Apple Granted Patent for Commercial-Skipping System

Radio Patent LawyerOrange County – Apple Inc. secured a patent on Tuesday for a system of switching between playback of broadcast media and local media files on an electronic device that could pave the way for automatic commercial blocking technology.

U.S. Patent Number 8,249,497, titled “Seamless switching between radio and local media,” describes systems and methods for switching media playback between a media broadcast, such as a radio broadcast, and media from a local media library.

When an electronic device determines that an upcoming media item in a media broadcast is not of interest to a user, the electronic device can switch playback from the media stream to a media item from the electronic device’s local library, according to the patent abstract.

The selected local media item can be related to a previously broadcast media item to ensure continuity in the user’s listening or viewing experience. The electronic device can switch away from the local media item and return to the media stream when the media stream again broadcasts media items or segments of interest to the user.

“A user . . . may not be interested in every media item provided as part of a broadcast stream,” the patent description says. “For example, a user may not like a particular song broadcast by a radio station, or may not like a particular segment of a talk radio station (e.g., the user does not like the topic or guest of the segment).”

“A user may not be interested in content originally generated by sources other than the media source (e.g., advertisement content),” the description says. “Because the user has no control over the media broadcast, the user can typically only tune to a different media broadcast, or listen to or consume the broadcast content that is not of interest.”

Under the patented system, to allow a user to only consume the media items of interest in a media broadcast, an electronic device can determine when an upcoming broadcast segment or media item is not of interest to the user, and switch the playback from the media broadcast to media items locally stored in memory or otherwise accessible to the electronic device.

Inventors Michael I. Ingrassia and Jeffery T. Lee of San Jose, California filed their patent application last October.

Apple was also separately granted a patent Tuesday for a shock-absorbing coating for iPhone displays.




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