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Prior art (5, Informative)

Lexx Greatrex (1160847) | more than 2 years ago | (#38442620)

The IBM Simon was a touch screen smartphone with features identical to those claimed in this patent. It was first announced in 1992. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IBM_Simon [wikipedia.org]

Re:Prior art (5, Informative)

Fjandr (66656) | more than 2 years ago | (#38442692)

That's far older than the other obvious prior art: BlackBerry.

Re:Prior art (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38443118)

Aye, been using that on my blackberry for years.... hit back, switch app and boom - still talking and using an app

Re:Prior art (3, Informative)

EdIII (1114411) | more than 2 years ago | (#38443128)

I was about to say that.

On a call I can press the back button and it will ask me if I want to "Continue Call and exit to the home screen". I can run any app I want from that point all with the icons.

Been using it for years now to get phone numbers for people, or look at some email, etc.

For the record, this patent was filed on January 6, 2008.

I know that the Pearl and Curve were released to market well before that date and had the same functionality from what I recall. I can't link to a manual or anything, but I distinctly remember being able to access other applications and data very easily while on the phone.

Re:Prior art (5, Insightful)

icebike (68054) | more than 2 years ago | (#38443422)

Actually you could do this on the old Razr moto phones from the feature phone era.

I suspect Apple is hanging their hat on the phrase "portable electronic device with a touch screen display", believing that doing what had been done all along somehow becomes new and patent-able simply because you added a touch screen into the mix.

I think this gets tossed the first time they try to enforce it.

Re:Prior art (1)

varmittang (849469) | more than 2 years ago | (#38442704)

No where on that page does it say you can take a phone call, and switch to one of the other apps will still on the call.

Re:Prior art (2)

Amouth (879122) | more than 2 years ago | (#38442992)

then just reference windows mobile.. it could do it also starting in 2000

Re:Prior art (4, Insightful)

NewWorldDan (899800) | more than 2 years ago | (#38443066)

It's called multitasking. Electronic devices have been doing this since the 1960s. There is absolutely nothing special here. I've been making VoIP calls on my computer since the mid 90s. Guess what? I could switch to another program without breaking the call. The fact that this all fits in my pocket now is nothing special. Oh, but this takes input from a touchscreen. I guess that's different and no one else is making those.

Re:Prior art (2)

itamihn (1213328) | more than 2 years ago | (#38442712)

I was also switching to apps during calls in Symbian with My Nokia 6680. And for sure, the iPhone was not born yet by that time.

Re:Prior art (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38442952)

Unless you're a hot chick willing to post pics, we don't want to hear about what you do on your sybian [wikipedia.org] .

Doubtful (3, Insightful)

SuperKendall (25149) | more than 2 years ago | (#38442718)

Do the other applications on that phone change appearance when a phone call is in progress? It would seem not.

What the patent really is going after is the header during a phone call that says "touch to return to call" when you are in applications. I actually think working around this would be pretty easy for any Android device that had software buttons, because you could put the call indicator/return button there... they key is just modifying the UI of the running app during a phone call.

However, even though you can work around it it's still a stupid patent to have granted... The only problem is all of the big companies have such troves of patents now that will any of them be willing to give up the power a majority of the patents currently hold?

Re:Doubtful (5, Informative)

scot4875 (542869) | more than 2 years ago | (#38443314)

Do the other applications on that phone change appearance when a phone call is in progress? It would seem not.

But even if those phones' applications don't, Android phones' do. Not only does the notification area show the state of the phone call, but the individual applications can query the state of the phone and update their interface if they want. Most don't, because it's generally an unnecessary and barely used feature anyway.

--Jeremy

Re:Prior art (1)

QuasiSteve (2042606) | more than 2 years ago | (#38442738)

I'm sure there's a particular detail that means that it is not valid as prior art. Of course, the other way around, Apple's patent will in fact cover that device and any other device. Especially Android ones.

At this point I wish the 'open handset alliance' would just do what other companies do - let their enthusiast hackerbase make packages available with the firmware / system / applications that would otherwise have their devices banned or costing them in licensing.

Let's see Apple/Microsoft/Motorala/Nokia/Whoever complain that the HTC 4tehlulz infringes because a third party with an anonymous account provides an aftermarket package that is well-known and which infringes on a hundred of their patents.

Sadly, that wouldn't get rid of the equally ridiculous hardware and 'design' patents.

