"This is even a perfectly valid patent using the system in the intended manner." Is it? Patents (on mechanical inventions) are supposed to protect the mechanism, not the result.
(Sorry for the long comment, but I have seen enough #patentabuse and feel the need to speak out.)
Daimler didn't patent the idea of a horseless carriage, the patented a specific type of internal-combustion engine with specific components. Ford could (and did) make a different engine for his horseless carriage.
Schering-Plough didn't patent the idea of an H1-blocker that doesn't cross the blood-brain barrier, the patented loratadine (Claratin), a specific chemical compound that does this. Other drug companies could (and did: see terfenadine) invent other chemical compounds that also act as H1-blockers and don't cross the blood-brain barrier (so as not to make you drowsy). [Loratadine's patent has expired now, so anyone can make it, so the company patented a trivial variation on it: desloratadine, which is the right handed enantiomer of loratadine. Software is not the only place where "trivial" patents get granted...]
PRC and SCS can't patent the idea of a programmable AAC (Augmentative and Alternative Communication) device that lets the user tap pictures to make sentences. They can patent the specific way in which they did this. The very fact that this runs on an iPad and not on their specialized hardware should make it difficult to be working in exactly the same way.
I wish +Google
would jump all over this. +Android
tablets could also could run an AAC, and Google has huge databases of natural language as well as experience in language processing and UX that would allow Google to make an intuitive and effective AAC app which works entirely differently from any of the patented devices out there.
Right now, the patent system is broken, totally broken. Everybody is suing everybody over the most ridiculous overly-broad patents. The process needs to be changed so that the applicant needs to defend their patent application in an adversarial proceeding in front of a jury of their peers (experts in the relevant field). This would make sure that truly innovative mechanisms and algorithms receive patent protection, while trivial, overly-broad, or already-existing-in-prior-art claims get denied.+Jean-Baptiste Queru
- Thank you for bringing this up. I will try to get some input on the issue from my wife who is a Speech-Language Pathologist who has experience with various AACs.