Sunday, April 20, 2008

Is Apple Computer going troll?

There's some buzz about a patent application of Apple published on 17 April 08, titled Enhancing online shopping atmosphere, which has a first claim:

A method of representing activity in an online store comprising:

receiving information associated with the activities of a second visitor to the store;
receiving an indication of the presence of a first visitor at the store; and
displaying to the first visitor a representation of the activities of the second visitor.

IPBiz notes that this sort of thing might be designated troll-like by certain members of the IT community, but here it is, pushed by Apple [published application 20080091553, based on 11/541071.]

Curiously, the patent application has no "summary of invention," but one gets the gist from the background section:

[0001]The goals of both online shops and physical stores are generally the same--facilitating the purchase of goods and services by customers. In some cases, online shopping offers advantages over shopping in a physical store. For example, online shops are often open continuously, whereas most physical stores have set hours. Online shoppers are also able to leverage features such as search functionality while physical shoppers are not. However, one drawback of online shopping is that the experience can feel sterile and isolating. Customers in such an environment may be less likely to have positive feelings about the online shopping experience, may be less inclined to engage in the online equivalent of window shopping (e.g., will not linger in front of a display), and may ultimately spend less money than their counterparts who shop in physical stores.

For all the talk of the Coalition of Patent Fairness, and Apple Computer, on the need for patent reform, and escape from "low quality" patents, one sees that Apple "talks the talk," but does NOT "walk the walk." No matter how many Lemley's they support to write law review articles, they are, under the surface, complaining about what they themselves do all the time.


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