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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 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.


“Then they pop up and say ‘Hello, surprise! Give us your money or we will shut you down!' Screw them. Seriously, screw them. You can quote me on that.” -- Newegg Chief Legal Officer Lee Cheng referencing patent trolls














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