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Apple Sued Over iPhone Browser

CmdrTaco posted more than 5 years ago | from the just-this-once-then dept.

Patents 225

SpuriousLogic writes "A Los Angeles real estate developer is suing Apple for patent infringement over the way the iPhone navigates Web sites. The suit, which was filed on behalf of EMG Technology, seeks unspecified damages. EMG Technology is a company that holds the patents of Elliot Gottfurcht, the real estate developer, as well as Marlo Longstreet and Grant Gottfurcht. The company claims that the iPhone infringes on patent 7,441,196 — a patent that was approved only last month, after a filing process that began on March 13, 2006. That patent is for an invention that displays 'on-line content reformatted from a webpage in a hypertext markup language (HTML) format into an extensible markup language (XML) format to generate a sister site.' This sister site is a simplified version of the original site that is then displayed on any number of devices — including cell phones, EMG says."

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Looking to test Bilski? (5, Insightful)

danaris (525051) | more than 5 years ago | (#25899469)

Let's hope this case is the first of many to be swiftly decided for throwing out the patent entirely based on In re Bilski.

Dan Aris

Re:Looking to test Bilski? (5, Informative)

CubanCorona (759226) | more than 5 years ago | (#25899571)

Unfortunately, this patent contains apparatus claims as well as method claims.

The Bilski decision was limited to method claims, and so it won't apply without a fairly liberal extension of that holding.

Re:Looking to test Bilski? (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25900133)

Yeah, but the apparatus is nothing more than an ordinary computer. It's rather hilariously described from fairly elementary principles:

"FIG. 4 is a block diagram of a client hardware architecture of one embodiment of the invention. A processor 100 is coupled to various memory units and an I/O bus bridge 110 by a local bus 102. Among the expected memory units are random access memory (RAM) 106, which may be any standard RAM, including standard dynamic random access memory (DRAM), and may be symmetric or asymmetric. Also coupled to bus 102 is a read-only memory (ROM) unit 108. The ROM will typically include the boot code for the processor 100. A non-volatile RAM (NVRAM) unit 104 is also coupled to the bus."

And so on. This "client hardware architecture of one embodiment of the invention" isn't distinctive in the least. It's "hardware fluff" to make the application look like it isn't only a software patent.

Re:Looking to test Bilski? (5, Informative)

Teilo (91279) | more than 5 years ago | (#25900265)

Apparatus claims are not sufficient to get around In re Biski. Simply adding the words "On a computer" or "On a handheld device" (or long drawn-out complicated descriptions which equate to the same), to a process that is, in itself, purely algorithmic or an abstract process that could equally apply to any number of pre-existing machines, does not rise to the level of the machine requirement in In re Biski.

I like to put it his way (though this is overly simplified, perhaps): If you come up with a novel way to use a screw driver, you cannot patent your method, because you didn't have to invent the screw driver to do it. The screw driver already existed.

In this patent, you could substitute the words, "web page displayed in a browser, running on a hand-held computer with a touch screen" for the bulk of the claim copy. Well, none of that qualifies a process as unique to a specific machine. The fact that there are many different devices that meet his description, devices that are in no way intrinsically linked to this patent, brings this into direct conflict with In re Bilski.

Re:Looking to test Bilski? (1)

notorious ninja (1137913) | more than 5 years ago | (#25900397)

But is it tied to a particular machine? a general purpose computer does not count as a particular machine. (and also, what is a general purpose computer? A PC would probably not qualify based on past court cases, not sure about an iphone though)

Re:Looking to test Bilski? (1)

kimvette (919543) | more than 5 years ago | (#25900449)

Yes, but is:

[$PRIOR_ART], on a wireless device

sufficient innovation to demand a patent?

Re:Looking to test Bilski? (3, Insightful)

omeomi (675045) | more than 5 years ago | (#25900965)

Is it just me, or does the iPhone not do this anyway? It displays the regular webpage. Sure, there are some sites that detect the iPhone browser and deliver specially-formatted versions of their pages, but the iPhone isn't reformatting anything...

Re:Looking to test Bilski? (1)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 5 years ago | (#25899903)

Let's hope this case is the first of many to be swiftly decided for throwing out the patent entirely based on In re Bilski.

Dan Aris

IMO, the threat of bankrupting litigation will prevent smaller companies from becoming test cases for In re Bilski and the threat of getting patents busted will encourage big companies to (cross)license patents instead of going to court with each other.

I'm sure we'll get a good test case soon enough, but self interest creates perverse incentives for companies to maintain the status quo.

