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Some say that Apple is behaving like a patent troll.  (Source: Peter Jackson/New Line Cinema)
One patent just wasn't enough, Netherlands declares U.S. patent garbage

Apple, Inc. (AAPL) has an interesting knack for convincing the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to grant it patents on relatively obvious GUI actions/animations.  Two famous examples of that are the patented "scroll bounceback" animation that it's using to sue Samsung Electronics Comp., Ltd. (SEO 005930) and the "swipe unlock" gesture/animation, which it is using to sue HTC Corp. (SEO:066570).

Now the kind folks at the USPTO have handed Apple another gift wrapped patent -- a second patent on swipe gesture unlocking.  U.S. Patent No. 8,046,721 redescribes what was already described in U.S. Patent No. 7,890,778, only this time with more words.

Apple delivers 11,700 words -- roughly 17 pages in size 10 Times New Roman font -- to describe what basically equates to "Drag your finger across the screen along the animated track, the touch API responds, recognizes the gesture, animates the slider, and unlocks when the drag is complete."

Apple unlocking patent
Apple is the master of unlocking, having received two patents on the simple gesture.
[Source: USPTO]

Again Apple has claimed ownership of all forms of swipe unlocking -- even the wide vertical drag down bar that HTC implements (which looks little like Apple's iOS tracked slider unlock).

Among those prominently listed on the patent is iOS chief Scott Forstall.  Viewed as a future CEO candidate, Mr. Forstall wears the same outfit to presentations and drives the same car as the late Steve Jobs.  Many describe the ruthless executive as a "mini Steve Jobs" and say he's now assumed Steve's former role of "Apple's chief A-hole."

You can witness late Apple CEO Steven P. Jobs bragging about the feature back in 2007 at the original iPhone's launch:


Mr. Jobs initiated a lawsuit crusade against Android handset makers, which Apple is continuing in his memory.  Mr. Jobs suggested that even if he wasted every bit of money Apple has ever made it would be worth it to destroy Android, commenting, "I will spend my last dying breath if I need to, and I will spend every penny of Apple's $40 billion in the bank, to right this wrong. I'm going to destroy Android, because it's a stolen product."

In Mr. Jobs mind Android's "stealing" was wrong, but interestingly he often boasted of his own powers of idea theft.  Indeed he lifted the idea for his successful Mac operating system from Xerox Corp. (XRX)  He once bragged, "Picasso had a saying - 'Good artists copy, great artists steal.' And we have always been shameless about stealing great ideas."  

You can watch this for yourself here:


However, the USPTO's idea of validity doesn't fly in all countries.  A Dutch judge ruling on Apple's use of U.S. Patent 7,657,849 (the original unlocking patent) to try to ban sales of Samsung smartphones ruled the Apple patent was "obvious" (in Dutch he said it was "lying close at hand" -- literally "for the hand lying") and likely invalid.  He points out that Neonode Inc.'s (NEON) N1m -- launched in 2005 -- had a virtually identical unlocking feature, albeit with a different graphic.  

Neonode n1m
Apple lifted the unlock feature from NeoNode. [Source: FOSS Patents]

He also acknowledged a similar on-off use in Guitar Rig:

Guitar Rig
Guitar Rig -- 2004 [Source: Wikimedia Commons]

...as pointed out by Samsung's attorney's.  The guitar after-effects software was available back in 2004 -- three years before the first iPhone was released.  The judge complained that the Apple work was "not inventive" and suggested that the patent should be invalidated.

Samsung has removed one other minor GUI animation from its smartphones in the Netherlands, escaping a potential sales ban.  However, the threat of a ban in the U.S. where questionable patents hold greater power, still looms.

Source: USPTO



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RE: Hypocrite
By omnicronx on 10/27/2011 5:41:40 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
One of the graphics that you display isn't from the USPTO, it's from a site called patently apple. You simply cut off their graphics and name to look like you actually did some original work on finding this patent. What a joke.
Funny part is, both of the sketches (i.e the meat of the picture iteslf) within the image in question are very much so USPTO images that patently apple ripped out of the USPTO patent filing documents, slapped another picture of the lockscreen beside it and watermarketed it as their own composition..

As is every single other sketch that they have on their site, and I don't see one mention of where they source their images from.

Jason needs to be more careful, but the fact remains that most likely not a single part of that image aside from the arrangement was a patently apple original. The part that really mattered was sourced from exactly where he stated. Not to mention he did state a source, so its not like he is trying to pretend this is his own work here.

I expect to see flaming responses sent to patently apple based on your comment above. As clearly they are "hack's and thieves" too based on your silly criteria.


RE: Hypocrite
By TermiteX on 11/14/2011 4:13:54 PM , Rating: 1
The image of the slide to lock feature came from Patently Apple and we can see the gray tint around the graphics which proves that this site lifted the graphic instead of obtaining at the USPTO. The USPTO laid it out differently. The point being that this site who is claimiing Apple to be thief is in fact a thief themselves.

Being that you, "omnicronx" are the house bitch with over 6000 comments on this site, let me say that you're mouthing off to defend this site, but honest people call a spade a spade. No fudging, they stole the graphic with no credit to the site who created it. Period.

Secondly, this nonsense of taking a blip out of a full video with Steve Jobs talking about stealing is for morons. I've provided a link below to another report that quotes Steve Jobs position on IP. And the "context is IP. " The video is about stealing ideas in the context of inspiration.

For example: Apple wasn't the first with an MP3 Player. But they created a revolutionary UI for a next generation MP3 player. They created iTunes so users could make playlists. They created the worlds best online Music Store to buy and not steal music and broke the backs of music studios by fairly pricing tunes at 99 cents a pop without having to buy an full album with nothing but filler. Was Apple inspired by the MP3 Player. Yes. But did they "steal" the idea? No. They took what was in the market and reinvented it and that's legal. They didn't step on Sony's IP to create their product. So in the end, the blip of Jobs talking about stealing has to be put into context as it wasn't about IP.

http://www.patentlyapple.com/patently-apple/2011/1...


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