Linked by Thom Holwerda on Tue 19th Jul 2011 17:09 UTC
Google For the first time, Google has opened its mouth against the patent trolling by Apple (and by proxy, Microsoft) against Android manufacturers. By way of Eric Schmidt, Google's chairman, the company took stand against the legal actions, and stated they aren't too worried. If need be, Google will ensure HTC doesn't lose the patent case against Apple.
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RE[2]: Apple does Innovate
by galvanash on Wed 20th Jul 2011 05:26 UTC in reply to "RE: Apple does Innovate"
galvanash
Member since:
2006-01-25

This is claim one from that patent (7,978,176). The bold parts are the interesting bits.

A computer-implemented method, comprising: at a portable multifunction device with a touch screen display and one or more accelerometers, displaying information on the touch screen display in a portrait view or a landscape view based on an analysis of data received from the one or more accelerometers; detecting a predetermined finger gesture on or near the touch screen display while the information is displayed in a first view, wherein the first view is one of the portrait view and the landscape view; in response to detecting the predetermined finger gesture, displaying the information in a second view and locking the display of information in the second view, wherein the second view is the other of the portrait view and the landscape view; and unlocking the display of information in the second view in response to a determination that the device is placed in an orientation where the second view matches an orientation of the display based on an analysis of data received from the one or more accelerometers.


His prior art does not apply... at all (he updated his post and admitted as much). Lets break this down:

1. Does this patent claim apply to the use of accelerometers to determine screen orientation? No
2. Does this patent claim apply to automatic orientation changes in and of themselves? No
3. Does this patent claim apply to a non-touch screen device? No
4. Does this patent apply to a touch screen device with automatic screen orientation detection based on accelerometers that uses a gesture system to both override the current screen orientation and lock the new orientation based on the use of a specific gesture and do the reverse process? YES

As far as I am aware there is no prior art for this at all (nothing I have ever seen anyway). It isn't even implemented in iOS yet. There is nothing infringing on it either (unless someone has seen this implemented before).

Is this innovative? I personally don't think so. There is nothing new here except the gesture bit, and that is kind of obvious in my opinion. Again, this points out the problems with the patent system, you can add one obvious thing to something everyone is already doing and you get to claim it as your own. Why should Apple "own" the idea of a gesture that switches/locks orientation? Is this not extremely obvious? Its probably something that most iOS or Android users have thought of at one time or another...

I take a difference stance from most on this - I want to see patent law reformed, I don't have a pet company. I don't take Apple or Microsoft or Google or whoever using patents as baseball bats a sign of bad behavior - it is a sign of a bad system. Blaming companies with power, money, and talent for taking advantage of the patent system is exactly like blaming people (rich or poor) for taking advantage of the tax system to save themselves money...

As long as the system is setup to let them do so they will take advantage of it. You can't setup a system like this and expect good behavior... Its like the government saying "Hey look guys, if you do this and this and this you get this shiny gold carrot over here - it perfectly legal, the rules are even setup to encourage it.. But it might be unpopular with those pesky people hung up over morality since it doesn't jive with what most people consider good behavior, so do whatever you makes you sleep better at night." How do you expect things to turn out?

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[3]: Apple does Innovate
by JAlexoid on Wed 20th Jul 2011 12:02 in reply to "RE[2]: Apple does Innovate"
JAlexoid Member since:
2009-05-19

To be fair, the actual idea is quite novel. Useful? Maybe to some.

However, does it contain the inventive step? I don't think so. There is nothing novel about how that is achieved.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[4]: Apple does Innovate
by galvanash on Wed 20th Jul 2011 12:36 in reply to "RE[3]: Apple does Innovate"
galvanash Member since:
2006-01-25

There is nothing novel about how that is achieved.


Exactly. I'm not sure, but I wouldn't be surprised at all if parts of this method (automatic screen orientation use accelerometors or some other part) does have patents on it - I don't feel like digging to find out. Apple may not hold it, or it just may be something that really does have prior art - either way THIS patent is just stupid...

When you strip away all the important stuff (or really, the unimportant stuff as far as the patent goes), this is a patent on a finger gesture... Really? Yes. Really. That is all it is.

The rest of it is fair game as far as Apple is concerned, but incorporate the finger gesture part and boom, lawsuit. There are probably hundreds of trolls over in Cupertino doing nothing more than finding prior art that they can combine with a finger gesture (or something similar) so they can patent it... Everyone else does it too, it's not just Apple. It's ridiculous.

Edited 2011-07-20 12:38 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[3]: Apple does Innovate
by Damnshock on Wed 20th Jul 2011 12:03 in reply to "RE[2]: Apple does Innovate"
Damnshock Member since:
2006-09-15


I take a difference stance from most on this - I want to see patent law reformed, I don't have a pet company. I don't take Apple or Microsoft or Google or whoever using patents as baseball bats a sign of bad behavior - it is a sign of a bad system. Blaming companies with power, money, and talent for taking advantage of the patent system is exactly like blaming people (rich or poor) for taking advantage of the tax system to save themselves money...


The thing is that something legal doesn't make it "right". At least morally/ethically.

There is no perfect system as there will always be ways to overcome or cheat it. Therefore the problem is not the system itself(because any system is,by definition, imperfect) but the society using it. Some might argue that society isn't perfect either but... isn't that the whole point? that us, as a society, become "better"?

Just my two cents...

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE[4]: Apple does Innovate
by galvanash on Wed 20th Jul 2011 12:26 in reply to "RE[3]: Apple does Innovate"
galvanash Member since:
2006-01-25

The thing is that something legal doesn't make it "right". At least morally/ethically.


Definitely. I completely agree.

There is no perfect system as there will always be ways to overcome or cheat it.


That's the part that bothers me the most though. Not one is overcoming the patent system, or cheating it. It is structured to allow (actually encourage) all the things most people fall at odds with:

1. Patent Trolling: Completely supported by the system - in fact parts of patent law are more or less constructed to encourage the practice.

2. Iterative Patents: Patents that add a single (usually small) element to an existing one, offering nothing remotely innovative. Again, encouraged.

3. Using Patents to Stifle Competitors: If you read up on patent law, it becomes plainly obvious this is EXACTLY what patents are FOR - that is essentially their purpose. The benign use of patents for "defense" is mostly a modern phenomena that cropped up in response to the surge in lawsuits between big companies - the game of "who has the bigger patent portfolio" was certainly not a preconceived practice.

And on top of that, most of the "good" parts (i.e. disclosing novel ideas for the good of society) don't really apply to software patents at all - ideas are mostly worthless - it is implementations (code) that would be valuable to society.

If there were some kind of provision that said the code of patented software methods would revert to the public domain after the patent expired I might see some point to it - but that isn't how it works.

Reply Parent Score: 3