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Monday, January 30, 2006

From the Frivilous Patent Department

Boeing Corporation has been granted Patent number 6,990,338 Mobile Wireless Local Area Network and Related Methods. The heart of the patent revolves around putting a WLAN on a "Mobile Platform" with multiple cell areas spaced apart within the interior of said, platform.

In simple terms this means that they have been granted a Patent on placing a WLAN in an airplane. Now the question one has to ask is, will the term "mobile platform" be translated to mean train or bus too. After all, Greyhound may be on the hook if they offer internet on buses because it too is a Mobile Platform.

The picture that is being painted here is that, anyone who adapts existing technology to their venue could soon be in line for royalty cheques. One would think that the NTP v. RIM suit would make the patent office think twice about granting protection to processes that leverage existing technology.

5 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is very misleading to state that "[i]n simple terms this means that they have been granted a Patent on placing a WLAN in an airplane." If you actually read the friggin patent, they are NOT patenting having a WLAN on an airplane. They have patented one very specific way of setting up one very specific kind of network that has very specific characteristics that make it suitable and useful for use on an airplane. Try reading the patent next time before throwing out misinformation like this again.

3:53 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

And in what way is this novel, unobvious and worthy of protextion?

3:53 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

From the Patent "Configuring a WLAN for use in aircraft entails consideration of a variety of factors, including those related, for example, to aircraft and passenger safety. Not all of such factors, however, are unique to aircraft. Thus many of the considerations for configuring an aircraft WLAN also pertain to configuring a WLAN for use in other types of mobile platforms"

4:09 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

In simple terms

There are no "simple terms." There are precise legal terms, worked out by the applicant in response to the evaluation of the patent examiner. Your simple summary is a mere cariacature.

11:52 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Now the question one has to ask is, will the term "mobile platform" be translated to mean train or bus too. After all, Greyhound may be on the hook if they offer internet on buses because it too is a Mobile Platform."

If you read the patent you will see that they specifically mention Trains and Boats and other mobile platforms as other applications. So you DON'T have to ask the question, because it has already been answered.

And they are 'just patenting the idea of having a WLAN on a Mobile Platform'. They describe some of the set-up issues for limiting coverage to specific seat rows, but this is standard technology. They even have the cheek to specify as a patent that the set-up must be such as 'not to cause undue interference with' the other technologies on the platform. So they have patented the idea of 'not making a balls-up'!

This is NOT a contribution to any advancement of technology, and is probably part of the ongoing battle with AirBus about the provision of phone technology on aircraft. America are losing that one, and fighting dirty.

2:40 AM  

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