You may recall that Steve Jobs proudly hyped up
the fact that Apple had filed over 200 patents on the technologies related to the iPhone, as if that showed how special it was. However, as we noted, those patents hardly stopped
others from filing
patent infringement lawsuits against Apple. In the latest case, we have a company named EMG Technology claiming the iPhone violates its recently issued patent
on viewing a mobile website
The patent appears to cover the process of reformatting a website so that it can be more easily viewed on a mobile browser -- something that's been done for ages, since well before this patent was originally filed in 2006. Of course, the priority date on this patent may actually go back to March of 2000, since it appears that various continuations were filed -- a common practice
among patent holders to be able to later add changes to a patent's language to cover actual innovations that others came up with, but which the patent holder now wants credit, even if the original patent application wouldn't have covered that technology specifically.
Either way, even if you were to grant the (somewhat laughable) idea that this patent is valid, this case again shows why the patent system, as currently constructed, makes almost no sense. It's quite clear that Apple did not get it's idea for how the iPhone browser would work from EMG's patent. Instead, it came up with the concepts on its own, knowing that it would be a useful way of implementing a mobile browser. Yet, now, this third party who had nothing to do with Apple's innovations gets to demand money from Apple. That's not promoting the progress. It's promoting waste and inefficiency.