Print 62 comment(s) - last by Cheesew1z69.. on Nov 23 at 8:21 PM

Google filed a nearly identical patent claim nearly sixth months earlier, but Apple wins the patent anyways

In a move that could strike a deep blow to successful e-reader rivals like Barnes & Noble Inc. (BKS), Apple, Inc. (AAPL) last week secured a patent on animating book pages turning digitally.

U.S. Patent D670,713, granted to Apple by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office last Tuesday, depicts "the ornamental design for a display screen or portion thereof with animated-graphical user interface.

The description section of the patent is rather ambiguous.  So the easiest way of depicting what the patent covers it to simply show the figure:

Apple Page Turn
[Image Source: USPTO]

Google Inc. (GOOG) is surely a little irked as it filed a highly similar patent request half a year earlier in May 2011 (Apple's patent was filed in Dec. 2011).  US 2012/0105464 A1 depicts "Animated Page Turning", albeit describing it in much more detailed and specific language than Apple's filing.  To add insult to injury, Apple's patent does not cite Google's prior art.

Ultimately, the ambiguous language of the later Apple patent may work to its advantage, as it may be able to justify filing more lawsuits to stifle its competitors.  

Apple's wins in court when suing its competitors have thus far come largely from its local Californian district court.  In its $1.05B USD victory over Samsung Electronics Comp., Ltd. (KSC:005930), the jury found Apple innocent of all alleged infringements, but found Samsung guilty of most of the infringements Apple alleged.  Coincidentally the family members of some jurors were Apple shareholders, but Judge Lucy Koh ruled this was an acceptable level of bias.

The Nook HD features page turn animations:

Should Apple choose to sue B&N, it will likely look to repeat its successful strategy employed against Samsung: trying the case in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California's San Francisco courtroom.

(Note:, Inc.'s (AMZN) Kindle Fire/Fire HD don't have page turn animations, so they should be safe from lawsuits/bans.)

Source: USPTO

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By tviceman on 11/19/2012 11:11:03 AM , Rating: 5
This is beyond out of control retarded ridiculous now. Seriously. THIS SH!T NEEDS TO END.

By StevoLincolnite on 11/19/2012 11:17:17 AM , Rating: 5
This is a load of crap.

Go to a major shopping chain store's website and view their online catalog, it is laid out just like a book and you turn the pages with your mouse/keyboard/touch screen.

HOW was this even passed!? Is the Patent office full of monkeys high on crack!? Common sense peoples!

By geddarkstorm on 11/19/2012 11:24:28 AM , Rating: 2
Or what about the Nook, which has had this -exact animation- and interface behavior since 2010?

By JasonMick on 11/19/2012 11:31:02 AM , Rating: 5
Or what about the Nook, which has had this -exact animation- and interface behavior since 2010?
Just wait, when Apple sues B&N for patent infringement, Apple's legion of fans like Tony Swash will come up with some sort of warped justification of how Apple R&D had been working on this in their labs for years and just never showed anyone. ;)

But I agree, the decision is nutzo. Basically the USPTO is completely broken and things are going to get worse and worse until the lawsuits get so out of control that they're crippling the economy and the whole bloated mess burns to the ground.

It's going to be very bad for the economy until that happens, though.

I don't always agree with Mark Cuban, but his comments on patent trolling and how it's killing the tech industry are dead on.

By bug77 on 11/19/12, Rating: -1
By JasonMick on 11/19/2012 11:58:56 AM , Rating: 4
Does it feel like lawsuits are helping in any way atm?
Like, if this particular patent was rejected, suddenly billions of dollars would be turned away from ebook reader industry, thousands of jobs would be lost and so on?
There are certainly folks who would argue that patents are vital to the economy... but as the "This American Life" special "When Patents Attack!" illustrated, most of these supposed examples are fictional; it's impossible to prove a negative, but the lack of evidence would certainly support that the idea of the "small inventor" is largely a myth, particularly when it comes to software patents.

