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New Apple Multi-Touch Patent Is Too Broad

CmdrTaco posted more than 3 years ago | from the they-usually-are dept.

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adeelarshad82 writes "Nearly three and a half years later, Apple has finally been awarded the U.S. patent number 7,966,578, which according to the patent experts should worry rivals. According to exclusive interviews with patent experts, the incredibly broad patent puts Apple in a strong position when it comes to displaying content and using certain finger gestures on smart phones. The patent is so broad that not only will Apple's legal team target iPhone competitors but will also look to go after iPad and iPod rivals. Experts also discussed the scenario of Apple licensing its patented technology or for that matter, the courts completely scrapping the patent in public's interest."

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CmdrTaco sucks (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36529644)

CmdrTaco is a good little cuckold and helps to fluff the dicks of the men who plow his wife and he makes sure to clean the jizz out with his tongue before the next dude steps up.

Intuitive gestures should not be patented (1)

sandytaru (1158959) | more than 3 years ago | (#36529704)

Next thing you know, Microsoft will try to patent "waving" as it is used on the Kinect, and anyone who builds a motion detection gadget or system will have to have a license for "waving" issued from them.

Re:Intuitive gestures should not be patented (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36530332)

I would rather have that, then these companies just copy and undersell the inventors who put in the R&D and innovation. I'm looking at Android...

Re:Intuitive gestures should not be patented (1)

Caratted (806506) | more than 3 years ago | (#36530528)

Oh yes, much better to have lawsuits between corps, wasting money on patent lawyers that don't do anything, trying to drive a monopoly on a tech that's been used since the 90's, than to waste money on development and innovation that would increase competition and benefit the consumer...

I'm looking at Jobs...

They all do this. (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36529740)

If companies like Nokia can hold broad patents and require Apple to pay them $10 for every iPhone in licensing fees. Apple should be allowed to do the same to Nokia. The patent system has upheld these broad patents time and time again. If you want to do something in the publics interest, the entire patent system should be reformed.

Re:They all do this. (0)

medcalf (68293) | more than 3 years ago | (#36530244)

Dead on, and me without mod points.

Re:They all do this. (4, Interesting)

recoiledsnake (879048) | more than 3 years ago | (#36530324)

Broad patents? Nokia holds some very specific patents related to the GSM communication hardware/software technology unlike Apple patenting a mechanism that has been around for ages. Example from 1991 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S8lCetZ_57g [youtube.com]

Re:They all do this. (2)

DriedClexler (814907) | more than 3 years ago | (#36530790)

Someone explain to me, seriously, how the fuck is this kind of patent even granted? You can patent the very idea of allowing multipe touches on a touchscreen, no matter how it is implemented? Isn't that like patenting the idea of rolling to your destination, no matter if you do it by chariot, train, car, etc?

Re:They all do this. (1)

s73v3r (963317) | more than 3 years ago | (#36530814)

If that really is prior art, then the patent either shouldn't have been granted, or it just won't survive the first challenge.

Re:They all do this. (1)

sdguero (1112795) | more than 3 years ago | (#36530834)

Fyi, arguing with apple fanbois is pointless. It's like telling a catholic priest that god is a woman, or a prius owner that organic food isn't any better for them. Pointless.

Hate Apple (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36529746)

I hate apple so much right now. They are the new Micro$oft.

Re:Hate Apple (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36529882)

I hate apple so much right now. They are the new Micro$oft.

Why? Because they hold defensive patents like every other company on the planet?

Re:Hate Apple (2, Insightful)

rwven (663186) | more than 3 years ago | (#36530170)

They're not defensive. They go after people with their patents. Good luck trying to prove they actually invented this crap in court though.

Re:Hate Apple (1)

dingen (958134) | more than 3 years ago | (#36530744)

Good luck trying to prove they actually invented this crap in court though.

Are there devices released prior to the iPhone which use things like pinch to zoom?

Re:Hate Apple (1)

s73v3r (963317) | more than 3 years ago | (#36530798)

Unlike any other company on the planet? They're doing what everyone else is doing, yet you single out Apple for hate.

Re:Hate Apple (-1, Flamebait)

intheshelter (906917) | more than 3 years ago | (#36530458)

No, because he's trying to be cool by joining the "I hate Apple" crowd. Apple is changing the IT world balance and change makes people uncomfortable, usually people who don't understand it. Apple is no saint, but my experience is they are usually hated by people who don't know what they are talking about and don't have any firsthand experience with their products. I was one of them 7 years ago and my experience with Apple over the last 7 years has changed my opinion.

