Yesterday was a busy day for the gnomes at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, as they awarded 19 patents to Apple for intellectual property ranging from "RF Pulse Synchronization for Data Acquisition Operations" to a couple of ideas that are implemented in Time Machine. All were reported on by the eagle-eyed bloggers at Patently Apple.
The Time Machine patents cover navigation of backups and a method of resolving conflicts when restoring files from a backup. The first patent describes the method in which users can navigate through backup snapshots to find a file to restore, while the second provides a way of notifying users when a file being restored could overwrite an existing, newer file. Whether the Time Machine patents will help Apple to appeal a patent infringement judgment paid to another company earlier this year is unknown at this time.
There were also four patents dealing with iPhone and iTunes, one of which describes the method in which the iPhone handles audio playback and call conferencing, while the other three look at aspects of the presentation, download and sale of media in the iTunes Store. Several of the changes described in the patent actually showed up in iTunes in 2004; it takes that long for some patents to be awarded.
Apple's fascination with flash memory was rewarded with another pair of patents, while video fanatics might find a patent on "Encoding a Transparency (Alpha) Channel in a Video Bitstream" to be exciting reading.