Re:Prior art (4, Insightful)

russotto (537200) | more than 2 years ago | (#38443124)

I'm sure there's a particular detail that means that it is not valid as prior art. Of course, the other way around, Apple's patent will in fact cover that device and any other device. Especially Android ones.

Right. Prior art is interpreted narrowly; any minor difference is enough to invalidate it. Claims, on the other hand, are interpreted broadly; any way of shoehorning the proposed infringing device into the scope of the patent claim is accepted. So it's easy to get a patent that covers things done in exactly the same way as the prior art.

Re:Prior art (5, Insightful)

Fjandr (66656) | more than 2 years ago | (#38442778)

Addendum to my previous comment:

Ah, the filing date does precede the BlackBerry when used with a touchscreen. So, since the method of selecting the app is the only difference, someone needs to file a patent on a method of switching to an app via spoken word, wireless neural net, holographic interface, etc.

A patent being differentiated by flipping a switch with your finger versus flipping the switch with a stick is not a significant enough difference to warrant a patent. The USPTO needs to be burned to the ground, the ground salted, and the patent reviewers driven underground to live forevermore as the troglodytes they really are*.

*Hyperbole.

Re:Prior art (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38443160)

And how does one "activate" the app on a touchscreen while in a telephone call except by using the touchscreen to select and activate the App. Obvious even to a kindergarten student. Perhaps the Patent Examiner cannot see the forest for the trees.

Re:Prior art (1)

kawabago (551139) | more than 2 years ago | (#38443192)

Since you're using hyperbole why are the reviewers surviving the burning?

Re:Prior art (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38442812)

I think the prior art clause died a month or two ago. Legislation was signed that turned the whole thing into a "first to file" system. I hope I'm waaaaaaay off base.

Re:Prior art (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38442982)

I think the prior art clause died a month or two ago. Legislation was signed that turned the whole thing into a "first to file" system. I hope I'm waaaaaaay off base.

You are. Prior art is just as relevant as before w/r/t novelty, first-to-file only affects the case where multiple entities apply for patents on the same valid (i.e. novel, non-obvious, etc. invention.

I could explain at more length, as I did to the two people I've previously corrected on this, but it's getting old. How long till we can have one article about patents without this silly misconception coming up?

Re:Prior art (1)

s.petry (762400) | more than 2 years ago | (#38443120)

And how are they supposed to determine what is overlapping when we no longer describe inventions but concepts? It's simply not possible and the system much like so many other Government institutions needs to be formatted and started over!

The Business process patent legislation in the 90s has been proven to be an economic failure. Lets make Legislature call it over and be done with it!

Re:Prior art (0)

devitto (230479) | more than 2 years ago | (#38442884)

What's Prior Art ? Didn't you hear it's first to file now?
So it's either be eaten by Apple, or IBM (who probably patented every concievable angle)

Re:Prior art (3, Informative)

icebraining (1313345) | more than 2 years ago | (#38443070)

Prior art didn't disappear with first to file. Just secret prior art. Any product or published document still counts to invalidate a patent.

Re:Prior art (2)

netsavior (627338) | more than 2 years ago | (#38442926)

Also Treo, blackberry, Hiptop(sidekick), those are only the ones I happened to have owned.

Opensource (1)

DrYak (748999) | more than 2 years ago | (#38443416)

And for the opensource side of things, Openmoko is also multi-tasking, also taking its input from a touch screen and also predates the filing of this patent.

(Can someone comment on the GreenPhone, too ? Never owned one myself.)

Re:Prior art (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38442964)

It's about time all these stupid patents were dismissed.

Can you imagine what the car would be like if they had all these stupid patents in place. You can't use wheels, can't use steering wheel, can't even as much as use a wind shield, and the stupid list would go on. Maybe a triangular shape that cannot take passengers springs to mind.

The dumb assess should be thrown out, prior art or whatever. Bunch of losers.

Re:Prior art (1)

mrmtampa (231295) | more than 2 years ago | (#38443200)

I think WebOS on the Palm Pre could access apps via wifi while in a call.

Re:Prior art (1)

mug funky (910186) | more than 2 years ago | (#38443300)

my banged up old nokia is quite good at this too. the only inconvenience is pulling the phone away from my ear.

Who the heck (what 1 million monkeys) (1, Insightful)

bobstreo (1320787) | more than 2 years ago | (#38442648)

Are reviewing Patents nowadays?

