Microsoft researcher involved in rejected Apple iPod patent

“According to AppleInsider, a patent filed in 2002 by a Microsoft researcher has prompted the US Patent and Trademark Office to reject an Apple application to patent its iPod user interface. But leave the black helicopters grounded for a moment: the conspiracy theories may not be flightworthy,” Andrew Orlowski reports for The Register.

“The AppleInsider story says the Apple application ‘to patent the menu-based software interface of its popular iPod digital music player has ultimately proved unsuccessful.’ However that isn’t the case. The story is coy about the patents it discusses, doesn’t mention the Microsoft connection and upon further research, it’s clear that several key aspects of the iPod are adequately covered by separate Apple IP applications. Both patents discussed have weathered multiple rejections by the USPTO,” Orlowski reports.

Orlowski reports, “The story reports that last month an iPod-related patent application for ‘rotational user inputs’ by Apple was rejected, with the examiner citing an earlier 2002 application filed by John Platt. A Microsoft Research scientist who used to work for touch pad vendor Synaptics, Platt filed a claim for ‘playlist generation based on seed items’ on May 30 2002, some seven months after the iPod was unveiled.”

Full article here.
Like we said in response to the earlier related article, this one will work itself out eventually.

Related articles:
Apple’s patent application for Pod’s menu-based software interface rejected – August 09, 2005


  1. Einstein would shut up and take his money. Besides, he’s concerned with his crackpot theories.

    This is a precident for my hyperdrive concept I’ve submitted…as well as my perpetual motion device.

    Long live the patent pending.

  2. Microsoft must feed & clothe a large bevy of patent lawyers every week.

    FROM: Mr. Gates, et al
    TO: Patent Lawyers on staff
    RE: Apple New Products

    It has come to our attention that Apple has recently introduced a pointing device called the “Mighty Mouse”. Please take the following steps regarding this:

    1) Analyze this device (purchasing one if necessary) and make sure we don’t have any trademarks, patents, or other similar IP that we can claim against this device.

    2) Break it down for usable new concepts that we may file patents for. Be sure to list one of our R&D people as the developer of the concept.

    If other new products are available from Apple not mentioned in this memo, please repeat the same process.

    These guys must be busy!

  3. It’s paranoia like this that gives us Mac “zealots” a bad name. Over on Slashdot, it’s been pointed out that:

    1) The researcher, not Microsoft, is applying for the patent.
    2) He hasn’t got a patent either.

    The things that make an iPod an iPod, most importantly the click wheel and the iTunes interface are well protected. This will in no way allow Creative to come out with a perfect rip-off.

  4. Lord Robin,

    First off, it isn’t paranoia, it’s humor. Secondly, as with much humor, it’s funny because there’s a grain (or more) of truth in it. To wit:

    1) He works for Microsoft. You don’t think he got any encouragement from them to file this?

    2) I didn’t say he did have a patent.

    3) You didn’t have a point three, but I refer you to the link above demonstrating that Microsoft will try to patent something as ridiculous as “a system for converting alphanumeric characters into emoticon graphics and decoding them again” or whatever it is. This seems to clearly (and I’m not being paranoid about it) show Microsoft’s obsession with trying to control all forms of electronic communication. (As if their dogged pursuit of browser ubiquity at any cost against Netscape wasn’t enough evidence of that..)

    Besides, if they’re really out to get you, you aren’t paranoid.

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