Well good (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25899473)

Maybe they will be forced to make SOMETHING THAT DOESNT CRASH.

first poop (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25899479)

I just took my first poop of the day. It looks a lot like the slashdot front page, but it smells better.

Re:first poop (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25899797)

I guess that's why they call this board random

Re:first poop (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25900275)

THEN WHO WAS PHONE?

Re:first poop (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25900585)

THEN WHO WAS PATENT ?

Oh, well... (2, Funny)

MaxwellEdison (1368785) | more than 5 years ago | (#25899483)

That is certainly a necessary invention for a real estate developer...otherwise how could they display information about their latest housing projects or large malls on an iPhone?!

Re:Oh, well... (5, Funny)

Theaetetus (590071) | more than 5 years ago | (#25899805)

That is certainly a necessary invention for a real estate developer...otherwise how could they display information about their latest housing projects or large malls on an iPhone?!

You're only allowed to invent something that you can personally use? You do know that tampons weren't invented by a woman, right?

Re:Oh, well... (4, Funny)

larry bagina (561269) | more than 5 years ago | (#25899971)

you do know that they were originally developed for diarrhea, don't you?

Re:Oh, well... (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25900129)

I suppose(itory) you're right...

Re:Oh, well... (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25900267)

Yeah, they were invented by a man so the woman would quit her bitchin'.

Re:Oh, well... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25900463)

Truly epic fail....

Re:Oh, well... (1)

MaxwellEdison (1368785) | more than 5 years ago | (#25900279)

No, I'm merely pointing out the absurdity of the claim and the likelihood that they really developped anything. This patent [uspto.gov] is taking the classic shotgun approach. Their core idea appears to be (if one can even be said to interpret patent writings)converting HTML to XML for the purpose of navigation by quadrants. They then of course extrapolate that to all possible uses, even speech recognition software. Had this patent been filed 5 or 10 years prior, there may possibly be a case for it. It's only been 2 and a half years however. This should not, and can not be allowed to stand.

Re:Oh, well... (4, Informative)

UnknowingFool (672806) | more than 5 years ago | (#25900681)

True. Ideas can come from anywhere. While Nikola Tesla first invented the frequency hopping that later became Spread spectrum [wikipedia.org] technology, it was refined in part by Hedy Lamarr, a Hollywood actress in the 1940s.

Re:Oh, well... (1)

TheRealZero (907390) | more than 5 years ago | (#25900421)

Don't worry, some of us still have working sarcasm detectors, so I'm right there with you.

Yet another patent troll. (5, Interesting)

neowolf (173735) | more than 5 years ago | (#25899485)

So- they essentially patented WAP? I think Apple can come up with enough "prior artwork" for this one. It's unfortunate though that companies like this (EMG) are allowed to even exist. When will it end?

Re:Yet another patent troll. (5, Informative)

ergo98 (9391) | more than 5 years ago | (#25899785)

So- they essentially patented WAP?

No, it's worse than that. They basically patented XSLT, and the application of it to target different devices.

Another completely retarded patent.

Re:Yet another patent troll. (1)

Zarf (5735) | more than 5 years ago | (#25899969)

So- they essentially patented WAP?

No, it's worse than that. They basically patented XSLT, and the application of it to target different devices.

Another completely retarded patent.

That's how I read it. And I can believe that a gray bearded judge would completely miss something that obvious.

There's prior art (5, Informative)

TeXMaster (593524) | more than 5 years ago | (#25900159)

Opera has been doing this kind of stuff (the specific things discussed in the patent, I mean, not the patent trolling itself) since they got heavily into the mobile business anyway. Opera Mini [wikipedia.org] , specifically, was officially launched on 2006-01-24, which is before that patent was filed. Earlier releases, which already used methods and apparati addressed by this patent, were already deployed in 2005.

Re:Yet another patent troll. (1)

Bengie (1121981) | more than 5 years ago | (#25900445)

I will have to agree. "Patent", "reformatted (read: transformation)", and "XML" should never all be in the same paragraph. "We've patented a way to transform XML!" Ever hear of "Extensible Stylesheet Language Transformations" A.K.A. XSLT

Re:Yet another patent troll (5, Funny)

geobeck (924637) | more than 5 years ago | (#25900425)

I think Apple can come up with enough "prior artwork" for this one.

Changing "prior art" to "prior artwork" paints an interesting picture of a potential courtroom exchange...

