Giving An Allowance Patented: Acacia Sues Apple

from the giving-allowance-isn't-prior-art? dept

Acacia is a well known patent hoarder, who buys up or licenses various unused patents and sets up subsidiaries who do nothing but sue companies in the market who actually make products. The latest Acacia lawsuit has been filed against Apple for the "allowance" feature in iTunes that allows someone to transfer a dollar amount of iTunes credit to someone else -- effectively allowing a parent with a credit card to issue some "allowance" for a kid to purchase iTunes. You would think that such a concept wouldn't be patentable, given the history of parents giving kids an allowance -- but apparently the folks working in the patent office never received allowances as kids. The patent itself seems rather straightforward, but it's difficult to understand why such a thing is patentable in the first place. In the Teleflex v. KSR ruling the Supreme Court noted that the patent office shouldn't just approve patents on combining obvious ideas. Mixing the internet with allowances would seem to fall into that camp, though this patent was issued prior to the Supreme Court ruling.
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Filed Under: allowance, itunes, patents
Companies: acacia, apple

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  1. identicon
    Joe Smith, 13 Feb 2008 @ 11:07am

    prior art

    Tuck money, gift cards and certificates, joint credit cards, prepaid credit cards, prepaid cell phones, prepaid calling cards ...

    A long long time ago ( one hundred years ), one of my forebears was a ne're do well whose parents sent money to a bank account far far away (six thousand miles) for him to go and live on when they decided to get rid of him. What difference between them depositing money to a foreign bank account to be drawn on by their son and me depositing money to an iTunes account to be drawn on by my son?

    What we really need is a program for sending patent trolls to jail.

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