The US Patent and Trademark Office has rejected Apple's pinch-to-zoom patent because prior patents covered the invention. Samsung filed the USPTO's preliminary ruling against Apple in court on Wednesday in the US as part of its attempts to get a new trial, rather than letting Apple's $1bn win stand. The pinch-to-zoom patent is …
Except in this particular billion-dollar case, where they were indeed instructed so.
And several other cases with the same jury instructions.
There have been an awful lot of cases where the jury were given the instruction "Assume the patent is valid, this case is not deciding on the validity or otherwise of the patent itself, merely whether or not X infringes upon it."
"Bollocks, Samsung rtipped off the iPhone 4s , which is why the s3 differs so much"
Which phone did Samsung rip off the 4S with? The Samsung S2 was released 6 months before the 4S! Looks like the "ripped off" came the other way round...
(Unless you're talking about a phone that was neither the S2 nor S3, but I'm not sure which one?)
"but it takes style to make it sell, thats why they are always following apple , never leading !"
Flagship iphone 5 features are 4" screen (Samsung Galaxy S, 2.5 years ago) and maps (with Android for years, presumably since the beginning). Who's following who?
Given their Android phones alone outsell Apple two to one, not to mention all their other phones which make them the world's number one phone manufacturer, I think it's clear they know what makes things sell.
... and my new Audi has 20" rims. So fucking what? I am sure some manufacturer had them before Audi. No one cares.
Changing the size of any single component constitutes nothing other than changing the size. Some punters will prefer "bigger", while some will prefer "smaller". Only rabid fanboys (especially the android mob for whom Android phones' superior screen size seems to be an endlessly recurring meme) think screen size matters and/or that being first with a size bigger than an iPhone 2G is some sort of badge of honour.
FFS, grow up!
Have you seen how big a Q7 is?
And yes, it gets used for towing - a lot.
btw. 20" rims are not such a great idea, they came with the wagon, so I downgraded to have more rubber and more comfort for the long road trips.
The point, however, is that (a) bigger is not always better, and (b) bigger does not constitute "new" or "innovative" unless you are a fandroid with a small dick
"Bollocks, Samsung rtipped off the iPhone 4s"
Nice fking MASSIVE fantasy land you're living in! Where the fairies and pixies designed the iPhone and was kissed by god before fate bring one to you.
Shame iPhone died last decade. Those Apple sleeping pills work really well. Their customer base seems to be in a state of delusion.
My Samsung Galaxy Note II is a dramatic advance over anything else out there. It may not be for everyone, but it suits me, and it clearly demonstrates that anyone claiming something as stupid as LPF does (i.e. that Samsung is "never leading") is factually and obviously wrong on their face.
There is no question that any modern cell phone (including Apple's) build on the huge body of work that has gone before, but pretending that Apple *doesn't* copy other products is just myopic.
The only valid question is whether Samsung or Apple or anyone else copy too closely, and the answer has to be based on whether an informed consumer would confuse one for the other. Obviously, in case of any Apple phone or tablet vs any Samsung phone or tablet, the answer is no.
"Can we please stop deliberately making it look like patents and trademarks are the same thing? (Looking at the sub-head there.)"
I agree, but technically it's "utility patents" and "design patents" (which IMHO should be renamed "design patterns" or "Industrial design rights").
Time for Plan C.
Plan A - Copy, then rest on laurels having fleeced the lower IQ segment of the market
Plan B - Sue anyone who, err, you can pay American courts enough to run with your ludicruous "they copied us" claims (extending Plan A)
Plan C - Genuine innovation
In other words they are toast :-)
"Plan C - Genuine innovation. In other words they are toast :-)"
Not really. At this point Android and Samsung are several years ahead of Apple, so there's plenty stuff Apple can copy, call magical and patent as their own ideas.
Although they are starting to suck at copying, too. All the iphone 5 got was the bigger screen from about 3 years ago, the panorama photo from last year and a second microphone for noise cancelling from at least 10 years back.
Apple has been copied in every category they have ever entered. Computers, music players, smartphone and tablets. They may not have invented these categories but they do know how to make a great product. It's in their DNA. The haters have always tried to belittle their effort. When all you do is copy the majority of a product it's easy to come up with some good features to add to it. Why waste time on actual R&D right?
