January 4, 2013
Article By: Brent Adams

I have been reading and hearing rumors of this the past few days; and it has the potential of being so big that this news cannot go ignored.

Apple has filed a patent with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office for a digital signage retail system, according to sources.

A glance at the patent application reveals that Apple has a rather intriguing digital signage system that turns traditional retail shopping on its head (then again, so have Apple Stores across the world for the past decade). It combines many interactive features, such as dynamic product displays, that can be manipulated based on each Apple Store's unique configuration.

For the technically inclined, the patent application (with all of its specifications) can be found here.

So what do you think?

— Sources: http://appleinsider.com/articles/13/01/03/apple-invents-centralized-apple-store-floor-plan-management-system

http://appft1.uspto.gov/netacgi/nph-Parser?Sect1=PTO2&Sect2=HITOFF&u=%2Fnetahtml%2FPTO%2Fsearch-adv.html&r=1&p=1&f=G&l=50&d=PG01&S1=20130006790.PGNR.&OS=dn/20130006790&RS=DN/20130006790

Comments

This patent application is an attempt to steal the future business of all digital signage vendors. There is nothing patentable and nothing new in this application, it is an obvious use of existing technology within an interactive touch screen digital signage network and should be immediately rejected by the patent office. Apple must be getting desperate with falling share price and no direction of their own to stoop so low as to try devious tricks such as this to lock up business areas for themselves.
My primary concern is that this patent could be exercised to insinuate "umbrella invention status" over a whole range of current and commonly used technologies and implementation patterns. Parts of it are very specific and interesting. Other parts of it, are broad and vague. It is those vagaries that potentially leaves us at the whim of very expensive lawyers, who wil determine how and when we (read: anyone doing retail venue signage or heaven forbid, customer POS applications) will be afoul and therefore, in violation. Nobody does this better than they do in the valley. So if confronted with this issue, regardless of how remote you may feel the risk is for you right now... the one sure thing is that you will lose.

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