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Print 71 comment(s) - last by abhaxus.. on Dec 23 at 1:21 AM

It makes sense that the USPTO would rubber-stamp bad patents like this, given that they give it more cash

While its losses [1][2] to Android-powered rival Samsung Electronics Comp., Ltd. (KS:005930) in court over the last month have been painful, Apple, Inc. (AAPL) is having a pretty good week.  On Monday the U.S. International Trade Commission agreed to ban HTC Corp.'s (TPE:2498) older smartphones from sale in the U.S., starting in April.

I. The Patent

On Tuesday the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) gave Apple another early Christmas present, awarding it a patent, which will doubtless be as controversial as it is valuable to Apple's legal crusade.  The patent covers a neat trick in iOS that allows you to speed up the process of accessing apps and returning to the phone app during a call.

The abstract of the patent, U.S. Patent 8,082,523, claims invention of:

A portable electronic device displays, on a touch screen display, a user interface for a phone application during a phone call. In response to detecting activation of a menu icon or menu button, the UI for the phone application is replaced with a menu of application icons, while maintaining the phone call. In response to detecting a finger gesture on a non-telephone service application icon, displaying a user interface for the non-telephone service application while continuing to maintain the phone call, the UI for the non-telephone service application including a switch application icon that is not displayed in the UI when there is no ongoing phone call. In response to detecting a finger gesture on the switch application icon, replacing display of the UI for the non-telephone service application with a respective UI for the phone application while continuing to maintain the phone call.

The key parts come later in the patent.  The first key claim is the UI element that gives access to the app menu quickly:

displaying on the touch screen display a first user interface for a phone application during a phone call; detecting activation of a menu icon or menu button during the phone call, in response to detecting activation of the menu icon or menu button, replacing the first user interface for the phone application with a menu of application icons.

Call Switching
[Image Source: USPTO]

The second part describes the new clickable UI element that sits at the top of the screen, ready to be clicked to quickly dump you back into the phone app.  Describes the patent:

 in response to detecting the finger gesture on the application icon other than the phone application icon, displaying a corresponding application user interface on the touch screen display while continuing to maintain the phone call and modifying the corresponding application user interface to include a switch application icon that is not displayed in the corresponding application user interface when there is no ongoing phone call;
 
UI Button
[Image Source: USPTO (left); Patently Apple (right)]

II. Prior Art: Why This Patent Should Have Been Rejected

Now there's two apparent problems with this patent.  

The first is the question of whether the menu button press should have been included in this patent, given the vast amount of prior art covering using hardware button presses to access the apps menu, during a phone call.  For example every phone by Canada's Research in Motion, Ltd. (TSE:RIM) has been capable of doing this for several years now, via pressing the back key.

For example the manual for the BlackBerry 7100 Series comments:

To use other applications during a call, click the trackwheel. Click Home Screen.

Apple's patent was filed Jan. 6, 2008.  The BlackBerry 7100 Series came out in 2005 [source; PDF] -- three years before.  It would be astounding if the claims involving the menu button press were upheld in court, given this near-identical prior art.

Returning to Apple's claims, the idea of UI elements for faster switching is indeed somewhat more novel.  Indeed BlackBerry users as far back as 2007 were calling for something like this in forums.  Likewise, the means to fast return to the phone app via the inserted UI soft-button is nice.  In Android this is a bit of an annoyance, laboriously navigating your way back to the phone app, after switching to email, etc. to dig up some detail while in call.  (Ed- Whoops, apparently Android has a similar soft button via the notifications menu, let's hope they don't get sued and have to drop it...)

One important note here: the soft-button for fast switching is NOT included in the current version of iOS, as far as we can tell, although it may be included in future versions.

And the second questionable aspect of the patent is whether this "neat trick"is overly obvious.  Unlike the prior art discussion, this is one that's much less cut and dry.  After all, what one person would call obvious another person wouldn't.

III. Payola -- Why the U.S. Patent System (and Others) are So Very Broken

At the end of the day Apple was granted the patent and gains yet another thermonuclear legal warhead in its growing arsenal, which includes patents on such features as multi-touch gestures, processor undervolting, and swipe unlocking.

People may dislike that Apple has been granted these patents, particularly given just how bad some of the granted claims are in terms of patenting well-known prior art.  But at the end of the day this is the results of the current state of the American patent system and many other patent systems around the world.  The USPTO is financially incentivized to grant bad patents, as it is paid on a per application basis.  More patents granted -- be they good or bad -- means more submissions.  And more submissions means -- you guessed it -- money.

