Apple’s patent application for Pod’s menu-based software interface rejected

“A near three-year-long attempt by Apple Computer to patent the menu-based software interface of its popular iPod digital music player has ultimately proved unsuccessful, AppleInsider has discovered,” Kasper Jade and Katie Marsal report for AppleInsider.

“The company’s patent application, which lists Apple vice president Jeff Robbin and Apple chief executive Steve Jobs as two of its primary inventors, received a final rejection last month from the United States Patent and Trademark Office,” Jade and Marsal report. “It’s unclear how Robbin and Apple will proceed in their attempts to secure rights to the iPod’s software design interface. The United States Patent and Trademark Office allows a three-month window period for reply to the final rejection, in which Robbin and Apple can appeal the decision, request reconsideration, or file a continuation of their original application. With the fuses burning short on a number of patent filings from the early evolution of digital music players, it has yet to be determined who will ultimately score ownership in the industry. As it stands right now, Robbin’s iPod software design is open territory that Apple cannot necessarily protect others from duplicating.”

Full article here.
In related news, Sim Wong Hoo was seen doing cartwheels across Creative’s parking lot and several Chinese knock-off electronic makers declared today a national holiday. But, seriously, it’ll all work out.


  1. The bad news:

    Other MP3 players will look like an iPod

    The good news:

    They won’t work like it!

    This reminds me of Apples lawsuit with Microsoft where MS got away with murder, they simply had to make the trash can into a recycle bin in order to be legal. But like Windows compared to Mac OS, they can not copy the experiance. The iPod is a hit in large part due to iTunes. The iPod sales soared when iTunes for windows was released because the windows users could get the whole experiance.

    The also rans will just look a little closer, but they will still be also rans. A few people will be fooled, but not enough to matter. Microsoft will declare victory tomorrow pronouncing a new era of “freedom” for users and the minor players will offer a “heil Bill!”, but like Hitler’s 3rd Reich it will be dead in a few years (or months).

  2. Sim Wong Hoo…LOL…cartwheels…ROTFLMAO!

    Nobody’s dressing their babies like Creative Zens, dudes. And nobody ever will. So much for the “war.”

    Make peace, not war. And now, back to my bong.

  3. I’ve always thought that a lot of the computer interface and internet patents (like Amazon’s on click web purchase patent) were bulls**t.

    In any case, Apple still has a lot of legal ammunition to fight copycats over trade-dress complaints under trademark law.

  4. I dont believe Mediocresoft will be able to patent friggin smilies either, cause it has to be a tecnical solution to a “problem” of some sort. This is why its hard for Apple to patent a menu based software interface, as such is hardly unique. Authorities will argue that menus occur on existing products of all kinds, and has no “news” value.

    However, they will probably be able to protect the design to some extent.

  5. The article mentions that another person submitted a patent. If he got a patent, then Apple may have to either license the interface now, or change the interface if they cannot reason with this guy. There is no mention who “Platt” with the patent works for or who he sold the right to.

    I have been using similar menu based themes(ie, move up/down, pick something and another menu comes on the screen) since my days of DOS programming.

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