? Much harder to avoid tamper evidence if you're messing with nanoscale electronics while you do your tweaking.

     

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  28.  
    identicon
    Dan, Dec 11th, 2009 @ 8:53pm

    Apple just don't want you to see "the kings new cloths". It's a generic PC with an Apple sticker and Debian. Apple now is refusing to warranty a smokers machine, you gotta wonder what they are smoking.

     

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  29.  
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    Rabbit80 (profile), Dec 12th, 2009 @ 4:12am

    Where I used to work, we repaired printers. It was quite common for us to put warranty stickers (aka tamper tape) inside machines. It was pretty obvious if the machines had been opened as when opening them back up, you could tell if the tape was still stuck! You could also tell if they had stuck in the first place as they left the word void stuck to the plastic!

     

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  30.  
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    Ronald J Riley (profile), Dec 12th, 2009 @ 5:07am

    Narrow Patent-Common With Piracy Coalition Members

    Apple, like other members of the Coalition for Patent Fairness which is better known as the Piracy Coalition tends to file for patents on lots of very narrow incremental inventions. They do this because they are not capable of producing major inventions. It is quantity over quality and a common trait of large companies.


    Ronald J. Riley,


    I am speaking only on my own behalf.
    Affiliations:
    President - www.PIAUSA.org - RJR at PIAUSA.org
    Executive Director - www.InventorEd.org - RJR at InvEd.org
    Senior Fellow - www.PatentPolicy.org
    President - Alliance for American Innovation
    Caretaker of Intellectual Property Creators on behalf of deceased founder Paul Heckel
    Washington, DC
    Direct (810) 597-0194 / (202) 318-1595 - 9 am to 8 pm EST.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  31.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 12th, 2009 @ 5:16am

    Re: Narrow Patent-Common With Piracy Coalition Members

    "Apple, like other members of the Coalition for Patent Fairness which is better known as the Piracy Coalition tends to file for patents on lots of very narrow incremental inventions. They do this because they are not capable of producing major inventions. It is quantity over quality and a common trait of large companies.'

    Apple is not anti intellectual property. Neither is Microsoft. Stop kidding yourself, these people represent the purpose of the patent system, to file patents on obvious stuff that no one needs patents for their existence to exist.

    Apple, anti patent? Just read their Eula, they're very restrictive on their products, they're worse than Microsoft.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  32.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 12th, 2009 @ 11:42am

    I understand Apple is about to place serial numbers on its products. This is so anti-consumer I just shake my head in disbelief.

     

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  33.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 12th, 2009 @ 12:34pm

    Re: Narrow Patent-Common With Piracy Coalition Members

    Ronald J Riley, who is better known as the oblivious shill.

    Oh, see, I can do it too!

    Also, you cannot speak only on your own behalf and simultaneously list your entire list of shilling, unless you happen to hold a patent on stupidity.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  34.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 12th, 2009 @ 2:48pm

    Re: Re: Narrow Patent-Common With Piracy Coalition Members

    "Also, you cannot speak only on your own behalf and simultaneously list your entire list of shilling, unless you happen to hold a patent on stupidity."

    roflol

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  35.  
    identicon
    Gene Cavanaugh, Dec 12th, 2009 @ 2:48pm

    Anti-tamper tape

    Even though I am a patent attorney (more properly, an IP attorney, but who cares), I believe the present state of IP is abysmal. As money becomes more and more important in campaigns, more and more politicians are realizing that they have to sell out to the wealthy or they will lose their jobs, and that means more and more bad laws, and I think that is especially true in IP.
    I would especially like to see copyright abolished, and to see the other forms of IP seriously limited.
    BUT, at the present time, a "new use" for an "old device" is patentable, and Apple is likely within the law on this.
    As to the PR effect; unless they dedicate the patent to the public, I think it will harm Apple seriously long term.

     

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  36.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 12th, 2009 @ 2:57pm

    Re: Anti-tamper tape

    You know, I don't necessarily blame apple that much because part of being able to defend yourself against frivolous patent lawsuits is having a bunch of patents of your own so that you can counter sue and settle on a cross licensing agreement. It's just another consequence of our broken patent system.

    BTW, I do think some intellectual property is good, even copyrights, but our current system is absolutely ridiculous. I honestly believe though that a lot of good software and products won't be created if no intellectual property existed at all. I can even give some rather anecdotal evidence for this but then again I don't want the pro patent community to take it and exaggerate it like crazy so I'll abstain (so far they are, by and large, completely unable to substantiate anything they say and everything they say is easily refuted. If I give them an inch they'll take a mile and exaggerate it substantially along with our broken mainstream media who won't present both sides of the issue. Let them figure out their own substantiation, they don't deserve any help and it's not like there is any threat for intellectual property to go away anyways).

