[A2k] PATNEWS: Apple's new crappy patent on disabling cellphones

Jamie Love james.love at keionline.org
Fri Aug 31 16:21:39 PDT 2012

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From:  <patnews at ns1.patenting-art.com>
Date: Fri, Aug 31, 2012 at 2:13 PM
Subject: PATNEWS: Apple's new crappy patent on disabling cellphones

!20120831  Apple's new crappy patent on disabling cellphones

After twenty years in this business, I still do not understand why no
one, and I mean no one, takes patent quality seriously.  Applicants don't,
patent offices don't, legislatures don't, academics can't, patent bar
groups could not care less, hedge funds don't waste their time (patents
are junk bonds - all you have to assume is that at least one is good),
patent brokers don't (same reasoning as hedge funds), and the press still
hasn't figured out how to include a patent number in an article about a
patent.  Do applicants, beyond rarely, do reasonable prior art searches
for their applications?  NO.  Do patent offices actually believe their
nonsense about their progress improving patent quality and search tools
(sadly, YES).  The system is a big freakin joke when it comes to patent

Case in point.  As part of the coverage of the Apple/Samsung lawsuit
(a decision ruined by the patent law delusions of the jury foreman -
no way is the $1 billion judgment going to stand), some pundits are
referencing Apple's stream of patents, occasionally mentioning a few.

Slashdot today does so, and mentions an Apple patent so full of dreck
to be a classic example of the contempt everyone has for patent system,
especially patent quality.


    Apparatus and methods for enforcement of policies upon a wireless device
    U.S. Patent 8,254,902
    Apple                     (filed 28 June 2008, issued 28 August 2012)

(side note: also good example that patent pendency is about four years).
The patent cites 18 patents and 3 non-patent prior art items, which for
the technology and late priority date is grossly inadequate.

What's the invention?  From the abstract:

    Apparatus and methods for changing one or more functional or
    operational aspects of a wireless device, such as upon occurrence
    of a certain event.   ... This policy enforcement capability is
    useful for a variety of reasons, including for example to disable
    noise and/or light emanating from wireless devices (such as at a
    movie theater),

You see this at the end of claim 1:

    ... the first module detecting that the wireless device is within
    the first range and the identified one or more modifiable portions,
    and to cause notification for a user of the client wireless device
    to be provided via the client wireless device; and wherein the
    modification of the at least one of the first set of functions is
    performed after said notification.

Whoopee shirt. Location-based modification of a device.  As if that has
never been done before.

Let's spin Greg's one-minute-patent-busting-wheel-of-crap and see what
we find (which neither Apple nor the PTO found, or cared to find):

    Realtime, location-based cellphone enhancements, uses and applications
    U.S. Patent Application 2007/032225
    PUBLISHED February 2007 (16 months before Apple filed)

>From the abstract:

    Enhancements of and to cell phone operations are based in while or
    in part on determining the location of the cell phone.  Systems
    and methods select and determine locations or areas of importance
    or relevance, and based on that information and other programmed
    facters affect or alter the operations of the cell phone.

How, for example?  Figure 9:

    - SUNDAY 8AM to 11AM

Because you might be in a church (a religious theater for sake of an
obviousness argument).  And the patent application goes on and on and
on with pages of applications of this idea of changing a cellphone's
behavior based on its location.

Worse yet, this patent application itself is crap.  As part of the
one minute search (apparently the PTO doesn't allow examiner more than
one minute of search time), we stumble across this Microsoft patent,
also uncited in the issued Apple patent, because after all, who gives
a freakin frack about patent quality:

    Context-aware and location-aware cellular phones and methods
    U.S. Patent 7,076,255
    Microsoft (issued July 2006 - two years before Apple applied)

>From the abstract:

    ... cellular phones are configured to wirelessly receive
    information that pertains to their current context or
    location.  The phones then automatically use the information
    to modify one or more cellular phone behavior's, e.g., by
    turning the phone off, changing the ringer's pitch, or
    placing the phone in a vibrate mode.

Now, the Apple claims are more server-oriented, while the Microsoft
claims are more client (determinations at the cellphone), but moving
apps back and forth between clients and servers was long ago not
novel, utterly obvious, and idiotic to try to claim.

How the heck did the USPTO miss two dead-on prior art patents, and allow
this patent to issue?  Answer?  The PTO is making zero progress with
regards to patent quality.  The PTO is still using dishonest measures
of patent quality, and dishonest standards of contractor perforamce with
regards to all things searching at the PTO.  Patent quality is still a
joke at the PTO.  And with most applicants.

Which means they also view innovation as a joke, because it is mostly
the "best" innovation that ends up being patented.  If they don't
respect the patents on the innovation, they certainly don't respect
the innovation.  No wonder global economies are so screwed up, when
the salvation, innovation, is treated as a joke.

Large companies should not be clogging the patent system with these
non-innovations, and the PTO shouldn't not be issuing them as patents.
Quality must mean something, or else let's all become dishonest
copyright lawyers (you have to be dishonest to take 17 USC 102 seriously)
and have a registration system.

Seriously folks, grow up.

Greg Aharonian
Internet Patent News Service
Call for patentability/invalidity/opposition/clearance search services
    for infotech/commtech/medtech/greentech/business methods
In the United States, call me at:   001-415-981-0441
In Brazili (Leao IP), call me at:   011-55-51-3022-5175

Client of Article One?  Whatever they overcharge you over $6000 for an
invalidity search, I will give you a 20% discount - no questions asked.
Article One charging you $25,000?  I will do it for $10,000.  All of
my searches are flat fee. Email me the special URL - get a bigger discount.

James Love.  Knowledge Ecology International
http://www.keionline.org, +1.202.332.2670, US Mobile: +1.202.361.3040,
Geneva Mobile: +41.76.413.6584, efax: +1.888.245.3140.

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