Re:Hate Apple (1)

EraserMouseMan (847479) | more than 3 years ago | (#36529938)

Oh, stop it. You only feel that way because of all the $$$ you threw after Apple products and media. And now are wondering how you fell for it in the first place.

Unfortunately (3, Insightful)

imamac (1083405) | more than 3 years ago | (#36529748)

Apple and others will continue to try for broad patents like this for the forseable future in order to protect themselves from crazy lawsuits made by others who have broad patents. Vicious cycle...

Re:Unfortunately (3, Informative)

UnknowingFool (672806) | more than 3 years ago | (#36529872)

At first glance, this patent appears to be one of the technologies Apple acquired when they bought FingerWorks in 2005.

Re:Unfortunately (1)

ciderbrew (1860166) | more than 3 years ago | (#36530016)

stop :( I wanted one of those keyboards and now I can't have one.

Re:Unfortunately (1)

Tsingi (870990) | more than 3 years ago | (#36530000)

Apple and others will continue to try for broad patents like this for the forseable future in order to protect themselves from crazy lawsuits made by others who have broad patents. Vicious cycle...

It does serve to guarantee that all the ideas in the world are owned jointly by corporations that can afford to create huge patent portfolios.

And to hell with the rest of us.

Re:Unfortunately (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36530296)

This patent was applied for by a company of two people based on research done during one of those peoples doctoral dissertation. The fact that those people decided they would sell their patent portfolio before the patent was granted really isn't the fault of the patent process.

Re:Unfortunately (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36530448)

Well, it is. Not all patent systems allow patents to be 'sold'.

Re:Unfortunately (1)

s73v3r (963317) | more than 3 years ago | (#36530846)

It's because the Patent office is completely understaffed and underfunded. If they had more funding, they could afford to hire decent people from industry, even if only on a contract basis, and many of these patents wouldn't hold up, because most people in industry would say that's not a new invention.

Don't hate the player ... (4, Insightful)

gstoddart (321705) | more than 3 years ago | (#36529824)

Experts also discussed the scenario of Apple licensing its patented technology or for that matter, the courts completely scrapping the patent in public's interest.

Don't hate the player, hate the game. The problem isn't so much specifically that Apple applied for (and got) this patent. It's that the patent system itself is out of control and stupid, and encourages companies to apply for overly broad patents.

I'm sure if Microsoft had a product in the works at that time, they'd have applied for this patent -- same goes for IBM, Google, or pretty much anybody.

If the courts are going to start scrapping individual patents in the public interest, they should do this for a very broad set of patents which do nothing but patent something which lots of people independently came up with.

Overhaul the patent system or fix the damned patent office ... but don't cherry pick which patents we figure should be over-turned so other companies can come out with products as well. Because there's a lot of patents which are just as fundamentally blocking to developing products as this multi-touch one.

Re:Don't hate the player ... (1)

gbjbaanb (229885) | more than 3 years ago | (#36529904)

true, and its only going to get worse untl the public, industry, judiciary and executive give a particular "finger gesture" to software patents, and especially broad ones like this.

Re:Don't hate the player ... (2, Insightful)

pandrijeczko (588093) | more than 3 years ago | (#36529916)

Don't hate the player, hate the game.

It's a shame then that they don't practice what they preach and "Think Differently".

Re:Don't hate the player ... (0)

gstoddart (321705) | more than 3 years ago | (#36530076)

"Don't hate the player, hate the game."

It's a shame then that they don't practice what they preach and "Think Differently".

Look, you can "think differently" all you like ... but in an environment where lawyers, patents, and licensing fees affect every product you make or sell, if you didn't build your patent portfolio you'd be an idiot, and likely be failing in your duties to the shareholders.

You can try to agitate for change, but if you think Apple is going to be a martyr to the notion of patent reform ... well, then you're horribly naive. If someone patented it out from underneath them, and they had to pay licensing, they'd be the ones getting fucked over for taking a moral stance. So, how would that benefit them?

It's simply not possible for a company the size of Apple to not engage in patents, even if they do suck. And, expecting that they should try is just a little too idealistic.

Re:Don't hate the player ... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36530044)

Microsoft already had Surface (which was stupid product) which was capable of multi user multi touch

Re:Don't hate the player ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36530312)

Already? Surface was launched mid-2007. Apple had demoed the iPhone at the beginning of that year.

No I think I can (4, Insightful)

hellfire (86129) | more than 3 years ago | (#36530188)

I personally hate gun makers for lobbing in a broken system to keep guns legal and to keep regulations at a minimum so they can sell as much as they can, but if I get shot in the leg by some person on the street, depending on the situation I think I'm well within my moral rights to hate the person holding the gun, no matter who gave it to them.

