Did that title just spike your blood pressure? Well it damn sure almost gave us a freakin’ stroke.
It seems that the USPTO, in all their patent approving wisdom, has awarded a patent holding firm a patent on a “mobile entertainment and communication device.” Okay, the patent title sounds inconspicuous enough, but the patent covers a mobile phone with removable storage, camera, internet connection, and the ability to download video and audio files.
Raise your hand if that patent-description reminds you of the smartphone that you use everyday.
The patent was issued last Tuesday, after which point, the firm promptly filed suit (three different suits, actually) against just about everyone in the mobile phone industry. Apple, Nokia, RIM, Sprint, AT&T, HP, Motorola, Helio, HTC, Sony Ericsson, UTStarcomm, and Samsung are named among the defendants in this case.
To make matter worse, the patent was issued on the premise of a “continuation filing,” in which a patent holder apply for a patent to cover technologies that have already emerged and hit the market. Here’s the kicker – the patent application was basically a combination of well-known technologies and concepts that were already in use, a patent-practice that the Supreme Court recently ruled does not deserve a patent.
Has anyone over at the USPTO ever heard of “prior art?” Apparently not. A patent on a smartphone?! We still can’t believe it.