Friday, November 9, 2012

Patently Absurd: Apple Invents Rounded Corners (AAPL)

From Quartz:
Apple’s new patent on rounded corners isn’t even the world’s most absurd patent
So this happened: Apple was just granted a patent on rounded corners for rectangular electronic devices. It’s tempting to think that patents are becoming more absurd, but that would be a mistake. The US and other patent bodies have always granted overly broad patents. What’s changed is that courts, in recent years, have started to award damages based on them.

Here’s a list of historical patents that have been violated millions of times—but have yet to earn their creators a cent.

The wheel

In 2001, Australian John Keogh patented a “circular transportation facilitation device” (PDF). Keogh, a freelance patent attorney, filed for and received his patent on the 5,000-year old contrivance in order to demonstrate flaws in Australia’s “innovation patent” system for fast-tracking legal protection of new ideas.

Every smartphone ever

In 1999, NetAirus Technologies filed for a patent on a “wireless communication system,” and it was granted in 2006. Four scant years later, lacking any products of its own, the company used its patent—so broad that it covers basically every smartphone ever invented—to sue Apple. That trial is ongoing....