"I would like to present Exhibit A, "Motherboard Descending a Staircase" by Ed Picasso, painted in January 2006. Despite its neo-cubist style, this work shows an example of "client hardware architecture" much more clearly than the patent troll--I mean, defendant's patent documents.

Question (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25899487)

Shall I laugh? Or shall I cry?

Re:Question (5, Funny)

MaxwellEdison (1368785) | more than 5 years ago | (#25899551)

Do both, and then walk in to your boss's office and give them a hug. Offer no explaination when pressed.

Decoding anyone? (5, Interesting)

Leafheart (1120885) | more than 5 years ago | (#25899489)

So they got a patent on decoding and interpreting? Isn't that covered by prior art with things like PDFCreator, or is it enough to change file types to get it?

Re:Decoding anyone? (3, Insightful)

LandDolphin (1202876) | more than 5 years ago | (#25899807)

Seeing as the people who evaluate the patent probably don't have any computer experience, the answer would probably be yes.

Re:Decoding anyone? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25900427)

No, the patent is described in the summary. Your analysis skills are apparently equal to your knowledge of law.

Patent reform (5, Interesting)

dogmatixpsych (786818) | more than 5 years ago | (#25899493)

We need some serious patent reform. Patents are good and necessary in general but many of these go too far or are too vague or are not based on working prototypes.

How long before we see a patent on "a system of placing letters and numbers in sequential order in order to convey something meaningful"?

Re:Patent reform (5, Funny)

bigmouth_strikes (224629) | more than 5 years ago | (#25899603)

How long before we see a patent on "a system of placing letters and numbers in sequential order in order to convey something meaningful"?

Sadly, there's no prior art for this on the internet...

Re:Patent reform (4, Funny)

Sun.Jedi (1280674) | more than 5 years ago | (#25899767)

How long before we see a patent on "a system of placing letters and numbers in sequential order in order to convey something meaningful"?

Sadly, there's no prior art for this on the internet...

Yes. There is. /. is a great example [wikipedia.org] .

Re:Patent reform (1)

Zarf (5735) | more than 5 years ago | (#25899989)

How long before we see a patent on "a system of placing letters and numbers in sequential order in order to convey something meaningful"?

Sadly, there's no prior art for this on the internet...

Yes. There is. /. is a great example [wikipedia.org] .

I completely disagree.

Re:Patent reform (4, Funny)

Anpheus (908711) | more than 5 years ago | (#25900359)

Well, you'rr wronajf aopfjawr pojasf poawtj ow ao BANANA BANANA BANANA BANANA

Re:Patent reform (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25900657)

I believe you mean Banana banana banana terracotta banana terracotta terracotta pie

Re:Patent reform (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 5 years ago | (#25900849)

Your tail is showing.

Re:Patent reform (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25899623)

I have the patent on that, and now you owe me... 100 billion dollars! muhahahaha

Re:Patent reform (1)

Mister Whirly (964219) | more than 5 years ago | (#25900295)

"How long before we see a patent on "a system of placing letters and numbers in sequential order in order to convey something meaningful"?

Well thank God Slashdot will be safe if this ever happens...

Re:Patent reform (1)

The End Of Days (1243248) | more than 5 years ago | (#25900441)

How long before we see anti-patent people come up with a new joke formula?

Re:Patent reform (1)

richie2000 (159732) | more than 5 years ago | (#25900565)

Patents are good and necessary in general

How do we know that? No, really. I have seen exactly zero studies that come to this conclusion while there is at least circumstantial evidence [guardian.co.uk] to the contrary.

Re:Patent reform (3, Informative)

Simon Brooke (45012) | more than 5 years ago | (#25900835)

We need some serious patent reform. Patents are good and necessary in general...

I seriously doubt this. The claim for patents is that they protect the 'useful arts' by offering inventors a limited-time monopoly on whatever they have invented - provided that the invention passes some test of non-obviousness and utility.

However, if you look back in history to periods in which some countries had patent systems and some did not - the United Kingdom and Germany in the nineteenth century, for example - it's clear that lack of a patent system did not in the least hold back inventors in Germany from inventing and developing new technologies. On the contrary. So the intellectual justification for having a patent system in the first place looks a bit thin.

I think we'd all - drug companies included - be better off if there were no such things as patents.

Uh... wrong browser? (5, Interesting)

Millennium (2451) | more than 5 years ago | (#25899501)

I know Opera Mini and some other mobile browsers do this, but I thought Safari worked on the HTML itself. Wouldn't that render the patent irrelevant?