Bribes
[Image Source: Business Ethics]

Apple is certainly doing more than some, though, to milk the system.  Most troubling perhaps has been its recent decision to start founding shell companies, including Cliff Island LLC, and partnering with experienced "trolls" like Digitude Innnovations.  Shell companies are the hallmark of the patent troll as they allow for a means to file junk lawsuits without fear of repercussions or retaliation.

In a related note, iOS chief Scott Forstall is listed as the patent's lead author.  Mr. Forstall, who one employee 
ignominiously dubbed "Apple's chief A-hole", is thought to be a leading candidate to become CEO at some point in the future, given his similarities to late Apple CEO and co-founder Steve Jobs.

Source: USPTO



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This article is over a month old, voting and posting comments is disabled

hey
By sprockkets on 12/21/2011 11:46:57 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
In Android this is a bit of an annoyance, laboriously navigating your way back to the phone app, after switching to email, etc. to dig up some detail while in call.


Not sure about most android phones since I use CMod but all I have to do to return to the call is go to the notification screen and hit the call in progress.




RE: hey
By ChronoReverse on 12/21/2011 11:49:54 AM , Rating: 3
This is the case for all the Android phones I've encountered.

Furthermore, most of them also have the phone app button on the homescreen icon tray. It's literally two taps to get back to the call no matter where you are (tap "home" then "phone").


RE: hey
By JasonMick (blog) on 12/21/2011 11:55:00 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
Not sure about most android phones since I use CMod but all I have to do to return to the call is go to the notification screen and hit the call in progress.

Good call, removing that text, never realized that.

Ha, sounds like Apple's going to be suing somebody soon over their notifications menu softbutton. :)

Anyone have any sort of documentation of when this feature is came to Android?

I was trying to dig up examples of prior art for the soft button, but was having difficulty in doing so, versus the hardware button prior art, which was all over the place...


RE: hey
By Solandri on 12/21/2011 1:43:29 PM , Rating: 3
A better source for prior art would probably be the fact that you could switch away from Skype and other VoIP software phones to multitask in Windows XP. If you ever ran them on the 2005-era Thinkpad X60 tablet with optional touchscreen, you've done pretty much what this patent describes. The "notification area" would simply be the XP taskbar, where you can touch on Skype to return to managing the phone call.


RE: hey
By nafhan on 12/21/2011 4:56:20 PM , Rating: 2
It's a completely different concept. They added "on a mobile device". </sarcasm>


RE: hey
By seamonkey79 on 12/21/2011 5:27:21 PM , Rating: 2
I was able to switch from 'app' to 'app' on my Motorola KRZR in early 2007... sure, not smartphone, but I could go to my SMS 'app' and take a look at what was in there and then get back to my phone call 'app'


RE: hey
By drycrust3 on 12/21/2011 6:45:04 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
sure, not smartphone,


The wording in the patent doesn't say "smartphone" it says "A portable electronic device displays, on a touch screen display, a user interface for a phone application during a phone call".
So the question is: was there a pre-2008 phone or portable computer with a touch screen that open applications during a phone call (i.e. without putting the call "on hold") and return to the call?
The date of application was 6th January, 2008, which is a bit unusual. One would expect the R&D department to be largely closed at that time of year.


RE: hey
By mcnabney on 12/22/2011 10:05:43 AM , Rating: 3
A better question, does stating "on a portable device" allow the creation of an entirely new series of patents? These are just computers. Just because you put a battery in something doesn't make it completely different. Desktop and laptops are the exact same things, does that mean every computer patent can be duplicated by different companies when used "in a mobile device". I need to run out and patent the TCP/IP stack "in a mobile device" quickly!


RE: hey
By Omega215D on 12/21/2011 7:26:40 PM , Rating: 2
I don't have any really old Palm, WM, or TouchFlo devices but maybe they did it first. I know I wouldn't put it past Palm back in the old Palm Pilot days, especially when they merged it into a Sprint phone.


RE: hey
By cmdrdredd on 12/22/2011 12:03:45 AM , Rating: 2
In Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich) there's a task switcher. Any app you had open will appear there in a small window in real time. So you can scroll through the list and click on a window and instantly switch to it as if you never left.


RE: hey
By Iaiken on 12/21/2011 11:57:01 AM , Rating: 2
All android phones that I have used, you can just press and hold the "home" key/icon and it brings up all the current apps, including the current call in progress.


