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Source link: http://archive.mises.org/7593/apple-invents-to-go-ordering/

Apple Invents To-Go Ordering!

December 28, 2007 by

pat20070291710.jpgGenius! Apple’s done it! They’ve solved the problem of waiting in line for food or beverages. You place your order before you get it–but not the normal way–see, here’s the pure genius of it–you place your order, get this, you won’t believe it, wirelessly. Yep! Who would have thunk it? I mean, I know it’s well known to call in a food order and drive there in time to get it, so you don’t have to wait in line (and this might be done on a (wireless) cordless home phone, or a (wireless) cell phone, but I digress); or to place your order and receive one of those little blinky-buzzy things that tells you when your order is ready, so you don’t have to wait in line (hey, aren’t those little blinky wireless buzzers, er, wireless? but again, I digress); and it’s known to communicate wirelessly; and in other countries, it’s well-known to use cell phones to make purchases. And in McDonald’s, you can place your order at a little automated computer kiosk (but maybe it uses wires! Whew–HUGE difference, lemme tellya).

But, my God, Apple! Oh, it’s amazing–the innovative brilliance to think of using a cell phone–a cell phone, do you hear me!?–to place an order for a cuppajoe… so you don’t have to stand in line… it’s so beautiful, I’m about to shed tears… Sniff… Thank God for the US patent system giving them a king’s monopoly on this unique idea. Otherwise, no one would have come up with this!. And let’s only hope Apple gets a patent on this and is able to sue or threaten other companies to pay them royalties for all their remotely similar “wireless communications systems“. After all, it’s a small price to pay to have the American innovation we do.FYI: Claim 1 of this patent application claims this amazing invention:

1. A processing system, comprising:a wireless communication interface arranged to wirelessly communicate with one or more wireless client devices in the vicinity of the establishment, the wireless communication interface receiving a remote order corresponding to an item selected by at least one of the wireless client devices;a local server computer located in proximity to the establishment in communication with the wireless communication interface that receives the remote order from the wireless communication interface and generates instructions for processing the remote order; anda processing queue in communication with the local server computer that receives the processing instructions from the local computer server in preparation for processing of the remote order.

I can’t believe we’re living in this age of wonders!!!

{ 17 comments }

Person December 29, 2007 at 1:20 am

You sarcastically claim “Otherwise, no one would have come up with this”. But this counterfactual claim can’t be sustained, since we live in a world of IP laws. Of course, you will ignore this critique.

David Bratton December 29, 2007 at 2:55 am

But this counterfactual claim can’t be sustained, since we live in a world of IP laws.

Sure it can. Not all innovation happens within the realm of IP. I’m sure you read the article about the fashion industry a few weeks back.

jeffrey December 29, 2007 at 6:55 am

Apart from socialism itself, I can think of no great inhibitor of innovation that IP. In fact, as with any monopolistic form of economic regulation, that is a major part of the purpose of IP.

Axel Riemer December 29, 2007 at 10:12 am

“Otherwise, no one would have come up with this”.

Isn’t that the unspoken validation for the IP system, to develop innovation and invention that would otherwise not take place?

This puzzled engineer wonders how this was patentable. The idea seems a natural extension of technology. I’m surprised this isn’t already in place in airports (not exactly bastions of market innovation) or shopping malls with food centers. Perhaps it is, but no one had the balls to patent it. I guess the innovation is in having a computer take my order instead of an actual person.

Artisan December 29, 2007 at 10:34 am

Allow me to disagree, name it not “IP”… but PATENT! That’s your monopolistic enemy created by the State.

The justification for copyright is not “innovation” but merely homesteading of an individual identity.

Artisan December 29, 2007 at 10:45 am

Allow me to disagree, name it not “IP”… but PATENT! That’s your monopolistic enemy created by the State.

The justification for copyright is not “innovation” but merely homesteading of an individual identity. Conversely, this cannot apply to patent like big business wishes it would…

Innovation is not really a free-market nor free-will concept.

Don December 29, 2007 at 2:06 pm

Well of course your “critique” will be “ignored” in a manner of speaking, Person. Your “critique” completely misses the point of the sarcasm, given the fact that others HAVE come up with the idea and DIDN’T run screaming to the patent office to patent it! After all: the first time someone on a cell phone called someone else on a cell phone and ordered something, this happened.

At any rate, I think you need to brush up on your sarcasm-recognition.