Re:No I think I can (1)

s73v3r (963317) | more than 3 years ago | (#36530888)

That would be the difference between offensive and defensive patent use.

Re:Don't hate the player ... (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 3 years ago | (#36530256)

The patent system lost its way when it had to pay for itself instead of getting money from a general fund.
Once again, the republicans trying to push there flawed 'free market' approach to everything fails.

Re:Don't hate the player ... (1)

s73v3r (963317) | more than 3 years ago | (#36530916)

Wait, really? Got a source for that? Because requiring a government office to sustain itself, especially one with such a limited appeal but that requires expertise in just about every realm of science, technology and engineering, is beyond foolish.

Re:Don't hate the player ... (1, Insightful)

geekoid (135745) | more than 3 years ago | (#36530282)

Also, you can hate the player. Stop giving excuse to these jackholes.

The could play the game differently. They could push for a more rational system.

Re:Don't hate the player ... (1, Interesting)

gstoddart (321705) | more than 3 years ago | (#36530536)

Also, you can hate the player. Stop giving excuse to these jackholes.

Fine, hate the player ... I don't care.

The could play the game differently. They could push for a more rational system.

Yes, they could push for that, and they quite possibly do.

But when we see stories that say that Oracle figures Google owes them 6.1 billion dollars [slashdot.org] , then you'd have to be an idiot to think that Apple would be able to simply not patent this stuff and sing kumbaya and pass out flowers. If someone patented this very thing, and suddenly sues Apple for $6 billion ... well, they'd be screwed. And, they'd pretty much have nobody to blame but themselves.

Like I said, go ahead, hate the patent system ... hate Apple if you think it makes you feel better or bolsters your argument ... the reality is, in the current legal climate where the big players sue each other for vast sums of money, not patenting this would be stupid. Expecting Apple or any other company to act like some other company wouldn't fuck them over if they had half a chance is mostly just ignoring the realities of the situation.

But, hey, go ahead, pick something you think we should "fight the power on" ... start setting up a booth on the street corner to sell pirated copies of Microsoft windows and hit albums. Tell them it's unjust and that you're just trying to change the system. And, when they drag you off to the big house or seize all of your assets, you can feel all warm and cozy in the knowledge that you took a principled stand.

You seem to expect that Apple should throw themselves onto their own sword to make a dramatic point ... companies don't work like that. As long as this is how the patent system works, companies don't have much of a choice than to play by the rules of the game.

Re:Don't hate the player ... (3, Interesting)

s73v3r (963317) | more than 3 years ago | (#36530954)

No, they really couldn't. It's basically the Prisoner's dilemma. If all agree to stop playing and reform, then things would work out better for everyone. However, because they are run by humans, that won't happen, because if even one company keeps playing, then all are fucked. And if only one stops playing, then that company is royally fucked.

So no, you can't really single out a single "player" for hating.

Re:Don't hate the player ... (1)

JasterBobaMereel (1102861) | more than 3 years ago | (#36530438)

.. corrected ...

"It's that the American patent system itself is out of control and stupid" .

Most of these patents do not actually apply to most of the world, but hobble systems anyway because it is too expensive to do a US and Non-US system ...

Re:Don't hate the player ... (1)

gstoddart (321705) | more than 3 years ago | (#36530652)

"It's that the American patent system itself is out of control and stupid" .

Most of these patents do not actually apply to most of the world, but hobble systems anyway because it is too expensive to do a US and Non-US system ...

Well, the way the US has been exporting the entrenchment of protection of copyright and IP into treaties [wikipedia.org] , so that other countries are more or less responsible for policing this ... I disagree.

The US of late has been making sure that copyright violations are pursued at a higher level than organized crime, drug trafficking, and pretty much everything else. Other countries were more or less told that if they didn't sign on to this, they would face barriers to trading with the US.

If they haven't done so by now, enforcement of their patents is not far behind. So, you'll forgive me for failing to believe your assertion that this is only affecting the US.

This is why the Department of Homeland Security and the FBI are now pursuing enforcement of such things.

Re:Don't hate the player ... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36530782)

Microsoft had a Tablet for 10 years, maybe 7, and they DID not think of this type of interaction with Multi-Touch. Many others could have written the Gesture Language.

BUT, with ample time they did Not.

Apple deserves this Patent.

