Apple Gets Design Patent On... Page Turning

from the turn-the-page-on-the-patent-system dept

Nick Bilton, over at the NY Times has highlighted how Apple has been granted a design patent on the electronic representation of turning a page. Bilton leaves out that this is a design patent, which is much more limited. It's more akin to a trademark than a traditional patent -- but... still... The patent in question, D670,713 really does seem to cover exactly what it says in the title: "Display screen or portion thereof with animated graphical user interface."
The patent comes with three illustrations to explain how the page-turn algorithm works. In Figure 1, the corner of a page can be seen folding over. In Figure 2, the page is turned a little more. I’ll let you guess what Figure 3 shows.
While design patents are a slightly different than other patents, it really is patents like this that get the public to respect the patent system less and less.


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(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
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    MrWilson, Nov 16th, 2012 @ 5:41pm

    Is prior art not also applicable to design patents? I've seen video games and flash applications do this for over a decade. There's probably some prior art from the 80's even.

     

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    Wally (profile), Nov 16th, 2012 @ 5:43pm

    Not so sure...

    Thing is though, Apple does a lot of work studying ergonomics and a lot of effort goes into simulating the effect of turning a page manually. There's a certain amount of uniqe physics equations to program into this. Im sure somone can get around the patent by using a difderent formula and set of code. I've seen how a kindle does it and it just doesn't look right. Honestly, from what I've sampled, iBooks looks, and inspite of sliding the screen, feels more natural.

    This patent can be circumvented simply by using a different code to simulate the same cinditions and instances of the animation.

     

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  3.  
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    Gwiz (profile), Nov 16th, 2012 @ 5:49pm

    Re:

    Yeah. I was thinking the exact same thing. Pretty much every RPG game since the mid 90's has something like this.

    Heck, the illustrations look a lot like Microsoft's animated "file copy" icons to me.

     

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  4.  
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    teka (profile), Nov 16th, 2012 @ 5:53pm

    Re: Not so sure...

    They don't seem to be protecting any code (which should be copyright instead of patent anyhow) just the Idea. So any animated flipping page function could arguably be "infringing" if you threw enough lawyers at it. Like rounded corners.. just, being rounded.

     

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  5.  
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    milrtime83 (profile), Nov 16th, 2012 @ 6:06pm

    Looks like they're taking the IBM approach from the 80's? of seeing who can get the most ridiculous patent approved.

     

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  6.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 16th, 2012 @ 6:10pm

    Re: Re: Not so sure...

    Yeah, except that Apple could (and did) argue that rounded corners were 'novel' and 'nonobvious'; both of these are requirements for design patents, as well as for utility patents. I'm not sure they can argue that a skeuomorphism is either of these things.

    With patents (including design patents) now being first-to-file, I'm not sure that prior art can be used as a defense directly. Hopefully, someone can argue that dozens of other people inventing it first is a major sign of non-novelty.

     

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  7.  
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    anon, Nov 16th, 2012 @ 6:20pm

    Prior Art

    Unbelievable that they actually have the ordacity to do this. If this is not a perfect example of prior art I do not know what is, whoever approved this patent or whatever you want to call it needs some training oh how to do there job, and hopefully the first time Apple tries to sue using this either in negotiations or in a court, they need to pay compensation to those they are suing for a waste of there time and the wasting of the patent offices time and the wasting of paper and computer code to store it anywhere.
    Let them be banned from submitting any patents for 5 years or even longer until they learn that stupidity is not an excuse and they must learn what is honest and what is blatant disregard for others actually innovating.

     

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  8.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 16th, 2012 @ 6:22pm

    Re: Not so sure...

    In "design" patents how it is implemented is of no consequence how it looks and feels does, nobody can get around that.

     

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  9.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 16th, 2012 @ 6:27pm

    Re: Prior Art

    I don't believe there are prior art claims possible in design patents, but people could claim it is obvious and should not have been granted in the first place.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Design_patent
    http://www.uspto.gov/patents/resources/types/ designapp.jsp

     

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  10.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 16th, 2012 @ 6:29pm

    Re: Not so sure...

    Quote:
    A design patent protects only the appearance of the article and not structural or utilitarian features

    Source: http://www.uspto.gov/patents/resources/types/designapp.jsp#def

     

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  11.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 16th, 2012 @ 6:31pm

    Re: Not so sure...

