Apple Patents Mobile Lists, Method to Make a Graphic Disappear; Plans More Suits
July 18, 2012 2:40 PM
comment(s) - last by
Pictures of the 2004 iPad prototype also surface is court filings
Apple, Inc. (
) is at the center of nearly
two-thirds of patent suits
in the mobile industry. The company has been
targeted by trolls
due to its profitability, but it has also used its large portfolio of questionable software patents to try to preserve that profitability, playing aggressor and
stifling would be competitors
I. USPTO: Feeding the Trolls
This week inspectors at the
U.S. Patent and Trademark Office
(USPTO) granted Apple two new patents that push the bounds of reason and represent, once again, the vast disconnect between the nation's intellectual property office and any sort of technical competence.
The first patent covers making an on-screen graphical element, disappear, more or less. Brand new
U.S. Patent No. 8,223,134
claims invention of using "a predetermined condition" to determine when "display of a vertical bar is ceased".
Apple has patented making a scrolling icon disappear. [Image Source: The Verge]
Even in a narrow context, it is somewhat baffling how making a graphic disappear when some program conditions are met is patentable.
Apple had already patented making a scrolling list accelerate or slow down. That technology is described by
U.S. Patent No. 7,479,949
, which was filed in April 2008 and granted in Jan. 2009.
It has been
[PDF] by intellectual property expert
Judge Richard A. Posner
that the claim construction in Apple's past scrolling patents is quite broad. Some have misinterpreted this as an assertion that the patent was valid. In fact, Judge Posner feels that
most software patents are invalid
-- he was simply noting that Apple lawyers are right -- the patents being granted by the USPTO are purposefully worded to be alarmingly broad.
Yet another example of Apple's bizarrely broad patents and the USPTO's baffling insistence on approving them comes from
U.S. Patent No. 8,223,134
-- also granted this week.
Patent '134 describes the invention of "displaying electronic lists and documents". Granted, Apple presents this "invention" in a mobile context, and throws in multi-touch. But essentially it has patented in rather broad and ambiguous language displaying a list on a smartphone.
Not only is this "invention" not an invention at all due to obviousness, it's more than likely invalid due to prior art.
II. Lax Reviews Waste Taxpayer Money and Hurt Competition
The USPTO's willingness to embrace Apple's legal trolling creates two crucial problems for the U.S.
First, taxpayers must see their money wasted on paying Judges and juries to deal with Apple's slew of lawsuits and subsequent appeals against its competitors. Second, if Apple can find just one sympathetic court, it can use its patent horde to ban its competitors from the market, in an attempt to grant itself a government-enforced monopoly.
Apple successfully banned the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 using similar patents.
[Images Source: 9to5Google]
This was showcased in Apple's case against Samsung Electronics Comp., Ltd. (
U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California
(San Jose/San Francisco). In one of its court motions Apple sought to ban the Galaxy Tab 10.1 on the grounds that it infringed on its patented design.
Judge Lucy Koh
rejected this notion
, saying Apple's design patent --
U.S. Design Patent D504,889
-- was likely invalid due to prior art (and the fact that it looked neither like an iPad nor a Galaxy Tab 10.1). But the
U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit
heard Apple's appeal of that ruling and decided the design patent
valid. The end result was a
ban on the competitor's tablet
Likewise, in another case Judge Koh agreed to
tentatively ban the smartphone
on the grounds of several software patents similar to be above-granted ones.
While those patents may eventually be invalidated, it cannot be denied that Apple has gained a key anti-competitive advantage by gaming the system.
III. iPad Prototype Images Surface
Speaking of the Galaxy Tab case, remember these images, appearing in the design patent:
Apple's D'889 patent [Image Source: Google Patents]
Well the photographic model of those sketches has
, courtesy of documents found in Apple's legal filings. The documents offer the world's first glimpse at the 2004-era iPad.
[Image Source: Network World]
The prototype looks just like the design patent's drawings -- and not much like the iPad. The bezel size is different, the case is bulky, and there are no buttons.
Again, here we see how Apple has managed to get a single court to buy into its theory that it should be granted a broad monopoly by a single highly questionable, and, at the very least, very narrow patent.
Sources: USPTO ,
This article is over a month old, voting and posting comments is disabled
RE: I've said enough about the subject...
7/18/2012 3:33:33 PM
I don't care (C) Tony Swash
"If you can find a PS3 anywhere in North America that's been on shelves for more than five minutes, I'll give you 1,200 bucks for it." -- SCEA President Jack Tretton
Analyst: Apple is Involved in 60 Percent of Mobile Patent Lawsuits
July 11, 2012, 2:04 PM
U.S. Patent System is Broken, Declares Judge in Android v. Apple Cases
July 6, 2012, 1:12 PM
Apple Granted Preliminary Injunction Against Samsung’s Galaxy Nexus
June 30, 2012, 3:10 AM
Apple Wins Galaxy Tab 10.1 Ban in U.S.
June 27, 2012, 11:28 AM
Game Over? Apple's Bid to Kill HTC Nears Fruition as ITC Blocks Imports
May 16, 2012, 11:35 AM
Microsoft "Hopes" Developers Will Make Xbox One Games Unplayable Offline
May 24, 2013, 12:13 PM
Federal Judge Sides with U.S. DOJ in Apple E-Books Preliminary Hearing
May 24, 2013, 11:46 AM
HTC Considers "Senseless" One Smartphone
May 24, 2013, 8:00 AM
HTC One Hits 5 Million Sales in First Month, Despite Issues
May 23, 2013, 4:04 PM
HTC First's Arrival in UK Canceled, Facebook Assesses "Home" Feedback
May 23, 2013, 3:02 PM
Microsoft Expands Windows Azure in Asia, Mocks iPad in New Commercial
May 23, 2013, 12:06 PM
Most Popular Articles
High School Student Creates Storage Device that Can Charge in 20 Seconds
May 20, 2013, 6:51 AM
Apples Tries to Use Decade-Old Patents to Ban Samsung Galaxy S IV
May 22, 2013, 3:00 PM
NASA Awards $125,000 Grant for 3D Printed Food on Long-Term Space Travels
May 21, 2013, 1:32 PM
Microsoft Announces Voice-Controlled "Xbox One"
May 21, 2013, 12:55 AM
Cure For Baldness Could Be on Store Shelves within Two Years
May 22, 2013, 8:29 AM
Latest Blog Posts
Lumosity: Does it Work?
May 22, 2013, 8:20 PM
Quick Note: Sony "Teases" PS4 Ahead of Xbox Reveal in New Video
May 20, 2013, 12:33 PM
Nokia Introduces Instagram-Like App of Its Own to Help Lumia Sales
May 20, 2013, 7:10 AM
Parents of Pre-Teen Drivers Commonly Practice Distracted Driving Says Study
May 9, 2013, 7:16 AM
Apple's iOS 7 Running Into Internal Delays Due to Massive Overhaul
May 1, 2013, 4:26 PM
More Blog Posts
Copyright 2013 DailyTech LLC. -
Terms, Conditions & Privacy Information