Observer1959... you missed the undeniable fact that Apple has COPIED every category they have ever entered, too.
By the way, check out how little Apple pay for R&D compared to other top flight technology companies. It's shocking.
What you've evidently not grasped is that Apple's skill is not in *technical* innovation, but in *marketing* innovation. They can, and regularly do, sell people on the idea that less is more...
Prior Art does not equal Previously patented.
It just means it already existed, patented or not... someone else created it before and has made it publicly available/Viewable.
You cannot be granted exclusive rights to something someone else has already done and showed to the public.
That is the basis for Prior Art.
IMO every single computer "design" patent should have been refused, or should be cancelled simply because there are literally hundreds of prior art example from just about every science fiction book or television show since the 50's...
Q: Why are there no banjos in Star Trek?
A: Because Star Trek is set in the future.
Now, before you lose the point, I will explain. Someone having an idea and representing it using a prop made up by the back room boys at Universal does not constitute "prior art". It represents someone's fantasy. It is not patentable.
"Someone having an idea and representing it using a prop made up by the back room boys at Universal does not constitute "prior art". It represents someone's fantasy. It is not patentable."
Actually, not so.
Back in the '50s, NASA applied for a patent on the communications satelite - they were turned down because Arthur C Clarke had written a piece of speculative fiction which described in great detail how commsats would work - while there was a great deal he got wrong (his satellites were manned, and went through vacuum tubes at a prodigious rate), the basic working principles were exactly as he stated.
Itr is also common practice to apply for a patent as soon as the designers finish drawing up schematics, if not before - many products have patents applied for long before they exist in a physical form.
Screen props do not constitute a patentable item. Nor do fairy tales of magic wands. For starters they don't work in any real sense. The Star Trek transporter is not patentable. You need to actually describe how it would be constructed. Someone has patented a time machine IIRC and described in quite scientific detail how it would be constructed. It is "physically impossible" at this point in history to do it though.
A prop is definitely prior art for a design patent - which is what several of the patent battles between apple and ANO have been about.
A prop can be prior art for a utility patent if it is shown to embrace new innovative functionality. So for example the tablets shown in the film 2001 were shown being unlocked by a finger sliding across part of the screen this would be sufficient for this demonstration to be considered prior art with respect to Apple's "slide-to-unlock" patent. Remember the need for an inventor to have a demonstrable prototype at time of filing is long past, there are utility patents (and some have been filed by Apple) that are for idea's that whilst convincing cannot actually be realised with today's technology...
the groklaw article mentions
U.S. Patent No. 7,724,242 to Hillis et al. (“Hillis”),
International Pub. No. WO 03/081458 to Lira (“Lira”),
U.S. Patent No. 6,757,673 to Makus et al. (“Makus”),
Japanese Pub. No. 2000-163031A to Nomura et al. (English translation) (“Nomura”),
Dean Harris Rubine, “The Automatic Recognition of Gestures,” CMU-CS-91-202, December 1991 (“Rubine”).
One of the two US patents is circa 2005, I havent bothered looking up te others
Don't be unfair. Apple surely did a good job presenting their 'invention' in the best possible light and the poor USPTO case officer had to get those 20 applications off the desk before the weekend.
Now Samsung comes with a well-researched brief detailing prior art. Enough reason to review the patent with some extra care. There is nothing extraordinary about this patent being thrown out upon review.
It's not possible to thoroughly review almost 2000 patents every day (go here for the statistics). Especially if most of those claim some innovative software function that may or may not have existed in an obscure media player some 10 years ago.
The system is broken and it's not the fault of the USPTO. It's the law.
While that's true, it's also the case that many of those 2000 a day are trivially obvious to someone "skilled in the art", and even more have prior art that could be found with a single Google search.
That said, there are a lot of extremely disingenuous patent applications that deliberately mislead the casual reader as to the purpose and scope.
Perhaps severe legal consequences are needed to reduce that - including devastatingly punitive damages for patent trolls taking companies to court with invalid patents that should never have been issued. Perhaps as far as "Now hand over everything you own. Yes, that includes the shirt from the CEO's back and the lawyer's internal organs."
