Apple’s latest patent filing is another move towards more patent trolling – a patent filing for implementing voice tagging that’s already been patented by Nokia. According to the document, the patent was filed on March 13, 2013 which was clearly after Nokia’s voice tagging patent filed on December 17, 2004. To compare the two features filed to the US Patent Office, we’ll share the abstract form both documents:
The electronic device with one or more processors and memory provides a digital photograph of a real-world scene. The electronic device provides a natural language text string corresponding to a speech input associated with the digital photograph. The electronic device performs natural language processing on the text string to identify one or more terms associated with an entity, an activity, or a location. The electronic device tags the digital photograph with the one or more terms and their associated entity, activity, or location.
A method of handling images in an image capturing device, said method including the steps of capturing an image, receiving a voice tag and matching the received voice tag with a stored voice tag, said stored voice tag having an instruction associated therewith for handling an image, and handling the image in accordance with the instruction corresponding to the received voice tag.
Ironically, Apple’s iPhone has been heavily documented as being a composite of various design and ideas inspired by other companies and old products. That hasn’t stopped the company from suing everyone within sight. In fact, the company’s patent troll parent, Rockstar Consortium owns a large portfolio of various patents that’s currently being used to sue Google and its Android partners. Rockstar is jointly owned by Apple, Microsoft, Blackberry, Ericsson and Sony – all are accusing Google of infringing on at least 7 patents that Google was unable to purchase.
Patent lawsuits like these are notorious for clogging up the judicial system while providing very few incentives for true innovation – they often create revenue for companies but few benefits to consumers. Patent infringement is a serious violation, but it should not be used to incentivize unearned profits.