     

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  37.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 12th, 2009 @ 8:23pm

    Re: Re:

    Anti-tamper tape is physical evidence that it was tampered with. as opposed to "No, I didn't tamper with it" says a liar.

    I see nothing wrong with using anti-tamper tape so long as ripping it's not illegal. I mean, really, it's just to make sure you don't lie about something that voids your warrenty

     

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  38.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 12th, 2009 @ 8:24pm

    Re: Re:

    I've seen it on the inside of the device a lot. It's not uncommon, just less common then the outside.

     

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  39.  
    identicon
    Richard, Dec 12th, 2009 @ 8:58pm

    Re: Re: Re: Everyone who seems to think...

    You miss the law where in a patent has prior art even if its the inventor that publishes the spec... since we give patents to EFFING ideas ... this is public disclosure.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  40.  
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    G Thompson (profile), Dec 12th, 2009 @ 11:01pm

    Good luck to Apple Inc, though they should talk to nearest Police forensic (or even evidence locker) lab and ask them about ..ummm.. Evidence Tape.. Which shows any unauthorised tampering of Evidence to be spotted.. ie: Opening of sealed bags etc to be specifically seen .

    This allows anyone to then see if Chain of Evidence and Preservation of evidence has been tampered with or not.

    And some of it is integrated into the Body of evidence/forensic holder/bags too. Some even turn a different colour too.. Oooh the Technology. Muwahahahahahaha ;)

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  41.  
    identicon
    Kevin Chadwick, Dec 13th, 2009 @ 8:43am

    Re: Re: Narrow Patent-Common With Piracy Coalition Members

    You said
    "Apple is not anti intellectual property. Neither is Microsoft. Stop kidding yourself, these people represent the purpose of the patent system, to file patents on obvious stuff that no one needs patents for their existence to exist."

    That was a bold statement considering the Dos operating system was stolen from Gary Kildall because software patent law didn't exist at that time allowing microsoft to resell a re-engineered and less stable but cheaper version to IBM at the launch of Personal Computers (Steve Ballmer has admitted to this aside from saying it was less stable). I think patents should be given more power and privacy, but only on constructive grounds to enable the real developers to survive and do a better job for the good of all thereby making consumers more productive, reducing waste and maximising technology development and success.
    Would that reduce consumption? or just make it occur for better reasons than profit, like more loyal customers.

     

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  42.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 13th, 2009 @ 4:01pm

    Re: Re: Re: Narrow Patent-Common With Piracy Coalition Members

    Any corporation is anti intellectual property to the extent that it doesn't benefit them, but to the extent that it does benefit them they are pro intellectual property. So yes, when intellectual property doesn't benefit them they are anti intellectual property. The CRIA is even the same way, overall they are pro intellectual property but then they turn around and infringe on others without paying them a dime and then they say it's OK. Doesn't make the CRIA anti intellectual property.

    "I think patents should be given more power and privacy"

    Wasn't the alleged purpose of patents to release to the world the alleged secret that no one else can allegedly figure out?

    "Would that reduce consumption? or just make it occur for better reasons than profit, like more loyal customers."

    Uhm... make consumption occur for better reasons than profit? When people consume a product, like if they buy a television to watch, it's not necessarily for profit.

    As far as loyal customers, monopolizing something is different than creating loyal customers. You create loyal customers by giving them a real reason to buy, not by denying competitors the ability to compete. Gaining "loyal" customers through a government granted monopoly doesn't really strike me as ethical.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  43.  
    identicon
    DH's love child, Dec 14th, 2009 @ 6:36am

    Just a thought.....

    How would Apple know that device hadn't been opened by an AUTHORIZED repair shop? Will authorized repair shops have access to the stickers and all that? All of a sudden, there will be a grey market for Apple warranty stickers?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  44.  
    identicon
    MattP, Dec 14th, 2009 @ 10:01am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Whether they need it or not it's not something that they came up with yet they're trying to take credit for.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  45.  
    identicon
    akeel, May 19th, 2010 @ 4:27pm

    than

    thank u man

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  46.  
    identicon
    puma shoes, Jun 24th, 2010 @ 8:15pm

    shengrui5

    I want to say very thank you for this great informations. now i understand about it. Thank you !

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  47.  
    identicon
    puma shoes, Jun 24th, 2010 @ 8:16pm

    shengrui5

    I want to say very thank you for this great informations. now i understand about it. Thank you !

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  48.  
    identicon
    puma shoes, Jun 24th, 2010 @ 8:17pm

    shengrui5

    I want to say very thank you for this great informations. now i understand about it. Thank you !

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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