RE: hey
By Omega215D on 12/21/2011 5:44:03 PM , Rating: 2
Running stock Sense on my Thunderbolt all I have to do is swipe down to get back to my call. Hell, I'm pretty sure this was around since the TouchFlo days (which was around and worked on before the iphone).


not exactly
By superPC on 12/21/2011 11:39:39 AM , Rating: 2
Jason, even if there's a wealth of app switching (even while in active voice call) in all previous smartphone OS, this patent application is actually a lot better than past apple patent. it's specific, concerning the looks and feel of app switching, so apple can't use this to sue other app switching system since it's so specific.




RE: not exactly
By Solandri on 12/21/2011 1:34:38 PM , Rating: 2
It's still an inane "on a" patent. Take something which has been done everywhere previously (multitasking), tack on the magical words "on a" something, and presto you have a shiny new patent. i.e. Multitasking, on a phone call.

Can computers multitask two things at once? Yes.
Can one of those things be a phone call? Yes.

Patent should be invalidated right there. Otherwise I can patent using other apps while playing MP3s. Heck I can patent walking and chewing gum at the same time.


RE: not exactly
By RamarC on 12/21/2011 5:12:27 PM , Rating: 2
This is why apple TV is so scary... they've probably got abunch of patents in the pipeline related to video processing with a ui for viewing multiple sources and they will sue everyone over it


RE: not exactly
By cmdrdredd on 12/22/2011 12:06:48 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
This is why apple TV is so scary... they've probably got abunch of patents in the pipeline related to video processing with a ui for viewing multiple sources and they will sue everyone over it


Sony, Samsung, Panasonic, Toshiba, LG, Microsoft, and Google are all huge players in the relatively new Internet TV world so they probably have a good bunch of patents already. Besides...Samsung will probably build the screen for Apple. Better not piss off your supplier.


RE: not exactly
By spread on 12/22/2011 1:04:38 AM , Rating: 3
quote:
Better not piss off your supplier.


What like by trying to ban Samsung Phones and Tablets worldwide?


Rot in hell Steve Jobs and the rest of Apple
By topkill on 12/21/2011 11:06:45 PM , Rating: 2
Apple is nothing but a predatory company who steals innovations and claims them as their own ideas.

They are those people that we all hate at work, their are some like that in every company, but Apple is a culture that encourages these people and gives them a home.




RE: Rot in hell Steve Jobs and the rest of Apple
By cmdrdredd on 12/22/2011 12:10:59 AM , Rating: 1
quote:
Apple is nothing but a predatory company who steals innovations and claims them as their own ideas.


A good explination of a Liberal or Progressive as well.


By topkill on 12/22/2011 3:19:02 AM , Rating: 3
What are you talking about? What does a political party, on EITHER side, have to do with patent trolling instead of producing and competing in the business world.

You can agree or disagree with me about whether Apple innovates or not and that I can respect...but you need to lay off the drugs dude. Seriously.


By abhaxus on 12/23/2011 1:21:18 AM , Rating: 3
I'm not sure what an "explination" is but I'm pretty sure the post you quoted had nothing at all to do with politics.


I wonder
By TSS on 12/21/2011 5:12:06 PM , Rating: 2
If this will be considered to be prior art at all. Remember the patent system was recently changed from first to invent to first to file. If others used it first it would be prior art under the old system. But under the new system, if they never filed a patent for it , then it shouldn't be considered prior art. If apple is the first to file, it should get that patent.

So i wonder which system this patent is applicable to. Whatever system though both are fundementally broken. Just happens that the latest revisions made it all so much worse and make stuff like this more common.




RE: I wonder
By Theoz on 12/21/2011 5:48:50 PM , Rating: 2
This is an extremely uninformed comment. I have no idea what lies you heard that caused you to post this. You are dead wrong on pretty much everything.

First, this patent is on the first to invent system. First to file only effects patent applications filed after March 2013 .

Second, in any case, the first to invent vs. first to file will not have the effect on prior art that you mention. A use is prior art if it is a public use under either system. So the minute they show that Blackberry at a trade show it is prior art. It has nothing to do with whether a patent application was filed claiming the use under either system. Therefore, contrary to what you state, the latest revisions didn't change anything in the situation you mention.

Third, the prior art that Jason mentions was actually considered by the USPTO in the form of the Palm Treo 700g. Jason just ignored the claim limitation that the non-phone application UI must be modified to allow for app switching (which was stated by the USPTO as the reason for the allowance). The prior art he cites clearly does not do this, though I leave open the discussion whether there is adequate prior art to support a finding that it would be obvious to a person having ordinary skill in the art at the time of invention.