Person December 30, 2007 at 6:19 am

I just wanted to say, the first comment is not from me. The “Person” brand is being infringed upon, you could say. Someone, probably Stephan_Kinsella, is posting as me.

My reponse would be, as always, “yes, ridiculous IP rights gets enforced, just like ridiculous property rights get enforced. big deal.”.

Bystander December 30, 2007 at 8:48 am

>>”…Thank God for the US patent system giving them a king’s monopoly on this unique idea…”

Um…..The Patent Office did NOT give these guys a patent. This is a PG-PUB, which means it’s a published application. Anyone can apply for a patent, even stupid one, provided they’re willing to pay the fees (USPTO is completely fee funded, no taxes have ever funded it) and waste their money.

Let me repeat: THIS IS NOT A PATENT. It’s just an application. Mr. Kinsella is sadly mistaken.

Stephan Kinsella December 30, 2007 at 9:49 am

Bystander: “Um…..The Patent Office did NOT give these guys a patent. This is a PG-PUB, which means it’s a published application. Anyone can apply for a patent, even stupid one, provided they’re willing to pay the fees (USPTO is completely fee funded, no taxes have ever funded it) and waste their money.

Let me repeat: THIS IS NOT A PATENT. It’s just an application. Mr. Kinsella is sadly mistaken.”

Of course it’s not an issued patent. Yet. It’s a published patent application. I know this. By filing the application Apple is saying they invented this. And I am sarcastically attacking the utilitarian rationale for patents–that it induces invention, and also induces the disclosure of technical details by filing an application–by promising a state-granted monopoly (if certain conditions are met). That was what I meant by my sarcastic expression, “…Thank God for the US patent system giving them a king’s monopoly on this unique idea…” — that without the promise of this monopoly, they would not have had the incentive to come up with this amazing invention. I didn’t mean to imply the patent has been granted yet. (But it very well might.)

And Bystander should realize that even in its current form, as a published and pending patent application, by a major, well-heeled patentee (Apple), it serves as a deterrent to others who might manufacture something similar. It’s a threat to competitors, just as an issued patent is. In fact, it’s even more of a threat in some ways, since it’s less certain what will result. But in both cases of an issued patent and a filed patent, we have a legally registered “possibility of being sued for infringement out there”; in the case of the issued patent the state has already given it its imprimatur of the presumption of validity, but even this can be overturned in trial. So in both cases, there is a threat of suit; and a chance the patent will not be enforceable.

ktibuk December 30, 2007 at 10:32 am

Patent system is a corrupted copyright application and the flaw is not it deals with IP but assumes every similar invention MUST HAVE BEEN COPIED.

Patet system rejects the idea of independent discovery, and takes the burden off the accuser and puts it on the accused.

Thus the stupidity and unfairness of patent system is not that it involves IP.

But some people will use this patent system corruption to socialize private IP, claiming the society owns the intellectual creations of individuals.

Of course they can not attack fellow libertarians who use copyrights and make a living by selling books, which would be the consistent thing to do.

No, they name the corrupt patent system as IP and attack corporations that abuse the system.

I guess it is more convinient that way.

Jean Paul December 31, 2007 at 4:32 am

ktibuk is right. if only each of us would attack just one fellow libertarian, imagine where the movement could end up.

Michael A. Clem December 31, 2007 at 10:55 am

There used to be a restaurant in my town called Ma Bell’s. At each table was a phone (not wireless) that you called in your order. And naturally, there was no line–you just sat at the table and waited for them to bring your order. I thought it was rather neat.
Fortunately for Apple, the restaurant closed down about fifteen years ago.

Bystander December 31, 2007 at 4:49 pm

I’ve gone over your article and I don’t just see it that way. You are clearly sarcastic about Apple’s “invention,” but I don’t see any indication by the words you wrote that you understood that this was a published application. However, I’ll take you at your word as to your meaning. I only objected to this article because it appeared to present facts that just weren’t there. Now that we have your meaning nice and clear, I guess my objection is kind of moot.

As to your meaning, I just don’t see how an example of a stupid application is proof that patents are bad for society. Is a stupid business plan proof that capitalism doesn’t work? Is evidence of a greedy businessman taking of every advantage of his impoverished employees absolute proof that we need Heroic Government to rush in and save everyone before it’s too late? I don’t think so.

