March 09, 2004

Two Birds With One Stone

Check out this Leander Kahney/Wired piece: Pocket PCs Masquerade as IPods. Apparently, there are pPods running around with iPod-like interfaces (made by Starbrite) that cost $20. Remember boys and girls, imitation/innovation is not the sincerest form of flattery when it comes to intellectual property.

Here's where the two birds come in, first, bird no1:

So later in the article, they discuss patents, but what is described above sounds like an interface idea, and so while the pPod may be infringing on a patent, just the idea of nested menus isn't probably patentable or copyrightable at this point, though it might be trademarked, though I would have to see both of them to see what they are talking about, how the interaction and design are. Not sure. However, the expression of the menu could be copyrighted. Not sure there either. Anyway, considering that iPods go for hundreds depending on physical and storage sizes, there is a absurdly big difference in price, which is a serious market issue here as well for Apple, regardless of how the p's and i's work out their IP issues.

But bird no2 here, for napsterization, is the use of anonymous sources, as we've previously discussed. What's with the "anonymous spokesperson" for company? Wired obviously didn't get the memo, or the other memo. Guys, anonymous sources should only be used for the spokespersons of international spy organizations and terrorists. Otherwise, you lose all cred and your readers think you, this anon-guy and his company are "absurdly tragic", in the words of my colleague, PT.

Two birds, innovation/copyright and anon sources, all in one article, for your brain teasing pleasure. What more could you want? Thanks, Wired.

Posted by Mary Hodder at March 9, 2004 03:16 PM | TrackBack