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: Comment by shmerl
by pgeorgi on Mon 13th Aug 2012 07:05 UTC in reply to "Comment by shmerl"
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Didn't US recently introduce an update to patent law about "first to file" rather than "first to invent"? I really wonder how it'll affect the whole prior art idea.

The main impact is that the PTO doesn't have to investigate who did it first if it gets two competing applications at about the same time.
Secondary impact is that there might be money in tracking what others publish and trying to apply for it first - meaning that inventors better _not_ publish their ideas before sending them to the PTO (how's that for "promoting the sciences"?).

Everything else (incl. prior art) still remains. There's typically a limit between first publication and elibility for patents. If Sun published that movie in 1992, and the limit is 1 year, first-to-file still means that you better applied for your patent before 1994, or it's still void under a first-to-file regime (if it's actually prior art).

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