Apple app patent filing sparks controversy - Mobile World Live

Apple app patent filing sparks controversy

02 SEP 2010

Apple has sparked controversy after it filed for a mobile application patent which included images that bore more than a passing resemblance to a commercial product already available in its App Store. On its company blog, FutureTap, the company behind the ‘Where To?’ application, said that “we are faced with a situation where we’ve to fear that our primary business partner is trying to “steal” our design and ideas.” It also noted that “the perspective of an endless legal battle, however, is not very intriguing for a small company like us that aims to throw all its power into improving existing and developing new apps.” FutureTap said that Where To? launched on the first day of the App Store, whereas Apple’s patent filing came some time after this – in December 2009.

The Register said that Apple has not responded to requests for comment from FutureTap, and that “our reading of Apple’s patent application shows it to describe, in part, many of the capabilities of Where To?, but the exceptionally wide net that the filing casts encompasses far more functionality.” It was also suggested that the Where To? image may have been used for illustrative purposes, but FutureTap stated that it had no agreement with Apple to this end. Unwired View reported at the end of July 2010 that Apple had begun “trying to patent mobile app ideas,” having made submissions for travel, hotels, and fashion shopping.

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