Granted, this problem has been brewing for a while. Folks like Colt and Edison milked the patent system to establish empires and kill rivals/competition. The issue is that in those cases the patents seemed rather legitimate, the issue was more that the true inventors were often not given patents, versus the savvy manipulators.

Today both the situation has shifted slightly, in that not only the grant process is biased, the patents themselves have lost all guise of credibility.

By cyberguyz on 11/19/2012 12:57:02 PM , Rating: 2
Careful folks.

Apple may have patented that Peanut Butter and Jam sandwich you just made. They'll sue!!

Seriously, I am all for protecting your inventions, but this has been around (page curl and all) since long before Apple applied for the patent.

Thing is that patents are expensive to register. However if you have the money to throw around you can patent anything as long as nobody challenges it .

Now if the person that actually invented this can come forward and prove they had the idea first (i.e. an application that shows this working that dates to before Apple's claimed first application) then Apple ends up losing the patent AND the real inventor can in turn sue the pants off of Apple for those billions they made from it.

By Shadowself on 11/19/2012 3:02:21 PM , Rating: 3
Now if the person that actually invented this can come forward and prove they had the idea first (i.e. an application that shows this working that dates to before Apple's claimed first application) then Apple ends up losing the patent AND the real inventor can in turn sue the pants off of Apple for those billions they made from it.
Ah, when the U.S. concedes to the rest of the world and changes from a "First to invent" system to a "First to file" system (if we haven't already done so -- I forget when the switch happens as I haven't filed or been issued any patents in the past four years) this argument will be irrelevant to. In much of the world for the past many years it does not matter who the original inventor was/is (first to invent). It matters who filed for the patent (first to file).

Under the first to file system it gets really "interesting". If you invent something but don't file for any protection then someone else tweaks it slightly (does not have to be extensive or even truly novel) and then files for a patent on your innovation, it is possible for the USPTO to issue that patent to that other entity.

You think the system is broken now? Just wait. As Jason said, it's going to get worse before it gets better (paraphrasing).

By gamilonman on 11/20/2012 3:57:44 PM , Rating: 2
I'm pretty sure 'The 7th Guest" had animated digital page turns in 1993.

By Samus on 11/19/2012 1:54:53 PM , Rating: 2
Quick, patent masturbation to e-books before Apple does!

By Cheesew1z69 on 11/23/2012 8:21:50 PM , Rating: 2
I am sure Tony Swash has a patent on masturbating to Apple, he may sue you if you aren't careful.

By hugo_stiglitz on 11/19/2012 11:48:01 AM , Rating: 5
One has to wonder... is Apple paying off the people who work at the patent office? My guess is: Probably.

By JasonMick on 11/19/2012 12:01:55 PM , Rating: 5
One has to wonder... is Apple paying off the people who work at the patent office? My guess is: Probably.

Apple has one of the largest legal budgets/legal teams in the industry. If you're a grant reviewer at the USPTO, and you allow this kind of stuff to trickle through, chances are good that you may be in line for a lucrative position in Apple's IP law dept. a few years down the road.

The same sort of thing happens frequently with FDA drug reviews and big pharma. It's good old bureaucratic quid pro quo, and it's ultimately almost impossible to track.

That's what you get though when you granted government sweeping powers to manipulate the market and make decisions for consumers.

By Samus on 11/19/2012 1:57:23 PM , Rating: 2
Sweeping governmental powers or not, there's no solution to corruption. I'd say the government has potentially less corruption than if a bunch of corporations ran the country, because at least the government doesn't care about making a profit (clearly...)

When money gets in the way of things, corruption runs rampant.

By perspicacity on 11/19/2012 3:19:53 PM , Rating: 3
I trust government less than a corporation because at least I understand the corporation's motivation. A government's motivation is often the manipulation and subjugation of it's people.

Profit is honest -- don't confuse greed with profit.

By Shadowself on 11/19/2012 3:18:46 PM , Rating: 3
Extremely unlikely.

Have you talked to any patent examiner? They are so overloaded the easiest way for them to clear their backlog is to issue the patent. If they reject the patent the better heeled applicants just have their patent attorneys tweak it slightly, refile, then go in for a face-to-face with the examiner and talk to him until he gives in.