    " There's a certain amount of uniqe physics equations to program into this."

    Your statement would be more correct if you said mathematics rather than physics.

     

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  12.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 16th, 2012 @ 7:00pm

    there are plenty of Flash-based websites and games which simulate the 'page turning' effect.

    Also some console and PC games use this effect too.

    How did Apple receive a patent like this? Lets give them 'Turn to open' and 'push to start' and 'tap to type' patents while we're at it...

     

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  13.  
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    Wally, Nov 16th, 2012 @ 7:23pm

    Re: Re: Not so sure...

    All electronically made animations require a code to function. The illustration is a part of how the code works on the screen.

     

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  14.  
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    Anonymous, Nov 16th, 2012 @ 7:24pm

    Simulated page turning is one of the stupidest ideas ever

    Why would I want to turn pages on something that doesn't have fucking pages?

    This kind of stupid force-fitting UI idioms from the real world to electronics, where it makes absolutely no sense, does nothing but piss me off.

    Books are not good UI, they are simply a solution to a problem, using the materials and technology available at their time.

     

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  15.  
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    Wally (profile), Nov 16th, 2012 @ 7:27pm

    Re:

    All those animations are made uniquely in some way. With this one in particular, you control where the edge of the page is and you can do it from the corners. It feels and looks organic. Most other effects don't do that.

     

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  16.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 16th, 2012 @ 7:45pm

    Re: Simulated page turning is one of the stupidest ideas ever

    Thank you for cutting thru the BULLSHIT! Case in point - Wally's comment just below.

     

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  17.  
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    Divide by Zero (profile), Nov 16th, 2012 @ 7:58pm

    What the shit is going on in that office? Aside from a lot of apple cock munching, that is.

     

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  18.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 16th, 2012 @ 8:01pm

    Re: Re: Simulated page turning is one of the stupidest ideas ever

    Nah, Wally's got a point. I've certainly seen nice implementations of this. It's a much more technical setup to let you grab corner of the "page" and drag it in virtually any angle, and the page bends appropriately. You're right though, we certainly don't need "pages" or animations--they are entirely useless window-dressing, BUT I'm sad to say I know people who are wowed by that, and would probably lean toward a purchasing a product that turns pages that way, everything else being equal.

    Now I'm gonna go wash up--I feel dirty defending Apple.

     

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  19.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 16th, 2012 @ 8:32pm

    derp

    This is a patent on their specific page turn design. It doesn't mean they have a patent on all page turns. Apple has to patent everything, or else they will get taken to court by someone else who does, because they are successful and have a lot of money.

     

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  20.  
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    lolzzzzz, Nov 16th, 2012 @ 9:01pm

    lololol

    i can't help but laugh at how sad the usa is ...no really you call this innovative?
    YOU call this original thought that someone really had to sit and think hard at?

    Not that there isnt tons a prior art to boot, but this is exactly why in the copyright post about republicans i said your nation is just screwed....its why apple is doomed cause this is all they can come up with cause someone had not actually filed this as a patent when prior examples already existed is the sorry state of your nation.

    YOUR BROKE and your looking real swift USA.....

     

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  21.  
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    lolzzzzz, Nov 16th, 2012 @ 9:02pm

    new patent

    rounded buttons ( we call em circles )
    pay me now

     

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  22.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 16th, 2012 @ 9:33pm

    Hah. I'm going to patent pooping tomorrow. You will all pay.

     

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  23.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 16th, 2012 @ 10:31pm

    Re: Re: Re: Simulated page turning is one of the stupidest ideas ever

    It doesn't really matter since design patents are just for the look and feel not the utilitarian aspect of anything.

    If it looks like it than it can be considered to be substantially similar.

    This patent should have never ever been awarded it doesn't matter how the code underneath is or how it operates, design patents don't protect utility, it protects appearance.

    Anything that has a page turning now is infringing Apple's patent, that is ridiculous.

     

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  24.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 16th, 2012 @ 10:40pm

    Re: derp

    A design patent is more broad than a patent, a patent is about one implementation a design patent is anything that looks and feels "substantially similar" so you are probably wrong on your statement.