Re:Who the heck (what 1 million monkeys) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38442722)

Apple and the monkeys that think they are innovating are annoying

Re:Who the heck (what 1 million monkeys) (2)

camperdave (969942) | more than 2 years ago | (#38442792)

Apple invented a document stamping machine a while back which can take a stack of patent request forms and stamp "approved" on them.

Re:Who the heck (what 1 million monkeys) (4, Insightful)

jd (1658) | more than 2 years ago | (#38442822)

The USPO doesn't review patents. It makes them available in case anyone wants to complain (there's a year window for that) but they leave it up to the courts to handle the legality of patents. The problem is, the courts defer to the USPO and assumes they've handled the legality of patents. If someone actually took responsibility for patents, there probably wouldn't be the current mess.

Re:Who the heck (what 1 million monkeys) (1)

zill (1690130) | more than 2 years ago | (#38442990)

I think you meant USPTO.

USPTO does actually have thousands of scientists and engineers who review the patents.

Re:Who the heck (what 1 million monkeys) (1)

JonySuede (1908576) | more than 2 years ago | (#38443250)

what do you know about the USPO ? ;)

Re:Who the heck (what 1 million monkeys) (0, Redundant)

Dachannien (617929) | more than 2 years ago | (#38443212)

The USPO doesn't review patents. It makes them available in case anyone wants to complain (there's a year window for that) but they leave it up to the courts to handle the legality of patents. The problem is, the courts defer to the USPO and assumes they've handled the legality of patents. If someone actually took responsibility for patents, there probably wouldn't be the current mess.

False. And with a UID that low, does that make you the first troll on the Internet?

Re:Who the heck (what 1 million monkeys) (1)

tqk (413719) | more than 2 years ago | (#38442830)

Who the heck (what 1 million monkeys) are reviewing Patents nowadays?

It does appear that whether you can patent something or not is dependent upon nothing whatsoever. Prior art and obviousness don't appear to matter. All that's necessary is an ignorant patent examiner, and they appear to be all there are. Then, once you get it, file suit in East Texas, and extort your competitors.

"Apple Patents Using Apps During Calls" ... What programmer isn't going to see this as merely calling a subroutine upon some specific event happening?

All hail the New American Way.

Whaaa??? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38442666)

My phone does this already. Sometimes even if I don't want it to!

Getting sillier by the day. (4, Insightful)

Computershack (1143409) | more than 2 years ago | (#38442676)

This is just getting stupid beyond the point of belief. Next they'll be trying to patent using a battery to power the phone.

What they don't realise though is that shit like this puts people off. Certainly my 3 year old MBP is about ready for replacement whilst it still has some resale value and I am seriously considering whether to give my money to these asshats. Plenty of corporate grade laptops with the same quality for the same money and I'm as happy running Linux as I am OS X.

Re:Getting sillier by the day. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38442754)

What they don't realise though is that shit like this puts people off.

Don't you realize that this does not turn people off and that people complaining about this on slashdot are only portion of total population of people on slashdot. Then on top of that, this subset of a subset of the world population is completely insignificant.

Re:Getting sillier by the day. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38442810)

Next they'll be trying to patent using a battery to power the phone.

shhh! don't give them any ideas.

captcha: sewage

Are you sure about that? (5, Insightful)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 2 years ago | (#38442844)

What they don't realise though is that shit like this puts people off.

Who does this "put off" other than techno-geeks that read sites like /.? I don't think the average consumer is taking Apple's heavy-handed patent tactics into account when they are picking out their next smartphone. This is a win-win for Apple; they make it cumbersome for their competitors to have basic functionality on their devices and can use said cumbersomeness to argue that their products are more consumer friendly. Meanwhile nobody outside of communities like this one cares about the tactics they are using. Heck, even within this community we've got our share of apologists for Apple/Google/Microsoft/other-boogieman-of-the-day.

In the long term this argues in favor of patent reform. That will be an uphill battle though; most policymakers are woefully ignorant about this issue and even the ones who are well informed don't find it a sexy enough issue to spend political capital on. One can only hope this issue becomes more mainstream as the court system bogs down under the load of nonsense patent litigation.

Re:Are you sure about that? (1)

MrHanky (141717) | more than 2 years ago | (#38442924)

The whole world is techno-geek these days. At least as much as the average Slashbot.