Re:Uh... wrong browser? (5, Insightful)

Professor_UNIX (867045) | more than 5 years ago | (#25899865)

If you're going to interpret rendering a page with less "features" as generating a sister site then Mosaic 1.0 is prior art for this patent. Try browsing the web with Mosaic 1.0 and you'll see a drastically different web "scaled down" for older computers by cutting out Flash, Java, Javascript, CSS... hell, it may not have even supported tables.

Re:Uh... wrong browser? (1)

digitig (1056110) | more than 5 years ago | (#25899921)

Lynx even more so.

Re:Uh... wrong browser? (1)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 5 years ago | (#25899899)

I was visiting Linda at the hospital and logged on to wikipedia from the computer in the waiting room to google "Bilirubin" (probably misspelled; she had elevated levels because of the cancer. The substance is what makes pee yellow.)

Then I tried to log onto Yahoo! news, but got an error. The error said that the page wasn't supported by Windows CE.

It was some HP internet-only device smaller than a cigar box, hooked to a Dell flat screen monitor and apparently running Windows CE, although the desktop looked like Windows 98 or XP.

So I guess Microsoft is in the clear with this patent. Now all Apple has to do is prove that their method doesn't infringe.

I had a friend who worked in a factory with a machine shop. His boss would bring some gizmo in and ask "can you make one of these?" He said they didn't care about patents, that was what the firm's legal department was for. Often all it took to get around a patent was to simply use a different material than the patented device.

Re:Uh... wrong browser? (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 5 years ago | (#25899973)

Almost definitely one of HP's CE based thin clients: 5510, 5520, 5530, or 5540 depending on the age of the anecdote and hipness of the hospital IT department.

Re:Uh... wrong browser? (1)

freemywrld (821105) | more than 5 years ago | (#25900651)

If I am not mistaken, the HP thinterms run XP Embedded, not Windows CE. At least the ones we have deployed in our hospital do.

Re:Uh... wrong browser? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25900329)

Yes, although I'm not sure (not being a patent attorney and all), it seems to me that these greed dumbfucks just blindly filed against the most high-profile target without bothering to check whether Safari on the iPhone actually infringes. Either that, or they're less dumb and more evil and deliberately trying to extend their patent to any and all in-browser reformatting of a web page.

Does it really require a patent attorney? (1)

Millennium (2451) | more than 5 years ago | (#25900589)

Does this even require a patent attorney? The patent is quite specific in that it depends on re-rendering an HTML site into XML. The iPhone browser does not do this; it renders the HTML directly. Thus, whether or not the patent is valid, I don't see how it could possibly apply to the iPhone.

The patent is itself invalid, and should never have been granted. But in this case, it's not even relevant; it covers functionality the iPhone doesn't even have.

Oh boy... (5, Funny)

Linuss (1305295) | more than 5 years ago | (#25899505)

I hope my patent for hamburgers is approved soon, i filed it in 1607 and want to sue mcdonalds. truth.

Re:Oh boy... (4, Interesting)

I cant believe its n (1103137) | more than 5 years ago | (#25899847)

"They set up the Campaign for Real Time to try to stop this sort of thing going on. Their case was considerably strengthened by the fact that a week after they had set themselves up, news broke that not only had the great Cathedral of Chalesm been pulled down in order to build a new ion refinery, but that construction of the refinery had taken so long, and had had to extend so far back into the past in order to allow ion production to start on time, that the Cathedral of Chalesm had now never been built in the first place." - Douglas Adams

I think Opera Mini does the same thing? (0, Redundant)

ekran (79740) | more than 5 years ago | (#25899513)

Isn't this how Opera Mini works?

But... they sued the wrong company (4, Informative)

Dekortage (697532) | more than 5 years ago | (#25899515)

Safari doesn't create a different version of the web page. It shows the original HTML version, just graphically scaled down. So EMG should be suing all the other cell phone browser companies. As the article notes:

Now, it seems to me that this is a description of what every single mobile phone on the market does. Every mobile phone EXCEPT the iPhone, that is. Remember all those commercials touting how the iPhone doesn't display a simplified Web site, but the full Web page? ... The press release issued by EMG claims that the iPhone uses the same method as their invention. So, doesn't every other mobile phone do this as well? Should a patent granted last month hand over intellectual property rights for every single handheld device that accesses the Web?