Re:Don't hate the player ... (1)

hypergreatthing (254983) | more than 3 years ago | (#36530852)

The main problem with these broad patents aren't so much that they hurt other big players, but it completely eliminates anyone else from entering the marketplace. Completely artificial barriers to the market place means that only the big players can make a profit. There can be a electronics designer who enters the marketplace with a new cool idea (like lets say infra red sensors for a cell phone and a 3d display so you can interact with it 3d by pressing virtual buttons) without them violating 300 extremely broad patents and being litigated to bankruptcy.

Since no one else can enter the market, there's no real competition and you can bet that anyone stupid enough to try will be eaten up by any of the major patent holders, therefore the competition and innovation will be drastically reduced.

The time when someone could take an idea and improve and existing product/idea is over, unless you have an army of lawyers and a fortune to pay them.

An optimist view. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36529892)

This is not bad after all. This will make the competitors take a step back, review their existing designs and come up with more innovative ideas for display systems and interaction with them.

Re:An optimist view. (1)

ciderbrew (1860166) | more than 3 years ago | (#36530060)

How do you better the use of hands & interaction with stuff?

I'll show them a finger gesture... (2)

bennomatic (691188) | more than 3 years ago | (#36529908)

I've got your patent *right* *here*.

Re:I'll show them a finger gesture... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36530544)

That'll be $500,000.

Re:I'll show them a finger gesture... (1)

pandrijeczko (588093) | more than 3 years ago | (#36530604)

Here's $1,000,000, I'll take two fingers-worth for the V-sign I'm about to use.

Wait just a second... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36529944)

Didn't Apple *invent* the multi-touch interface they use?

Isn't everyone completely copying them?

Aren't patents supposed to protect inventors so they can make money off of it?

Didn't those other vendors know the patent was pending?

Didn't it take 3.5 YEARS for Apple to get the patent? Which is a lot different from submarine trolling.

So..what's the problem here, except you're afraid the company that made your ripoff will be sued or have to pay a license fee for something they actually didn't create?

Re:Wait just a second... (2)

TigerTime (626140) | more than 3 years ago | (#36530132)

I'm pretty sure I was born with 10 fingers, so 'life' and 'reality' invented a multitouch universe

Re:Wait just a second... (1)

PIBM (588930) | more than 3 years ago | (#36530144)

Multi touch interfaces have been around for quite a while. Hell, I made a 4 inputs custom driver for windows XP in 2003 (that`s all I could manage from the free samples I had ordered, but it could have scaled upward if I had wanted to) and implanted some generic gesture recognition.

So, a device which detect a gesture to change a page on a portable device is a limited implementation of what I was able to do with my implementation. But then, I built that from previous research which had gone much further already. Anyway, the US patent system just seem so broken.

Re:Wait just a second... (1)

gnasher719 (869701) | more than 3 years ago | (#36530278)

Multi touch interfaces have been around for quite a while. Hell, I made a 4 inputs custom driver for windows XP in 2003 (that`s all I could manage from the free samples I had ordered, but it could have scaled upward if I had wanted to) and implanted some generic gesture recognition.

Great. Did you publish it? If you published it, is it actual prior art?

Re:Wait just a second... (1)

PIBM (588930) | more than 3 years ago | (#36530616)

Actually, it was on the university website, along with all other project for that course. And I found most of the information from which I built it from the web too.

Mod me down, but... (5, Informative)

Phleg (523632) | more than 3 years ago | (#36529992)

This is one of the few widely-publicized patents in recent memory that I think is probably justified.

It's hard to remember back to before the iPhone existed, but devices like it weren't even on the radar of any major phone manufacturer until after Steve Jobs' announcement. Sure, the individual technologies had existed, but real progress comes from combining [everythingisaremix.info] those technologies in completely unexpected ways. The iPhone was neither obvious nor derivative, and all the devices that have come since have benefited greatly from the research and development time and funds that Apple poured into the concept. This seems like exactly the sort of situation the patent system is meant for.

Re:Mod me down, but... (3, Informative)

OKK77 (683209) | more than 3 years ago | (#36530160)

Ever heard of LG Prada? Probably not because I bet you hardly look across the ponds surrounding you.

Re:Mod me down, but... (1)

intheshelter (906917) | more than 3 years ago | (#36530520)

That's about as stupid as saying the finger was already invented so touch gestures have prior art. LG Prada is not an example of prior art, but nice try.

Re:Mod me down, but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36530626)

A very, very, good point, but no need for the ad hominem, n'est ce pas?

Have to agree (4, Insightful)

Space cowboy (13680) | more than 3 years ago | (#36530190)

From the "expert" commentary in TFA:

'Apple's patent essentially gives it ownership of the capacitive multitouch interface the company pioneered with its iPhone'.