Re:Are you sure about that? (1)

bigstrat2003 (1058574) | more than 2 years ago | (#38443062)

Um. no.

PLEASE APPLE PATENT MORE! (4, Insightful)

bussdriver (620565) | more than 2 years ago | (#38442860)

I want this cold-war style phone war to end in everybody getting sued into oblivion! Maybe the crooks in government will fix the patent system when their kids can't buy a new smart phone anymore.

Re:Getting sillier by the day. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38442946)

"This is just getting stupid beyond the point of belief. Next they'll be trying to patent using a battery to power the phone."

No, it will only be a patent using a battery to power phones "during calls".

Re:Getting sillier by the day. (2)

muon-catalyzed (2483394) | more than 2 years ago | (#38442976)

I feel ashamed now, I also bought their products and give them this kind of power. And.. after all these years in development Linux really is a viable option now, technically speaking.

Re:Getting sillier by the day. (1)

TheGratefulNet (143330) | more than 2 years ago | (#38443204)

don't joke, they actually have a patent on soldering the battery in.

(I'm less than half serious. how much, you'd have to ask apple: as telling you over a posted-message is also patented...)

Re:Getting sillier by the day. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38443412)

What they don't realise though is that shit like this puts people off.

What you don't realize is that geeks aren't people. It pisses you off. Most people don't know or care as long as Angry Birds keeps working.

If only... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38442708)

Apple could die like jobs.

Because this crap is getting silly.

Easy workaround (-1, Redundant)

jrumney (197329) | more than 2 years ago | (#38442726)

Use the Back button. Since Apple never put more than one button on a device (unless its a keyboard), they won't have covered that in their patent application. Having more than one physical button available to enable multiple tasks is probably what the submitter means by "clumsy".

Re:Easy workaround (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38442796)

I hear Apple is working on replacing the keyboard with 1 button. It will revolutionize the English language.

Re:Easy workaround (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38442904)

I hear Apple is working on replacing the keyboard with 1 button. It will revolutionize the English language.

Details here:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9BnLbv6QYcA

Re:Easy workaround (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38442954)

It will revolutionize the English language.

Nah...it's just a return to the days of the telegraph.

"Clumsy" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38442730)

Actually, switching to an app during a phone call is clumsy- how will I know the call is still active? Currently the iPhone shows a little green flashing bar at the top of the screen. Nice, but somewhat-easily missed.

How about providing an integrated interface within the "phone call" screen? Much more elegant, gives app writers something to compete on, etc.

See? Ideas are a dime a dozen! Wish I had the wherewithal to patent this... that's why I'm a poor, starving AC.

(captcha: accrue)

Re:"Clumsy" (4, Funny)

camperdave (969942) | more than 2 years ago | (#38442856)

See? Ideas are a dime a dozen! Wish I had the wherewithal to patent this... that's why I'm a poor, starving AC.

I used to be a poor, starving AC like yourself. Then, I got a Slashdot account for free! Now I'm a poor, starving Slashdot account holder!

Intervention (-1, Troll)

Totenglocke (1291680) | more than 2 years ago | (#38442746)

I think it's looking like the government needs to intervene and disband Apple as a matter of public interest. If Apple is allowed to proceed, society will be severely harmed because no one will be able to produce anything, do anything, or think anything without violating at least half a dozen of Apple's bogus 'patents'.

What's that? You want to talk while making a phone call? Sorry, Apple patented that - that'll be $100 per call in royalties to Apple or you'll be sued for $750 billion dollars. Breathing while making a phone call will only cost $50 per call....

Re:Intervention (1)

Zameru (1988762) | more than 2 years ago | (#38442928)

Wasn't Apple the ones who said they'd do no evil...no, thats right it was other guys in the white hats. It's all them companies engaged in becoming BIG Brothers. Single just one out and another robo-Corp. will pop-in in it's place.

Re:Intervention (3, Interesting)

geekmux (1040042) | more than 2 years ago | (#38442998)

I think it's looking like the government needs to intervene and disband Apple as a matter of public interest. If Apple is allowed to proceed, society will be severely harmed because no one will be able to produce anything, do anything, or think anything without violating at least half a dozen of Apple's bogus 'patents'

Yes, because Apple is the only one out there guilty of building up a rather ridiculous patent library...give me a break. Like there's not at least another half-dozen companies guilty of doing the exact same thing.

