Apple Patent Reissue May Mean it “Owns” LBS

The patent that issued yesterday, RE42,927, is actually a reissue of a patent that Xerox received in 2000 and filed for in 1998. According to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, Apple received ownership of the patent on December 17, 2009. (Yes, once again Xerox came up with a cool idea only to see Apple do something with it, as it did with GUIs and mice.)

Per C|net the patent covers these claims (in English):

  1. The system will display information that is specific to the location the device is in. That could mean text, video, sound, or images. There is no restriction on what the information conveys, so anything from something informative in a visual display to a two-for-one burger special would seem to be covered.
  2. The device has a location information system that receives location information from at least one object that specifies the location of the site where the device user is. The patent description makes it clear that this could include GPS signals from space or a barcode plastered on a building. Because "receiver" is another broad term, you could include GPS radios in cell phones or a camera and software combo that would obtain a two-dimension QR barcode. Apple broadened the language to include GPS systems.
  3. A transceiver (another general term) sends the location information over a distributed network like the Internet to some unspecified destination and, in return, gets location-specific information in return.

The suggestion by patent watchers is that this patent is so basic and so broad it applies to any location based system. The question, then, is what if anything Apple will do with it.

- C|net

Published Thursday, November 17th, 2011

Written by Adena Schutzberg

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