Last week, Apple Computer filed a patent application covering the iTunes Producer application and backend architecture, used for managing and sending music to the iTunes Music Store. The patent includes screenshots of the application, which Apple only distributes to authorized musicians and record labels.
One screenshot includes some interesting fields, such as Parental Advisory warnings, BPM, and various sales and copyright information. There’s a button for adding Lyrics, which may indicate future support for lyric searching in iTunes Music Store.
Unfortunately, you need a special plugin to view the embedded images at the Patent Office website, so I’ve converted all the drawings to GIF and included them below.
The U.S. Patent Office Search is consistently interesting. If you search by “Assignee Name,” you can keep track of all the pending and approved patent activity by your favorite companies. For example, here are all approved patents and pending applications for Apple Computer. Some other interesting company searches: Google’s pending and approved, TiVo’s pending and approved, and Yahoo’s pending and approved.
Not surprisingly, there are a few good blogs that focus exclusively on new patents. Patently Obvious and Patent Pending. And I just found Fresh Patents, a fantastic daily index of new patents, with RSS feeds by industry.