If you're going to target anyone, then put the crosshairs on who's really to blame here...this abomination of a patent "system" we have./p.

Checking the phonebook while on a call is old... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38442750)

Seriously?

I've been able to do this ever since I had a Nokia 8 years ago. Anyone remember switching to the phone book to get a number for someone? What's next? A patent for using the phone while it is charging?

Re:Checking the phonebook while on a call is old.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38443016)

Seriously?

Yes seriously, because unlike your simplistic view, the patient is a lot more specific.

1. A method, comprising: at a portable electronic device with a touch screen display: displaying on the touch screen display a first user interface for a phone application during a phone call; detecting activation of a menu icon or menu button during the phone call, in response to detecting activation of the menu icon or menu button, replacing the first user interface for the phone application with a menu of application icons including an icon for the phone application and an icon for a non-telephone application; maintaining the phone call while displaying the menu of application icons on the touch screen display; detecting a finger gesture on an application icon in the menu of application icons other than the phone application icon; in response to detecting the finger gesture on the application icon other than the phone application icon, displaying a corresponding application user interface on the touch screen display while continuing to maintain the phone call and modifying the corresponding application user interface to include a switch application icon that is not displayed in the corresponding application user interface when there is no ongoing phone call; detecting a finger gesture on the touch screen display on the switch application icon; and in response to detecting the finger gesture on the switch application icon, replacing display of the corresponding application user interface with the first user interface for the phone application while continuing to maintain the phone call.

2. The method of claim 1, including displaying the user interface for the phone application, during the phone call, so as to occupy all or substantially all of the touch screen display with the user interface for the phone application.

3. The method of claim 1, wherein, when displaying the menu of application icons in response to detecting activation of the menu icon or menu button, including an icon for the phone application, the phone application icon is changed in appearance as compared to when there is no ongoing phone call.

4. The method of claim 1, including, while displaying the menu of application icons in response to detecting activation of the menu icon or menu button and while continuing to maintain the phone call, displaying a switch application icon in the menu of application icons that is not displayed in the menu of application icons when there is no ongoing phone call, wherein in response to detecting activation of the switch application icon in the menu of application icons, the device replaces the menu of application icons with a display of the user interface of the phone application.

5. The method of claim 1, including displaying the corresponding application user interface so as to occupy all or substantially all of the touch screen display with the corresponding application user interface while continuing to maintain the phone call.

6. The method of claim 1, including, in response to said detecting activation of the menu icon or menu button during the phone call, concurrently activating a speaker function for the phone call.

7. A portable electronic device, comprising: a touch screen display; one or more processors; memory; and a program, wherein the program is stored in the memory and configured to be executed by the one or more processors, the program further including instructions for: displaying on the touch screen display a first user interface for a phone application during a phone call; detecting activation of a menu icon or menu button during the phone call; responding to activation of the menu icon or menu button by replacing the first user interface for the phone application with a menu of application icons including an icon for the phone application and an icon for a non-telephone application; maintaining the phone call while displaying the menu of application icons on the touch screen display; detecting a finger gesture on an application icon in the menu of application icons other than the phone application icon; responding to detecting the finger gesture on the application icon other than the phone application icon, by displaying a corresponding application user interface on the touch screen display while continuing to maintain the phone call and modifying the corresponding application user interface to include a switch application icon that is not displayed in the corresponding application user interface when there is no ongoing phone call; detecting a finger gesture on the touch screen display on the switch application icon; and responding to detecting the finger gesture on the switch application icon, by replacing display of the corresponding application user interface with the first user interface for the phone application while continuing to maintain the phone call.

8. The device of claim 7, including instructions for: while displaying the menu of application icons in response to detecting activation of the menu icon or menu button and while continuing to maintain the phone call, displaying a switch application icon in the menu of application icons that is not displayed in the menu of application icons when there is no ongoing phone call, wherein in response to detecting activation of the switch application icon in the menu of application icons, the device replaces the menu of application icons with a display of the user interface of the phone application.

9. The device of claim 7, including instructions for: in response to said detecting activation of the menu icon or menu button during the phone call, concurrently activating a speaker function for the phone call.

10. The portable electronic device of claim 7, the one or more programs further including instructions for displaying the user interface for the phone application, during the phone call, so as to occupy all or substantially all of the touch screen display with the user interface for the phone application.

