IPod Patent Punctured

Originally posted 2005-08-10 20:45:57. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

PC Pro reports Apple fails to patent the iPod interface

Apple has failed in an attempt to patent the iPod interface after the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) ruled that a similar patent had already been registered.

In 2002, a few months before Apple’s application, inventor John Platt submitted his own application for a menu-based media player. And the description is remarkably similar to the method for operating an iPod.

. . .

Apple now has three months to appeal against the decision. Should it fail, the implications are unclear though it could open the way for Platt to demand royalties from Apple and other portable player manufacturers who use a similar navigational method.

Patent lawyers — is this kind of thing supposed to happen to companies like Apple? I’m just asking.

UPDATE: Perhaps a little less enjoyment of uncertainty than some may have anticipated…


  • I assume the “is this supposed to happen to companies like Apple” was a joke. Of course it is, and it happens all the time. The vast majority of applications by all applicants are rejected at least once, a significant number are rejected twice (which is nearly always “final”) and still issue eventually.

    A “final rejection” is not really final – Apple could appeal, or file a Request for Continued Examination (RCE), or a continuation or continuation-in-part application.

    In this case, the application was rejected under 102(e) – that is, the reference issued after Apple filed their application, but was filed earlier. Apple “swore back” of the reference – filed a declaration that they had, in fact, invented before the reference was filed. Normally, that would remove the reference from consideration. However, the examiner completely ignored the declaration in his final rejection, for reasons he did not explain. That, alone, might prompt an appeal by Apple, on the grounds that the sole reference against their application is not really “prior art”.

  • Ya see, that’s an answer!

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