Well, ok then. Isn't that what patents are all about ? This is the system *working* as designed. You can argue that the system itself is broken, but this seems to be exactly how it ought to be, within our current frame of reference. Apple designed a totally new and radical way of interacting with phones, and patented it. Sounds ... reasonable.

Simon

Re:Have to agree (1)

ThinkWeak (958195) | more than 3 years ago | (#36530946)

I'm all for hating Apple for their methods of controlling the consumer experience, controlling the device the consumer purchases, and controlling the content the consumer is allowed to put on their device. However, as much as it pains me to say it, Apple actually deserves this patent. They did spark a whole industry and we're all better because of it.

I just don't want them to stomp on the rest of the industry with this patent, which they will do.

Re:Mod me down, but... (1)

spire3661 (1038968) | more than 3 years ago | (#36530232)

THe iphone was absolutely obvious and deriviative. The problem is all the phones that came before didnt have the full ecosystem to back it up. The iphone by itself is a an ok phone for the most part. its the software and ecosystem behind it that really drives the device. And Apple benefited greatly from seeing others mistakes and missteps too. The street goes both ways.

Re:Mod me down, but... (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36530238)

What about companies that manufacture these touchscreen devices? Aren't they the ones who should be holding the relevant patents? Why is it that apple has the power to artificially limit the touchscreen manufacturer's market just over "use cases" ??

Bullet To The Back Of The Head For You (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36530248)

The computing world needs to round up every foaming at the mouth Apple fanboy like you and line them up in the desert and fucking put a bullet in the back of the head of each and every one of you.

Re:Mod me down, but... (1)

DontBlameCanada (1325547) | more than 3 years ago | (#36530342)

Touch screens have been in use for a very long** time in military applications. Nothing the PlayBook, iPad, Windows or Android tablets do of the gestures they use is new or unique. In a commercial space, maybe, in general no.

Re:Mod me down, but... (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36530358)

The iPhone was neither obvious nor derivative, and all the devices that have come since have benefited greatly from the research and development time and funds that Apple poured into the concept.

You obviously missed the TED talk (from before Apple filed for the multitouch patent) where a researcher demonstrated a multi-touch interface. If you had seen that talk, you'd know that the iPhone is both obvious and derivative.

If anything, Apple et al should be paying that researcher millions of dollars for researching the multitouch concept.

Re:Mod me down, but... (1)

MoldySpore (1280634) | more than 3 years ago | (#36530436)

Sorry, but allowing Apple the ability to stifle competition by suing anyone who makes a rival product, which would end the potential for anything BETTER being created, is not only stupid but backwards thinking of the worst kind. We should encourage competition and rival products, not award companies who are the first through the gate with a free pass to take companies who want to compete to court. If you think that is what patents are for, then you should not be commenting on the patent system.

The only thing this highlights are the huge problems with the current patent system and shows a prime example of why it should be reformed from the ground up. Apple getting license to say they own certain finger gestures and touch technology is worse than Best Buy trying to say they own the word "geek", because this could actually effect real technological innovation as the market shifts more and more towards touch based devices.

Re:Mod me down, but... (1)

SquareVoid (973740) | more than 3 years ago | (#36530488)

I find patents like these hardly on par with something like the combustion engine or other real inventions. What we have here is just user interface stuff. It is no different to when MS received a patent for double clicking [slashdot.org] . I am open to being corrected on this though. What is it about this patent that truly was innovative? Also, I think there is a fine line between an innovative invention and one that takes existing technology and "combines" it. Remember, a lot of patents were granted because something that existed had "with a computer" added and recently adding "with a mobile device" or "on the internet" to the patent application instantly became a patent. These kinds of things are iterative which, if I am not mistaken, should fail to meet the criteria for a patent.

Re:Mod me down, but... (1)

khb (266593) | more than 3 years ago | (#36530512)

Well put. The upside to the patent system is that innovation can be rewarded better than simple mimicry. Most of the post iphone devices ARE clearly derivative ... just as all keyboards are substantially similar.

Obviously, whoever invents the first one does deserve to benefit from it.

Perhaps Nokia and Microsoft will skip the legal posturing and just balance the $10/device "tax" Apple now pays to Nokia and balance will be restored to the Force.

