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Apple Gets a Patent For an Idea that is 24 Years Old

By - Source: uspto | B 39 comments

There was a time when Apple was interested in building its own social network.

And when it did, the company was busy patenting its ideas for what would be called "Ping". One of those patents is the "user to user recommender", which is a process that is about as trivial as it sounds, but unique enough that the USPTO has granted Apple a patent for "invention".

Friend recommendation is the most basic requirement for a network that intends to help its users to extend their social network. Apple's idea closely relates to the ways how, for example, LinkedIn recommends new out-of-network contacts. In Apple's version, it just happens in relation to music: First, user profiles are being compared, including media item sets and music/video playcounts. Based on that information and the grade of similarity, the system would then assume that matching media item sets are reason enough to let you know that you may want to connect with another social network user.

Common sense would raise the question whether a patent was really necessary for this rather basic idea and even the two listed inventors could have had, in a reasonable world, some thoughts that what they have invented may already exist.

In the end, they quoted and referred 260 other patents with some ideas relating to this specific patent. The earliest patent filed in 1989 and granted in 1991 to a company called Neonics under the title "System and method for recommending items", which does not differ significantly from Apple's idea in 2011.

 

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  • 31 Hide
    EDVINASM , January 21, 2013 12:11 PM
    How is this news? Just being sarcastic really. Apple has gone below low in my book. I am glad to hear that iPhones are being traded for Samsung Galaxy S3 and S4 is on the way. I am not wishing anyone any harm but.. can't say I have same feelings for Apple.
  • 30 Hide
    bllue , January 21, 2013 12:31 PM
    Is Apple bribing the USTPO??
  • 28 Hide
    rantoc , January 21, 2013 12:18 PM
    OK in the US apparently , but likely invalidated in the rest of the world....
Other Comments
  • 31 Hide
    EDVINASM , January 21, 2013 12:11 PM
    How is this news? Just being sarcastic really. Apple has gone below low in my book. I am glad to hear that iPhones are being traded for Samsung Galaxy S3 and S4 is on the way. I am not wishing anyone any harm but.. can't say I have same feelings for Apple.
  • 25 Hide
    plasmastorm , January 21, 2013 12:15 PM
    s much as I hate apple for this sort of crap mybe we will get lucky and they will sue facebook out of existence
  • 28 Hide
    rantoc , January 21, 2013 12:18 PM
    OK in the US apparently , but likely invalidated in the rest of the world....
  • 22 Hide
    mrmaia , January 21, 2013 12:20 PM
    Here we goooooo, prepare your pockets Mr. Zuckerberg!
  • 21 Hide
    calmstateofmind , January 21, 2013 12:24 PM
    What a load if you ask me...
  • 30 Hide
    bllue , January 21, 2013 12:31 PM
    Is Apple bribing the USTPO??
  • 25 Hide
    wannabepro , January 21, 2013 12:31 PM
    I wonder how many patent office officials crApple owns.....
  • 25 Hide
    nix327 , January 21, 2013 12:38 PM
    Disgusting
  • 13 Hide
    srap , January 21, 2013 12:57 PM
    Every apple user will get one acc automatically with iOS7 and MacOS 10.9, filled out with all their personal data and connections, based on the *stolen*... excuse me, locally stored user informations.
  • 22 Hide
    blackmancer , January 21, 2013 1:00 PM
    Just another example of why the patent system is broken!
  • 20 Hide
    Vorador2 , January 21, 2013 1:28 PM
    I can't believe the USPTO is still approving this bullshit. I mean, not only these patents are both vague and overly broad, they're suspiciously similar to previous patents.

    Every patent Apple passes, i'm more and more convinced they've got a mole in the USPTO.
  • 4 Hide
    cats_Paw , January 21, 2013 1:31 PM
    I wonder they will sue Facebook soon because you can send your friend a link to someone so they add that person to their friends list.

    Apple will soon have to start selling its shares if they keep making so many enemies. Sooner or later they are bound to screw up something so bad that they wont be able to sell their products.

    Oh and btw, Good luck with Apple social network, after the iOS Maps i wouldent be surprised if their social network will recommend ... well dnt want to create some drama here.
  • 4 Hide
    fuzzion , January 21, 2013 1:36 PM
    Im gonna go patent the pocket pussy
  • 0 Hide
    A Bad Day , January 21, 2013 1:40 PM
    What this I don't even...
  • 1 Hide
    hate machine , January 21, 2013 1:51 PM
    I am late for the comment shitstorm... it has already begun.
  • 2 Hide
    jakes69 , January 21, 2013 2:24 PM
    wtf...Zune already got this feature.
  • 4 Hide
    wiyosaya , January 21, 2013 2:39 PM
    Well with any luck, someone will challenge this bogus patent, and crApple will lose this one.
  • 3 Hide
    freggo , January 21, 2013 2:47 PM
    Maybe it is time to close the USPTO. They are more useless then the USPS by now.
  • 0 Hide
    Cazalan , January 21, 2013 2:50 PM
    If you got the dough and a lawyer to help you can petition the patent within a certain time period. After that it gets much harder to invalidate.

    The patent system ultimately relies on the public to challenge the ridiculous patents that do get through. In that respect alone it is fundamentally flawed, as there is no real incentive within the USPTO to invalidate patents.
  • -2 Hide
    internetlad , January 21, 2013 3:12 PM
    No, this seems perfectly legit.
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