iTunes Producer Patent

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.

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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.

14 thoughts on “iTunes Producer Patent

  1. Nice find, wonder how long they’ll be able to keep it up, the PTO bans IPs that generate excessive traffic. And it looks like their site scrapes the full-text records of the PTO’s site. Some of the data is munged up too. Take a look at the USPTO class # on any app from their site (located under the Inventor Name) and compare it to the PTO’s fulltext copy. Its unusable. Never mind the fact that they don’t provide the diagrams, specs, or other images from the app (which require a TIFF plugin).

    It’s interesting to take a peak at some inventions using this, but if I were an inventor who was trying to do “real research” on whether my idea was patented I’d call my nearest PTDL for starters.

  2. OH! And if you’re searching by Assignee name over at USPTO.GOV, it’ll only work for patents registered after 1976, anything registered before then will require a trip to a PTDL and a look through the PTO’s yearly indexes.

  3. If you were Editor in Chief of Wired News, you could assign this sort of research to Leander instead of having to wait for him and the rest of the Mac web to link to your excellent research.

    Of course, if you were EiC, his blog would have comments and TrackBacks, too. πŸ™‚

  4. This is nothing. Apple’s other pending patents are out of this world.

    There is a wireless “media player system” and a “Mouse having an optically-based scrolling feature”, which blew me away.

    The mouse optically detects your index finger movement to scroll. Pretend there is a scroll wheel on top of your smooth Apple Mouse, and that’s exactly how it would work!

    Thanks for the juicy info. Their patents are way better than Apple rumor sites πŸ™‚

  5. Hello,

    Found your article very interesting. Was drawn to it because I’ve been looking for a way to get in touch with someone at ITunes. As an Indie, I wanted to contact them to see if I can get our songs in their catalog. There’s no way on Apple’s website to let you get in touch with the ITunes Music Store Manager. So I am hoping you might be able to give us some infos.

    Thank you for your help and have a great 2005.

    Cheerio !!

    Philippe Mogane

  6. Google patent issued recently…

    “Systems and methods for highlighting search results-

    A system highlights search terms in documents distributed over a network. The system generates a search query that includes a search term and, in response to the search query, receives a list of one or more references to documents in the network. The system receives selection of one of the references and retrieves a document that corresponds to the selected reference. The system then highlights the search term in the retrieved document.”

    To be fair, the patent application was filed in 2000, but that still seems pretty obvious.

  7. Someone patented the tree swing in 2003. Two pieces of rope, a board…hang from big tree. I can’t believe the patent office spends time on stuff like that.

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