Re:Mod me down, but... (3, Informative)

Missing.Matter (1845576) | more than 3 years ago | (#36530514)

A full screen multi touch iPod was the number 1 rumor for years before the iPhone came out. Putting a GSM radio in it doesn't make it completely unexpected. Further, multitouch devices have been around for decades, including the associated (and obvious) gestures. See http://billbuxton.com/multitouchOverview.html [billbuxton.com]

Re:Mod me down, but... (1)

Phleg (523632) | more than 3 years ago | (#36530624)

You do realize there's a giant fucking chasm between merely theorizing about a device and actually building it, right? The Jetsons had flying cars decades ago. Does that make the guy who figures out how to make it practical and widespread any less deserving of a patent?

Re:Mod me down, but... (2)

pscottdv (676889) | more than 3 years ago | (#36530566)

It's hard to remember back to before the iPhone existed...

It's not hard for me to remember watching "Minority Report" in 2002 which demonstrated every gesture in this patent. And as part of a user interface, no less.

Re:Mod me down, but... (1)

MikeBabcock (65886) | more than 3 years ago | (#36530968)

Apple's own Newton combined most of the same features into such a device years before.

If you need a GSM example, the Palm offerings come to mind.

The IPhone's unique feature was eliminating nearly all input aside from the screen. Mind you they did that on the Newton as well.

The Newton supported gestures, by the way. Some of my fav's were in text editing: stroke upward over a letter to capitalize it. Stroke across the screen below your text to create a new entry. zig-zag over a word to erase it.

No, I don't find the IPhone revolutionary, although I still give them credit for the Newton. I still own working OMPs and MP120s.

Dear Apple (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 3 years ago | (#36529996)

http://tinyurl.com/dhh3nu [tinyurl.com]

Patent that, bitch.

Re:Dear Apple (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36530628)

NOT goatse. Just a middle finger. Yes I check every link.

Prior art: Jeff Han multi touch demo at TED, 2006 (3, Interesting)

MarcoPon (689115) | more than 3 years ago | (#36530022)

Re:Prior art: Jeff Han multi touch demo at TED, 20 (0)

bennomatic (691188) | more than 3 years ago | (#36530068)

Can't find the source, but I'm pretty sure they bought Han's company and hired Han. My understanding is that some portions of this patent are his.

Re:Prior art: Jeff Han multi touch demo at TED, 20 (1)

MarcoPon (689115) | more than 3 years ago | (#36530242)

I'm skeptical. In this interview from October 2010, he doesn't seem to be in any special relation with Apple. http://news.cnet.com/8301-13860_3-20020465-56.html [cnet.com]

Re:Prior art: Jeff Han multi touch demo at TED, 20 (1)

bennomatic (691188) | more than 3 years ago | (#36530320)

Well, I'm right so often, statistically speaking, I've got to be wrong some time. Might as well be now. Your actual citation definitely beats out my imagined one.

Re:Prior art: Jeff Han multi touch demo at TED, 20 (1)

dogmatixpsych (786818) | more than 3 years ago | (#36530434)

Apple didn't hire Jeff Han. Apple acquired FingerWorks, which was working on projects similar to what Han was doing. Source: http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=272326 [macrumors.com]

Re:Prior art: Jeff Han multi touch demo at TED, 20 (1)

taiwanjohn (103839) | more than 3 years ago | (#36530152)

My thoughts exactly! In fact, I had assumed that Apple licensed the multi-touch interface from Han, since his TED talk preceded the iPhone's release by half a year or more. How the HELL could the patent office have missed that?

Re:Prior art: Jeff Han multi touch demo at TED, 20 (1)

bennomatic (691188) | more than 3 years ago | (#36530392)

Not that I'm supporting this patent, but it could be possible that Apple has documented evidence of working on this patent well prior to any of Han's evidence. I'm not a patent lawyer, but it's my understanding that the patent award isn't solely based on the filing date, but rather the "date of the invention". So if you invented something in 2001 and filed in 2007, someone who talks about it in 2006 isn't creating prior art.

My understanding is that the filing date can be many years after the invention date, although as soon as a product using that invention is released in the wild (by the inventor or someone else) the clock begins ticking, and they have a year to file.

Re:Prior art: Jeff Han multi touch demo at TED, 20 (1)

taiwanjohn (103839) | more than 3 years ago | (#36530664)

That may be so, but it begs the question... if you invent something in 2001, why would you wait until 2007 to file your patent application?

Re:Prior art: Jeff Han multi touch demo at TED, 20 (2)

crmarvin42 (652893) | more than 3 years ago | (#36530680)

Because talking about something in public first, does not mean that you were the first to work on it.

Apple probably has prior art that preceedes the TED talk that just wasn't public (they are infamous for their secrecy after all). I haven't looked at the patent in question, but if Apple had evidence that they were working on this prior to the TED talk in 2006, and Han didn't already have his own patent application in to the patent office, then the patent office missed nothing.

