Microsoft beats Apple in iPod patent race?

“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.

Related articles:
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

30 Comments

  1. 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.’

    Uh, no. It actually makes Microsoft look more sneaky and underhanded than ever.

  2. There is no way Microsoft will receive a patent when Apple already had a product for sale in the market 5 months before the application was filed.

    At worst, Microsoft will receive the patent out of the incompetence of the patent office, but it will not stand in court and will most likely be overturned. The patent office would be smart enough to realize that you can’t approve a patent for something that a competitor had already invented months before you filed the application.

  3. Just shows to go ya that all MS is counting on for future revenue streams is money gained from litigation.

    Next thing you know they’ll try to patent the lower case ‘i’ in order that Apple can’t name any future products according to their convention.

    “I’m going to buy a new Book with Lfe and Work. I love Photo and Tunes. I also want to learn Move and DVD.”

    open

  4. How can you patent something that’s already out there and has been for months ? Even if Apple can’t get the patent itself, Microsoft won’t either due to prior art (I think). It’ll just take time to resolve. Nothing to see. Move along please.

  5. Hey “Life’s not Fair”, you’re a fucking idiot. This Microsoft at what they’ve done in the past when they can’t handle competitors. Many of the disputes Apple has had legally with MS in the past have been over patents. Secondly, this is no monopolistic move by Apple– they are trying to protect technology that they have pioneered and they are obviously tired of fucktards who cannot come up with something as good as the iPod. So, forgive my lack of eloquence, but shut the fuck up.

  6. With 50 bil in cash reserve, don’t you think M$ pays people to file a patent on anything out there that could even slightly reak of promising or be a distant future technology. Heck, I bet they even got a heads up patent on my wife’s secret salsa. By the way, since I lost my bet and if anyone doubts I ran around our building naked, I will send the video…but, are you sure you would even want to see it?? Ugh!

  7. “…By the way, since I lost my bet and if anyone doubts I ran around our building naked, I will send the video…but, are you sure you would even want to see it?? Ugh!…..”

    maybe Tera would ….. heck she might even post it !!

    ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”LOL” style=”border:0;” />

  8. Have to agree with Hywel. If the iPod came out in 2001, that should qualify as “prior art” and can not be patented after that. The Patent Office is so screwed up, they should fire everyone there and start over. People should not be allowed to patent ideas, especially nebulously formed ones that could mean practically anything.

    Maybe someone should start a petition to shut down and overhaul the Patent Office. People working there are so stupid.

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