HTC patent application for Joerg's Y-cable?

Al Johnson openmoko at
Mon Jun 7 17:00:36 CEST 2010

On Monday 07 June 2010, Jose Luis Perez Diez wrote:
> A Dilluns 07 Juny 2010 12:34:31, Patryk Benderz va escriure:
> > Dnia 2010-06-05, sob o godzinie 13:08 +0100, Al Johnson pisze:
> > > It hasn't been granted yet, and the Y-cable was around before it was
> > > filed, but perhaps not by long enough.
> >
> > [cut]
> > Should we be afraid of this patent?
> > Is it used in FR?
> IANAL but it is'nt used on the FR.

The patent refers to the adapter not the device, 

> See yesterday irc openmoko-cdevel log for the opinion of Joerg (It starts
>  near the begining at 18:28
> cdevel.20100607.txt

Compare this comment from that log and the application's Claim 3:

Jun 06 18:29:36 <DocScrutinizer> my y-cable doesn't need ""a conversion 
circuit and can inform the portable device that whether a power source is 
available and inform the portable device of connection status of the adapter 
through the data bus""
Jun 06 18:30:49 <DocScrutinizer> except if you define ID as a databus, and a 
resistor as a conversion circuit

3. The detachable adapter according to claim 2, wherein the host data bus is a 
universal serial bus (USB), and the connection status signal of the set of 
host bus signals is an ID signal of the USB. 

I'm no patent lawyer, but I think that's exactly what they're claiming. Other 
claims narrow it down to using a voltage on the id pin, or a resistance value, 
and making these switchable depending on what's plugged in. It only seems 
overly complicated because it's expressed in legalese rather than engineering 

As Joerg says, I don't think it should be worthy of a patent. Unfortunately 
courts in the US have been progressively lowering the obviousness bar to the 
point where it's patentable unless someone has explicitly described it already 
before the priority date. It's not just software patents that are broken that 
side of the pond.

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