RE: I wonder
By Netjak on 12/22/2011 5:03:57 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
Third, the prior art that Jason mentions was actually considered by the USPTO in the form of the Palm Treo 700g. Jason just ignored the claim limitation that the non-phone application UI must be modified to allow for app switching (which was stated by the USPTO as the reason for the allowance).


Palm treo isn't rest of world. There is bunch of nokia devices that can do this and much more while the call is in progress


2 points
By Motoman on 12/21/2011 2:18:14 PM , Rating: 3
1. Death to Apple.
2. Death to the US Patent Office.

Any possible replacements for either or both simply must be better than what we have now.




RE: 2 points
By masamasa on 12/21/2011 2:58:11 PM , Rating: 2
Agreed.


Touch Screen Specific
By ltcommanderdata on 12/21/2011 12:56:56 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
A portable electronic device displays, on a touch screen display, a user interface for a phone application during a phone call.

From the excerpts you provided, the patent mentions several times that it's claims are regarding switching content on touch screen displays. Does RIM's prior art on menu buttons directly apply to touch screen phones? Afterall, RIM's first touch screen phone was the BlackBerry Storm which came out in Novemeber 2008 after Apple filed it's patent.




RE: Touch Screen Specific
By Theoz on 12/21/2011 2:23:56 PM , Rating: 2
A non touch screen display would not infringe the patent, but that does not necessarily mean that the app switching of a non touch screen device could not be useful prior art in demonstrating that it would be obvious to employ similar functionality on touch screen devices.

Importantly, the USPTO did consider the non touch screen prior art that Jason mentions and granted the patent because, in the examiner's opinion, the prior art did teach or render obvious updating the interface of the non-phone application to include a switch application icon. There is little discussion as to whether this claim element is obvious in Jason's article.

A more accurate headline would be that Jason Mick blatantly ignores prosecution history rather than USPTO blatantly ignores prior art.


I take my stance
By Raiders12 on 12/21/2011 12:36:32 PM , Rating: 2
I support this decision by simply not buying Apple products. I have yet to own an iPod, iPad, or iPhone. My Sansa Sandisk served me well with Rhapsody for 3 yrs, and now my Zune does an excellent job. My QWERTY slider phone is cheaper and answers/ends calls without fancy patented software.




US Patent Office Credibility
By masamasa on 12/21/2011 1:13:26 PM , Rating: 2
Big, fat zero.




By masamasa on 12/21/2011 1:28:14 PM , Rating: 2
How about a patent to prevent Apple from applying for future patents?




Apple is destroying its most valuable asset
By BugblatterIII on 12/21/2011 4:39:35 PM , Rating: 2
Its image.

Even people who've always bought iPhones are seeing Apple in a different way now.

This is the beginning of the end for Apple.

It's bitter-sweet for me; I'd never buy an Apple product but I can't deny how they've pushed innovation in the smartphone and tablet markets.

If they carry on like this then they need to die, but I won't deny we'll all lose out if they do.




Thought that was bad?
By sprockkets on 12/21/2011 5:30:39 PM , Rating: 2
http://www.patentlyapple.com/patently-apple/2011/1...

Yes, that's right, they design patented their SSD. So if your just happens to be the same shape and chip layout, expect a lawsuit from apple.




By TacticalTrading on 12/21/2011 5:39:09 PM , Rating: 2
It seems like Apple is trying to patent everything that anyone could possibly do with a phone and or touchscreen.

Apple should just go for grandaddy of all.
Apple should patent:
IF THEN
IF THEN ELSE
Nested IF THEN structures
DO WHILE/UNTIL LOOP

That is all all of this stuff.
IF you hit a button (Apple came up with the idea for the button, not THE button [Al Gore came up with that when he invented the Internet,] but what this or any button does, along with its size, shape, and every possible property one can imagine of said button)
THEN something spectacular and original, which could only have been imagined or conceived by Apple in the first place, happens.

There, then it would be over. Apple would own the world because I can't go to the fridge without encountering some sort of If then.
IF beer in fridge THEN I will have one.

That servers(wife), clients(me), APIs(Handle on the Fridge), UIs(talking the wife into it) and fingers(to open the can,) are involved is irrelevant. Yet somehow it seems to me that Apple wants a patent on this too.

IF I use my phone THEN I must be doing something that Apple should have a patent on.

