One of the big problems in technology is that you can patent anything. No, literally you can patent anything you can think of. This has led to what’s known as “patent trolling”; some jerk something simple, and then milks everybody unknowingly using it for a royalty. It’s a favorite tactic of classy hombres like Gene Simmons , but even the big boys do it.

Like did, with touching a screen with your finger.

Why is this a big deal? Because it’s about to give everybody an enormous pain in the ass, and probably drive up the cost of your next cellphone.

The is this: it basically grants Apple the right to charge people for the privilege of having an unlock screen on their smartphone if that screen involves sliding your finger across it. So basically anybody who wants that has to pay Apple a buck.

This explains why Android is suddenly including a seemingly useless facial recognition feature ; they want to avoid paying somebody they’re competing with money to let people actually use their freaking phone.

This isn’t just some minor annoyance for a bunch of accountants and programmers: patents like this drive up the cost of technology and limit the ability of engineers to make us more cool stuff. In other words, Apple’s being kind of a douche. At least they didn’t patent giving somebody the finger.

26289a0e0f135x95.png Apple patented…the finger swipe?

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Apple patented…the finger swipe?