The system is broken. Systems and Methods patents (in full disclosure I have a few of those) should be largely forbidden a priori. Systems and Methods patents should have to show novelty in the extreme!

Also, while I'm not a fan of growing government, the USPTO needs to double the number of examiners it has with the absolute direction that patents will be denied unless the examiner has the reaction of, "Wow, I've never heard of *anything* like that before!"

Finally, I'd add this bit to future patent law: The prior art searches must be enforceable. Right now 99% of the prior art search is done by the patent applicant. Make it illegal (with stiff fines) for applicants to knowingly submit partial prior art lists.

Right now the general rule with prior art submissions is, for all practical purposes, under the "grandmother rule", i.e., if your grandmother (well actually in my case it would be my mother who's about 90) can easily find it then you must report it. If your grandmother can't find it without a long, exhaustive search, then you don't have to report it.

Also right now patent examiners only do a cursory search to see if anything pops up in the public record -- nothing more.

Make applicants do an exhaustive search before filing and list all the prior art they find.

By Nyu on 11/19/2012 2:04:28 PM , Rating: 2
bribing everyone obviously.

By GotThumbs on 11/19/2012 4:36:46 PM , Rating: 2
Most definitely!!!!!

No doubt about it.

By masamasa on 11/19/2012 2:33:02 PM , Rating: 3
Yes, they regularly deliver bananas to all the monkeys that work there.

By marvdmartian on 11/19/2012 2:46:28 PM , Rating: 2
For that matter, plenty of online advertisements use a similar graphic. While not controlled by a finger movement (currently), there's no reason to believe they couldn't be, on a touch screen tablet.

Typical Apple....."inventing" that which has already been invented!

By GotThumbs on 11/19/2012 4:35:35 PM , Rating: 3
This simple fact that Apple got this granted....Proves the US Patent office is corrupt and staffed with idiots.

There is not other logical explanation.

I think its time to file suit on the Patent office for failing to do proper research and due diligence.

Just take them out and shoot them. Pure Idiots feeding the problem.

By spaced_ on 11/19/2012 10:28:37 PM , Rating: 2
Think about it a bit more.

There are likely 100,000's of patent applications every year.

How many full time staff does it take to review and scrutinise each one?

I wouldn't blame the staff, or necessarily even the office. There's a bigger problem with the system itself. And the problem is getting bigger with the number of patent applications increasing.

And what is the whole underlying point of the patent system? And is it achieving it's goal? Obviously not in the tech industry, which moves far too rapidly for the current patenting system to keep up.

It's a difficult problem to solve, how to protect inventors and innovators, encourage investment, but how to also prevent abuse of the system that encourages stifling innovation, monopolisation and market manipulation. Perhaps there should be different rules that the gorilla corporations have to play by, compared to startups. In the end consumers and startups alike are currently being screwed by the gorilla corporations and their legions of patent lawyers. And the gorillas screw each other too in the quest of being king gorilla.

By CubicleDilbert on 11/19/2012 11:43:56 AM , Rating: 2
There ist not much you can do against the Apple army of lawyers.

Apple has also filed a patent for "showing you the finger" and if you do this to Apple they will even sue you deeper into sh*t!

Gosh, I am so glad that finally I freed my houshold of Apple things, just a few iPods more to go on ebay and I am done.

And happily move to Android and Nexus.

By Uncle on 11/19/2012 12:08:40 PM , Rating: 5
BaHaaabahaaa This is nothing compared to what Monsanto is up to. Change some DNA in a cow and they own the copyrights to the cow. Every time a farmer breeds his stock Monsanto gets royalty. This isn't just about cows either, their trying for any animal in the food chain. The USA is going crazy, how long before it implodes.

By zerocks on 11/19/2012 5:05:13 PM , Rating: 3
I actually heard someone Copyrighted their own genetically altered crops, after one year some of the seed from his own farm had been blown by the wind in to a neighbouring farm and he then proceeded to sue the other farmer for growing his copyrighted crops and he won.

