Monday27 March 2023

Apple Moves to Cut Off Google's Glass Project With Thier Own Device... Um We Mean Patent.

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"We think competition is healthy, but competitors should create their own original technology, not steal ours." This is the boilerplate statement that Apple makes in every patent case they are involved in. It is a message that the company claims time and time again. Even Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO, says this about Apple. However, the statement is probably one of the biggest myths that the company perpetrates on the consumer and one that is finally coming to light as more and more consumers and even the media are starting to report on the number of times Apple has patented technology AFTER someone else invented it.

The latest one is Apple’s attempt to patent a technology that Google and others already own the rights to. Here is one for those of you that think that Apple is the creator of all technology… Patent Number 7648236 filed on September 8 2008 and granted in 2010 to Motion Research Corporation called; Multi-use eyeglasses with human I/O interface embedded. The abstract says it pretty clearly;

An multi-use eyeglass apparatus is disclosed. The apparatus generally comprises a frame, a display device, at least one sensor and a transceiver. The frame may have a plurality of lens openings defining an optical path. The display device may be mounted to the frame and configured to display an image to a user wearing the frame, wherein the image is located outside of the optical path. The at least one sensor is generally mounted to the frame and configured to sense a response from the user. The transceiver may be mounted to the frame and configured to (i) receive the image in a first receive message from external of the frame and (ii) transmit the response in a first transmit message to external of the frame

It is very close to what Apple put in patent 8212859 ;

Methods and apparatus, including computer program products, implementing and using techniques for projecting a source image in a head-mounted display apparatus for a user. A first display projects an image viewable by a first eye of the user. A first peripheral light element is positioned to emit light of one or more colors in close proximity to the periphery of the first display. A receives data representing a source image, processes the data representing the source image to generate a first image for the first display and to generate a first set of peripheral conditioning signals for the first peripheral light element, directs the first image to the first display, and directs the first set of peripheral conditioning signals to the first peripheral light element. As a result, an enhanced viewing experience is created for the user.

Now Apple filed this patent on October 8 2008 which is after patent 7648236 and the related patent 7675683 again Motion Research Corporation. This one covers an Ambient light display and system for displaying data. The abstract here is;

A system for displaying data includes a display unit and a transmitting unit. A display unit has a housing that defines an ambient light window and a viewing window. A data display is positioned inside the housing, and optics are included for guiding light from the ambient light window through the display and out the viewing window.

Both of these were bought by Google for use in Google Glass. Both also appear to combine to make up the single invention that Google showed off. Now under our current system the display of the actual working model by Google holds no weight in patent law. Unfortunately that was removed when we switched from First to Invent to our new system of First to File. Here whoever gets to the patent office first gets the patent. Before by showing a working model of the concept Google would be granted the patent. As it stands now although Apple did not invent this product first they are given priority over Google’s actual invention. The wording of Apple's patent also allows them to go after anyone that uses even a portion of this patent in their products ("Methods and apparatus, including computer program products, implementing and using techniques for projecting a source image in a head-mounted display apparatus for a user.").This is an exceptionally broad and vague wording that can be interpreted to cover almost anything and with our increasingly technically uneducated judges a properly worded complaint would give Apple a lot of power in the courtroom if the judge in question does not understand the technology or what it actually does.

What makes this new battle even more interesting is that Oakley actually owns a staggering number of patents related to wearable devices (including displays) and have shown them off before. We do hope that they wade in and speak up about Apple and Google’s new products. Some of Oakley’s 600+ patents on this might have an impact on these two companies as they try to corner the market on wearable tech.

However,  and it stands right now they (Apple) will claim that they made this first based on their filing date and probably line up to sue Google and anyone that makes a similar device. This is, in no uncertain terms, abusing the patent system to limit competition and stifle innovation. We wish that Apple would stop stealing everyone else’s ideas, patenting them (with reworded patents) and then suing them… Instead why don’t they actually invent something and begin to openly compete in the market. They used to be amazing innovators and created very new concepts (back in the original days). Now they appear to be a little more than a patent bully and are looking more and more like RAMBUS and we all know what ended up happening to them…

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Last modified on Friday, 06 July 2012 08:45

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