At the end of the day, Apple's patent litigation is simply a desperate attempt by a company that knows it is going to lose big time to the mass production companies, to somehow hold on to something.

Apple's High Margin, Small market share, business strategy is viable. They make good stuff.

But, IMHO, in the grand scheme of things, their patent wars, belittle Apple, their products, and the Minds and Character of those that run the company.




By KOOLTIME on 12/22/2011 12:03:38 PM , Rating: 2
Well Maybe its just me I guess, but Porting an app to a different device type = New patent claim ??

KEY POINT - The behind the scenes impersonation of a mouse using touch-pad / screen system is decades old.

Laptops with touch-pads have been doing this for decades now, only thing new on the phones is the touch system is on glass vs the pad of laptop. Touch screen monitors aka ATM's have been using them for alot longer then SMART phones have been around.

I dont get how they can claim a patent on something clearly they did not design.

Is mouse or mouse-less(touch systems) patent-able as every computer/phone type of device uses those control schemes to operate them.




Jason
By soxfan on 12/22/2011 12:37:48 PM , Rating: 2
I'm a patent attorney. If you ever want to discuss IP with someone versed in the field, let me know.

I appreciate that you post about patents on daily tech. But there are some things you may not understand about the system, particularly in view of the recently passed america invents act.

I'm frequently on the Anandtech forums, so look me up there if you want to have a discussion.




Hey Jason
By ApfDaMan on 12/21/11, Rating: -1
RE: Hey Jason
By Phynaz on 12/21/11, Rating: -1
RE: Hey Jason
By ApfDaMan on 12/21/2011 11:11:58 AM , Rating: 3
It isn't ignorant, its informed opinion. And for the record I hate apple with every fiber of my being.


RE: Hey Jason
By Theoz on 12/21/2011 1:33:33 PM , Rating: 3
Not informed at all. An informed opinion would have been looking at the prosecution history of the patent and realizing that the USPTO already considered essentially the exact same blackberry prior art that he suggests in the form of the Palm Treo 700w. The inventive limitation in the Apple patent was apparently determined to be that in response to detecting the finger gesture, that the user interface of the corresponding non-phone application is modified to add an additional switch application feature.

Now, if you want to argue that updating the non-phone application user interface is an obvoius difference from having a hardwired button than be my guest (you sort of hint at this in the article but make no attempt to do so). But at least write articles on the correct issues rather than just flaming the worldwide patent system because you think you have found some damning prior art that was already considered by the USPTO.

Also, reviewing the claims rather than the abstract would have helped your credibility (though in this case there isn't much difference between the two). Lastly, although the patent was filed in 2008 as you say, it has priority back to January 2007.


RE: Hey Jason
By lightfoot on 12/21/2011 2:20:56 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
the user interface of the corresponding non-phone application is modified to add an additional switch application feature

The UI of the non-phone application isn't modified. It is just opened up in a window with a minimize button.

If you had the first clue about GUI programming you would know this. The UI is a component that can be placed inside other components. Apple claims that they "invented" a panel with a button (minimize or close) that can contain another panel. This is not new. It is not innovative.

This is literally three lines of Java code.


RE: Hey Jason
By Theoz on 12/21/2011 2:32:05 PM , Rating: 2
You're right, I don't have any clue about GUI programming, but that is somewhat irrelevant for this case since the language I copied was paraphrasing the USPTO notice of allowance rather than my own contribution.

It looks like you pinpointed an issue (the meaning of the word "modify") that will be heavily argued should apple ever use this patent in litigation. In fact, it looks like an interview between Apple and the examiner just before the notice of allowance hinged on the definition of "is modified." Unfortunately, there is no additional information regarding this interview in the prosecution history.


RE: Hey Jason
By tng on 12/21/2011 5:16:56 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
It looks like you pinpointed an issue (the meaning of the word "modify") that will be heavily argued should apple ever use this patent in litigation.
And if they do they will loose.

My touchscreen nav system in my car has the same thing that Apple has described in it's patent. I can switch the screen back to the nav with one push of a soft button, or the push of a hard button. While in the nav screens, or music even there is a button to go back to the main phone interface that only is there during a active call.

I bought the system and installed it in 2/08 and it was over a year old then. I would call that "Prior Art".

The real argument here is if this is obvious. I would argue that it is so obvious that it it ridiculous to even entertain the idea of a patent.


RE: Hey Jason
By Theoz on 12/21/2011 5:52:19 PM , Rating: 2
This patent claims priority back to January 2007, so you will need to find a US or International (WO) patent application filed before then or some public use of the method before January 2006. Therefore, what you refer to is likely not prior art.


