Can You Patent Adding An MP3 Player To A Washing Machine?

from the KSR-v.-Teleflex dept

The main point in the Supreme Court’s ruling on patent obviousness in the KSR vs. Teleflex decision was that simply taking two known technologies and mashing them together doesn’t necessarily constitute a patentable invention. Hopefully, the patent office will pay attention to that ruling when a new patent application from electronics maker LG gets reviewed. The Inquirer points us to a patent application from LG for adding an MP3 player to a home appliance. This patent was filed a year ago, well before the Supreme Court ruling — so hopefully companies will start recognizing that they shouldn’t even bother filing such frivolous patents.

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Comments on “Can You Patent Adding An MP3 Player To A Washing Machine?”

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Anonymous Coward says:

I did this myself, to my own washing machine, four years ago. I disassembled an iRiver and mounted the controls and screen in the washer’s panel. I even embedded two speakers and an headphone output jack. My wife loves it when she’s putting clothes in the dryer, and also transferring clothes from the washer to dryer. I figure she’s used it cumulatively 30 minutes!

taking TD off my Rss says:


I think we all get the fact that, for some reason, Techdirt hates the patent process. I get it. This isnt Lawdirt, Patentdirt, or Patentrulingdirt.

I think we get it. The patent system stinks. GET OVER IT!

Now lets get to the important stuff like how Apple sucks or how MS is evil or how someone got fired via a text…you know the stuff we all actually care about!

Seriously..I get it…you guys hate the patent laws…I get it.

Did I mention that I get that fact that you hate the patent rules?

Chris (user link) says:

Re: Patentdirt

I kind of get the idea that they want to encourage discussions and debate about the patent issue in order to increase understanding of it and it’s problems in hopes that education will lead to change. Whether you agree with Techdirt’s stance or not, they are trying to do what they feel is right and I think that’s noble. If you are tired of reading about it you can always go somewhere else for your tech related fluff pieces, which I really couldn’t care less about.

Mash Up says:

Mash that and the UK challenge

There’s a challenge going through the UK courts now:

Software isn’t patentable in EU, but if an invention has software as part of a bigger thing, where the inventiveness is not in the software, but the bigger thing as a whole, then that bigger thing is patentable.

Perhaps an example:

A patent on a computer controlled time machine is a patentable time machine invention, because a time machine would be a new novel thing.


A patent on the software CONTROL UNIT for a time machine isn’t patentable because the novelty is in the software, a CONTROL UNIT of itself isn’t a new thing.

They’re suing because they want to be able to block others from shipping software *on disks* that infringes on the software part of their bigger patent.
The *disks* part is important, they don’t want this to look like a battle over software patents, the disks adds a hardware element.

Since the UK and German courts have overturned that stupid European Patent Office ruling, they’re trying to make it seem that the UK is out of step with Europe, when in fact it’s leading the way in correcting a mistake the EPO made in 1997 and the UK & German courts have already ruled was not following patent law.

So do a quick mash up here.
If you can patent an MP3 player combined with a fridge , and you can split the patent into parts and sue for the parts individually, then you can sue for a MP3 player with fridge magnet attached, because that could be used to make an MP3/fridge combination.

i.e. it’s dumb, dumb dumb dumb.

The lawyer behind it is Keith Beresford a lobbyist/lawyer that promotes software patents, and minor incremental patents:

Semicharm says:

From the "it can slice, it can dice.." department

Convergence it one thing, but the last time I checked, washing machines can get quite loud during the spin cycle. How would you even even here the music. And when was the last time you spent enough time with a washer to even here a whole song? I know I don’t, just get it started and then do something else for 30 minutes. And if I ever got to the level of boredom, there’s always my portable. Duh!

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