In a landmark development, Apple has acquired a patent for the concept of ‘using a smartphone’.
“Fundamentally, we believe that Apple was the first true smartphone, and hence Apple invented the concept of using a (real) smartphone”, said an Apple spokesman explaining the idea behind the patent claim.
Patent number 10,420,777 called Concept of Using a Portable ‘Smart’ electronic device as a mobile telephony/communication device, has a claim that is just what it looks on first reading:
A concept and a method, comprising: people talking to each other using a phone device that has apple phone like characteristics; people sending electronic messages using a device that has apple phone like characteristics; people sending mails to each other using a device that has apple phone like characteristics; people browsing the internet using a device that has apple phone like characteristics; AND the act of people using electronic device that has apple phone like characteristic, to do any/all of such things mentioned above, and anything else that people do with devices that have apple phone like characteristics; including things not included in the list above; and any future thing that may be included; according to the definitions herein; of things that are therein.
Effectively, this patent makes any use of smartphone other than apple an infringement on the Apple patent. Ordinary users could be sued for violating Apple patent if they talk on a smartphone, that is not an Apple phone.
When contacted rival smart-phone makers said that they are unconcerned by Apple’s patent.
“They will never be able to enforce it”, said spokesman for a Apple mobile competitor. “For that they’ll have to acknowledge that there are other devices that can be termed as smartphones. And Apple would rather close their business than acknowledge anything like that”
Tech community is divided over the patent.
Meanwhile Apple is waiting for a patent on the use of words ‘I’ and ‘phone’ together. If granted, Apple can sue people for using those words in the same sentence, or even in the same paragraph. The patent is applied retrospectively, since Steve Jobs was supposed to be way ahead of time.