RE: Hey Jason
By tng on 12/21/2011 6:25:54 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
This patent claims priority back to January 2007...
Well the model that I bought made it's debut at the 2007 CES, so it was in development long before that. At the very least if not evidence of prior art it is evidence of this being "obvious". If that is not enough I can show evidence of very similar functions on touch screen controls on our custom made equipment as far back as 95.


RE: Hey Jason
By Tony Swash on 12/21/11, Rating: -1
RE: Hey Jason
By Cheesew1z69 on 12/21/2011 3:48:33 PM , Rating: 3
Same shit, different day, go figure.


RE: Hey Jason
By JasonMick (blog) on 12/21/2011 11:19:47 AM , Rating: 5
Thanks for the suggestion. I agree the article contains some analysis. I suppose could be called an "editorial", though I feel editorial suggest an opinion column not supported by clear facts, where as an analysis piece offers conclusions but supports them to a greater degree with facts (as I did).

In the past I've occasionally used the "editorial" tag, when I felt I didn't provide enough supporting evidence to definitively prove my assertions.

Now, other sites -- who aren't labeling THEIR pieces editorials either -- are acting far more editorially than I am, in that they're using much stronger language about this particular patent, with far less clear evidence of why its invalid, e.g. CNET's commentary:
http://reviews.cnet.com/8301-19512_7-57345821-233/...

quote:
Every now and then a particular patent application gets granted that seems obvious, especially because almost every other company that competes in that space does the same thing on their product. The latest such patent was granted to Apple and covers the ability to start and switch apps while continuing a phone call in the background.


That said, if the readers want something, I try to give it to them.

The issue I've had is that putting "EDITORIAL" in the above title would have made it too long to be conveniently viewable on page or indexable in Google News.

An alternative would be to put a sentence declaring this an editorial immediately following the sub-headline. However, the past couple times I did that people complained that it sounded like a legal disclaimer.

Ultimately when the site is revamped, I'm thinking an "Analysis" section will be in store, and I'll just toss pieces like this in there for clarity.

For now, we'll just have to live with what we have.

But honestly, given the blatant prior art, I don't think this article's assertions are terribly controversial unless you're so blinded by your love of Apple that you're willing to close your eyes and cover your ears and fap your way to thinking this is a valid patent.


RE: Hey Jason
By Da W on 12/21/2011 11:39:12 AM , Rating: 3
USPTO is only one step. They are flooded in application, have too few ressources and of course can't hire 10000 Einstein that are knowledgable in technology.

Just because the USPTO grants you a patent doesn't mean it is valid! One has to actually test its validity in court. It happens all the time, a tribunal can render a patent invalid because of prior art, obviousness and so on.

A firm that file a lawsuit actually gamble its patents. Its like a poker game, as long as your hand stay hidden you can trethen your rivals. Once you file a suit, then you might come worst off, loosing your patent.

The only good patent is the patent that held in court and already won you a case. This one is a proven patent that can kill.


RE: Hey Jason
By omnicronx on 12/21/2011 1:13:57 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Just because the USPTO grants you a patent doesn't mean it is valid! One has to actually test its validity in court. It happens all the time, a tribunal can render a patent invalid because of prior art, obviousness and so on.
Which would be fine and dandy if it was actually feasible to do so, in many cases unless you have a silver bullet, it won't be overturned.

Its a system in which neither side actually takes true responsibility. The patent office expects the courts to enforce and will approve patents that are perhaps invalid, but the courts address validity based on the original decision of approval.

Its a 'reasonable doubt' point of view on both ends of the stick that makes absolutely no sense, and a game that only the super rich can play. It completely devalues the entire point of the patent system in doing so.


RE: Hey Jason
By Reclaimer77 on 12/21/11, Rating: 0
RE: Hey Jason
By adiposity on 12/21/2011 12:01:20 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
In the past I've occasionally used the "editorial" tag, when I felt I didn't provide enough supporting evidence to definitively prove my assertions.


When you say things like "this patent should not have been accepted," it's clearly opinion. No amount of evidence can change the fact that it's opinion. Why? Because, like it or not, the validity of patents is completely subjective. There is not one patent in existence that couldn't be challenged based on "obviousness," "prior art," etc.

Ultimately, only a court can decide the validity of patents, and even then, it is still their opinion...but opinion made law. The USPTO isn't equipped to investigate whether patent applications should be rejected, unfortunately.

