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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: Amazon.com, 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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RE: WTF
By JasonMick (blog) on 11/19/2012 11:58:56 AM , Rating: 4
quote:
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.


RE: WTF
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.


RE: WTF
By Shadowself on 11/19/2012 3:02:21 PM , Rating: 3
quote:
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).


RE: WTF
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.


"What would I do? I'd shut it down and give the money back to the shareholders." -- Michael Dell, after being asked what to do with Apple Computer in 1997














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