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Old 06-14-2012, 01:30 PM   #1
LXer
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LXer: Apple Steps Into Patent Fight To Unnecessarily Silence A Little Girl


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We've covered plenty of stories concerning Apple's ridiculously arbitrary nature as the gatekeeper for iOS apps, approving or pulling them with little reason. And, of course, we've discussed a variety of ridiculous patent lawsuits -- including one we wrote about back in March, concerning a fight over an iPad app for "augmentative and alternative communications." This was the case of the mother of a 4-year-old girl, whose daughter Maya was unable to speak, but had finally found an iPad app, called Speak for Yourself (SfY) which actually helped her communicate with her parents. There were alternative products on the market, but most did not work for Maya -- and were many time as expensive (one is described as running $7,000 -- which the family appeared to be willing to pay, but not after they realized it wouldn't work for her). And, of course, a patent dispute threatened all of this. Two companies who make some of the expensive offerings, Prentke Romich Company and Semantic Compaction Systems (PRC/SCS) have sued SfY for patent infringement, over a patent (5,920,303) on a dynamic keyboard (held by SCS, but licensed by PRC), which they claim SfY violates.When we wrote the original blog post about it, we noted that even if PRC/SCS had a strong legal position, if PRC truly stood behind its own mission statement that "We Believe Everyone Deserves A Voice," it would drop the lawsuit. Unfortunately it appears to have gone in the other direction, and enlisted Apple's help, which Apple gave despite no legal basis for doing so. Maya's mother, Dana, recently wrote an update, which starts out by explaining just how much the SfY app has changed their lives in an amazing way:

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