I also don’t agree with your position on a published application’s apparent power over a company. Correct me if I’m wrong, but companies copy each other all the time. All they do is tweak a product just enough to be different, or at least questionable. (Of course, this is all under the assumption that a stupid patent like this actually gets approved.) Or, the companies sends an email to the patent examiner assigned to the case an example, like that excellent Ma Bell’s example someone else posted, of that invention that someone else has done before. And that would probably be that.

The last sentence in your response just confuses me. If a patent somehow gets granted but then becomes unenforceable wouldn’t that waste of money work as an incentive for a company not to file stupid patents in the first place?

Don’t get me wrong. I love reading arguments about the patent system, both pros and cons, but I really hate those articles that just serve to vent one’s anger or hatred for something. I don’t come to Mises.org for emotional reactions to controversial subjects. I come for in depth arguments that you just don’t find many other places.

Stephan Kinsella December 31, 2007 at 5:51 pm

Bystander:

“I don’t see any indication by the words you wrote that you understood that this was a published application. ”

Dude, I’m a registered patent attorney. Of course I know the difference. How do you think I looked it up? Anyone who knows anything about the patent system realizes you have to distinguish between published application and issued patent to even search for them. I didn’t mention it b/c it’s a legal detail and it was not central to my point–I would ridicule the filing of the patent, or the issuance of it, either one.

“However, I’ll take you at your word as to your meaning. I only objected to this article because it appeared to present facts that just weren’t there. Now that we have your meaning nice and clear, I guess my objection is kind of moot.”

Fine, but whether I “really understand” that this was a published app instead of an issued patent is both silly (of course I do), and beside the point.

“As to your meaning, I just don’t see how an example of a stupid application is proof that patents are bad for society.”

for a few reasons: first, the fact that a sophistocated company files for this is an indication their lawyers think they have a shot; which reflects on the standards of the PTO for issuing patents. There IS a chance this will issue as a patent!

“I also don’t agree with your position on a published application’s apparent power over a company.”

You are wrong. It is, in fact, a violation of anti-trust law to falsely state that you have a “pending patent application” on a product. Why is this? Because falsely stating this has the chance of scaring off competition–who’s going to invest in capital and factories to produce some good that might be patented in a year or two, just when the factory starts rolling out product? (Of course, *truthfully* stating that one has a patent pending is legal–the state allows the monopolies that it sanctions. And one reason to put “patent pending” on your products is to warn competitors from even trying to get into this game.)

“Correct me if I’m wrong, but companies copy each other all the time. All they do is tweak a product just enough to be different, or at least questionable.”

You are wrong. Companies do copy each other often, sometimes out of ignorance, some times b/c they are not risk averse (i.e. they are reckless or desperate), or b/c they have their own patent arsenal they are confident will ward off patent suits. But no, you can’t avoid liability by just “tweaking a product” to make it different. It’s very messy, complicated, law on what difference is enough.

“(Of course, this is all under the assumption that a stupid patent like this actually gets approved.) Or, the companies sends an email to the patent examiner assigned to the case an example, like that excellent Ma Bell’s example someone else posted, of that invention that someone else has done before. And that would probably be that.”

Would that it were that simple. Hundreds of patents issue every day. Some are “valid,” some not; even the ones that are, are only valid under the state’s standards for “novelty’ and “non-obviousness,” which are themselves suspect from a justice point of view.

“The last sentence in your response just confuses me. If a patent somehow gets granted but then becomes unenforceable wouldn’t that waste of money work as an incentive for a company not to file stupid patents in the first place?”

How can the company know when they are filing it that it won’t be granted or enforced later on? It’s all just a numbers game–probabilities.

ecliptic December 31, 2007 at 7:05 pm

So this means you might be able to order from some restaurants right of your iPhone touchscreen? This would catch on like wildfire and before you know it – every restaurant will want to connect to this service. GENIUS! as usual…

You fail to see the larger convergence picture here – if you build simple convergent devices that just plain work…. the people will beat a path to your door. Kudos once again to the genius of Apple Computer!

pairunoyd January 12, 2008 at 5:29 am

I think it’d be a great idea if you could transfer money w/ you cell phone. I thought it’d be cool so I decided to google it to see if that type service already exists and it does. However, it’s a service apparently only used limitedly and doesn’t appear to be used business-to-business or person-to-business. It’s basically like Paypal. But it’d be cool if you could go to Wal-Mart and pull out your phone and send them the cash, eliminating the risk of credit/debit card transactions.

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