by Derek Kerton
Thu, Jan 17th 2008 7:35am
Johnson Controls, a leading provider of automotive sub-systems, has been granted a patent for a "Wireless Communication System That Enables 'Hands-free' Cellular Phone Use in Automobiles." Laws requiring hands-free driving are already enforced in a few jurisdictions, and are set to hit California in July of this year. With these laws, it's nice to know that a method for using Bluetooth as a hands-free conduit to the car's embedded radio and speakers is a patented idea. This way, we can be assured that the quality of implemented solutions is maintained, and that the inventors of this innovative idea are duly rewarded (in perpetuity) for their toil. With this legalized monopoly on Hands-Free car integration, Johnson Controls will now have the financial incentive to focus on the important inventions of tomorrow. Some may argue that a Bluetooth hands-free link is obvious, and doesn't merit a patent. Others will ask silly questions like "Isn't that what Bluetooth was supposed to do from its inception (prior to this patent filing) and later standardization?" But these oppositionazis are mistaken: this patent is "based on a patent application originally filed in the United States in 1999," back when nobody else could have ever conceived of using the car stereo and speakers for hands-free phone calls. The only reason we find this idea obvious today is because we have been exposed to the 1999 patent application, which fully revealed the brilliant invention to us... well, not entirely since the 1999 application was more vague and general, and this patent was actually just based on it and modified from 2000-2002. Wow. Hands-free through the car speakers. What will they think of next?
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