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Terri Mauro

Parent Draws Attention to Patent War Over Communication App

By April 6, 2012

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iPadSite of the Day: I've been following with interest the way a blog post on Uncommon Sense, one of this year's Readers' Choice Award finalists for Favorite Special-Needs Parenting Blog, has mushroomed into a major story and brought attention to parents' struggles to find communication aids that work for kids with special needs. Dana Nieder blogged about a lawsuit that threatens to take away the AAC app that's worked for her three-year-old daughter, Speak for Yourself, which Prentke Romich and Semantic Compaction Systems claim infringes on their patent (a patent they're currently using in communication devices that cost thousands of dollars instead apps that cost hundreds).

A story that puts a human face -- and a very cute human face, that of Dana's daughter Maya -- on the topic of patent law has proven irresistible to tech bloggers, and the story has shown up on PCWorld, Slashdot, and most recently the Techland section of Time.com. You can bookmark Dana's link round-up page to keep track of where the story grows from here. Whatever the merits of this particular lawsuit, I think it's clear that the genie is kind of out of the bottle on these services and devices that used to be provided in a very exclusive and expensive way. Companies that drag their feet on app development are going to find themselves worked around.

Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

June 13, 2012 at 3:26 am
(1) Mike says:

“We have no plans to develop or release an app version of our software.”

June 28, 2012 at 5:07 pm
(2) specialchildren says:

For an update on this story, see my blog post at http://specialchildren.about.com/b/2012/06/13/parents-storming-the-gates.htm.

September 7, 2012 at 9:45 am
(3) specialchildren says:

And yet, it seems clear that they did have plans, and were in fact developing an app version, because it’s out now: http://niederfamily.blogspot.com/2012/08/one-small-upload-to-itunes-store-one.html .

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