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Apple patents reveal interest in pre-owned market

Apple patents reveal interest in pre-owned market

Thu 07 Mar 2013 3:08pm GMT / 10:08am EST / 7:08am PST
MobileOnline

Company looking at ways for users to sell rights to games, books and music

Apple

Established in 1976, Apple is a multinational corporation (corporate headquarters based in California)...

apple.com

Information from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office suggests that Apple is one step closer to finding a way to let users sell their pre-owned content to each other.

Apple Insider uncovered the patent, which concerns passing the rights to digital content between users, essentially allowing them to sell them on or even loan them to each other.

"Techniques are provided for managing access to a digital content item (such as an ebook, music, movie, software application) to be transferred from one user to another."

Crucial to the process is that once the user has sold say a game, they can no longer access it.

"The transferor is prevented from accessing the digital content item after the transfer occurs. The entity that sold the digital content item to the transferor enforces the access rights to the digital content item by storing data that establishes which user currently has access to the digital content item. After the change in access rights, only the transferee is allowed access to the digital content item."

"As part of the change in access rights, the transferee may pay to obtain access to the digital content item. A portion of the proceeds of the "resale" may be paid to the creator or publisher of the digital content item and/or the entity that originally sold the digital content item to the original owner."

The patent covers a number of scenarios (using the examples of Jeff and Sally) in which the original publisher of the content and intermediaries receive different cuts of the resale. There are even a clauses covering "limited edition" content and games specifically.

"As another example, Sally may only consume the digital content item while Sally's device (that is consuming the digital content item) is near one of Jeff's devices (e.g., that was used to copy or transfer the digital content item for Sally). This may be useful in games that can only be played with or nearby the original owner or in an educational setting where students can only, for example, watch a movie in the presence of a school teacher (who may be the original owner)."

Apple is still no doubt a long way off making these patents a reality for users, but the fact that such a powerful platform holder is looking into the sale of pre-owned digital goods suggest a major turning point is on its way.

10 Comments

Steven Wemyss Senior QA Engineer, Avalanche Studios

33 31 0.9
So they're trying to Patent an EU Legal requirement? o.O

Posted:A year ago

#1

Alex Bunch Proof Reader, ZiCorp Studios

94 107 1.1
My thoughts exactly.
Question: Does the US Patent Office just grant a patent to anyone who asks? It's patently ridiculous to try and patent the resale of digital content.

Posted:A year ago

#2

Omaha Sternberg Editor / Co-Founder, iGame Radio

13 15 1.2
Question: Does the US Patent Office just grant a patent to anyone who asks?

Yes

Posted:A year ago

#3

Tom Keresztes Programmer

700 354 0.5
Yes, It does.

Apple sued for violating the double click patent

Isn't Microsoft the owner of the patent for double clicking ?

Posted:A year ago

#4

Nicholas Pantazis Senior Editor, VGChartz Ltd

1,021 1,470 1.4
This is not an EU legal requirement. I don't get why no one understands that court ruling. It in no way requires companies to allow resale of digital software. It just makes it legal for users to do so IF THEY FIND A WAY. Companies don't have to provide them a way, and there is no legal obligation for them to EVER provide them a way. They just can't sue the consumers for finding their own solution.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Nicholas Pantazis on 7th March 2013 11:08pm

Posted:A year ago

#5

James Barnard Founder / Developer, Springloaded

12 17 1.4
I would have thought it would be best for the industry if they didn't find a way. Games and most other digital content is so cheap anyway, Imagine I drop my game to free for a day, I'll probably never make another sale again seeing as the digital market will be flooded with used copies. Makes free games an even bigger part of the future. What about microtransactions? can I resell them too!?

Also if apple finds a way, does that mean everyone has to find a way? but they can't because it is an apple patent....or maybe every used digital sale will result in a percentage going to apple for ever more regardless of the platform. There is no technology in their idea, just an idea that a million other people have had too.

Posted:A year ago

#6

Tom Keresztes Programmer

700 354 0.5
Why is this a patent??... it's so obvious it's ridiculous..
Because if they don't do it, a patent troll will.

Posted:A year ago

#7

Morville O'Driscoll Blogger & Critic

1,630 1,509 0.9
Because if they don't do it, a patent troll will.
You mean Apple, right? :p

And, being serious for a moment, the only reason to do this as a patent is so that they can try and sue people in the future.
The patent covers a number of scenarios... in which the original publisher of the content and intermediaries receive different cuts of the resale. There are even a clauses covering "limited edition" content and games specifically.
So, if Valve, say, introduce a system for allowing second-hand sales of games through Steam, they would have to pay Apple a cut, or risk being sued.

Edited 2 times. Last edit by Morville O'Driscoll on 9th March 2013 9:28pm

Posted:A year ago

#8

Curt Sampson Sofware Developer

596 360 0.6
...the only reason to do this as a patent is so that they can try and sue people in the future.

No. Another, and much better, reason for patenting something is to be able to use your own idea without being sued by someone else for royalties or, worse yet, being barred from using it.

If you come up with an invention and someone else a year later comes up with the same invention and patents it, you no longer own the right to use that invention even though you were the original inventor. This is the way the patent system is designed to work: it rewards not creating inventions but disclosure of inventions

There is of course also a certain element of competitive behaviour in this, in that it also gives you the ability to block competitors for a limited time (but an absolutely enormous amount of time given the rate of change in the IT industry), extract license fees, and the like. But even without this, it would still be foolish (and irresponsible to your investors) not to patent an invention you come up with.

You may not like this. I don't. But this is how the patent system works right now, and blaming a company for behaving in the way the patent system pushes them to behave is placing the blame in the wrong place.

Posted:A year ago

#9

Morville O'Driscoll Blogger & Critic

1,630 1,509 0.9
Mmmm... Perhaps. Maybe I'm just being mean to Apple. :)

Edited 4 times. Last edit by Morville O'Driscoll on 10th March 2013 9:44am

Posted:A year ago

#10

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