Re:But... they sued the wrong company (5, Interesting)

powerlord (28156) | more than 5 years ago | (#25899703)

Four possibilities:

1) They wish to claim that "scaled down" is included in their definition of a "Sister site" (absurd)

2) They believe the Safari browser in the iPhone is not showing the "real" site (uninformed)

3) They are trying to use Safari as a test case since Apple's best argument is that it "doesn't scale things". Even if they lose, they can't point to this lawsuit and use it as a basis to force other cell phone makers to pay up (since they can't claim apple's defense) (unlikely, but plausible. IANAL)

4) They are going after Apple because its the "hot" thing with lots of money to go after (likely)

Anyone have any other ideas? :)

Re:But... they sued the wrong company (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25899755)

Anyone have any other ideas? :)

5) They're a real estate company that doesn't know their head from their ass. -ets.

Re:But... they sued the wrong company (4, Informative)

truthsearch (249536) | more than 5 years ago | (#25899897)

4) They are going after Apple because its the "hot" thing with lots of money to go after (likely)

"We haven't looked at anything other than the iPhone," Gibson told Reuters [reuters.com] . "That was the device that we looked at. Obviously it's very popular."

Re:But... they sued the wrong company (1)

powerlord (28156) | more than 5 years ago | (#25900173)

Even if they lose, they can't point to this lawsuit and use it as a basis to force other cell phone makers to pay up

Meant to say CAN.

New meme: Playing Duke Nukem Forever on my Apple MiniPro while REEDITING my slashdot comments :/

Re:But... they sued the wrong company (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25899731)

Indeed, they basically described the entire functionality of Opera Mini. Opera Mobile renders full pages, but Opera Mini gets simplified shrunk pages from an opera run proxy server.

Re:But... they sued the wrong company (1)

ergo98 (9391) | more than 5 years ago | (#25899813)

Or Google if you search from many types of mobile phone (Google automatically transforms results, as you navigate to them, to simplified versions).

Re:But... they sued the wrong company (0, Troll)

Achromatic1978 (916097) | more than 5 years ago | (#25900263)

Oh man, I love iPhone fanboys and their belief that the iPhone is the greatest thing since sliced bread. Hint: you might want to tell Nokia, and Microsoft(?). Nokia's N Series browsers use Webkit and have been around since pre iPhone times, happily rendering full web pages, likewise Pocket IE, I believe (though I may be wrong on the latter).

Reformat content? (3, Interesting)

fermion (181285) | more than 5 years ago | (#25899595)

I thought the whole point of the iphone was to not have to reformat content, the iphone can display it the way it is. I know some sites, like amazon, are so badly formatted that the owners feel the site has to be rewritten for iPhone, but it does not help much. Other sites, like NYT, wrote an app, but that appears to be for ad revenue purposes, as iPhone does not have flash. The same for Youtube.

So, at the end of the day, I fail to see how this applies to any modern smart phone. Only the older phones, or non-smart phones, can't render HTML as is. Of course most of these problems are caused by graphic designers not understanding HML, and borking the standard so we now have web pages that make no sense in almost an common browser.

Re:Reformat content? (2)

jornak (1377831) | more than 5 years ago | (#25899689)

Henceforth why any user should validate their code through W3C's Markup Validation if they're wanting to display it on a mobile browser of any kind.

Re:Reformat content? (1)

IceCreamGuy (904648) | more than 5 years ago | (#25899905)

What they are talking about is its ability to recognize blocks of text and items by looking at the HTML and CSS. If you notice, the iPhone doesn't just zoom in an arbitrary amount when you double-tap; if you tap on a paragraph, it knows what the paragraph is and sets it to the screen edges dynamically.

Opera (1)

selfabuse (681350) | more than 5 years ago | (#25899695)

Opera on my Zaurus has been doing this since well before 2006

Re:Opera (2, Interesting)

SteveRyan (1828) | more than 5 years ago | (#25899941)

Someplace I have a Handspring Visor with a Xircom WiFi adapter that does this, too; it was from early in 2002. It might even still work, if Palm hasn't unplugged the proxy servers yet.

Re:Opera (1)

TypoNAM (695420) | more than 5 years ago | (#25900557)

Yep, good ole Opera 6 on my Sharp Zaurus SL-5500 [wikipedia.org] . I personally used the OpenZaurus distribution with the exported Opera browser [mobileopera.com] from the last sharp firmware release for my model.

But yeah it worked great at the time for any website I visited to be presented just like the computer version of opera and the other web browsers and the zoom features were fairly decent. Of course back then websites weren't so web 2.0 crazy either since majority of the content wasn't drastically dynamically manipulated in javascript like current slashdot is today. So, I'm not sure how well it would work on websites of today.

