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How a patent fight deprives a little girl of the chance to communicate
This may seem like a complex matter, but the essence is very simple. Maya, a little girl with Down syndrome was learning how to speak with the help of a little iStore app called ´Speak for yourself´ and now needs some help from the public as the app she needs disappeared from Apple´s appStore. 

Developed by two speech language pathologists the speech program fitted Maya perfectly and her parents were extremely happy hearing her speak for the first time after training with this program. From a girl unable to speak she is now capable of telling her father she loves him by tabbing on her her iPad. She makes little jokes by like looking out the window at the bright sunshine and tapping “today rain” and laughing. Huge progress for this family.

Unfortunately a patent case did arise between the app developer and an established company over the used technology. A matter for the courts and so far there is no verdict. 

However Apple has removed the program from it´s appStore without any order from a judge, just because it has been under discussion for too long. The parents are now afraid that they will lose the app when their OS is upgraded as they can´t download the current or a new version. 

I am reasonably well versed in patent questions so I checked most of the legal stuff and from what I can see there is indeed no reason for Apple to act this way except to err on the safe side. 

The patent conflict itself is devastating for the parents but it doesn´t make a lot of sense to pressure the company that claims a patent was violated. Emailing them won´t change anything anyway and it´s for a judge to decide which company is right. 

Whatever the business case, there are children dependent on this app and the parents of Maya are devastated by the news. Read the blog to fully understand how important this is for her parents and what a change a little app made for the life of this family. Time to help them out.

What you can do is spread this story and send emails to Apple to get the app back in the appStore until this patent conflict is solved.

What you also can do is help out by making sure this app becomes available through alternative stores if Apple is not willing to change its decision. 

Email addresses of all parties and the full story is in the link which I got through +Jo Anne Thomas and +Adi Rabinovich I decided to write my own post as a summary and some fact checking by an independent poster often helps in getting people to act. #mayasvoiceapp  
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28 comments
 
They don't have to upgrade their OS...right?
 
The company is right here on Google Plus and in a Google+ posting right here, they issued a response to all these posts. The Typical Stone Cold German Statement stated that they did what they needed to to protect the profits of their company. No mention of the girls problems.
That's Okay! I'm posting a circle of all there employees here so we call let them ALL know how unhappy we are! Monsters!

 
I've identified 72 of their employees here on Google plus. 
 
We are trying to get a group of people who are app developers, I can send a link to those interested.
 
I'm going to start a prior art search for the patents that they are claiming
 
+Max Huijgen Can you stop posting directly to me on these public posts? I'd rather get alerts for them.
 
I'm on an iPhone. PLZ go to my stream for all the company links emails twitter etc.
I can't conveniently add that post link on my iPhone. The app is too glitchy.
 
+Dai Derek Wu You forget the beautiful walled garden of Apple.  First, they could push out an instruction set to make the app disappear.  Or, they'll release a new feature set that the family may want to utilize or is forced to utilize and when they do the app could disappear.  

That's why we're working on an Android replacement.  The beauty of Android is, they don't have to use Google Play (Android Market), they can download directly from any web server and install the app as long as they agree with the permissions.
 
There are three wrongs in this story:
a) The stupid patent system
b) Apple removing an application from their store without a judicial order
c) Apple not allowing YOU to install in YOUR tablet any program YOU want
 
One more thing.  Let's not forget that the iPad could lose its data or become corrupted, and with the app missing from the App store, they could never replace it.
 
+Kelvin Williams I see, thanks.

Also isn't it possible the company (and not Apple) requested the app to be removed from store in fear of legal damages?

It just feels like the most practical solution to this whole thing is for the family to jailbreak their ipad and pirate the program. I certainly wouldn't expect Apple to change their entire business model (or make an exception of) because of this story.
 
Apple has been on my shitlist anyway. I have an idea but it may not work. See if we can get the boys from xda to port it to android.
 
+Max Huijgen a little reverse engeniring to work with android tablet hardware and xda may pull it off and it'l be a win win for everyone and a giant "suck it" to Apple. People like Cyanogen and xda do not always get the props they deserve. What better way to help the kid, limelight the heros and make apple look like assholes?
 
+Max Huijgen this is a very well written post and one of the only logical responses I've seen to this situation.  You are correct, that vilifying the company filing suit will do no good and that communication with Apple until the court case is settled might be a better avenue.  I think emailing and contacting every employee of said company (which may have nothing to do with the decision to file patent suit) is not a smart decision and does nothing to help the situation.  Not to mention, they might all be thinking....we've been working on this product for 10 years and now we are being put out of business by someone that trained here and copied our product.  
 
+Anne Onomoose just make sure we aren't duplicating efforts.  I'd rather cooperate with any other team that wants to help than to have three different products released way later because we were all not working together.  

We started working on this earlier today, and as long as anyone else wanting to help or co-develop is willing to open-source it, we're happy to work with them.
 
and good point by the way.
 
+Anne Onomoose I personally need as much guidance as possible into AAC devices interfaces, etc.  What works, what doesn't, what parents/teachers/caregivers really wish every AAC did.

I put a wish list on my page last night.
 
spank you. I swear like a pirate myself. Bookmarked dude.
 
Something good came out of your call for action +Jo Anne Thomas You mentioned me so I responded. 
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