Until we fix the broken mess that our patent system is, any articles such as these amount to "armchair lawyering" and are therefore, opinion.

That said, I agree with said opinion. I also don't think the word "opinion" needs to be in the title. Something like "Why Apple shouldn't have been granted this patent" clearly indicates an opinion and is a good way of notifying readers what kind of article awaits them.


RE: Hey Jason
By omnicronx on 12/21/2011 12:58:17 PM , Rating: 3
Oh just stop, you could go on in circles for hours with these kind of claims.

For example: 'Its merely your oponion that it is not the job (or they "don't have the resources") of the USPTO to perform its due diligence during the patent application process.'

Many would disagree with this claim, making the entire premise of your complaint much less relevent.

You can make a claim that pretty much anything is an opinion piece as rarely any piece of journalism is 100% supported by fact. Everything is subjective in one way or another..

In this case he clearly laid out his points and supported his claims. That's just what journalism is, often you will have to get the story from multiple places to piece together the entire story from different persespectives. If you want an argument 100% based on fact, read an encyclopedia.


RE: Hey Jason
By adiposity on 12/21/2011 2:38:54 PM , Rating: 2
I understand your point, however my point was that when it comes to patents, a random individual simply cannot declare the patent invalid or valid. Most of us agree that the TIVO vs Dish Network patent claims were BS, yet courts disagreed and in effect they are valid. Our feeling that those patents were BS does not change that fact that legally they are binding. Thus, an article declaring a patent invalid is nothing more than opinion.

I'm not saying things have to be proven 100% to be considered facts. I'm just saying, everyone has their "facts" when it comes to patents, but the patent system rarely agrees with the armchair experts, so what's the point? It's all opinion.


RE: Hey Jason
By omnicronx on 12/21/2011 4:25:26 PM , Rating: 2
I understand what you are saying, but your argument in itself is flawed because the system is flawed.

The courts are obligated to assume that a patent is valid unless there is a silver bullet to prove otherwise, but the patent office does not perform its due diligence when dealing with applications to limit the amount of invalid claims passing through its doors.

i.e The decisions concerning courts rulings, and whether or not a patent should have been granted in the first place are not exclusive. In the current system both can be true and considered 'correct'.

Its a system that goes full circle in which those granting the applications and those validating the applications push the onus of responsibility on to one another.


RE: Hey Jason
By adiposity on 12/21/2011 4:48:52 PM , Rating: 2
I think we can agree that most software patents should not have been granted. A lot of us would say the whole idea of software patents is wrong. Given that, what is the meaning of saying this or that patent was incorrectly granted? Our opinion that the entire patent system is flawed colors our view, so our objection to a particular patent has to be taken with a grain of salt.

Also, an example of prior art is somewhat subjective. Even if one person considers a picture of an ipad in a "futuristic" magazine an example of prior art, another may not. Only a court can decide (rightly or wrong) whether to invalidate.

You are right about the patent office not doing due diligence. Unfortunately, that doesn't look to change any time soon.


RE: Hey Jason
By soxfan on 12/22/2011 12:40:04 PM , Rating: 2
"Ultimately, only a court can decide the validity of patents, and even then, it is still their opinion...but opinion made law. The USPTO isn't equipped to investigate whether patent applications should be rejected, unfortunately. Until we fix the broken mess that our patent system is, any articles such as these amount to "armchair lawyering" and are therefore, opinion."

You should read up on the america invents act, which was just recently passed into law. It includes several monumental changes to the patent law. Some of which you might actually like.

<--------Patent Attorney.


RE: Hey Jason
By W00dmann on 12/21/2011 3:47:02 PM , Rating: 2
Classic Jason Mick.  I almost choked when I read your reply.  You obviously have neither the intelligence, nor the moral capacity, to understand the difference between "editorial" vs. "fact-based journalism".  Allow me to assist:

Just because your article contains facts does not guarantee it does not also contain opinion.  This is where you go astray in articles pertaining to corporations you dislike (read:  Apple, Sony).  No doubt you tell yourself otherwise when you go to bed at night, or when you look at yourself in the mirror each day.  To wit:

"It makes sense that the USPTO would rubber-stamp bad patents like this, given that they give it more cash"

"Prior Art: Why This Patent Should Have Been Rejected"

"It would be astounding if the claims involving the menu button press were upheld in court, given this near-identical prior art."

"People may dislike that Apple has been granted these patents, particularly given just how bad some of the granted claims are in terms of patenting well-known prior art."

