The US Patent and Trademark Office has released information regarding a few of Apple’s filings over the past couple of years that detail a system allowing users to loan or sell DRM-protected content to other users. The system works in such a way where, rather than the two users entering into a file transfer, the seller or loaner essentially gives the recipient his or her rights to content, losing said rights in the process. For example, I’m going to sell you a “used” digital game. We complete the transaction, and now I can no longer access the game — even if the files are still on my drive — but you can access it.The patent notes that a central marketplace may not be required to complete the transfers, as users’ own devices can gain and revoke access to the DRM themselves. It’s also possible that the actual content may not even need to be on either users’ device in order for the transfer to take place, as it could happen in the cloud. Think of how your Steam library has loads of games listed, but not that many installed. You could conceivably sell one of your games that isn’t installed, losing the potential to install it, while the buyer gains the potential to install it.Of course, when the customer buys access to the used content, he or she is then able to turn right around and sell it again. Luckily, a transfer between devices isn’t necessary, so the process can be quick, rather than two iPads getting stuck uploading and downloading from each other.Just to make sure the digital resale market won’t be experiencing the issue that, for example, the video game industry has been battling over for a while now (particularly GameStop’s prominent used sales), Apple’s patent notes that publishers will be allowed to set their own restrictions on used sales. So, if you want to sell an ebook, the publisher might set a minimum price at which it can be sold, as well as a time period before it is allowed to be transferred. The patent also mentions gifting, as well as possibly giving publishers a portion of the sale.When you really think about it, it’s strange to realize that we can’t already do this kind of thing on the majority of our devices — from digital video games, to ebooks, to music. It is nice, though, that used digital items don’t have the wear and tear of tangible used items.