     

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  25.  
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    Grady, Nov 16th, 2012 @ 11:52pm

    Re: Not so sure...

    Normally, I'd say I might agree with you.

    The thing is, is Google Play using a simulating page turn. I've been using it the past say, two months. (I'd have been using it longer, but I was previously using Aldiko, which, by-the-way, also has an animation).

    In fact, a quick Google search results in an article (linked below) from July 2007 about page-turning effects.

    Apple, once again, has patented something that has already been done, and will probably sue someone for it...


    http://bookclubs.barnesandnoble.com/t5/NOOK-Color-General-Discussion/Your-Opinions-of-Pag e-Turning-Effects/td-p/1102550

     

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  26.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 17th, 2012 @ 12:42am

    Re: Re: Re: Not so sure...

    You missed the other AC's point.

    The exact implementation Apple decide to use will be covered by copyright, that is no-one can write the same characters in the same sequence without infringing. This is how it should be with code.

    To allow them to own the idea of turning a page (on a tablet/smartphone/the Internet)is absurd, prior art exists, it's pretty obvious and it's not novel. It only serves as a patent they can use to litigate against their competitors.

     

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  27.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 17th, 2012 @ 1:10am

    Re: Re:

    Again Wally I think your name is very apt.

    How on earth can you defend apple patenting an animation of something people have been doing for centuries, and that software has been doing for decades.

     

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  28.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 17th, 2012 @ 1:13am

    Re: derp

    Logic is backwards.

    'Apple has to patent everything because then they can take someone else to court'

    FTFY

     

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  29.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 17th, 2012 @ 1:17am

    Re: Not so sure...

    This is the most useless comment!

     

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  30.  
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    Brad Hubbard (profile), Nov 17th, 2012 @ 1:39am

    Re: Re:

    I hope you'll actually take a moment to play with this little Flash video. You will have to flip past the simulated hard cover, but I encourage you to soldier on!

    http://www.flashkit.com/movies/launcher.php?url=/imagesvr_ce/flashkit/movies/3D/Pseudo/Realis ti-Triqui-10710/Realisti-Triqui-10710.swf&width=1058&height=794&bg=ffffff

    It comes from all the way back in 2005 (though there are many before it). It shows the EXACT method of page turn calculations that Apple is describing. Not something similar, not a pre-recorded visual trick, exactly the same. The fairly basic trigonometry of simulating a page turn by bisecting a triangle and drawing a shader over half of it should not be protected, and if Apple tries to assert this patent anywhere, you can bet I'll be sending this tutorial along with the full source code over to the defending legal team.

     

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  31.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 17th, 2012 @ 1:55am

    Re:

    The Nook application on Android does this by default whenever you swipe your finger to turn a page. And has since it was originally released.

     

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  32.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 17th, 2012 @ 4:19am

    Cunning plan

    Its all part of a cunning plan to get revenge on all those people who copied the idea of a graphic user interface. They can't patent the GUI as they stole it from Xerox PARC, but so they are using design patents to patent it bit by bit.

     

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  33.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 17th, 2012 @ 5:17am

    and Apple wonder why everyone is so totally pissed off at it's attitude?

     

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  34.  
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    Wally (profile), Nov 17th, 2012 @ 5:26am

    Re: Re: Not so sure...

    Your comment is even more unrelentingly useless.

     

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  35.  
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    Wally (profile), Nov 17th, 2012 @ 5:28am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Does the flash version include the page staying where your finger is in a touch screen?

     

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  36.  
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    gorehound (profile), Nov 17th, 2012 @ 5:28am

    Here I am just wanting to be able to put a Patent on Urination or Defecation.

     

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  37.  
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    Wally (profile), Nov 17th, 2012 @ 5:32am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Simulated page turning is one of the stupidest ideas ever

    "It doesn't really matter since design patents are just for the look and feel not the utilitarian aspect of anything."

    Yet you forget that said look and feel has to be programmed uniquely, and that when you patent a code or product, you must have a diagram showing what it does or is programmed to do...in other words, a schematic is required to be on file with the patent.

     

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  38.  
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    Wally (profile), Nov 17th, 2012 @ 5:37am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Simulated page turning is one of the stupidest ideas ever

    "Anything that has a page turning now is infringing Apple's patent, that is ridiculous."