Ars Technica is also covering it:
If indeed it is the case that "pinch to zoom", "tap to zoom" are looking dodgy and given that "the patent office ruled in October that the '381 patent ("rubber banding" or "bounce back" feature) should never have issued." then it does look as if Cupertino's attempts to plant "anti-competitor mines" over the whole of the mobile device market is beginning to come apart at the seams. It now looks certain that their attempts to lock Samsung out of the US market are doomed to failure and it is now increasingly likely that their entire approach is, at last, coming under scrutiny by the American authorities. If these key patents are invalidated then Cupertino are going to have to think again. A modest suggestion from yours truly, concentrate on what you have been good at - making kit that your very loyal customers clearly like very much. I personally do not own one single piece of Apple hardware but I doubt that that keeps them awake at nights. However, I know that an awful lot of folks do like what Apple produce - they should concentrate on doing just that.
It would be such delicious karma if one of those anti-competitor mines were to sink the rotten ship Apple.
I would not shed a tear if Apple went down like the Titanic.
Another company that can join Apple at the bottom of the ocean - Sony.
Send both to the bottom of the Marianas Trench.
How about instead of confirming or denying that the 'pinch zoom' patent is valid via prior art, they actually make a judgement based on the fact that this and the plethora of clearly obvious ideas that Apple (and other companies) are registering cannot be valid because of either they are so obvious or downright simple.
Using the concept of basic human behaviour i.e. gestures cannot and should be part of any patent. For example, just recently Apple have submitted a patent for the animated turning of a page.. FFS! This is cleary just a generic software function tied of a physical function of a device. It must stop.
Lets hope this and other similar stupid patents are binned soon.
Well, it seems a little obvious to me. In the physical world, you can make something bigger by stretching it, or smaller by compressing it - like the design on a balloon. The pinch gesture is an obvious analogue for a touch screen. I realise that double-tapping can also work, but it doesn't make the pinch gesture any less obvious.
* Disclaimer: I clearly know feck-all about patenting things. ;)
I used to have a piece of software as a kid called "creative writer" it was like an office suite aimed at kids.
Anyway, they had an image tool on there, when you stretched an image a pair of hands grabbed it from either side and pulled it apart. When you shrank it, the icon turned into a finger pinch and squeezed it together.
I do wonder how silly you lot can be. Being "obvious", whatever that means (to whom, in what context) is clearly not the reason. It has to be the technology to implement and use it. Almost every invention is "obvious" after the fact. I mean, was the ballpoint pen so clever? Just a tube dribbling coloured fluid onto paper, not new, obvious.
If all these things were so obvious, show me your implementation and explain how well it sold and how convincing and reliable was your design. Is there any invention that is not obvious? All "new" ideas tend to be based on previous ideas and work, even Einstein's or Newton's or Stevenson's.
> It has to be the technology to implement and use it.
And here's exactly where the argument falls over - Apple haven't patented the technology to implement it, they've patented the action itself.
I'd have very few qualms about patenting an implementation. I am extrememly distressed at patenting an obvious operation like this.
Richard. Edge zoom is used on the stock Jelly Bean web browser and email app of the Galaxy S3 T999UVDLJA rom. I can't speak for other apps or roms. Gmail v4.2.1 also uses edge zoom.
Rather than pinch to zoom, the leftmost and rightmost pixels of the screen are used to zoom rather than scroll.
Perhaps Apple will get a bad cold and Samsung will come round with flowers to make it feel better then at the end Apple will find out that SK152 with whom it's been corresponding is actually Samsung after all and it isn't really an evil corporation that tried to destroy its little pseudo-intellectual hipster book shop by selling millions of mass-produced, cheaper and more popular alternatives.
The patent is about how to detect when the user wants to scroll or perform some other action, not pinch to zoom, so people who think they are pointing at prior art aren't understanding what they are trying to prove.
It's not invalidated yet either. Apple have 60 days to defend their claims and/or change the wording.
There are 20 claims in the patent, in the US court case Samsung were found to have infringed only one of those claims (claim 8), so even if all other 19 claims were invalidated provided that one stands then Samsung are still on the hook.
El Reg does love to over-simplify this stuff.
