Garmin Could Dispute Apple's Patent Intelligent Garment Pairing ApplicationGarmin Could Dispute Apple's Patent Intelligent Garment Pairing Application
One of the better posts to pass through my RSS reader (Google Reader) today had to be Nick Carr's <strong><a href="http://www.roughtype.com/archives/2008/09/apple_declares.php">Apple declares war on sneaker hackers</a></strong>. First, he spanked Apple's Genius announcement.
September 11, 2008
One of the better posts to pass through my RSS reader (Google Reader) today had to be Nick Carr's Apple declares war on sneaker hackers. First, he spanked Apple's Genius announcement.Wrote Carr:
iTunes will now be able to suggest songs you might like based on what you and other like-eared users listen to. Wow. That's so 2002. And the company even has the gumption to call the feature Genius. But it gets better: But that's nothing. Today, reports New Scientist, Apple has applied for a patent to - no joke - extend digital rights management to tennis shoes and other articles of clothing. "What is desired," the patent application says, "is a method of electronically pairing a sensor and an authorized garment.....Apple views tennis-shoe DRM as a way to head off what it sees as a potential plague of sneaker hacking." Read the whole thing to capture the rest of Nick's humorous take on the matter. My question is how the USPTO can possibly grant a patent on this application. My recollection is that a lot of similar work with intelligent garments has been done in the MIT Media Labs and Garmin has a similar technology called a Foot Pod (for pairing it's Forerunner 405 GPS-enabled wristwatch (I own one; extensive review coming soon) with your shoes (for runners and walkers). I don't own Garmin's shoe accessory but I have the GSC 10 bike accessory (which also connects to the 405). Connecting the Foot Pod, the bike accessory, or a heart strap with the Forerunner 405 requires a pairing process that's similar to the one used between Bluetooth-enabled devices. I haven't looked closely at the patent application but my guess is that Garmin would object if its lawyers see a broad interpretation of the potential patent putting the company at risk of an infringement suit.
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