Linked by Thom Holwerda on Sun 12th Aug 2012 21:15 UTC, submitted by Torbjorn Vik Lunde
PDAs, Cellphones, Wireless One of the major patents being discussed in the Apple vs. Samsung cases all around the world is inertia scrolling. Apple claims to have invented it, but in fact, Sun was working on a PDA in the early '90s called the Star7, which had inertia scrolling. In a demonstration posted to YouTube, you can see this device in action, including the touch screen inertial scrolling. James Gosling (yup, that one), the narrator of the video, even mentions it specifically. This looks like a case of prior art for this patent, and serves to demonstrate that, no, despite all these grandiose claims, Apple did not invent this at all, which further illustrates the complete and utter lunacy of the patent system in the software world. The Star7's interface is reminiscent of Microsoft Bob, and makes me want to forcefully introduce my head to my recently-painted walls. Still, it's an interesting device; 1992 is when the first fully touchscreen PDA was released (the Tandy Zoomer, by what would eventually become Palm), and a year before the Newton arrived on the scene. Luckily for us, the Star7 never made it to market. That interface gives me nightmares...
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Comment by Fergy
by Fergy on Sun 12th Aug 2012 22:12 UTC
Fergy
Member since:
2006-04-10

This article made me wonder:
Should you be punished for suing because of a patent if you could have known it was invalid? If you could have known that a patent has prior art but still sued should you get a fine that is so large that it would no longer be profitable to just sue everybody?

Reply Score: 3

RE: Comment by Fergy
by Brendan on Sun 12th Aug 2012 22:34 in reply to "Comment by Fergy"
Brendan Member since:
2005-11-16

Should you be punished for suing because of a patent if you could have known it was invalid? If you could have known that a patent has prior art but still sued should you get a fine that is so large that it would no longer be profitable to just sue everybody?


In my opinion; the patent office that granted the patent is responsible for checking for prior art, and if prior art is found in a patent infringement case then the patent office should invalidate the patent, should have to pay all court costs for both the patent owner and the defendant, and should have to reimburse both the patent owner and the defendant a fair amount (not a deliberately exaggerated amount) for anything and everything (cost of lawyers, time, effect on reputation, effect on market position, personal stress, whatever).

Then, after that has happened; if the patent office that granted the patent can show that the patent holder knew about the prior art when they applied for the patent (not after); the patent office should be able to sue the patent holder for all of the above costs.

I have no idea what actually does happen though.. ;)

- Brendan

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE[2]: Comment by Fergy
by flypig on Sun 12th Aug 2012 23:53 in reply to "RE: Comment by Fergy"
flypig Member since:
2005-07-13

As I said in a previous comment, I'm no lawyer, but my understanding is that the patent office doesn't have a responsibility here. The patent office does cursory checks, but having a patent granted isn't intended to imply legitimacy, since this is just too hard to figure out (there's no way the patent office can know the sum total of all things that have been previously invented, since many of them won't have been patented).

That's why these things often go to court, and might also be why so many patents are granted (since the really deep checks don't happen when a patent is granted, but rather when someone challenges it).

Reply Parent Score: 4

RE[2]: Comment by Fergy
by bitwelder on Mon 13th Aug 2012 12:34 in reply to "RE: Comment by Fergy"
bitwelder Member since:
2010-04-27

I would do exactly the opposite: the aggressor should be immediately punished/fined (as he's the initiator of the action that troubled the market).
Then, on a separate level, he can try to open a case against the patent office that has not been diligent enough in analyzing the original case.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[2]: Comment by Fergy
by Dr.Mabuse on Fri 17th Aug 2012 05:35 in reply to "RE: Comment by Fergy"
Dr.Mabuse Member since:
2009-05-19

I'm not sure why I can't mod you up, but in any case: excellent post.

Regarding the main topic of discussion, I find it highly amusing yet also predictable that the usual suspects are melting-down over the fact that Apple didn't invent this "technology."

(If you can call it that - in reality just a little bit of fun coding for someone a long long time ago. I'm not sure how or why this could be considered something up for patent protection.)

Why not just accept the reality of the situation? Especially when you have a link to YouTube showing the device in action twenty odd years ago?!

I'm not a Psychologist, but I were one, this blatent fanboy-ism would surely make an interesting subject matter to research.

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE: Comment by Fergy
by shmerl on Mon 13th Aug 2012 00:32 in reply to "Comment by Fergy"
shmerl Member since:
2010-06-08

Should you be punished for suing because of a patent if you could have known it was invalid?


Logic dictates that the aggressor should be punished in such case. This will discourage litigation without proper research of prior art. The punishment should be in invalidating of the patent, and in requirement to cover all the related legal expenses of the other side. This will really make aggressors think many times before using their patents to deter competition.

Reply Parent Score: 3