back to article US patent office: Nice try Apple, but pinch-to-zoom is NOT a new invention

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 …

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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Apple=Bastards

    nuff said!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Apple=Bastards

      USPTO=Incompetent

      1. Ken Hagan Gold badge

        Re: USPTO=Incompetent

        Yawn. The USPTO is simply doing its job. That job has been defined by the local politicians as "rubber stamp everything and let the courts decide". Blaming the USPTO lets the politicians off the hook. Please stop it.

        1. Ian Yates

          Re: USPTO=Incompetent

          "let the courts decide"

          Unfortunately, the juries tend to be told that a granted patent must be valid because the USPTO checked it... hmm

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: USPTO=Incompetent

            No, jurors are never told to assume patent validity.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: USPTO=Incompetent

              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."

      2. sabba
        Paris Hilton

        Re: Apple=Bastards

        Patent Lawyers=Very rich

        Actually,

        All Lawyers=Very rich

    2. LPF

      Re: Apple=Bastards

      Bollocks, Samsung rtipped off the iPhone 4s , which is why the s3 differs so much, they have as much oriniginality as herpes!

      You can build all the me too functions you want , but it takes style to make it sell, thats why they are always following apple , never leading !

      1. djstardust Silver badge
        FAIL

        Re: Apple=Bastards

        You are joking ..... right?

        Have you actually used the Note 2?

        It is light years ahead of the iphone and has some seriously cool features Apple would have never thought of. iphone and iOS6 is so last century!

      2. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
        Windows

        Re: Apple=Bastards

        "oriniginality as herpes!"

        I remember the good old times when the commentariat had advanced spelling skills (more advanced than 10-year olds with ADHD doing left-hand browsing) and trolling was actually good.

        1. James 51 Silver badge
          Childcatcher

          Re: Apple=Bastards

          "I remember the good old times when the commentariat had advanced spelling skills (more advanced than 10-year olds with ADHD doing left-hand browsing) and trolling was actually good."

          Speaking of which, no need to drag lefties into it.

          1. AceRimmer
            Paris Hilton

            Re: Apple=Bastards

            "Speaking of which, no need to drag lefties into it."

            is "Secondary Hand Browsing" PC enough for ya?

            Paris, for whom the term was invented

            1. James 51 Silver badge
              Happy

              Re: Apple=Bastards

              Much better, thanks.

      3. Mark .

        Re: Apple=Bastards

        "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.

        1. Philip Lewis
          FAIL

          Re: Apple=Bastards

          ... 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!

          1. mrfill
            Joke

            Re: Apple=Bastards

            20" rims !!!!!??!!!

            You, sir, are a chav.

            1. Philip Lewis
              Pint

              Re: Apple=Bastards @mrfill

              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

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Apple=Bastards

          "I think it's clear they know what makes things sell."

          ... that would be price - their volume is in the cheap seats

          1. jeffdyer

            Re: Apple=Bastards

            you mean value for money. gs2 and gs3 are hardly "cheap"

        3. Observer1959

          Re: Apple=Bastards

          Stocking vendors and giving phones away for free is one way of creating market share I guess. Now lets talk about profits.

      4. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Apple=Bastards

        "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.

      5. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Apple=Bastards

        @LPF

        have a downvote on me - "vae victis"

        I should congratulate you on identifying a position near universally unpopular with the readers - but I won't

      6. Malcolm Weir Silver badge

        Re: Apple=Bastards

        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.

      7. MrXavia
        WTF?

        Re: Apple=Bastards

        they look nothing alike apart from both are chocolate bar phones (i.e. in the shape of a chocolate bar..

        And really the S2 was a better phone than the iPhone 4

    3. The First Dave
      Headmaster

      Re: Apple=Bastards

      Can we please stop deliberately making it look like patents and trademarks are the same thing? (Looking at the sub-head there.)

      1. NorthernCoder
        Thumb Up

        Re: Apple=Bastards

        "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").

    4. Bob Vistakin
      Happy

      Re: Apple=Bastards

      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 :-)

      1. csumpi
        Paris Hilton

        Re: Apple=Bastards

        "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.

    5. Stoneshop Silver badge

      Re: Apple=Bastards

      Water=wet.

      Any more revealing insights?

  2. J. R. Hartley Silver badge

    Good God, I can't wait for somebody to take a bite out of Apple :/

    1. wowfood

      Everybody knows windows bit off apple.

      1. Observer1959

        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?

        1. Malcolm Weir Silver badge

          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...

  3. DanDanDan

    So... who's suing Apple?

    If the technology that Apple have used is covered by other patents already, doesn't that mean Apple have infringed those patents?

    1. Tom Wood

      Re: So... who's suing Apple?

      It's entirely possible the prior patents have expired.

    2. LPF

      Re: So... who's suing Apple?

      Only if those have not expired

    3. Pat 4

      Re: So... who's suing Apple?

      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...

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: So... who's suing Apple?

        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.

        1. madenglishbloke
          Alert

          Re: So... who's suing Apple?

