Apple has filed over 200 patent applications for the iPhone, raising questions about how much control the biggest industries in the U.S. should be given. Most of them involved the touch screen, interface, and many gestures involved with interface manipulation. If these patents were to go through, Apple would be nearly home free in creating a monopoly of the business. The patents would not just affect similar phones, either. Many of them would affect all user interfaces on machines and computers for years to come, forcing other companies to try and work around ridiculous obstacles.
For example, they wish to patent the gesture of pinching for zooming in and out. Double tapping causes a “smart zoom” that zooms in to a particular part of the screen. Doesn’t it seem just a little ridiculous that a company would try to patent double-tapping to zoom? Unfortunately, the business of patents is out of public hands and has been for years, causing controversy more often than not. All we can do is pray that the ridiculous patent claims fall through and Apple is left to do business like the rest of world, without a crown and throne.
Bad patents are nothing new as the technology industry continues to grow. The Electronic Frontier Foundation has begun the Patent Busting Project to bring attention to injustices occurring among businesses. Here is a list of what the Electronic Frontier Foundation considers the top ten worst businesses with patents. All have threatened or sued small businesses, individuals, or non-profit organizations.
- Acacia Technologies – for patents covering a widely used process of streaming audio or video files over the internet, cable and satellite.
- Clear Channel – for patents covering the recording and burning of after-concert CDs.
- Acceris Communications – for patents covering telephone calls over the internet.
- Sheldon F Goldberg – for a patent covering the playing of games, such as card games, upon a network.
- Ideaflood – over a business method patent for managing sub-domains.
- NeoMedia Technologies – for a patent covering the “automatic access of a remote computer over a network”.
- Test.com – for a patent for a method of taking and scoring tests on-line.
- Nintendo – for a patent covering Gameboy emulation.
- Firepond – for a patent “covering the use of natural language processing to respond to customers’ on-line inquiries by e-mail”.
- Seer Systems – for a patent for the creation, storage, distribution and performance of musical work files.
“Patents are meant to protect companies against giant competitors, not to help them prey on folks who can barely afford a lawyer,” said Schultz, who leads the Patent Busting Project. “We hope our project will not only assist the victims of these abusive patents but also help make the case for global reform of the patent system.”
For more information on the Patent Busting Project, visit their website.