On a side note the last time I used my SL-5500 it had a screen refresh problem as it slowly updated and it was like watching a badly flickering CRT monitor update, except you could see the lines of the display redraw at like 8 FPS and it just made me think that it was dying so I just stopped using it all together.

pitiful (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25899713)

this reads like the first chapter of every book about XML, titled "why use XML?". Gee - ship out XML and transform according the the display-location's needs and abilities.

I'm patenting a system wherein the movement of the person's diaphragm enables the lungs to draw i air thereby retaining consciousness and enabling continued living".

Simpsons (4, Funny)

forgoil (104808) | more than 5 years ago | (#25899787)

Worst... patent... ever...

Just kill patents now, please, they are just in the way and never ever actually protects individuals, only capital, and money should flow to help innovation, not be collected by greedy old men to lure attractive (but oh so dumb) women to be with them.

Re:Simpsons (0, Flamebait)

Theaetetus (590071) | more than 5 years ago | (#25899823)

Worst... patent... ever...

Just kill patents now, please, they are just in the way and never ever actually protects individuals, only capital, and money should flow to help innovation, not be collected by greedy old men to lure attractive (but oh so dumb) women to be with them.

Spoken like a good consumer whore, parroting back the words of large companies who can pay for trade secret protection and would love to steal from small inventors.

Re:Simpsons (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25900089)

Spoken like a true piece of shit. Now die.

Re:Simpsons (1)

Xerolooper (1247258) | more than 5 years ago | (#25900337)

When inventors come up with a new device, the first thing they want to do is patent it. Patents are a government's way of giving an inventor ownership of his or her creation. For a certain period of time, patent-holders are allowed to control how their inventions are used, allowing them to reap the financial rewards of their work. Patents are a palpable, legally-binding manifestation of a person's genius and innovation; they allow a person to actually own an idea.

from How stuff works [howstuffworks.com]
If it actually worked this would be good.

Worst... patent... ever...

I tend to agree. There should be stricter rules. But what happens is they start to come up with some rules to help prevent things like this and they are turned around to actually be used to cause more trolling.

Re:Simpsons (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25900481)

No no no...don't kill the patents. Kill the people that decide to create these crappy patents and then sue everyone and their dogs.

I believe the "fist of death" list would currently include McDonald's and their patent for how to make a sandwich.

Junk patent: lots of prior work (5, Informative)

lieuwen (1417741) | more than 5 years ago | (#25899819)

The patent examiners seems to have missed all the prior work at WWW. For instance,
Juliana Freire, Bharat Kumar, Daniel F. Lieuwen: WebViews: accessing personalized web content and services. WWW 2001: 576-586
Anyone reasonably skilled in the art could have gone from my paper to that claim without much trouble---we use htmltidy to turn html into xml and used xpath to extract pieces out of it which we could transcode in various ways including in voicexml. We built a system that did just that. And thats just one paper. WWW had a number of papers, any which of them should have killed this patent if the patent examiner had done the proper due diligence.

Re:Junk patent: lots of prior work (1)

argent (18001) | more than 5 years ago | (#25900067)

Almost as much fun as when Dennis Ritchie demolished SCO's claims about System V code in Linux.

Re:Junk patent: lots of prior work (2, Funny)

fahrbot-bot (874524) | more than 5 years ago | (#25900115)

The patent examiners seems to have missed all the prior work at WWW.

Ya, but this patent adds "on the Internet". :-)

The iPhone Browser is plain WebKit, renders HTML (2, Insightful)

mstroeck (411799) | more than 5 years ago | (#25899825)

This is just awesome. The "Dumbest Fuck Ever"-Award clearly goes to the lawyer who filed this laughably thin suit against a company that never has done anything funky to display HTML on its handhelds. The iPhone runs OS X, slightly scaled down for memory and power consumption gains.

significantly scaled down (1)

Reality Master 201 (578873) | more than 5 years ago | (#25900853)

The OS running on the iPhone vs. the OS running on a Mac is far more than "slightly scaled down."

Have a look at an architectural overview [apple.com] . There's some pretty significant differences between the platforms

Did I miss the memo? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25899853)

Is today Patent Wednesday or something?

Eh? (3, Interesting)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 5 years ago | (#25899939)

I know it is all flashy and high profile and profitable and stuff; but isn't the iPhone a really stupid target for this sort of thing? My impression was that mobile safari behaved almost exactly like desktop safari(in terms of rendering), which means acting pretty much like any webkit based browser. There are phone/mobile browsers that do all sorts of curious chopping and reformatting, possibly event patentable chopping and reformatting; but wasn't one of the perks of the iPhone that it didn't need to?

