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[3]: Can it be used?
by flypig on Sun 12th Aug 2012 23:47 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Can it be used?"
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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.

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