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Apple sued over iTunes Allowance features

updated 05:25 pm EST, Thu February 7, 2008

iTunes patent suit

Restricted Spending Solutions has filed a patent suit against Apple over the iTunes Allowance function on its web-based iTunes store. The feature allows members and friends to create accounts for automatically transferring chosen dollar amounts via a credit card to a recipient's iTunes Store account for use by the recipient. RSS cites its own patent, which describes a computer-based method for allocating funds in pre-established accounts for use by customers by creating a customer account file containing a record of funds deposited and limiting how the funds may be spend on audio and video entertainment.

The patent claims domain over computer-based systems implementing the methods as well.

A passage in the patent application reads: "In the coming months many digitized forms of entertainment will be available for downloading from the internet for a free. It is expected, for example, that Napster will charge a fee payable, in part, to the copyright holder of any music file that is copied. [...] Once digitalized forms of entertainment become available for copying from the internet at a reasonable fee, parents and other fund providers will want to control how much money their children/fund recipients spend per week or per month on obtaining copies of the entertainment [...]"

Apple has filed its own iTunes patents in recent months. Most recent is a patent for determining the popularity of a source of serial (sequentially released) online content based upon a number of subscriptions to the source. In other words, the patent calls for a method that would allow Apple to track how popular a stream of content, from the iTunes Store for instance, is based on how many users currently subscribe to it. T

Statistics in the suit suggest that Apple controls 75 percent of online video, 83 percent of online music, and over 90 percent of the hard-drive based media player market.




by MacNN Staff

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Comments

  1. Athens

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    bah

    These is one of the few that seems valid, but do these patent holders have a working model or is it just a lets patent a idea and see how rich we get in sueing model.

  1. moo083

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    So dumb

    I mean, the same setup is available on ALL THREE GAME CONSOLES! There is a very large amount of online stores that allows allowances. This is gunna flop so bad...heh...

  1. freudling

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    Blah

    "describes a computer-based method for allocating funds in pre-established accounts for use by customers by creating a customer account file containing a record of funds deposited and limiting how the funds may be spend on audio and video entertainment."

    Vague, general, completely banal. Why, why are people allowed to patent such unoriginal c***? This lawsuit is baseless. If they are going to sue Apple, they will have to sue several others.

  1. driven

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    Patent laws need overhaul

    Patent laws are badly in need of an overhaul. This is simply turning into legalized extortion.

  1. bloggerblog

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    Nowadays

    you can't scratch your a** without paying someone somewhere a royalty fee.

  1. horvatic

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    Patents are B.S.

    It seems patents are pretty much B.S. You can get a patent for anything and then use it to sue the world with. Even if you never build a product, or market it. STUPID!

  1. hezekiahb

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    scratching

    I've patented scratching, you will have to refer to methods such as to shimmy, scoot, or pat.

    "A method where by the tips of one's fingers are curled slightly inward & gentle force applied to an area of the body combined with forward, backward, sideways, or rotational motions of the hand. Also furled & unfurled methods of applying the fingers firmly to the body in a continuous motion."

  1. dslund

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    Whaaaa and again Whaaaa

    Good grief.

  1. bjojade

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    Vague yet detailed.

    Simple concept, yet they throw in the detail "and limiting how the funds may be spend on audio and video entertainment."

    So, using this sort of allowance system for say eBay purchases would not fit into the patent.

    Really, this concept is SO obvious it shouldn't have a patent there. Jeesh.

  1. JeffLass

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    Air-headed patents

    No reasonable person would or should grant a patent for a capability that would be expected to be available from a well-thought-out ON-LINE sales service. It's hard to believe that this kind of patent stupidity goes on at the U.S. Patent Office. WTF! Someone needs to get in there and clean out the rampant incompetence ... or maybe force them to come up with a more intelligent list of rules to weed out air-headed patent applications from greedy trolls.

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