          "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.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: So... who's suing Apple?

            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.

        2. Roland6 Silver badge

          Re: So... who's suing Apple?

          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...

        3. Vic

          Re: So... who's suing Apple?

          > a prop made up by the back room boys at Universal does not constitute "prior art".

          Yes, it does.

          Vic.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: So... who's suing Apple?

      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

  4. Zaphod.Beeblebrox
    Thumb Up

    Wow, looks like the USPTO has at least one employee who is awake and has some technical background. Einstein, is that you? Well done lad (or lass, as the case may be), whoever you are!

    1. Schultz
      Thumb Down

      ...the USPTO has at least one employee who is awake

      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.

      1. Richard 12 Silver badge
        Mushroom

        Re: ...the USPTO has at least one employee who is awake

        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."

  5. Eponymous Cowherd
    Holmes

    pinch-to-zoom is NOT a new invention

    See icon.

  6. Arctic fox
    Headmaster

    One does get the feeling that Apple's strategy is beginning to unravel.

    Ars Technica is also covering it:

    http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2012/12/apple-stands-to-lose-another-patent-crucial-to-its-battle-with-samsung/

    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.

    1. Wang N Staines

      Re: One does get the feeling that Apple's strategy is beginning to unravel.

      Anyone told HTC they just paid for crap patents?

      1. Adam 1 Silver badge

        re: Anyone told HTC they just paid for crap patents?

        I don't think that paying a ransom necessarily means that you are endorsing the validity of the claim to that money.

        1. Malcolm Weir Silver badge

          Re: re: Anyone told HTC they just paid for crap patents?

          Nor do we know how big the ransom was. It may well be that HTC's licensing fees to Apple are not significant enough to HTC for them to care, apart from the obvious benefit of having Apple's lawyers sod off.

    2. Fatman Silver badge

      Re: Apple's strategy is beginning to unravel...Cupertino's attempts to plant "anti-competitor mines"

      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.

  7. derv
    Flame

    UPSO = Knobs, Apple = TROLLS

    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.

  8. ContentsMayVary

    Is it not an "obvious" thing anyway?

    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. ;)

    1. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Re: Is it not an "obvious" thing anyway?

      Well, here's the rub: The whole point of these phone UIs is to make the device usable to an average newcomer. Therefore, a good number of the UI elements should, almost by definition, be obvious.

      (Though of course, many things are obvious in hindsight)

    2. wowfood

      Re: Is it not an "obvious" thing anyway?

      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.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Is it not an "obvious" thing anyway?

      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.

      1. Vic

        Re: Is it not an "obvious" thing anyway?

        > 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.

        Vic.

  9. Tegne
    Devil

    If Apple have licensed this 'tech' to 3rd parties..

    Are they due a refund?

    1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

      Re: If Apple have licensed this 'tech' to 3rd parties..

      Not unless a lawsuit happens to occur.

  10. ukgnome Silver badge

    If this is what happens when a patent office takes its time over a patent then imagine what it will be like when the UK takes 60 days. EEEKKK!!

    1. MrXavia

      60 days is plenty, if they have the staff,

      time is not the issue, it is due diligence required in checking the patent does not have prior art invalidating it.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It doesn't matter.

    I like edge zoom on Android better. I believe it's a feature of Jelly Bean.

    1. Richard Wharram

      Re: It doesn't matter.

      What's that?

      I have CM10 on my SGS1 and am unaware of such a feature :/

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: It doesn't matter.

        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.

        1. Malcolm Weir Silver badge

          Re: It doesn't matter.

          Ta! That's seriously neat, and I agree that it often seems a better mechanism (single finger, etc.)

  12. Lars Silver badge
    Coat

    Do we see

    A light in the tunnel or an approaching train. So fed up with all this rubbish patent stuff.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Do we see

      Ah well, it hasn't really impacted me personally... perfectly happy with my Android phone's UI. Conceivably it could be even better if other parties weren't sat on software patents, but hell, nothing so major that I feel I'm being short-changed.

  13. Growly Snuffle Bunny
    Unhappy

    Fed up with them all

    I wish Apple and Samsung would get a life, or a room. Maybe the one where the USPTO used to be, before it was dismantled to to sheer incompetentcy.

    Meanwhile, back in the real world...

    1. Craigness

      Re: Fed up with them all

      There's no need to order Samsung to get a life. If they hadn't been attacked by a patent troll with invalid patents, they'd be having the life you want them to get.

    2. Gerard Krupa

      Re: Fed up with them all

      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.

  14. Steve Todd
    Stop

    Not actualy Pinch to Zoom

    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.

    1. Brian Morrison
      Mushroom

      Re: Not actualy Pinch to Zoom

      And the patent system does so like to over-complicate it.

    2. Brian Morrison
      Thumb Up

      Re: Not actualy Pinch to Zoom

      And pj over at Groklaw says that all 21 claims in the patent are invalidated

      http://www.groklaw.net/article.php?story=20121219174625546

      I wonder what would allow just that one claim 8 to stand when all of the others don't?

