Apple, Software Patents & Social Distancing

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Andrew Rapacke
Andrew Rapacke
Apple, Software Patents & Social Distancing

In the new age of keeping at least six feet between us, we miss out on so many things that were once a normal part of everyday life.

Although it appears the COVID-19 pandemic will continue to keep us apart for the foreseeable future, Apple won’t let distance get in the way of selfies with friends and loved ones.

The patent loving tech giant has just been issued a notice of allowance by The USPTO for what they call a “synthetic group selfie”.

In this article, we pull back the curtain on Apple’s latest software patent and highlight key takeaways from their IP strategy that you can use to grow your SaaS.

What’s A Synthetic Group Selfie?

Apple’s newly patented feature would let users invite contacts to a group selfie. The individually taken photos would then be dynamically rendered into one group selfie. Allowing users to appear together in photos even when they were actually apart.

Although Apple didn’t predict COVID-19 and filed this patent application long before the new coronavirus was discovered, the new feature helps solve a hyper-relevant problem by creating a personal connection, even while following social distancing guidelines.

The patent also details that the feature would let users manipulate and re-arrange various pictures, from still images to videos, so they could change the appearance of the group selfie.

“Group selfies can be easily generated without having to organize or arrange people around a camera,” the patent application reads. “Individual selfies can be automatically and intelligently arranged within the synthetic group selfie so that the user is not required to arrange individual selfies within the synthetic group selfie.

Another interesting detail mentioned is that the processing of individual photos and background removal could be allocated between multiple devices to reduce the processing load on any one device.

It’s uncertain if or when this will become an actual feature for Apple products, nevertheless it’s an interesting look into the measures they take to protect novel features and intellectual property.

Key Takeaways From Apple’s IP Strategy

Apple is known for aggressively pursuing patent protections on software key features and hardware. They follow a rigorous protocol of innovate, patent, commercialize, and dominate.

If your SaaS has novel features that differentiate you from competitors, take a page from Apple’s playbook and speak with an IP attorney to see if software patents could be a good fit.

As we’ve mentioned in our previous article, 5 Critical Factors VC’s Consider When Valuing A Company, software patents can also give you a competitive advantage and increase the odds of acquisition by a larger company.

Of course, not all companies who pursue patent protection will be rewarded with success, but planning ahead and finding ways to differentiate your SaaS in a competitive industry will certainly help you move in the right direction.

If you’d like to discuss patenting your key features, schedule a free strategy call with one of our experienced IP attorneys.

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