Apple’s Patent Application Disabling Recording on iPhones Just Approved by The USPTO
We bring our cell phones everywhere, every day to the degree that they feel like extensions of our body. We feel naked when our phones are not readily accessible. We can’t go to a restaurant or bar without seeing a party of 6 looking at their phones instead of at each other. How do we strike a balance of cell phone ubiquity and necessity with respect and etiquette?
In 2011, realizing that theater and concert ticket holders and venue organizers were annoyed with cell phone use, Apple filed a patent combining phone technology with on-site infrared technology. The goal was to allow venues to disable devices when patrons should not be using them.
When originally filed critics were worried that first amendment rights would be restrained. Meaning, how dare Apple not want me record myself singing ‘Firework” at a Katy Perry show and share it with all of my social media friends.
Many artists angered by cell phone usage took the matter into their own hands. For example, Alicia Keys and Dave Chappelle have a no cellphone policy. While some fans are aware of their favorite artist’s rules, many show up to the venue shocked when they are asked to drop their phones into safe bags or lockers. https://www.washingtonpost.com/entertainment/alicia-keys-is-done-playing-nice-your-phone-is-getting-locked-up-at-her-shows-now/2016/06/16/366c15aa-33af-11e6-95c0-2a6873031302_story.html
According to the approved patent penned by Apple IP Attorneys, “In some embodiments, a transmitter can be located in areas where capturing pictures and videos is prohibited (e.g., a concert or a classified facility) and the transmitters can generate infrared signals with encoded data that includes commands temporarily disabling recording functions.” –Apple. From descriptions like this, it seems that even photographing may be interrupted or disabled. Say it isn’t true, but selfies may need to be taken in the parking lot or ticket line before the show.
What if I don’t have an iPhone? Chances are a venue would require all cell phones to be turned in at the door regardless of brand or to be shut off prior to the show’s start. Further, most phone companies have or create similar features as Apple. Just ask Samsung who in 2012 alone had 50 global lawsuits against Apple regarding possible infringements. Apple Inc. v. Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. We know how the cell phone market works. Chances are if a success, this technology would appear on all future cell phones.
While limiting phone usage makes me a cry a little, this approved patent may be a good thing. Instead of checking to see if I have reception or can connect to an open shady WiFi network, I can focus on the show. And when after looking into the eyes of other non-cell phone using audience members has ended, I can only hope that not only has my phone been not stolen in the phone drop off area, but that it is full of text messages and Facebook Friend Requests.
Mohr IP Law prepares patent applications for cell phone related inventions for its clients. If you have an invention you would like to protect, contact our patent attorneys to discuss your options.