Linked by Thom Holwerda on Wed 24th Aug 2011 13:58 UTC
Legal Breaking news from my swamp home country The Netherlands: the Dutch court has just banned the sales of all Galaxy S, SII and Ace smartphones in the entire European Union. The judge has ruled that Android 2.x violates Apple's 868 patent which covers scrolling through photos on a touchscreen. Only this one patent is violated - the complaints about two other patents as well as the design patents has been thrown out. In other words, the judge did not agree with Apple that Samsung is copying Apple's design. The injunction only covers the Galaxy smartphones, since they run Android 2.x; Android 3.0 does not violate the patent in question, and hence, sales of the Galaxy Tab 10.1 can continue. In fact, only the Gallery application violates the patent in question, and Samsung has already stated it is going to replace this application on all new Galaxy smartphones from now on - sales won't even be interrupted. In other words - two patents thrown out, design stuff rejected, and only one patent complaint upheld which will cause no harm to Samsung. Apple just scored a meaningless victory. The Dutch court order is here. The pictures speak thousands of words.
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RE: No worries!
by Tony Swash on Wed 24th Aug 2011 16:25 UTC in reply to "No worries!"
Tony Swash
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Don't worry guys, all is okay: it's only the Gallery photo application that's affected, and Samsung will be replacing it right away. Sales won't even be interrupted.

Working on the item!

It's called killing by a thousand cuts. Apple put an enormous amount of work and development into making version 1 of iOS very polished for a first release. It's what Apple does - sweat the details. And they patented those details and they will try their hardest to get the Android devices makers to remove them. One by one. And if they succeed Android will still be around and will still work more or less the same in terms of basic functionality but all the really nice little touches, the little things that make an interface or an object very nice to use instead of just plain mediocre, will be missing. That's what Apple wants and they may well achieve it.

U.S. Patent No. 7,469,381 on "list scrolling and document translation, scaling, and rotation on a touch-screen display" is a good example of this. Apple are already deploying this patent in several legal cases and seem to have a strong case. The patent covers so called 'rubber banding' where when you scroll to the bottom of a long list on a touch screen and you reach the end and the scrolling action doesn't just stop, instead it overshoots a little and bounces back. Anyone who has used an iOS device will know what I am talking about.

The point about this feature and this patent is that removing this feature doesn't take away the basic functionality of finger scrolling, it just makes it feel a little bit less intuitive. Without this feature novice touch users are not sure, just for moment, what has happened when they reach the end of a list and the screen just abruptly stops scrolling and they often respond by pressing the screen harder and trying to make it move. With this feature in place a little bit of the UI tells the user, very subtly but very clearly, 'you have reached the end of the list'.

It seems a small feature, this rubber banding, but it's the sort of small feature that Apple excels at and by which they seek to differentiate their products from their competitors.

So Apple are happy with every little victory that chips away at the Android interface, knocking off features taken from iOS one by one, because at the end Apple know they will have the polished UI that delights and Androids UI will plod.

If Apple can stop their competitors from actually selling devices that feature such stolen pearls then that would suit them just fine but it's not the main goal, the main gaol is to make sure that the iOS experience is always superior to the Android experience.

It's telling by the way that Google's Nexus phones have, to the best of my knowledge, been carefully designed to not infringe such Apple patents.

Of course the remedy for all Android device makers and for Google is straightforward, come up up with equally neat and well designed UI ways to do the same thing. That may, however, be harder than it appears.

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