If Apple calls, don’t pick up

Ok so, Apple has been peeping at your chaotic, rambling Notes entries and finally decided to roll out a journaling app. Of course, we’re kidding… kind of. 

What happened: The company is expanding its health-tech push into the realm of mental health products with a new pre-downloaded app (codenamed Jurassic) that will utilize iPhone usage data to make suggestions for what to jot down, per The Wall Street Journal

  • Critics say this is a case of sherlocking—a term for Apple’s little habit of expressing interest in tech from smaller firms, then stealing their ideas and employees.

  • The company claiming to be a victim is the journaling app Day One, the winner of an Apple Design Award. It claims it started to see a drop in App Store visibility in 2020. 

Another recent WSJ report shed some light on Apple’s sticky fingers, interviewing over two dozen people who had once talked to Apple about potential partnerships, only to hit a dead end and then see Apple products boasting features very similar to the tech they created.

  • After health-tech company Masimo discussed integrating its blood oxygen sensors into Apple Watches, Apple poached 30 employees and rolled out the same feature. 

Why it matters: Apple and other Big Tech players are emboldened to take first and deal with the fallout later because the US patent system, as one former director of the US Patent and Trademark Office put it, “is tilted in favour of the largest established firms.” 

  • Companies that don’t have billions to spend and armies of IP lawyers are at a crippling disadvantage. 

Yes, but: For Apple’s part, the company claims it doesn’t steal anything, that supposed victims are actually copying its products, and that it has licensed over 25,000 patents from independent smaller companies over the past three years alone, thank you very much.—QH