You seem to have missed the bit about them NOT ACTUALLY BEING INVALID YET. The USPTO has provisionally ruled them invalid, but that is subject to appeal and Apple have 60 days to provide counter argument or changes in the wording. If they can defend that single claim then Samsung's case is screwed. Even if they can't the damages award puts a specific value against that patent and all the judge has to do is knock it off the total, no retrial required.
Unfortunately, anyone who has paid even the slightest attention to this case (which evidently excludes Mr. Steve Todd) knows that the damage award doesn't break out amounts by phone model and/or patent.
So, Steve Todd, precisely how would you, in your wisdom, knock off some unspecified amount?
Point, meet Steve, Steve, meet the point.
However, unlike Toothpick, Groklaw provides sources, and it turns out that if one has a modicum of sense and/or clue, one follows the linked source, and discovers that, oh yes, the USPTO says all 21 claims are invalidated.
What's really fun is that the USPTO has invalidated Claim 8 using several separate examples of prior art...
Isn't it "un-pinch to zoom"? Pinching causes an anti-zoom (where you see more, not less).
Of course, people will attempt to patent a wheel so something.
By the way, does anyone know what patent (US) #1 was?
The fault also lies with the patent office, which seems to think that "prior art" is only things that are patented. They need to broaden their horizons and maybe do web searches to find ALL the prior art. Maybe after the end of the world they will get modernized with these new fangled things called computers!
Actually no, "zoom" is ambi-viewable, you can zoom IN, or you can zoom OUT, but in either case it is a zoom. So to pinch is to zoom IN, to open (or spreadem in law enforcement parlance) is to zoom OUT, but either practice is a zoom. Now if it was called pinch to magnify you would be correct!
While Samsung (and others manufacturers who use Android) devices may infringe on some of Apples patents, features such as pinch to zoom, and bounce back are not things that people by a smartphone or tablet for.
The are more concerned with battery life, screen size, call quality, number of apps available and build quality.
Your not going to get someone in a store saying, i was going to buy this until i found out there wasn't a bounce back feature available.
Oh, dear, not much in the way of clue for Observer1959, is there?
(a) Damages are not a "fine", they are damages.
(b) No one was found guilty of anything.
(c) The legal system has a process; right now we are in the middle of the post-trial phase, where both sides argue about things, including whether or not the damages should be increased or decreased.
(d) You do know that the jury found that a Samsung phone infringed on an Apple patent despite the phone actually lacking the feature that was patented, right?
Bribes from Samsung and Google and Microsoft are all good and sweet and tender.
Apple must be the bad evil one.
So it doesn't matter that they invented a user interface on iOS for their devices and other manufacturers copied it instead of inventing their own.
Because Apple must give away for free to its competitors, so the corrupted judges tell the world.
4 days ago (reported here - cant find the link) Apple lost a case on 3 patents they copied (belonging Sony, Nokia front company in LA) and put up in their defence " Obviousness", hence not patentable.
What a cheek!
I think their philosphy now is:
Copy / imitate or infringe to your hearts desire. If & when caught, countersue ( use obviosuness as an excuse), and bully the small guy, or settle cheaply ( Swiss rail watchface, Chinses iPad name holder, HTC, Nokia- whom they are still paying).
Apple = Still Bigger Bastards.
Story about Apple patents (this one) = 88 comments so far
Story about Google patents (http://www.theregister.co.uk/2012/12/19/itc_kick_out_motorola_patent/) and a full day older = 30 comments.
Seems that when Google is in the spotlight, the Android camp go suspiciously quiet. Their voices soon return though when an Apple story comes along.
Thats becasue Apple are evil! And proved by the extra comments, cos more and more people are really pissed off about this arrogant and shitty corporation, who think they are above the law.
Bet you are fanboy happily willing to empty your pockets for anything Apple comes up with, including toilet rolls containing St.Jobs photo and pay £199 for a 6 pack! AND feel smug thereafter.
ALTERNATIVELY, old Toothpick you jolly old raving fanboi, it could be because the ITC action seems reasonable, and would have been just as reasonable if it had been Apple's patents that were kicked out.
Contrast that with, say, with a questionable jury award of a BILLION DOLLARS. If you happen to believe that the patents that the ITC excluded were no more valid than Apple's, perhaps a clever chap could find a thousand million reasons why the situations are different?
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