By now most of must us have heard about the problems U.S. patent system is facing. With software and business model patents, patent trolls and lawsuits, and patented things like one-click buying online.
Well, if Apple has it’s way, things are about to get much worse.
The problem? Three Apple patent applications that just became public on USPTO website. From the looks of them, it seems that Apple is now trying to patent mobile app ideas. For now Apple is seeking to get a patent for 3 apps – travel, hotel and high fashion shopping.
In mobile travel app patent application, Apple describes things like sending travel promotions, making reservations through mobile app, guide/assistance with airport services, using mobile boarding pass, remote check-in, access to in-flight services, sending automatic arrival notifications to your spouse, travel guide services/promotions at the destination site.
Apple’s Hotel app patent application talks about hotel promotions/reservations/service pre-order through app, early/remote check-ins, access to hotel and in-room services, operating room equipment, personal concierge services, check-out, post-trip promotion/questionnaires/info.
High fashion shopping app patent application describes an iPhone app from high fashion houses like Ralph Lauren. With this app the user can receive invitations to special events, info/catalog of available products, use store locator, find popular picks, gift guides, create wish lists/look books, see product reviews, engage in social networking activities, see enhanced adverts/promotions, use personal shopping services, product comparisons, suggestions for additional items, provide feedback via post-sales questionnaires, use virtual closet, etc;
Damn, but this is one scary development. Imagine if back in 1994-96 someone decided to sit back, think about what kind of web services can be provided via the internet, and then decided to patent them. You know, things like – shopping for books online, buying plane tickets, reserving a hotel, providing shopping comparison services, online auctions, online e-mail services, etc;
It seems that Apple is now trying to do exactly this kind of thing in mobile apps space. I really hope that U.S. Patent office will see through this Apple ruse, and quickly reject all these patent applications for mobile apps.
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