    All they have to do in court is rebuttal that the code they used was different. Samsung should have done this, but I'm sure other companies will be smarter than that.

     

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  39.  
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    Wally (profile), Nov 17th, 2012 @ 5:42am

    Re: Cunning plan

    Xerox PARC was different. The GUI didn't limit the mouse cursor to the side of the screen. Steve Jobs created the code that put in the perimeter of limitations on the mouse cursor, which is what Microsoft had copied.

    That was at a time when very few people knew what goes into "Look and Feel" and Xerox took advantage of that.

     

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  40.  
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    btrussell (profile), Nov 17th, 2012 @ 7:40am

    Re:

    I'm doing jerk-offs. On the net!

    Think of the money I can extort from Mike every time OOTB or AJ post.

     

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  41.  
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    That One Guy (profile), Nov 17th, 2012 @ 8:11am

    A fun way to test if they are even reading the applications:

    Submit the following 'patent':

    One page of complete and utter meaningless management style gibberish, and then on the second page the fun comes up...

    '...and by signing off on this application the patent examiner hereby gives blanket permission for anyone at all to show up at their work and beat them with a foam swimming noodle until the stupid stops coming out...'

    Follow that up with another page of meaningless gibberish, just to pad it out, wait for them to pass it off as an acceptable patent and then the fun begins.

     

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  42.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 17th, 2012 @ 8:42am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Simulated page turning is one of the stupidest ideas ever

    "All they have to do in court is rebuttal "

    Yeah, just waste millions on lawyers - that will increase your bottom line immensely.

     

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  43.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 17th, 2012 @ 8:46am

    Re: Re: Cunning plan

    What is a perimeter of limitation?

     

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  44.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 17th, 2012 @ 9:28am

    Re: Re: Re: Simulated page turning is one of the stupidest ideas ever

    No he doesn't, and you are wrong because there is no such thing as a nice implementation of simulated page turning. The concept is fundamentally misguided.

     

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  45.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 17th, 2012 @ 9:51am

    Re: Re: Re: Cunning plan

    It sounds suspiciously like the 'edge of the screen'

     

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  46.  
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    Quilll, Nov 17th, 2012 @ 10:06am

    Apple Patents Page Turning

    Truly the Evil Empire strikes again after having turned the page on yet another unecessary patent

     

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  47.  
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    Brad, Nov 17th, 2012 @ 10:41am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Yes, it does. It turns as you grab a page corner, tracking the fold deformation.

    Try it on your computer if your tablet can't run flash.

     

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  48.  
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    Baxter, Nov 17th, 2012 @ 10:47am

    How about this patent on rectangles?

    If you "liked" this page-turning patent, I can recommend a peek at their newly granted design patent for a "portable display device", USD670286.

    At first glance, it just looks like a patent for their iPad design. But read the last line of the description: "The broken lines in the Figures show portions of the portable display device which form no part of the claimed design."

    This means all the broken lines are irrelevant to the patented design. It is only the solid lines that are patented.

    Now look again at the figures. Nearly all lines in them are broken. Only a single line is solid: The outline. The solid line, describing what the patent protects, forms a plain geometric rectangle with rounded corners. It is completely devoid of any iPad-specific design features, or any features at all.

    It is, truly, a patent on rectangles with rounded corners.

     

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  49.  
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    Baxter, Nov 17th, 2012 @ 10:52am

    Re: How about this patent on rectangles?

    I forgot to include an URL to the patent: http://www.google.com/patents/USD670286

     

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  50.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 17th, 2012 @ 4:12pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Cunning plan

    Looks suspiciously like a typo

     

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  51.  
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    Shmerl, Nov 17th, 2012 @ 4:16pm

    Well, I'm not surprised, after they claimed to invent circles and rectangles.

     

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  52.  
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    Renegade, Nov 17th, 2012 @ 4:32pm

    Re: How about this patent on rectangles?

    Figure 4 is ONLY broken lines. Nicely done.

     

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  53.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 17th, 2012 @ 7:42pm

    Wow. That's stupid. You can patent page turning? Welp, time to go to the patent office and get a patent for breathing.

     

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  54.  
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    Prior Artist, Nov 18th, 2012 @ 1:29am

    When I first heard of this elsewhere, before looking at this design patent at all, I had a guess: it would consist of pulling at the bottom-right corner of a page and dragging it to the left.