From what I've read earlier, Apple's original patent application is dated December of 2007, and incorporates some provisional applications that date back to January of 2007. That suggests that they had R&D documentation from at least 2006. Plus they purchased Fingerworks and all of it's IP back in 2005 and it would be surprising if the patent in question was not based, at least in part, on that IP, which most definitely predates a 2006 presentation at TED. Now, Han's company may have even older R&D documentation, but that would be an issue for the patent court to sort out.

It is far from clear who worked in this technology first. All that is clear is that Apple was the first to get their ducks in a row and file a patent.

Re:Prior art: Jeff Han multi touch demo at TED, 20 (4, Informative)

UnknowingFool (672806) | more than 3 years ago | (#36530228)

A few things to note that in the broadest reading of the patent, it applies to portable devices. Second is while Han had probably been working on multi-touch for years and first demonstrated it in 2006, Apple acquired FingerWorks in 2005 specifically for multi-touch products and technology.

Re:Prior art: Jeff Han multi touch demo at TED, 20 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36530900)

Seems to me that if we know that more than one person was working on something at the same time and being open and public about it then it would be "person having ordinary skill in the art" where the art in question is user interface hardware and software.
The filing date is December 19, 2007. If there is a reasonable working demo of multi-touch more than a year earlier, say Feb 2006 like the TED talk. then, as usual, the Patent Office has done a pathetic job of researching the patent and it should not have been granted.

pure speculation stated as fact (1)

sribe (304414) | more than 3 years ago | (#36530034)

The patent is so broad that not only will Apple's legal team target iPhone competitors but will also look to go after iPad and iPod rivals.

They could. They might. They might not.

Just because they got the patent tells us nothing about whether they will use it offensively (double-meaning intended) or defensively.

Re:pure speculation stated as fact (0)

Colonel Korn (1258968) | more than 3 years ago | (#36530192)

The patent is so broad that not only will Apple's legal team target iPhone competitors but will also look to go after iPad and iPod rivals.

They could. They might. They might not.

Just because they got the patent tells us nothing about whether they will use it offensively (double-meaning intended) or defensively.

If this weren't Apple, we might be left to wonder, but Apple has a pretty offensive litigation-heavy record.

Re:pure speculation stated as fact (2)

crmarvin42 (652893) | more than 3 years ago | (#36530896)

Actually, they don't. A perusal of the Apple Litigation [wikipedia.org] page on wikipedia gives the impression that they are the recipient of as many lawsuits as they file. Now I'm sure this isn't an exhaustive list, but remember Apple is not a Patent Troll. They actually release products based on the patents they get into lawsuits over. Competitors can license their patents or come up with a novel way to achieve the same end. Remember, patents are not for "what you do", but "How you do it". I doubt that Apple has just recieved a patent for the ONLY way to make multitouch work on a phone or tablet. Quite possibly it is the easiest, but probably not even the best.

Everyday the same old story (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36530086)

I read this patent and did I discover a really new thing ? No. We can imagine all sorts of patents of this kind. Furthermore touch screens exist for a long time, so the methods to use a touch screen should not be patented. I agree than some very new types of touch screens may be patented, but only the touch screens themselves and the technologies used to build them, but no more, and limiting the patents only to a very narrow field.

Software patents should not be issued.
   

Re:Everyday the same old story (1)

UnknowingFool (672806) | more than 3 years ago | (#36530322)

Um this is for multi-touch which is relatively new compared to touch. While practical touch screens have been around for decades, inventors have only been able to get multi-touch working reliably in a handheld device in the last few years.

Re:Everyday the same old story (1)

macs4all (973270) | more than 3 years ago | (#36530468)

I read this patent and did I discover a really new thing ? No. We can imagine all sorts of patents of this kind. Furthermore touch screens exist for a long time, so the methods to use a touch screen should not be patented. I agree than some very new types of touch screens may be patented, but only the touch screens themselves and the technologies used to build them, but no more, and limiting the patents only to a very narrow field.

Software patents should not be issued.

Keep in mind that when Apple filed for this patent, they were still smarting from Creative Labs suing them [dailytech.com] for having the audacity (no pun) to organize the iPod's data into Artists, Albums and Songs (which was, IMHO the absolute embodiment of an "obvious invention), and there was someone else that sued them for the "click wheel" [ilounge.com] .

I remember when Jobs did the Keynote introducing the iPhone. He went through the various gestures, said "We worked long and hard on this interface, and boy have we patented the heck out of it!"

