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Hop-On to sabotage phone market with patent?

updated 11:05 am EDT, Thu April 5, 2007

Hop-On MP3 Phone Patent

Cellphone designer Hop-On may create trouble for the music phone industry, according to a patent the company has received today. The company said it had been granted a patent that covered MP3 phones with speakers on the sides as well as control buttons -- effectively applying the patent to virtually every flip-phone with music abilities released in the US over recent years. The company was aware of this and hoped to profit at the expense of other cellphone makers by collecting royalties from the "millions" of past and future designs touched by the patent, the announcement said.

Such patents could drive up the prices of phones of Motorola and other cellphone makers that operate in the US, forcing them to pay a small fee for every phone or else face legal action. Cellphone service providers and even the retailers would also have to pay their own royalties, Hop-On said. No mention was made of slider phones and other designs that might be affected.

by MacNN Staff




  1. jhorvatic

    Joined: Dec 1969


    I don't understand patent

    I just don't understand how patents are granted these days. I thought you had to be the actual inventor of the product in order to get a patent. Not just apply for one and then proceed to collect royalties on something you never really built or invented. Not only that but I thought that a patent can't be granted if the function is to broad like plays MP3's and control buttons. What the heck?

  1. Commodus

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Welcome to US patent law!

    This is why we need legal reform. I wouldn't be surprised if a court case gets this thrown out, though, since "prior art" has often been enough to invalidate these kinds of patents.

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