Apple Blocks Google App From iPhone While Trying To Patent The Same Invention?

from the ah,-monopolies dept

Christopher alerts us to the news of an Apple patent application (20090325603) that was just published that appears quite similar to Google's location tracking service, Google Latitude. What makes this story more interesting is the fact that Apple barred Google Lattitude from the iPhone app store. Of course, Apple has a history of barring competitive apps, but that's also brought about regulatory scrutiny from the federal government over whether or not Apple is abusing its market position. Blocking an app while patenting the same thing certainly doesn't look good. But, of course, isn't that what patenting is all about? It's a government granted system for blocking competitors.


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    John Duncan Yoyo (profile), Jan 6th, 2010 @ 4:39am

    If Apple had implemented their own lattitude they would have a decent arguement. I hope the paper work was submitted prior to the Google application to iTunes for Apple's sake. Otherwise it makes them look like they are copying apps and stealing ideas. Not that that hasn't worked for Apple in the past.

     

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    Ed Woychowsky, Jan 6th, 2010 @ 5:17am

    Apple motto

    Do EVIL!

     

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    John Doe, Jan 6th, 2010 @ 5:36am

    Prior Art?

    If it is so similar, then I imagine the patent won't be worth the paper it is written on since Google can claim prior art.

     

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      Comboman (profile), Jan 6th, 2010 @ 6:46am

      Re: Prior Art?

      Patents are (at least supposed to be) on implementations, not ideas. As long as Apple's location-aware-mobile-app is implemented differently than Google's, it should be able to patent it. It will also have to name it something different (Longitude maybe?), but that's a trademark issue.

       

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    The Anti-Mike (profile), Jan 6th, 2010 @ 5:38am

    It's a government granted system for blocking competitors.

    No, it's a systems granted by the people to prevent duplicators. What Apple appears to be trying to do is as you say, which is NOT what the patent system is about.

    It looks like they would have one hell of a prior art fight on their hands. However, if Apple had submitted the idea a couple of years back and the application is pending, then it might have been to their advantage not to give a duplicate product shelf space, as that would give Google some pretty good legal arguments to work with.

    What is the date of the patent application? June 30, 2008

    When was Latitude released? February 2009

    It looks like Apple may have been first.

     

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      technomage (profile), Jan 6th, 2010 @ 6:07am

      Re:

      date of patent app: june 2008, latitude released feb 2009. So google's labs are so efficient that they planned, developed and released all in the same month? Wow, maybe a world with google as leader won't be so bad then?

       

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        The Anti-Mike (profile), Jan 6th, 2010 @ 6:50am

        Re: Re:

        We don't know how good or bad Google Labs is (they are generally pretty quick), but the same could be said for Apple: The concept for this isn't something that came up in five minutes over lunch. Submitting it in June 2008 would likely mean that it was someone's idea 6 - 12 months earlier, if not longer.

        For Google, the time from June 2008 (when the patent was submitted and published) and Feb 2009 is more than long enough to get something done.

        I do think that Apple and Google could end up with an ugly, drawn out prior art fight in the near future. I think that Google may have a good case about latitude being blocked by Apple. However, since Google is starting to border on being a monopoly all by itself, I suspect they will let this one slide. I doubt they want any official types looking at their current plans and situation.

         

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      MCR, Jan 6th, 2010 @ 6:10am

      Re:

      If the patent application was submitted in 2008, how come they still don't have the feature on the iPhone? That's the problem with patents: Companies patent ideas with minimal research and effort, but aren't able to make use of it and put it on a shelf. Someone else comes along, figures out how to monetize it, but they can't get in the game.

      You have to admit there's something wrong with that picture.

       

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      CommonSense (profile), Jan 6th, 2010 @ 6:58am

      Re:

      C'mon man!! Granted by the people to prevent duplicators??? That's the single dumbest thing I've read from you...

      The People WANT duplicators, they WANT others to try and do things better than the original, they WANT that competition, and they WANT the benefits that come with it (lower prices, better products). Yes, the people elected the government, and the government put the patent mess in place, but that does NOT mean that the people setup the patent mess. Free Markets (like most American people want) are NOT free with a system such as this.

       

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        Stuart, Jan 6th, 2010 @ 8:51am

        Re: Re:

        Yes. They want all that stuff. Current patent law is horrible. We still need though some form of patent protections for the same reason the protections came about in the first place. To guarantee a small period of time in which your hard work is protected so you may make a profit. Then the patent should expire and competition steps in and you have better products and lower prices. You need to have sane patent laws.

         

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      Anonymous Coward, Jan 6th, 2010 @ 9:21am

      Re:

      "No, it's a systems granted by the people to prevent duplicators."

      I bet if the PEOPLE voted on the issue patents would just about disappear. I highly doubt they would last twenty years. It's a system granted by the CORPORATIONS to prevent COMPETITION.