      1. Steve Todd
        Stop

        Re: Not actualy Pinch to Zoom

        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.

        1. Malcolm Weir Silver badge

          Re: Not actualy Pinch to Zoom

          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.

      2. Toothpick
        Meh

        Re: Not actualy Pinch to Zoom

        "And pj over at Groklaw says that all 21 claims in the patent are invalidated"

        And Groklaw are well known for their totally unbiased reporting.

        1. Malcolm Weir Silver badge

          Re: Not actualy Pinch to Zoom

          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...

  15. Steve Knox Silver badge
    Mushroom

    "The US Patent and Trademark Office has rejected..."

    ZOMG! The Mayans Were Right!

    1. TRT Silver badge

      Re: "The US Patent and Trademark Office has rejected..."

      Pinch me; I'm dreaming!

      1. Bumpy Cat

        Re: "The US Patent and Trademark Office has rejected..."

        Sorry, pinch-to-wake is stil patented.

  16. Katie Saucey
    Mushroom

    Wow

    Finally a small bit of sanity...to bad the world ends tonight.

  17. Forget It
    Joke

    Yea there's been prior art since the beginning of time:

    "Adam and Eve and Pinch Me went down to the river to play;

    Adam and Eve were drowned, so who do you think was saved?"

    ... Apple just got pinched?

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    US patent office is a joke

    My 2 cents…

    If the US patent office allows this patent, 'Method of swinging on a swing - Patent number: 6368227'. Then I think Apple's patent should defiantly be approved. Case closed.

    1. Quantum Leaper

      Re: US patent office is a joke

      How about the toasting bread. Patent number 6080436. There are a lot bad patents out there.

    2. Oor Nonny-Muss
      WTF?

      Re: US patent office is a joke

      You gents should look out 4022227 - Method of concealing partial baldness

      Somebody managed to patent the combover.

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Just a minor quibble with the article.

    In the US legal system you generally cannot present new evidence during appeal.

  20. ForthIsNotDead Silver badge
    Unhappy

    Seems that...

    neither Apple nor Samsung got what they were hoping, but the lawyers got *exactly* what *they* wanted, regardless of the outcome.

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Patenting how one moves their fingers is just as stupid a patenting a dance move or hand signal. Some gestures will get you thrown out of court.

    1. TRT Silver badge

      What's that? Let's see...

      Ah! A party invitation for next week.

      iCal opened.

      *pinches iPhone*

      *punches iPhone*

      Date selected: 1st of the month.

  22. ratfox Silver badge
    Devil

    Good

    The only good patent is a dead patent

  23. Herby Silver badge

    Pinch to zoom??

    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!

    1. Steve Brooks

      Re: Pinch to zoom??

      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!

  24. mark l 2 Silver badge

    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.

    1. Observer1959

      And yet the Fandroids would have you believe that to be so. Features, features and more features. Look my phone is better because it has... But you are correct in saying what most people buy a smartphone for.

      1. Mr.Mischief

        Oversimplify much?

        People buy smartphones for features yes.. they don't buy a phone because it's got "rubberbanding".

        Although the fanbois would definitely run to stock up on a new iThing because Apple put it out in an ad.

  25. sisk Silver badge
    Pint

    Wait, what??

    The USPTO rejected an Apple patent? Well crap. Maybe the world IS coming to an end after all. Only one thing to do then....

  26. Observer1959

    Samsung just need to pay the fine and move on. Guilty is guilty, get over it. Get back to work.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      You're looking for some down-votes, eh ?

      Samsung being guilty of what ? If I'm not mistaking the more Apple patents are being scrutinized, the less remain valid so why hurry paying like those suckers from HTC did ?

    2. Malcolm Weir Silver badge

      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?

  27. Joerg
    Thumb Down

    Corrupted judges. Wrong justice system.

    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.

    Disgusting.

    1. sisk Silver badge

      Re: Corrupted judges. Wrong justice system.

      Have you ever actually seen an Android or Microsoft interface? Aside from a few obvious (in terms of 'any touchscreen interface will obviously need and have this') features like icons they neither look nor behave anything like iOS.

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Unpinch to zoom out?

    Did they remember to patent 'unpinch to zoom out'? If not, I call dibs! GIVE ME ALL YOUR MONEYS NOW!

  29. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "Obviousness"

    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.

  30. Toothpick
    Facepalm

    Apple patents. Google patents

    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.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Apple patents. Google patents

      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.

      1. Toothpick
        Mushroom

        Re: Apple patents. Google patents

        Im not a fanboy by any stretch of the imagination. I've stated before I'm hardware and software agnostic and use whatever I find best for the job.

        What does make me feel smug though is not posting behind an AC handle.

    2. Malcolm Weir Silver badge

      Re: Apple patents. Google patents

      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?

  31. MrXavia

    So if one of the patents Samsung were found guilty of is now invalid, surely that means they need a re-trial to re-assess the damages?

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