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Is the Tide Turning On Patents? 172

Glyn Moody writes "The FSF has funded a new video, 'Patent Absurdity: how software patents broke the system,' freely available (of course) in Ogg Theora format (what else?). It comes at a time when a lot is happening in the world of patents. Recent work from leading academics has called into question their basis: 'The work in this paper, and that of many others, suggests that this traditionally-struck "devil's bargain" may not be beneficial.' We recently discussed how a judge struck down Myriad Genetics's patents on two genes because they involved a law of Nature, and were thus 'improperly granted.' Meanwhile, the imminent Supreme Court ruling In re Bilski is widely expected to have negative knock-on effects for business method and software patents. Is the tide beginning to turn?"

Apple Awarded Patent For iPhone Interface 449

Toe, The writes "Apple's 358-page patent application for their iPhone interface entitled Touch screen device, method, and graphical user interface for determining commands by applying heuristics has been approved after more than two years of review by the US Patent Office. Apple's claims include: 'A computer-implemented method for use in conjunction with a computing device with a touch screen display comprises: detecting one or more finger contacts with the touch screen display, applying one or more heuristics to the one or more finger contacts to determine a command for the device, and processing the command. The one or more heuristics comprise: a heuristic for determining that the one or more finger contacts correspond to a one-dimensional vertical screen scrolling command, a heuristic for determining that the one or more finger contacts correspond to a two-dimensional screen translation command, and a heuristic for determining that the one or more finger contacts correspond to a command to transition from displaying a respective item in a set of items to displaying a next item in the set of items.' As Apple seems eager to defend their intellectual property, what will this mean to other touch developers?"

Nintendo Files Patent For Game That Plays Itself 152

Kotaku points out a recent patent filed by Nintendo which automates gameplay unless the user specifically chooses to play a particular part of the game. Quoting: "The new system, described in a patent filed by Nintendo Creative Director Shigeru Miyamoto on June 30, 2008, but made public today, looks to solve the issue of casual gamers losing interest in a game before they complete it, while still maintaining the interest of hardcore gamers. The solution would turn a game into a full-length cut scene of sorts, allowing players to jump into and out of the action whenever they wanted. But when played this way, gamers would not be able to save their progress, maintaining the challenge of completing a game without skipping or cheating."

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