Linked by Thom Holwerda on Thu 22nd Jan 2009 12:04 UTC
Legal Remember when Steve Jobs launched the iPhone, and held it up in the air, proudly proclaiming "Boy, have we patented it", followed by a massive applause of the adoring audience? It may seem like this wasn't just an empty claim, either. During the earnings conference call yesterday, the company hinted at possible legal action against Palm were the Pre to infringe on iPhone patents.
Permalink for comment 345185
To read all comments associated with this story, please click here.
tupp
Member since:
2006-11-12

Most really breakthrough conceptual advances are opaque in foresight and transparent in hindsight... Few know this better than Cooper, a pioneer in the field of interaction design with an immense portfolio of clients.

This rudimentary idea is obvious in itself and is a revelation only to those who have no experience with creative endeavors. It is a notion that usually is comprehended early on in the career of anyone involved in any creative discipline (music, writing, photography, filmmaking, product design, choreography, architecture, etc. -- not just software interface design).

Also, if anyone qualifies to be described as "a pioneer in the field of interaction design," it would be Donald Norman, not Alan Cooper. Norman's expertise is much broader -- he has a lot more experience with the interaction between humans and all objects (not just software). With "The Psychology Of Everyday Things," Norman literally "wrote the book" on product usability.


So whether or not you agree that Apple's innovations should be patentable..., the fact is that you cannot objectively assess their level of obviousness.

Of course, you can.

There are many generic ideas for devices which cannot be achieved because of some limitation. We all want flying cars, teleportation and replicators, but right now they are impossible or impractical. However, just because these items have not been commercially produced, these ideas are still obvious.

In addition, there are many ideas which are easily achieved, but which have uncertain value/appeal. Manufacturers have given us the refrigerator computer, the inside-the-egg-shell scrambler, and the "Bark Stop Professional": http://www.seenontv.com/prod-pages/lentek_bark_free.html

The multi-touch cellphone is a combination of these two types of ideas. The concept was out there and obvious. However, the production of a multi-touch phone was delayed, because, until recently, touchscreen phones have not been powerful enough to handle the software, and due to the dismal appeal of past touch-screen phones, manufacturers were reluctant to sink funds into the development and tooling of a multi-touch version.

Furthermore, the verdict is still out on the advantages/drawbacks of multi-touch phones and of touch-phones in general.

Edited 2009-01-23 17:52 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 3