Patent patter: Tanks not on Apple's to-do list
Did an error serve a military vehicle patent to the stylish company that brings you phones and featherweight PCs to cry for if not die for? Lawyers said a vehicle patent assigned to Apple was in error, reported Patently Apple on Wednesday.
Sky News had a word for the new patent reported for Apple: bizarre. It is a patent application for an articulated vehicle but lawyers, said Sky News, denied Apple was looking at a tank.
The sketches, said Sky News on Wednesday, showed an articulated vehicle running on tracks. There were two parts to the vehicle, said Sky News, joined in the middle.
The focus of the patent application was on the steering mechanism.
Sky News reported that a law firm said the patent was not Apple's and said there was a typing error. Law firm Morrison and Foerster said the patent belonged to defense firm BAE Systems.
Jeff Gamet, the Mac Observer's managing editor, had similar news. Feisty Apple fans longing to see their brand on a tank (for any strange reason) would not be happy but there did not seem to be much logic behind the idea of Apple pursuing a tank. "The patent seemed out of place for an electric car, and it turns out that's the case because the law firm handling patents for Apple says it was accidentally assigned to the wrong company thanks to a clerical error."
If you are asking, how the name BAE could be confused with the word Apple, you would not be alone. Gamet posed the same question, "how do you get from Apple Inc to BEA Systems with a typographical error?"
He went on to say:
"Morrison and Foerster very likely have a computerized template system for generating the patent filing forms for their many clients. There's probably shortcut codes assigned to each client, and the codes for Apple and BAE Systems are just close enough that someone accidentally typed the wrong one."
All well and good but Patently Apple had more questions to pose. The patent filing with Apple's name as assignee was July last year. Patently Apple's question: "why did it take 13 months for anyone to notice an in-your-face error this big? Wouldn't BAE or Apple have noticed it long before now?"
"Apple has been granted scores of patents this week," Sky News said, "across a range of different technology areas."
"Since the military usually employs this kind of heavy-duty vehicles, we do not expect Apple to become a supplier for any army shortly. On the other hand, the Swedish company is already in this business, so we expect the patent to suit their future needs."
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