Linked by Thom Holwerda on Thu 8th Apr 2010 15:31 UTC
Humor Yes, this is turning into a series - welcome to episode 3 (1, 2). Apple has been granted a patent on Cover Flow. This is a design patent, not a utility one; in other words, not the implementation is patented, but the look. "Think of it as covering the distinctive shape of a Coke bottle and not how it works and you'll get it," Engadget explains. This means that anyone implementing something that looks even remotely similar is in danger of getting sued by Apple. Compiz, Songbird, you're boned.
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BS. Maybe a trademart but nothing else.
by BigDaddy on Thu 8th Apr 2010 16:05 UTC
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The Coke bottle may be a trademark symbol, but that is it. I sure as hell don't associate cover flow with a Apple trademark.

Reply Score: 1

Heard of design patents causing problems?
by ciaran on Thu 8th Apr 2010 16:17 UTC
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With this design patent, and the design patent Google got last year on their homepage, I have to ask: do design patents actually cause anyone problems? Do they get enforced? Who's been hit with them?

I'll document it here if anyone has any pointers:

(It's publicly editable, so feel free to write there directly if you like.)

Reply Score: 1

mtzmtulivu Member since:

I have to ask: do design patents actually cause anyone problems? Do they get enforced?

A patent is a patent and patents are used defensively and offensively. Most likely will patent will be used as leverage when apple is going after somebody or while protecting themselves against somebody.

Patents like this are what makes most of the list when anybody is slapped with a 20+ patent violation lawsuit.

Reply Score: 2

ciaran Member since:

I'm not sure that's right.

It depends on the case law: what does "substantially similar" mean? For example, is substantially similar to

In laymans language, yes, but that's not what counts.

No one's said that Yahoo is in danger, so that implies that Google's patent doesn't prevent people from having similar looking pages. Maybe the big "Yahoo" and the absence of the word "Google" is enough to keep Yahoo's page outside of being legally "substantially similar".

We know that ordinary patents are a pain because people get sued for infringing them all the time and projects are constantly leaving out features due to fear of them. For design patents, is there any similar *evidence* of problems?

Reply Score: 1

rcsteiner Member since:

Microsoft is suing Datatel over the look and feel of their game controllers:

Reply Score: 2

Member since:

supporting countries.

Problem solved.

And, for open source OS distributions, add a "swpat" repository that's only hosted in countries that don't acknowledge swpat, use the DNS round robin to point users to those countries, and allow users to turn it on easily.

Reply Score: 1

FunkyELF Member since:

supporting countries.

Problem solved.

Not solved, but circumvented. More and more countries are bending over for the United States. Soon we will run out of countries to host this stuff. Its already happening with bit torrent.

Reply Score: 2

bhtooefr Member since:

Then use seasteads. (I just donated $10 to the Seasteading Foundation today...)

Reply Score: 1

Back to piracy
by FunkyELF on Thu 8th Apr 2010 17:13 UTC
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I started using open source software because I wanted to stop pirating things like photoshop, textpad, microsoft office etc.

I wanted to stop doing illegal things.

I found suitable replacements for those programs and stated using them, and now I'm breaking patents by using them.

From the codecs in ffmpeg / mplayer / xbmc to the patented "time based non-linear transitions between states" that compiz has.

If I am breaking the law in either case, I might as well go back to piracy.

Reply Score: 3

RE: Back to piracy
by darknexus on Thu 8th Apr 2010 20:01 UTC in reply to "Back to piracy"
darknexus Member since:

If I am breaking the law in either case, I might as well go back to piracy.

I see where you're coming from, but I can't agree for several reasons. First, and a reason of convenience, is that every time you need to update you run the risk of your key or crack no longer working. Second is one of security, for obvious reasons. Thirdly though, and imho most important, is that you're not actively seeking to break the law by using patent-infringing software, and it's not illegal in a lot of the world. In my view, that is much better than knowingly taking something to which you have no right, as is what you do when software is pirated. As for me, I'll continue using foss instead of pirating. Just my view on it.

Reply Score: 3

Public Service Announcement
by porcel on Thu 8th Apr 2010 17:28 UTC
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A healthy f--k-you very much to Apple.

That´s all I have to say.

There were many other apps that showed files in 3d, well before apple did.

Reply Score: 5

RE: Public Service Announcement
by SlackerJack on Thu 8th Apr 2010 22:37 UTC in reply to "Public Service Announcement"
SlackerJack Member since:

Yep. You've got to love the innovation of Apple and such companies. Buy out the companies that actually develop the innovative technology and then patent it.

It's easy for the projects mentioned to pull out their Cover Flow implementation, since they're just plugins after all.

It's no big loss and Cover Flow is pretty useless.

Reply Score: 2

No one sues a project.
by rimzi on Thu 8th Apr 2010 17:41 UTC
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Compiz, Songbird, you're boned.

No one sues a project - it would make no sense.
Not even a sponsoring company, if it does not identify itself with the project.

On the other hand, I thought software patents are worst patent case, because they patent mathematical things.
I was wrong - with design patents one can sue based on how the software looks ;/

Shitty system you have there, USA...

Edited 2010-04-08 17:41 UTC

Reply Score: 2

Member since:

I despise software patents. The USPTO is incompetent and it makes me sad to be from the US.

However, unlike many other idiotic patents, I don't think this will really matter. Cover flow looks pretty, but it is actually a terrible idea. It is not at all useful for finding things. If Apple decides to be evil, Compiz and Songbird can just remove the feature and it will not matter very much. It's not like users depend on cover flow to use the program.

Reply Score: 2

I don't get it!?!?
by cmost on Fri 9th Apr 2010 01:29 UTC
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I don't understand how Apple got this patent!! There are numerous examples of prior art in this case. Further, how does one patent something as abstract as cover flow? Apple also has a patent on the genie effect employed when windows are minimized to the dock. Microsoft has a patent on what amounts to to-do lists. What the hell is the matter with our U.S. patent system??? R.I.P. common sense.

Reply Score: 2

Does anyone else see this...
by mrhasbean on Fri 9th Apr 2010 22:38 UTC
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2006-04-03 a response to Microsoft's patent application as reported on OSNews the other day?

Personally I think it's one of those retarded "well if you're going to make us pay you to use that idea, we're going to make you pay us to use this one" deals. Bloody stupid, but again, the law is what allows it so it makes perfect business sense for both companies.

If you feel that strongly about it don't just whinge, find out how to get the law changed...

Reply Score: 2

Comment by cerbie
by cerbie on Sun 11th Apr 2010 09:48 UTC
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How old is Compiz' screen flip feature? Compiz itself was released a year or so before the patent was filed, it looks like...

Reply Score: 2