“Apple Computer Inc., whose iPods are the top-selling music player in the U.S., lost an attempt to patent some of the device’s technology because rival Microsoft Corp. had already filed a similar application,” reports Bloomberg News.
“Microsoft beat Apple to the patent application by five months, U.S. Patent & Trademark Office documents show. Apple’s request, filed by Chief Executive Officer Steve Jobs and other officials in October 2002, was rejected by patent officials last month,” Bloomberg News reports. “Apple plans to appeal the decision to ensure it won’t be forced to pay royalties to Microsoft on every iPod sale. The decision could be a setback for Apple, which is also facing increased competition from Microsoft, which makes software for rival music players, and other companies that want to take market share, said Rob Enderle, a technology analyst at Enderle Group. ‘It’s incredibly embarrassing,’ said Enderle, who is based in San Jose, California. ‘That just makes it look like someone at Apple wasn’t on the ball in terms of filing the patent at the right time.'”
Bloomberg News reports, “‘Apple invented and publicly released the iPod interface before the Microsoft patent application cited by the examiner was filed,’ Apple spokeswoman Natalie Kerris said today in an e-mailed statement. The company has received other patents related to the iPod and has other patents pending on the device, she said. ‘The U.S. patent process is often a lengthy one, involving much back and forth,’ Kerris said. ‘Apple will continue to pursue this patent application.'”
Bloomberg reports, “Microsoft employee John C. Platt applied for the patent on behalf of his company in May 2002… Microsoft’s application was also rejected in December 2004, records at the patent office show. Platt amended the application in April, 2005 and on June 27 the office indicated that Microsoft’s pending patent would be approved after payment. ‘We don’t know at this stage whether he’s going to get a patent,’ said Gary Reback, an intellectual property litigator at Carr & Ferrell in Palo Alto, California. ‘It’s hard to know what the rejection means for Apple in light of that.’ Patents often can be issued after being initially rejected, Reback said. ‘It’s early in the game,’ he said.”
Full article here.
Apple introduced iPod to the world on October 23, 2001: http://www.apple.com/pr/library/2001/oct/23ipod.html The only things that are “incredibly embarrassing” are Rob Enderle himself and the “news organizations” and “journalists” that continue to use his comments.
Microsoft researcher involved in rejected Apple iPod patent – August 10, 2005
Apple’s patent application for Pod’s menu-based software interface rejected – August 09, 2005