Well, this is that patent. And Apple deserves every single year of their protection.

Prior Art? (1)

goingToSay (1192935) | more than 3 years ago | (#36530146)

Here is Jeff Hans ted talk for his touchscreen tech. Wouldn't this be prior art? http://www.ted.com/talks/jeff_han_demos_his_breakthrough_touchscreen.html [ted.com]

Re:Prior Art? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36530326)

Yes, it's prior art. Jeff should sue Apple and ask $20 for each iPhone , iPodTouch , iPad sold :)

Re:Prior Art? (1)

erroneus (253617) | more than 3 years ago | (#36530902)

I would have been much more impressed had he been wearing a turtleneck... just sayin'

Patent Review (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36530210)

Trying to intepret this. Claim 2 is the broader one:

A method, comprising: at a portable multifunction device with one or more processors, memory, and a touch screen display:

displaying a portion of page content in a stationary application window on the touch screen display, wherein the portion of page content includes:

a frame displaying a portion of frame content, and other content of the page;

detecting an N-finger translation gesture on or near the touch screen display;

in response to detecting the N-finger translation gesture, translating the page content to display a new portion of page content in the stationary application window, on the touch screen display, wherein translating the page content includes simultaneously translating the displayed portion of the frame content and the other content of the page;

detecting an M-finger translation gesture on or near the touch screen display, where M is a different number than N;

and in response to detecting the M-finger translation gesture, translating the frame content in the stationary application window, to display a new portion of frame content on the touch screen display without translating the other content of the page.

So a frame has 2 areas.
Ex 1: A browser with the control bar (back, home, reload...) and the web page.
Ex 2: An image editor with image editing tools (flip, rotate, contrast...) and the image itself.

In these examples the portion of frame content is the partial or complete web page or image. The other content are the user controls.
Toucing the screen with 1 (N) finger changes both the portion of frame content and the other content. Touching the screen with 2 (M) fingers just changes the portion of frame content. The second part here is the standard pinch/zoom of an image or web page. The first part is the part that is slightly unique. If the one finger touch was context sensitive, so that it changed the other content - ex: toggled between the image viewer and browser - then it is covered by this patent.

I couldn't find anything in the patent that properly defined translation gesture, so could this be interpreted as a smiple touch?

Huh. (1)

JustAnotherIdiot (1980292) | more than 3 years ago | (#36530300)

"using certain finger gestures on smart phones"
So, can I be sued for giving apple devices the finger now?

Fingers Crossed (1)

SpryGuy (206254) | more than 3 years ago | (#36530394)

"...or for that matter, the courts completely scrapping the patent in public's interest."

This. Let's hope for this.

New System (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36530412)

Perhaps we should replace the current patent system with one based on resources?

Instead of "I invented X!" and "Okay, here's a patent to protect X for 17 (or 21) years."

Rather: "I spent 5 million dollars to develop X!" "Okay, here's a neo-patent to allow you exclusive production rights on X until you gross 200 million dollars or net 50 million dollars, whichever comes first."

And, if any of the "big players" wanted to further innovate, they could pay the neo-patent holder out for the full amount. In effect, purchase the neo-patent for the public domain so that they may freely innovate upon it. The small guy gets his reward, the big companies have incentives to buy-for-all rather than buy-for-themselves, and the public gets innovation.

I like it. (Note: I, the AC author, place this idea into the public domain.)

Fringe benefit (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36530476)

There is a bright side to this: Android fanbois.

I'm going to turn the smug up to fucking 11.

"But, you mean you can't do this gesture on your Android?"

"Oh, yours can? Thanks for subsidizing my iPad!"

Re:Fringe benefit (1)

erroneus (253617) | more than 3 years ago | (#36530950)

All the smug for a low-low price! You realize this is something you bought, not created. Buying a thing does not make you a better person in any particular way. If you believe it does, you now have some idea why the "anti-apple-fanboi" group are so annoyed with you.

Slashdot Hates Patents, News at 11 (1)

njfuzzy (734116) | more than 3 years ago | (#36530574)

Seriously, how is this news? The article title is clearly an opinion. Just because your Kool-Ade is opensource doesn't make groupthink healthy.

Multitouch is essentially patenting mistakes (2)

erroneus (253617) | more than 3 years ago | (#36530610)

Since the beginning of touch sensitive technologies, people have been putting more than one finger on the surface for a very long time. And while it didn't work, users were WISHING it worked because those clumbsy mistakes can be annoying. Wishing for multi-touch does not make for "prior art" but I think it qualifies as "obvious."

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