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[5]: Can it be used?
by galvanash on Mon 13th Aug 2012 22:44 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Can it be used?"
galvanash
Member since:
2006-01-25

Can you be clearer with your reference please? Maybe include a link.


Ignoring for the moment that I believe all software patents should simply be abolished... What about the following:

Rubberband Scrolling (ala iOS)

Scrolling beyond the edges of the bounding box of the control produces a visual indication by displaying a "canvas" background behind the scrolling item as it pulls away from the edge of the bounding box. When released, the control snaps back to it original position at the edge of the bounding box.

Unsupported Target during Drag & Drop (ala virtually all GUIs for a least 15 years or so)

Dragging outside of a supported target for the drop operation produces a visual indication, usually using a glyph or icon overlay to indicate that a drop in this location is not allowed. When released, the control snaps back to it's original position in the bounding box of the original drag container.

Ok - so these are not identical in function or method, no arguments there. However, they are virtually identical in concept and purpose. The concept being that drag operations are visualized as if the control is a physical object that can be manipulated with the mouse/pointer/finger in a 2d plane, and purpose being to visually convey when a common operation cannot be completed in a manner not unlike one would experience if the object where attached with a "rubber band".

To get to the point, in my opinion, anything implemented in a UI for the purposes of fulfilling the above concept and purpose, regardless of method or function, should be expressly denied patent protection. It is a very old idea - there is nothing at all new here.

This is not an invention, it is simply progressive refinement - there is nothing at all original about it. It does not, imo, pass the non-obvious test required a get a patent.

In patent law, changing the materials or size of something related to a physical invention, while retaining the basic form and function, does not constitute a new invention.

Since software method patents related to GUI processes are inherently virtual, imo this criteria should be reversed in order to recieve a patent. Since it is not physical, the form and function are mere implementation details - the concept and purpose are what makes it "unique". In other words, it is not the method or function that makes a GUI method unique, it is the concept and purpose.

In other words, if we are stuck with software patents, could we at least be intellectually honest about them? If Apple wants to patent GUI concepts they have to come up with something truly unique, not repurpose 15 year old interface paradigms by applying them in slightly new ways.

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE[6]: Can it be used?
by Tony Swash on Tue 14th Aug 2012 00:07 in reply to "RE[5]: Can it be used?"
Tony Swash Member since:
2009-08-22

"Can you be clearer with your reference please? Maybe include a link.


Ignoring for the moment that I believe all software patents should simply be abolished... What about the following:

Rubberband Scrolling (ala iOS)

Scrolling beyond the edges of the bounding box of the control produces a visual indication by displaying a "canvas" background behind the scrolling item as it pulls away from the edge of the bounding box. When released, the control snaps back to it original position at the edge of the bounding box.

Unsupported Target during Drag & Drop (ala virtually all GUIs for a least 15 years or so)

Dragging outside of a supported target for the drop operation produces a visual indication, usually using a glyph or icon overlay to indicate that a drop in this location is not allowed. When released, the control snaps back to it's original position in the bounding box of the original drag container.

Ok - so these are not identical in function or method, no arguments there. However, they are virtually identical in concept and purpose. The concept being that drag operations are visualized as if the control is a physical object that can be manipulated with the mouse/pointer/finger in a 2d plane, and purpose being to visually convey when a common operation cannot be completed in a manner not unlike one would experience if the object where attached with a "rubber band".

To get to the point, in my opinion, anything implemented in a UI for the purposes of fulfilling the above concept and purpose, regardless of method or function, should be expressly denied patent protection. It is a very old idea - there is nothing at all new here.

This is not an invention, it is simply progressive refinement - there is nothing at all original about it. It does not, imo, pass the non-obvious test required a get a patent.

In patent law, changing the materials or size of something related to a physical invention, while retaining the basic form and function, does not constitute a new invention.

Since software method patents related to GUI processes are inherently virtual, imo this criteria should be reversed in order to recieve a patent. Since it is not physical, the form and function are mere implementation details - the concept and purpose are what makes it "unique". In other words, it is not the method or function that makes a GUI method unique, it is the concept and purpose.

In other words, if we are stuck with software patents, could we at least be intellectually honest about them? If Apple wants to patent GUI concepts they have to come up with something truly unique, not repurpose 15 year old interface paradigms by applying them in slightly new ways.
"

I think the reference to an entirely different sort of UI behaviour to scrolling list rubber banding isn't really relevant.

The fact of the matter is that everything that has taken forward and revolutionised computer UI always seems obvious after it is done for the first time.

If the substance of Apple's claim is something just done in a 'slightly new way' then why not just remove it and replace it with something else done in a 'slightly new way'. The reason that is resisted is because the way Apple invented and patented is by far the best way to do it and removing it degrades user experience. Which is why Apple patented it.

The bottom line on all this is that of course Samsung (and others) set out to copy good ideas from Apple's work on iOS and some companies have gone further and actually tried to clone Apple's products. Why defend such action? In the trial is was revealed that the core Apple design team consisted of 15 people sitting around a table while Samsung had a 1000 in their design department. Why copy Apple? Why not just innovate.

I return to the main topic of the article and restate that nothing I have seen so far shows me that Apple's bounce patent is invalid. They invented it, they patented it and they want to stop others from using it. That's their right and good luck to them.

Reply Parent Score: -1

RE[7]: Can it be used?
by galvanash on Tue 14th Aug 2012 20:12 in reply to "RE[6]: Can it be used?"
galvanash Member since:
2006-01-25

I think the reference to an entirely different sort of UI behaviour to scrolling list rubber banding isn't really relevant.


What is entirely different about it? In one instance the rubberbanding effect is applied to scrolling, in the other it is applied to dragging. In both cases the behavior is virtually identical. The core concept and purpose are identical.

What is so special about it, when applied to scrolling, that makes it worthy of a government granted monopoly???

If the substance of Apple's claim is something just done in a 'slightly new way' then why not just remove it and replace it with something else done in a 'slightly new way'. The reason that is resisted is because the way Apple invented and patented is by far the best way to do it and removing it degrades user experience. Which is why Apple patented it.


Read what I said again. I did NOT say Apple did anything in a "slightly new way". What I said was they applied an existing concept in a slightly new way. The key word being applied. It was not their idea in the first place, it existed already. They do not deserve a government monopoly on it because it was not their concept - anyone should be able to apply it as they see fit, it exists all over the place in UIs going back years...

Why copy Apple? Why not just innovate.


Its not copying when it is obvious and already prolific. Apple didn't invent rubberbands, nor where they the fist company to implement a rubberbanding effect in software. Just because they used that particular effect in their scrolling system does not give them the right to deny others to do the same...

Reply Parent Score: 1