       

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    :), Jan 6th, 2010 @ 5:48am

    Silly.

    No, it's a systems granted by the people(representatives) to prevent duplicators. What Apple appears to be trying to do is as you say, which is NOT what the patent system is about.


    Translation:

    It's a government granted system for blocking competitors.

     

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    :), Jan 6th, 2010 @ 5:51am

    Patent sillyness.

    Another silly one is the guy who patented a for to read credit card information on the iphone.

    He claims to have invented a way to transform electrical signals to sound so the app in the phone could get the reading from the headphones input.

    WTF signal conversion is old very old how did he get a patent on that?

     

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    :), Jan 6th, 2010 @ 5:56am

    Correction

    Another silly one is the guy who patented a reader for credit card information on the iphone.

     

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    Avatar28 (profile), Jan 6th, 2010 @ 6:00am

    Apple copy? Never!

    But...but...Apple would NEVER copy someone else. Everyone knows that Apple invented things like the GUI and the MP3 player!

     

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    ChronoFish (profile), Jan 6th, 2010 @ 6:44am

    Get ready for a lot less Google

    I suspect Apple will be shutting out Google at every turn possible. Which I also suspect will work for them short-term and kill them them long term.

    The iPhone will become the next Mac. Highly gated Apple controlled environment with 25% market share. Android will become the next Windows - Highly configurable/run anywhere with 75% market share.

    The Mac (iPhone) lovers will complain about how sucky and confusing Android is because the interface will lend to non-confomity in its apps. Android lovers will complain that the iPhone is nothing but a toy for pompous-asses.

    -CF

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 6th, 2010 @ 6:51am

    It's a government granted system for blocking competitors.

    I really don't know this site anymore, Mike. You seem to go further and further off the deep end with each passing year.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Jan 6th, 2010 @ 8:59am

      Re:

      I really don't know this site anymore, Mike. You seem to go further and further off the deep end with each passing year.

      Naaa, he's just seeing it for what it really is. A game of control - Government giving corporations more and more control. Because - well, who 'owns' the Government?

      This guy had an opinion on that - of course; this is crazy 'off the deep end' stuff, huh?

      "The real truth of the matter is, as you and I know, that a financial
      element in the large centers has owned the government of the U.S. since
      the days of Andrew Jackson."
      -- Franklin D. Roosevelt
      (1882-1945), 32nd US President
      November 21, 1933
      Source: in a letter written to Colonel E. Mandell House

       

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    Matty, Jan 6th, 2010 @ 6:57am

    If google was smart, they would just start there own cydia repo, and the user who really want those apps will just jailbreak. with how easy it is to do now, the amount of iphone user who are jailbroken is rising anyways.

     

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    WammerJammer (profile), Jan 6th, 2010 @ 7:09am

    Apple Blocks Google App From iPhone While Trying To Patent The Same Invention?

    And then they tell us that competition is good!

     

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    James, Jan 6th, 2010 @ 10:57am

    This is no surprise

    And also one of the main reason I'd never buy an iphone, I don't want the gestapo stopping apps at the border and sending the ones it "thinks" are bad off to a concentration camp :-P

     

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    CHRIS, Jan 6th, 2010 @ 12:54pm

    Apple Blocks Google App From iPhone While Trying To Patent The Same Invention?

    For this reason alone I will not by an Apple product. My kids wanted an iPOD and one wanted an iPHONE. One got a Zune and the other will get a Droid as soon as its available from Goggles website.

     

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    chris (profile), Jan 6th, 2010 @ 12:57pm

    Apple Blocks Google App From iPhone While Trying To Patent The Same Invention?

    For this reason alone I will not by an Apple product. My kids wanted an iPOD and one wanted an iPHONE. One got a Zune and the other will get a Droid as soon as its available from Goggles website.

     

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    jeff (profile), Jan 6th, 2010 @ 1:23pm

    Chris hates his kids

    You got your kid a Zune over an iPod? You are truly evil. I can understand the Droid except the fact that you are a hypocrite. Won't buy Apple because of their "controls" over their devices, yet you get a Droid which runs on Verizon, probably the most controlling corporation in existence.

     

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      Kevin, Jan 6th, 2010 @ 2:58pm

      Re: Chris hates his kids

      "Verizon, probably the most controlling corporation in existence."

      Wow. Now that's gotta be one of the most clueless comments I've heard in a long while - especially on an article about Apple.

      Please tell me you were just *trying* to be funny....

       

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    chris (profile), Jan 6th, 2010 @ 1:46pm

    No I don't hate my Kids

    I will be getting him the Google phone which will work on any network.

     

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    iPhone Apps, Jun 23rd, 2010 @ 3:02pm

    Blocking competitive apps should bring far more than some regulatory scrutiny, it should bring massive lawsuits and federal inquiries. I love Apple, don't get me wrong, but they are getting mighty shady as of late!

     

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