11. The portable electronic device of claim 7, wherein, when displaying the menu of application icons in response to detecting activation of the menu icon or menu button, including an icon for the phone application, the phone application icon is changed in appearance as compared to when there is no ongoing phone call.

12. The portable electronic device of claim 7, the one or more programs further including instructions for displaying the corresponding application user interface so as to occupy all or substantially all of the touch screen display with the corresponding application user interface-while continuing to maintain the phone call.

13. A non-transitory computer readable storage medium storing one or more programs, including instructions, which when executed by a portable multifunction device with a touch screen display, cause the device to: display on the touch screen display a first user interface for a phone application during a phone call; detect activation of a menu icon or menu button during the phone call, respond to activation of the menu icon or menu button by replacing the first user interface for the phone application with a menu of application icons including an icon for the phone application and an icon for a non-telephone application; maintain the phone call while displaying the menu of application icons on the touch screen display; detect a finger gesture on an application icon in the menu of application icons other than the phone application icon; respond to the finger gesture on the application icon other than the phone application icon by displaying a corresponding application user interface on the touch screen display while continuing to maintain the phone call and modifying the corresponding application user interface to include a switch application icon that is not displayed in the corresponding application user interface when there is no ongoing phone call; detect a finger gesture on the touch screen display on the switch application icon; and respond to the finger gesture on the switch application icon by replacing display of the corresponding application user interface with the first user interface for the phone application while continuing to maintain the phone call.

14. The computer readable storage medium of claim 13, including instructions, which when executed by a portable multifunction device with a touch screen display, cause the device to: while displaying the menu of application icons in response to detecting activation of the menu icon or menu button and while continuing to maintain the phone call, display a switch application icon in the menu of application icons that is not displayed in the menu of application icons when there is no ongoing phone call, wherein in response to detecting activation of the switch application icon in the menu of application icons, the device replaces the menu of application icons with a display of the user interface of the phone application.

15. The computer readable storage medium of claim 13, including instructions, which when executed by a portable multifunction device with a touch screen display, cause the device to: in response to said detecting activation of the menu icon or menu button during the phone call, concurrently activate a speaker function for the phone call.

16. The computer readable storage medium of claim 13, the one or more programs further including instructions which cause the device to display the user interface for the phone application, during the phone call, so as to occupy all or substantially all of the touch screen display with the user interface for the phone application.

17. The computer readable storage medium of claim 13, wherein, when displaying the menu of application icons in response to detecting activation of the menu icon or menu button, including an icon for the phone application, the phone application icon is changed in appearance as compared to when there is no ongoing phone call.

18. The computer readable storage medium of claim 13, the one or more programs further including instructions which cause the device to display the corresponding application user interface so as to occupy all or substantially all of the touch screen display with the corresponding application user interface-while continuing to maintain the phone call.

19. A graphical user interface on a portable electronic device with a touch screen display, a memory, and one or more processors to execute one or more programs stored in the memory, the graphical user interface comprising: a first user interface for a phone application during a phone call; wherein: activation of a menu icon or menu button is detected during the phone call; in response to detecting activation of the menu icon or menu button, the first user interface for the phone application is replaced with a menu of application icons including an icon for the phone application and an icon for a non-telephone application; the phone call is maintained while displaying the menu of application icons on the touch screen display; a finger gesture is detected on an application icon in the menu of application icons other than the phone application icon; in response to detecting the finger gesture on the application icon other than the phone application icon, a corresponding application user interface is displayed on the touch screen display while continuing to maintain the phone call and the corresponding application user interface is modified to include a switch application icon that is not displayed in the corresponding application user interface when there is no ongoing phone call; a finger gesture is detected on the touch screen display on the switch application icon; and in response to detecting the finger gesture on the switch application icon, display of the corresponding application user interface is replaced by the first user interface for the phone application while continuing to maintain the phone call.

20. The graphical user interface of claim 19, including a switch application icon in the menu of application icons, displayed while the menu of application icons is displayed in response to detecting activation of the menu icon or menu button and while the portable electronic device continues to maintain the phone call, wherein the switch application icon is not displayed when there is no ongoing phone call, wherein in response to detection of activation of the switch application icon in the menu of application icons, the menu of application icons is replaced with a display of the phone application user interface.