By Uncle on 11/19/2012 5:09:15 PM , Rating: 5
That was a Monsanto case. They bankrupted the farmer while he was trying to fight them.

By BZDTemp on 11/19/2012 12:47:03 PM , Rating: 2
Agree - to me it just shows how much a cult Apple is. I mean what else can make Engineers go to work and supporting such lame moves. Apple needs to stop their evil ways.

Partly OT but the page turning thing got me thing about this. It should give most people here a better day:

By Motoman on 11/19/2012 12:50:31 PM , Rating: 4
Death to Apple.

Death to the Patent Office.

Death to the justice system that supports the Patent Office.


By augiem on 11/19/2012 1:07:27 PM , Rating: 2
Time for a class action against uspto.

Patent Law Fail
By DNAgent on 11/19/2012 11:36:27 AM , Rating: 2
To add insult to injury, Apple's patent does not cite Google's prior art.

First, we are not in a First-to-File system yet. Those provisions of the AIA do not kick in until late next year. The fact that Google filed first means nothing on its face.

Second, "prior art" encompasses written publications that are publicly available. Google's application filed six months prior to Apple's was not published and was in fact secret at the time Apple filed their application. Patent applications are published 18 months after filing.

The best (and seemingly quite valid) argument against this patent is that the invention was already in public use and available for purchase in the United States before invention by anyone at Apple.

RE: Patent Law Fail
By Cheesew1z69 on 11/19/2012 11:52:29 AM , Rating: 2
The "turn page" animation, has been around for thousands of years...

RE: Patent Law Fail
By DNAgent on 11/19/2012 12:23:36 PM , Rating: 2
No argument here. See the last part of my comment.

RE: Patent Law Fail
By Solandri on 11/19/2012 2:27:52 PM , Rating: 5
Here are two actual implementations of the page-turning animation which have been available online for a decade.

And here's a 16-year old IEEE conference paper which describes the same thing (it's behind a paywall, but the abstract describes it).

This patent doesn't stand a chance. It's just sad that millions of dollars are going to be wasted on lawyers to figure out what I just did in 5 minutes with Google.

RE: Patent Law Fail
By DNAgent on 11/19/2012 12:24:24 PM , Rating: 2
I was in no way arguing that prior art didn't exist...just that Google's patent application did not qualify as such.

RE: Patent Law Fail
By Theoz on 11/19/2012 1:41:50 PM , Rating: 3
Actually, you're wrong. I am usually the first person to point out Jason's numerous patent law failings, but he is at least right that Google's application appears to be prior art to Apple's. Whether under the "even the blind squirrel finds the occasional nut" principle or not, Google's application is indeed prior art to Apple's under 35 USC 102(e).

Under 102(e) an application that is filed before the filing of another application but publishes afterwards can still be prior art. Apple's design patent's earliest date of priority is May 5, 2011. Google's utility patent application claims priority from two applications filed prior: one on Oct 27, 2010 and a second on Feb. 28, 2011. Assuming one or both of these applications indeed disclose all limitations of Apple's design patent, then they would in fact be prior art to Apple's under 102(e).

RE: Patent Law Fail
By Theoz on 11/19/2012 1:44:12 PM , Rating: 2
I should clarify that I didn't look into the two Google priority applications (which may differ from what ended up in the published application. So although they would be prior art, they may not invalidate any of Apple's claims.

California filings.....
By GotThumbs on 11/19/2012 11:14:18 AM , Rating: 1
California just needs to go. Lets give it back to Mexico and be done with it.

RE: California filings.....
By FITCamaro on 11/19/2012 11:41:22 AM , Rating: 1
They can have the coastal cities as far as I'm concerned. I want the farm land for the US.

If I lived in eastern California, I'd start a petition to create a separate state. Anywhere east of the mountains has absolutely no representation in the state government. The whole state is ruled by the three major metro areas.

RE: California filings.....
By Florinator on 11/19/2012 12:31:36 PM , Rating: 2
You say it as if it were wrong, how else is democracy supposed to work then?