Palm 7 (1)

argent (18001) | more than 5 years ago | (#25900031)

Um, wasn't there prior art on the Palm 7 *last century*?

XSLT is the key (4, Informative)

Vapula (14703) | more than 5 years ago | (#25900035)

Easy prior art :
<xsl:stylesheet xmlns:xsl="http://www.w3c.org/1999/XSL/Transform" version="1.0">

</xsl:stylesheet>

XSLT clearly existed in 1999... And if you use an empty stylesheet, you get a (very) simplified document which only contains the text nodes, without any HTML (or other) tags...

That can easily be displayed on text-only devices.

If you add a

<xsl:template select="a">
    <xsl:copy-of select="." />
</xsl:template>

The links are preserved (but are the only kind of formatting preserved)... That's basic XSLT and I guess that many teachers who give XML lessons have used similar examples...

Re:XSLT is the key (2, Informative)

DrXym (126579) | more than 5 years ago | (#25900611)

XSL wouldn't work on HTML because generally speaking it isn't well-formed. Not even a XHTML DTD ensures well-formedness because browsers are far too forgiving.

Anyway this patent is bullshit. If the iPhone were transforming the site in some meaningful way, it would be guaranteed to break any JavaScript in the page. That code calling document.getElementById("foo") would break when "foo" wasn't there or was rearranged. Safari might scale images or reflow the content, or ignore certain style rules but nothing that hasn't been done numerous times in space-confined browsers - Pocket IE, Opera, Netfront, Minimo, Lynx etc.

What do you expect (4, Funny)

qazwart (261667) | more than 5 years ago | (#25900111)

When does Apple ever do anything creative?

(WARNING: The above post contains a large amount of sarcasm. It is not intended to be taken seriously. If you feel a need to argue with this point ("No way, Dude! Apple is the bestest company in the whole wide world!). Go download an iPhone application. I hear there's a new one out that's nice and shiny. If you want to defend this post (Yeah, Apple Sucks!). Go back to your PC and marvel at the wonders of Vista. If you only use Linux as your operating system, let your parents know I feel sorry for them.)

NKOL (1)

mstroeck (411799) | more than 5 years ago | (#25900183)

Huh?

Your post rings a weird bell in my head that hasn't been rung before. Some completely new kind of ... lameness, maybe? Virgin territory to man, in any case.

sue google then? (1)

Bizzeh (851225) | more than 5 years ago | (#25900177)

shouldnt they be suing google since they have been doing this as long as i have been using the web on my phone.
search anything on google via your phone, and it will pass the site through its own parser giving a mangled xml version of the site, and they even split large pages into multiple pages.

opera mini (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25900217)

How long have Opera Mini done this? Since the first version? Opera mini was released 1996.

error: time machine missing (0)

Kartoffel (30238) | more than 5 years ago | (#25900255)

"Only approved last month"? Sounds like the iPhone is prior art. Too bad, patent troll.

Re:error: time machine missing (1)

Markspark (969445) | more than 5 years ago | (#25900381)

since the submission date counts, i would disagree with you, however there are plenty of other cases of prior art.

Prior Art (5, Interesting)

Dragoon412 (648209) | more than 5 years ago | (#25900407)

First off, IANAL. I am a law student with IP and patent law classes under my belt, but I'm still just a law student. Take the following with a grain of salt.

In a lot of the patent articles on Slashdot, where someone will ask "Isn't X prior art?" Often, even though it seems intuitively that it should be, it's not.

Actual prior art, which would be sufficient to legally defeat a patent, must read on all of a patent's claims. Assume the patent in question has claims (basically, technical description of features) A, B, and C. You research patents, and you find older patents:

Patent 1 has claims A and B.
Patent 2 has claims B and C.
Patent 3 has claims A and C.

None of those will defeat the patent in question on prior art grounds, because none of them include all of the claims A, B, and C.

What you may have at that point is an obviousness objection. You could argue that because there are patents 1-3 exist, that combining them to create A, B, and C was so obvious to someone skilled in the art that the patent should be invalidated for failing to be non-obvious. But that's different than prior art.

Having a patent invalidated for prior art is actually pretty uncommon. Obviousness issues are more common, but often, it's cheaper to just settle.

