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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RE: Can it be used?
by cjosc99 on Sun 12th Aug 2012 22:19 UTC in reply to "Can it be used?"
cjosc99
Member since:
2011-07-13

Very interesting; one does not have to be a lawyer to know that if apple is using a technology that they did not created the patent it simply not theirs unless they paid for it. If a product never reaches the market or if the product gets to the stores is totally irrelevant. Now the question is; does apple have the rights to use the technology? If that is not the case, they may have to pay for it.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[2]: Can it be used?
by riha on Sun 12th Aug 2012 22:26 in reply to "RE: Can it be used?"
riha Member since:
2006-01-24

I think that is only the case if it was patented by someone else, if apple have patent, then they owe the patent.

Might be wrong.

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE[3]: Can it be used?
by flypig on Sun 12th Aug 2012 23:47 in reply to "RE[2]: Can it be used?"
flypig Member since:
2005-07-13

I'm no lawyer, and certainly this may differ depending on the country, but certainly in the UK previous disclosure can invalidate a patent, independent of who patented it first.

Basically, if the information is made public before being patented, it can't then be patented by anyone.

This is actually really important, since part of the point of a patent is to act as an incentive to publicly document your invention (for the benefit of society). If an idea is already public, there's no need for the government to provide this incentive.

That's why NDAs are so common: they protect companies against an idea being made public and therefore becoming unpatentable.

I think the law in the US is slightly different in that there's a one-year window after public disclosure within which you're still able to patent something, although the spirit is similar. As I said, I'm not a lawyer though.

Reply Parent Score: 5

RE[2]: Can it be used?
by allanregistos on Mon 13th Aug 2012 02:56 in reply to "RE: Can it be used?"
allanregistos Member since:
2011-02-10

Very interesting; one does not have to be a lawyer to know that if apple is using a technology that they did not created the patent it simply not theirs unless they paid for it. If a product never reaches the market or if the product gets to the stores is totally irrelevant. Now the question is; does apple have the rights to use the technology? If that is not the case, they may have to pay for it.

The real question my friend, if those lawyers are also tech experts? How can they knew a lot about programming practices without years/decades of real-world experience? A software patent is a technology patent where most lawyers will fall short on knowledge about these things. They didn't even know of what OS is. They knew only the apple and the Windows logo and ignored the penguin. And yes, one does not need a lawyer to understand Apple's claims in court I believe as an IT man myself, but you may need a patent lawyer to argue on your part, not an ordinary lawyer.

I think, Apple may have the rights to use a certain the technology in question, especially of those they patented, but they cannot enforce anyone to not use that technology because of a prior art.

Reply Parent Score: 2