    Surprise, surprise, that's exactly what it shows. I can see exactly why they'd want to protect the hard work of their designers from being copied by people who can guess the exact form their "design" will take without having ever seen the patent or any design using it.

     

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  55.  
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    Not an Electronic Rodent (profile), Nov 18th, 2012 @ 2:26am

    Re:

    You'd think wouldn't you? IIRC correctly the online version of Computer Weekly and other magazines that used the same engine did this and actually followed the click and drag of the mouse with the page turn. That was back way before the first iPhone so how doesn't that count as prior art.

     

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  56.  
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    btrussell (profile), Nov 18th, 2012 @ 4:08am

    Re: Not so sure...

    I think Eddie Haskell would be more appropriate than Wally.

     

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  57.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 18th, 2012 @ 7:19am

    Well you know apple. The smallest big government on earth.

     

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  58.  
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    The Groove Tiger (profile), Nov 18th, 2012 @ 4:38pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Cunning plan

    Makes sense, you wouldn't want people to get their eyes poked out by runaway mouse cursors.

     

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  59.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 18th, 2012 @ 6:19pm

    Re: Not so sure...

    ... so what you're claiming is that this should be covered by copyright, not a patent... what you describe "can be circumvented simply by using a different code" is copyright.

    This is a Design Patent... a look and feel thing, if you make something yourself that looks the same you could potentially get sued, more importantly what you describe "Apple does a lot of work studying ergonomics and a lot of effort goes into simulating the effect of turning a page manually" is the worst kind of patent: the "Just like that... but on [insert technology here, eg 'a Tablet']".

    This is the sort of Patent that should never be allowed, entirely software (and therefore code covered by coyright), emulating something that already exists. There is nothing new here, it is just another useless patent Apple will hope to use to prevent competition.

     

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  60.  
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    Tim Griffiths (profile), Nov 19th, 2012 @ 1:49am

    Re:

    There is an open source flash project that I used for a number of things over the years that looks very very much like this.

     

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  61.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 19th, 2012 @ 5:15am

    Re: Re: Not so sure...

    Shh. Wally defends Apple vehemently. Your logic is not going to displace his notion that Apple is in the right in being granted this patent. After all, all any other companies need to do is show they can do the same thing using different code and do so in court when sued by Apple. Am I right, Wally?

     

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  62.  
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    Gregg, Nov 19th, 2012 @ 5:23am

    ??

    Stoopid Patent Office

     

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  63.  
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    Michael, Nov 19th, 2012 @ 5:45am

    Prior Art / Obvious

    If the patent application is multiple pages, shouldn't the examiner notice that he is actually doing what the patent covers just reading the application?

     

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  64.  
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    DesDizzy, Nov 19th, 2012 @ 7:25am

    Patents

    I know that the bloggers on this site are supposed to be intelligent, but has anyone considered that Apple is making these patent applications partly in order to protect itself from other firms making stupid patent applications and suing Apple?

     

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  65.  
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    That One Guy (profile), Nov 19th, 2012 @ 9:47am

    Re: Patents

    Which would still do nothing but highlight how insanely broken the patent system has become... which is the whole point here. The fact that it's Apple taking advantage of the broken system is really inconsequential in relation to the real problem.

     

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  66.  
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    Tex Arcana (profile), Nov 22nd, 2012 @ 4:40pm

    "This just in: Apple patents actual turning of pages for all media. Lawsuits to follow."

     

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  67.  
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    Kevin (profile), Dec 13th, 2012 @ 10:44pm

    Patent leather brain

    I want to patent the word patent. Then I can sue everyone who sues over patents.
    Apple, on the fast track of being the world's most hated company.
    "You may fool some of the people all the time etc"

     

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  68.  
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    Tex Arcana (profile), Dec 14th, 2012 @ 6:08pm

    Re: Patent leather brain

    Dear Kevin:

    Please cease and desist the use of the phrase, "You may fool some of the people all of the time...", as it is part of a phrase we have patented. Continued use of said phrase, along with iLetters and iPageTurn will lead to legal action.

    Thank you for your cooperation.

    Sincerely,

    Dead Steve Jobs

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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