Re:Prior Art (3, Insightful)

UnknowingFool (672806) | more than 5 years ago | (#25900593)

As a law student what would be your take on this company that seemingly has sued Apple when their technology doesn't infringe on the patent at all. Now I haven't read the exact patent and don't pretend to fully understand it but the article quotes:

That patent is for an invention that displays "on-line content reformatted from a webpage in a hypertext markup language (HTML) format into an extensible markup language (XML) format to generate a sister site." This sister site is a simplified version of the original site that is then displayed on any number of devices--including cell phones, EMG says.

Most phone web browsers do this because of the limitations on the device. Apple's iPhone however scales the web page in size for memory and screen considerations but does not rely on a sister site nor simplifies the page. At best this is a case of a plaintiff not doing their research. At worst, it's another patent troll company looking for the biggest fish.

Re:Prior Art (3, Informative)

Fzz (153115) | more than 5 years ago | (#25900877)

Actual prior art, which would be sufficient to legally defeat a patent, must read on all of a patent's claims.

I'm not a lawyer either, but I have successfully contested several patents in court (one European, one US case), and had them invalidated. Your statement is not quite correct.

Usually a patent has a series of independent claims. A piece of prior art must read on all the elements of a single claim to invalidate that claim. However you can use different pieces of prior art to invalidate different independent claims.

Re:Prior Art (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25900905)

So, let me get this straight:

1 - any patent that combines earlier patents to produce a unique mix will not be denied because of Prior Art?

2 - So I could generate new patents by random mixing of existing patents?

3 - And even if the result is 'obvious', it may be less cost to settle?

4 - PROFIT!!!

Hmmm. (4, Informative)

hey! (33014) | more than 5 years ago | (#25900601)

The patent doesn't claim that representing a web site in XML is original. Instead, it seems to be claiming patent rights on a caching mechanism somewhat like the tiling scheme used in Google maps, except that instead of converting a map into a series of image tiles, they convert a web page into a series of tiles on the server. In Google Maps, this allows a huge document, if you will, to be served in bandwidth efficient chunks to support a responsive user interface.

This tiling strategy is clearly not original, so the claim is for a mechanism for doing this by converting a web page, server-side, into an XML document, portions of which can be fetched (in cases of adjacent tiles preemptively) from the server, updating the display using DOM style manipulations. The HTML->XML transformation is used to try to convert a number of common practices, inventions:tiling and caching content, displaying advertisements in response to web page navigation events, doing said things on the server side or client side, doing it on mobile devices and set-top devices; doing it in response to voice command, doing it in response to keyboard entries, doing it in response to mouse clicks; allowing the user to zoom in on a tile, etc.

The supposed secret sauce is converting an HTML web site into geometric tiles represented by XML. That's what's supposed to make this thing stick when thrown against the wall. Everything else in the patent is there to maximize the size of the blob sticking to the wall. Oh, yes and mumbo jumbo that makes the idea sound a lot more mysterious than it really is.

I'm guessing that what they are going after is Apple's implementation of something analogous to tabbed browsing on the iPhone, an interface that has a coverflowish feel. The patent claims rights to using zooming/magnification with three dimensional representations of web sites created with their secret XML sauce. You can sort of imagine confusing the Safari interface with this if you had never seen it in action, but the inexplicable thing is that Apple isn't using the secret sauce of HTML-XML conversion to produce their interface. You can sort of imagine going after low end phone news and messaging browsers that use WML as looking something like the secret sauce in that it uses HTML to XML conversion, but it doesn't use it in the way specified by the secret sauce. And it's prior art.

Basically, this is a worthless BS patent. Even if this were not BS, what it describes doesn't apply to the iPhone browser. They don't have any chance at all. So I can only speculate they're trying to hype the value of their "property" to attract stupid investors.

What about the universal translator? (1)

s-whs (959229) | more than 5 years ago | (#25900679)

Whether HTML to XML shouldn't matter, some webpage is modifed into another in some not too difficult way. I therefore assume the universal translator is prior art, and, much more fun:

http://www.psyclops.com/translator/ [psyclops.com]

The linked article translated into

pcworld article in skinhead [psyclops.com]

Much better!

a software patent suit filed in East Texas... (1)

haaz (3346) | more than 5 years ago | (#25900847)

I'll have to visit the complainant the next time I'm in Tyler. (Which should be in January.) Somewhere I saw a scan of the filling, which looked like it was written on the back of napkins. I wouldn't have much confidence in the suit, but IAMNAL.

No sympathy for Apple (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25900985)

You live by the sword [slashdot.org] , you die by the sword.

Apple has no problem using crappy intellectual property laws to hurt smaller players, so why should I care when they in turn are attacked?

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