Patent Office, Perhaps Forgetting What Year It Is, Locks Down Mobile App Development Platforms
from the is-anyone-at-the-uspto-awake? dept
Hell there are entire lists of similar platforms, and those lists appear to have been created before this patent was applied for. What is the USPTO doing over there?
Patent system defenders will immediately jump in to say that a patent is really all about its claims, but go take a look at those ridiculously broad claims. Claim number 1 is the main claim here, and what it describes is nothing special at all. It's just a simple web-based platform for developing mobile apps that can run on a variety of mobile platforms.
That's not new. Companies, like the now apparently defunct Whoop were doing exactly that years ago. Just the very concept of a simple platform for app development (even cross-platform app development) isn't even close to new. Such things have been around for ages. How can someone honestly think that this is "new" and not "obvious."
And yet Appsbar (which at least does offer a product) now not only holds this patent, but the press release was put out as way of announcing its plans to enforce the patent vigorously:
“We are proud that the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office recognizes the innovative and proprietary set of features offered by Appsbar and we plan on strictly enforcing our patent with other companies that currently provide similar types of services,” said Scott Hirsch, founder and CEO, Appsbar. “Until Appsbar, novice tech users, small businesses, general consumers and more had to rely on an entire internal design and software team or hire a costly agency for the design, creation and publication of apps.”First off, the second half of that quote? Not true. I remember a few years ago we developed a Techdirt app using one of these platforms. It took all of about 10 minutes of playing around on some website. As for the first half, the fact that even they admit that there are a bunch of other companies already in this space basically shows that this patent is covering an old idea that is quite obvious at this point.
So if we're looking at how to fix the patent problem, can we at least start with this simple concept: stop approving completely ridiculous patents like this one.