Prior art goes back to at least the mid 90s.
By GatoRat on 11/19/2012 11:17:57 AM , Rating: 2
There was infotainment software in 1994 which did exactly this, only with a mouse not touch (though nothing precluded it from using touch screens.) I wrote some infotainment software around the same time and deliberately didn't use this for the simple reason that I didn't like the effect and still don't; it looks like in demos, but quickly becomes irritating in practice.

By AssBall on 11/19/2012 6:48:55 PM , Rating: 2
There were some PC games that did exactly this, early 90's. it is hardly new. Hell there are flash games I have seen that do an animated page turn during the story.

By KFZ on 11/19/2012 11:20:51 AM , Rating: 2
Scrolling down to click on "Images", they cannot be displayed without Apple Quicktime plugin.

Pretty much highlights what Apple is trying to do to the world.

RE: Plugin
By Theoz on 11/19/2012 1:53:55 PM , Rating: 2
The USPTO requires a tif viewer, not Quicktime specifically. I suggest you use or freepatentsonline.

By andrewaggb on 11/19/2012 11:46:13 AM , Rating: 2
This is obvious. This isn't new or innovative, novel, anything. It's a straight up copy of a real world behavior observed by anyone who has ever read a book. I should patent walking animations in a digital form and sue every video game maker! They stole my @##$#@ idea. I don't care that people walk all the time, I PATENTED IT.

What happens if I video tape somebody reading a book and upload it? I have a digital copy of book with realistic page turning.

RE: grrrrrrr
By drycrust3 on 11/19/2012 2:40:05 PM , Rating: 2
What happens if I video tape somebody reading a book and upload it? I have a digital copy of book with realistic page turning.

As long as the actor isn't seen actually turning the pages, then you are fine.

By wwwcd on 11/19/2012 12:01:26 PM , Rating: 1
hApple will going out from business :D
Smart people, will stop spending our money for their sh!ts.

By hugo_stiglitz on 11/19/2012 12:09:43 PM , Rating: 2
10 years from now, the industry will look back on this dark time when a tech giant squandered its resources trying to conquer the market through the abuse of the patent system but ultimately failed.

By bupkus on 11/19/2012 3:10:27 PM , Rating: 2
Google should start developing an animation simulating the opening and closing of ancient scrolls made from parchment.

Prior Art
By carage on 11/19/2012 7:17:04 PM , Rating: 2
Here is prior art from 2002...

I really wish Apple and USPTO get benchslapped...

Sing it Robert Segar
By ProZach on 11/19/2012 7:23:21 PM , Rating: 2
Here I am,
In the court again.
There I am,
Up on the stand.
Here I go,
To visit my accountant.
D-bags owned
The digi-page.

How to stop this madness?
By darcotech on 11/21/2012 1:27:32 PM , Rating: 2
Simple question (I know answer isn't):

How to stop this madness? What citizens can do?
Here in Switzerland, you can gather something like 50'000-100'00 signatures and propose law change.
Cause in the end, we have to pay all this.

So what we can do? Kickstarter project? Anything?
Any lawyers in here that can answer?

By testerguy on 11/19/12, Rating: -1
RE: Staggering
By l0aded on 11/19/12, Rating: -1
RE: Staggering
By Cheesew1z69 on 11/19/2012 7:24:18 PM , Rating: 1
Right, because the Apple tools don't bash on Android just as much, if not more. Get a clue ya toolbag.

RE: Staggering
By l0aded on 11/20/2012 3:06:12 AM , Rating: 2
I never said Apple fans don't bash Android fans. I myself have only Android devices and no Apple products as I never supported Apple (never even owned an iPod). So get a clue?

I dont understand your logic. Apple files a patent and suddenly they're the devil while Google filed a patent earlier in the year and they are the saviors?
"Google Inc. (GOOG) is surely a little irked as it filed a highly similar patent request half a year earlier in May 2011 (Apple's patent was filed in Dec. 2011)"

Neither of these patents are likely to be used in litigation unless someone happens to make the EXACT same animation for turning the page. So before you call me a toolbag why don't you actually read my comment so you can realize I never said Apple fans don't do the same. My whole point is almost everyone posting in this article is doing exactly that against Apple. So before you go attacking everyone who says Apple isn't bad (in this case) why don't you grow up and learn to read.

