by Mike Masnick

Filed Under:
android, features, itc, obviousness, patents

apple, google, htc

Apple May Get To Remove Obvious Features From Android

from the how-does-this-promote-the-progress dept

In one prong of the many-pronged attack that Apple has been making on Android, it's scored a victory at the International Trade Commission, where it's been determined that the idea of making a phone number in an email or on a web-page clickable to dial it is so special and wonderful that only Apple could possibly come have up with it. It's rulings like this that make anyone with a modicum of technology smarts shake their heads and wonder why we let clearly non-technical people make decisions like this. Patents are supposed to protect inventions that are non-obvious to those skilled in the space. If you put a 100 groups of five engineers in rooms, asking them to design various smartphone features and interfaces around things like this, I'd bet 99 would come up with a similar feature. It's just natural.

In the meantime, Apple's statements about the ruling are equally ridiculous, given Apple's history of copying others (including Android):
"We think competition is healthy, but competitors should create their own original technology, not steal ours."
Copying an idea and building on it is not "stealing." And if Apple had to build its devices without building on the ideas of others, it wouldn't have very much today. This whole thing is a joke, and it's rulings like this that make engineers have even less respect for the patent system.

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  1. identicon
    Moh, 23 Dec 2011 @ 4:27am


    As pointed out by Tom, Apple's patent on this dates back to 1996, well before any phone you care to name had anything like this feature. Data Detectors was first incorporated into Mac OS 8 and enabled it to automatically recognise email addresses, phone numbers, URLs, dates and even normal addresses and deal with them appropriately. Apple has had this for nearly two decades.

    Before the iPhone in 2007, there was Symbian, Blackberry and WinMob 6. After 2007, every mobile OS started to look like it in terms of multi-touch icon based displays. Were would you be if Apple hadn't created it first...

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