"The USPTO is financially incentivized to grant bad patents..."

"Mr. Forstall, who one employee ignominiously dubbed "Apple's chief A-hole", is thought to be a leading candidate to become CEO at some point in the future, given his similarities to late Apple CEO and co-founder Steve Jobs."

Unless your IQ is below 40 (which seems dangerously possible), you would know that your pieces are littered with opinion.  Why?  Because you have knighted yourself the champion of all things Android and open-source, and thereby abuse your position as DT author to slant, senationalize, and hyperbolize articles to suit your favor.  Your deceitful style is painfully obvious.

One thing I know for sure:  there will come a day when you hang your head in shame at the things you have written.  Mark my words.

And so, old "chum", hopefully this has assisted you in realizing that your articles are not "analytical" pieces (much as you would like to believe), they are opinionated editorials.  Please do feel free to respond to my rant, although we both know you have neither the intellect, fortitude, nor capability to do so.  :D


RE: Hey Jason
By omnicronx on 12/21/2011 5:52:21 PM , Rating: 3
"Fact-based journalism" does not truly exist. Every thought is based on some kind of opinion, its in our very nature to compare things and draw our own conclusions. Whether it be subliminal or not. Its up to the reader to perform their due diligence, fact checking etc..

Clearly this article borders editorial, but I find it kind of humorous that you call this 'Classic Jason Mick'. That would seem to imply that you in fact enjoy reading articles written by someone whom by your own admission, is unintelligent.

And 'moral capacity'? Really... Really????


RE: Hey Jason
By Subzero0000 on 12/21/2011 8:40:10 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Why? Because you have knighted yourself the champion of all things Android and open-source, and thereby abuse your position as DT author to slant, senationalize, and hyperbolize articles to suit your favor. Your deceitful style is painfully obvious.


So true. Jason's personal grudge against Apple is really turning into an obsession.
He no longer talk about products in terms of "products". He'd keep bashing about who's right or wrong (in his OPINION).

Look, as much as we don't like this (or any other) patent, the fact is that patent has been approved by officials. Whatever you or me or he says are all opinions, no more.

Besides, this particular patent has been really specific in operation details.
It shouldn't conflict with Android, Well, I use both platforms so I know they don't.

When one said "Good artists copy, great artists steal", who says you can't protect your art?


RE: Hey Jason
By Tony Swash on 12/21/11, Rating: -1
RE: Hey Jason
By DeluxeTea on 12/21/2011 1:44:52 PM , Rating: 1
Claims coming from you have never had any shred of objectivity.


RE: Hey Jason
By Tony Swash on 12/21/11, Rating: -1
RE: Hey Jason
By amanojaku on 12/21/2011 3:08:11 PM , Rating: 3
I don't think you were joking when you wrote Jason was paid off by Google to write negative pieces about Apple. The thing is, he was actually bashing the USPTO.

Then you claim he didn't do any research. He did a hell of a lot:

1) He found the patent
2) He listed more than one example of prior art
3) He revealed Apple's connections to a company with questionable practices involving patents

The worse part is that you shot yourself in the foot: by saying Mick's article has no merit because of a supposed bias, your saying your comments have no merit. After all, you just admitted that you're biased.


RE: Hey Jason
By themaster08 on 12/22/2011 2:59:11 AM , Rating: 2
Tony is unable to debate logically because of his bias. He's completely irrational and refuses to takes others' opinions on board. He's as closed minded as the ecosystem he's locked himself into.

He's nothing but an elitist, ignorant troll.


RE: Hey Jason
By Tony Swash on 12/22/2011 1:36:17 PM , Rating: 1
quote:
He's nothing but an elitist, ignorant troll.


I think the elitists around here are those who regularly describe tens of millions of people as 'idiots' or 'sheep' just because they prefer well designed products that work well and are simple to use. Any explanation of the world based on the notion that everyone else is an idiot is juvenile and usually based on an inferiority complex.


Quit it already
By Da W on 12/21/11, Rating: -1
RE: Quit it already
By muhahaaha on 12/21/11, Rating: 0
RE: Quit it already
By Natch on 12/21/2011 2:32:33 PM , Rating: 2
Shouldn't that have been iNadequate ? ;)


RE: Quit it already
By amanojaku on 12/21/2011 2:50:25 PM , Rating: 2
iThink So™.


"When an individual makes a copy of a song for himself, I suppose we can say he stole a song." -- Sony BMG attorney Jennifer Pariser














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