RE: Staggering
By ritualm on 11/20/2012 5:04:29 PM , Rating: 2
Apple files a patent and suddenly they're the devil while Google filed a patent earlier in the year and they are the saviors?

Apple's patent filings are intentionally ambiguous enough that it can be interpreted by its lawyers to represent anything and everything. They see me flip this week's Wal-Mart Superstore flyers in a certain way and sue me because I was somehow infringing their "page turning" patent. Do you know how slippery a slope this is?

Google's patent filing over the same software "behavior" is specific. Apple's leaves lots of room open for interpretation. Guess who's going to use such a patent to sue others with? Apple. It's already happened with "swipe-to-unlock", what makes you think this won't be used by Apple in litigation?

Apple fanboys i.e. Tony Swash and testerguy, love to disregard reality and pretend everything is A(pple)-OKAY, talking with their heads buried under the sands of the Sahara Desert, fully convinced everyone else is an uneducated mental asylum resident. Then there are folks like you who buy into their twisted logic hook-line-and-sinker.

There is so much prior art over the "page turning" software behavior, it's not funny at all. Yet spazs like you prefer to ignore the sad fact that already exists all around you and tell us what you should have been doing in the first place:
why don't you grow up learn to read.

Until you do that, don't come back with an asinine slander over your imaginary intellectual superiority over others, because - let's face it - you cannot handle the truth!

RE: Staggering
By freeman70 on 11/19/2012 7:32:23 PM , Rating: 1
I understand your reasoning. However, my take on this is a simple question. Why should Apple, or any company for that matter, have to file applications for such a common feature in many current and earlier devices? People are upset about the waste and corruption inherent in the system. Patent litigation and trolling, from the common perspective of most people, just seems like a money grab. There are legitimate cases that call for litigation but many are just ridiculous. Before, companies used market share to stifle competition. Now, they just use the law as a method to deny the competition. Especially if their competitors are rapidly eroding their lead in market share.

RE: Staggering
By themaster08 on 11/20/2012 2:23:22 AM , Rating: 2
You're the one that's ignorant. There is prior art for their so-called patent:

This patent which Apple has been granted is HIGHLY specific, right down to the constant angle that the page stays at while you are turning it
As does this:

Stop defending this ridiculous company.

RE: Staggering
By l0aded on 11/20/12, Rating: -1
RE: Staggering
By spaced_ on 11/20/2012 9:01:04 PM , Rating: 1
I understand your and testerguy's reasoning/counter-argument. Albeit in the case of testerguy, rather poorly constructed.

But don't forget law is up to individual's interpretation, particularly when you look at say, a recent verdict handed down by a jury who completely disregarded prior art entirely because the jury foreman said it couldn't be, because it wasn't part of the microprocessor (or some ridiculous reasoning along those lines).

The fact is this gives Apple some form of leverage now that it's been approved, if their lawyers are clever enough it could certainly be argued in certain ways in a court, to attempt to win a case against someone (except perhaps in a UK court). There's certainly countless precedents in law all over the world where ludicrous verdicts are handed down, in patent, or other litigation.

It seems silly that this or any other page-turning patent will actually be used as there's so much prior art and so many different companies lodging patents for practically the same thing from the surface of it, but you never know.

I agree many of the comments bagging out Apple are poorly constructed and uncalled for, but then again, so are many of the ones defending them as well. What are you going to do? Personally, I move on. But it's nice to read the odd comment from someone with a bit of experience. Generalising everyone who posts is unwise.

RE: Staggering
By ritualm on 11/21/2012 3:11:54 PM , Rating: 2
everyone who posts in support of Apple is unwise.


"If you look at the last five years, if you look at what major innovations have occurred in computing technology, every single one of them came from AMD. Not a single innovation came from Intel." -- AMD CEO Hector Ruiz in 2007

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