August 6, 2010
Apple is constantly filing patents with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. However, no one saw this one coming:On December 19, 2009, the company filed a patent it described as "systems and methods for integrating travel services in a single application available to a portable electronic device." Apple included the following sketch with its application: Where To? - GPS points of interest, designed by FutureTap. Its founder, Ortwin Gentz is fuming and rightly so. On his blog he said the following:
At first, we couldn’t believe what we saw and felt it can’t be true that someone else is filing a patent including a 1:1 copy of our start screen. Things would be way easier of course if that “someone else” would be really an exterior “someone else”. Unfortunately, that’s not the case.
We’re faced with a situation where we’ve to fear that our primary business partner is trying to “steal” our idea and design. So how to deal with that? — As some of you know, we’ve always been more than grateful for the platform Apple created. And, in fact, still are. However, we can’t ignore it if the #1 recognition value of our (currently) only app potentially is under fire.This is what the app looks like. The similarities between it, and the sketch are more than just a coincidence, in my opinion: