As reported by Engadget:
... after three years of working to obtain a patent on the iPod software interface, Apple’s application was rejected by the US Patent and Trademark Office. Apparently, primary inventors Steve Jobs and Apple VP Jeff Robbin were beaten to the punch by one John Platt, who submitted a similar software design patent application in May of 2002, five months prior to Apple’s. Platt’s application describes an interface that “generates playlists for a library collection of media items via selecting a plurality of seed items, at least one which is an undesirable seed item”
The interesting thing is John Platt - the patent holder - works for Microsoft.
But, I really don't see that Platt's patent is related. Nor is the rejection a Final Rejection.
Truthfully, I would contend that audio files are simply that - files not media which this patent covers. Platt's appliaction was also not designed specifically for portable MP3 players.
Apple has come a long way with the iPod ... and I don't really see the necessity of a patent on the interface, because that's not what sells iPods.
These reasons sell iPods:
- Apple users had it first - Apple people are just cooler and windows counterparts had to have one
- Apple buyers are loyal and have a very unique hype machine on the internet
- The name iPod is just as popular if not moreso than Apple, Coca Cola, eBay, or Walmart
- The number of accessories - translating into support
- The number of sales locations - translating into support
The website MacsOnly has some good reporting about this patent issue:
John C. Platt. Mr. Platt is formerly of Synaptics, the former Apple trackpad maker, and now working at Microsoft. Unfortunately, AppleInsider did not get it precisely correct even though they appear to have read the applications but that doesn't excuse the subsequent wild deviations ...