updated 12:05 pm EST, Thu November 15, 2007
Widget, media patents
The US Patent and Trademark Office today published five patent applications submitted by Apple, split between two main concepts. The first concept is dominated by a patent entitled Workflow widgets, which is connected to an existing application for Dashboard and widgets in general, called Unified Interest Layer for User Interface. The new patent describes the general usefulness of widgets in clustered desktop situations, but suggests that they could be applied to more than just an operating system, extending to the likes of e-mail, applications, handhelds and even TV environments. A diagram below depicts a means of managing workflow widgets.
The four other new patents are related to media distribution, and are entitled Computerized Management of Media Distribution Agreements, Submission of metadata content and media content to a media distribution system, Processing of metadata content and media content received by a media distribution system, and Methods and systems for managing data. Together these document a system of controlling the backend of music and video sales, automating the process of submitting media under contract, while providing a means for content owners to renew contracts or receive notifications when they are about to expire. Effectively, the patents describe the software used to operate much of the iTunes Store.