Linked by Thom Holwerda on Tue 2nd Mar 2010 17:19 UTC
Legal In a statement released today, Apple announced it is suing HTC, claiming the Taiwanese phone maker infringed upon 20 of Cupertino's patents related to the iPhone. After Nokia and Apple suing one another a number of times over the past couple of months, this is the next high-profile patent lawsuit in the mobile phones business. Engadget has the filings, and it seems that Apple wants to avoid angering Microsoft, but has no qualms about taking on Google. Update: Engadget analyses every single patent in the claim.
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Obvious, but not expensive
by Zifre on Tue 2nd Mar 2010 22:50 UTC
Zifre
Member since:
2009-10-04

Let me just start by saying that I absolutely hate software patents and pretty much all patents in general. However, I am not going to debate that. Patents are here to stay, and so are software patents, probably.

One of the qualifications for receiving a patent is that it must not be obvious. I think this needs to be changed. It needs to be replaced with "expensive to develop".

For example, see this patent: http://patft.uspto.gov/netacgi/nph-Parser?Sect1=PTO1&Sect2=HITOFF&d...

This is one of the patents that Apple is using. It covers the scrolling behavior where scrolling past the end of the document causes it to "bounce" back when released.

I would argue that this patent is not obvious. The obvious behavior would be for the document to stop scrolling when the end is hit. However, it did not take thousands of dollars of R&D to invent this. Most likely, some Apple engineer said, "Hey guys, we can implement this behavior and it would look cool!" and proceeded to implement it in one hour.

Something that I would argue could be patentable, is something like MP3 (as I saw someone post earlier on some other article). A group of experts got together, did testing, and determined how to compress audio without sacrificing much quality. It was definitely not obvious how to do this, and it was quite expensive to do it. Those people should be paid for there efforts. But when someone just implements some simple way of doing something, patents it, and tries to stop everyone else who just happened to do the same thing, they should not get paid for their invention.

Edited 2010-03-02 22:52 UTC

Reply Score: 4

RE: Obvious, but not expensive
by bnolsen on Wed 3rd Mar 2010 14:14 in reply to "Obvious, but not expensive"
bnolsen Member since:
2006-01-06

I sort of see your point, but mp3 is just a bunch of algorithms. By this argument you could say that my company should be patenting certain rigid body dynamics operations using geometric algebra -- theres some foundation of concrete discovery combined with some hand wavey heuristics that seem to work. That was a lot of work. But how would that be so different from patenting "pi"? I have no problem with the above being held as a trade secret, though.

Reply Parent Score: 3