21. The graphical user interface of claim 19, wherein, in response to said detection of activation of the menu icon or menu button during the phone call, a speaker function for the phone call is concurrently activated.

litany of the obvious (2)

wierd_w (1375923) | more than 2 years ago | (#38442772)

Apple is just doing what it thinks it should. Patenting everything in a litany of the obvious, before somebody else can.

Next up, if it hasn't already been patented by somebody: sending a still to a call recipient in mid conversation by activating the phone's camera, or sending a live feed from the camera to the other party while talking.

Perfect for those times when your wife sends you to the store for "things" while she is busy attending to her aunt flo', and you need a little clarification about which one she needs again...

Or, for those moments when you are peacfully protesting in sanfransico, and the police forcibly disperse you. Multitasking by giving a statement to the press while simultaneously sending scoop footage to the reporter can sure come in handy.

I want a patent (1)

tizan (925212) | more than 2 years ago | (#38442776)

"Using apps while on the potty".

No prior art i am sure...

I'm fairly sure... (1)

jd (1658) | more than 2 years ago | (#38442780)

...multi-tasking hardware has been around for a while. Hell, I started off on one such device (the PET 3032 with 4040 disk drive was multi-tasking as the 4040 had an independent CPU, ROM and RAM, so you could feed it an instruction and it would independently go away to do stuff without tying up the main CPU). I see nothing particularly new or innovative in the concept.

I dunno if the Amulet CPU can multi-task at the hardware level (versus OS multi-tasking in software) but the modular nature of it means I would not be at all surprised.

ftp://ftp.cs.man.ac.uk/pub/amulet/papers/jdg_asyn00.pdf [man.ac.uk]

...and the fact we've been doing this since 2003.. (1)

roc97007 (608802) | more than 2 years ago | (#38442786)

...isn't prior art?

Re:...and the fact we've been doing this since 200 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38443208)

Don't get whats new in this patent too...
must be the typical Apple-shortsighty-stuff, they find/implement something others have for ages (High dpi screens on phones, this time multitasking, etc.) and think it's totally new to the world - and yeah, their fanboys seem to be not the brightest ones of mankind too since they always believe that stuff. The problem's just that the most stupid men currently alive seem to be the guys responsible for accepting patents in the US. probably those should buy some apple stuff to play around instead, or some modern electronic devices to get up to date on this topic?

You Americans are insane (1, Funny)

msobkow (48369) | more than 2 years ago | (#38442794)

If you want to do business with me, come to Canada. I'm not setting foot in the legal nightmare that is the US with my business.

Re:You Americans are insane (1)

Nerdfest (867930) | more than 2 years ago | (#38443356)

I was actually thinking that Google and a few other companies should move a significant portion of their operations to Canada.

How do I patent????? (5, Funny)

axlr8or (889713) | more than 2 years ago | (#38442816)

Taking a shit while using a phone? I wanna do that. You know, maybe if we just spread a little butter on these people, they will eat each other and their children. Sounds good to me.

Re:How do I patent????? (1)

not_surt (1293182) | more than 2 years ago | (#38442944)

Sorry to inform you, but prior art for this exists. I took a photo of it which I can send to you if you like.

Frist sStOp (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38442818)

session and join in others what to Fastest-growing GAY Of HIV and other of progrees. may weel remain Some of you have would take about 2 reciprocating bad opinion in other OpenBSD guys. They Centralized models and has instead on my Pentium Pro dying. See? It's To avoid so as to to fight what has A child knows arseholes at Walnut previously thought and distraction something that you FreeBSD used to CONGLOMERATE IN THE is part of the but now they're

Hell (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38442820)

I've had this on my Nokias going back to the 90s.

Apple is just plain evil - worse than Microsoft (1, Troll)

walterbyrd (182728) | more than 2 years ago | (#38442828)

Apple deserves no good will from anybody.

But the freakish cult of Apple zealots will defend Apple anyway.

Re:Apple is just plain evil - worse than Microsoft (1, Insightful)

Scowler (667000) | more than 2 years ago | (#38443184)

You don't have to be in the "freakish cult" to realize the fault of this lies entirely on the US Patent Office, and, by extension, the US Congress and the White House.

They set up the system, and there's one good way to play it, following normal rules of game theory. Apple is better than most companies at understanding that game theory principle, is all.

Re:Apple is just plain evil - worse than Microsoft (1)

Eyezen (548114) | more than 2 years ago | (#38443202)

Freakish cult is spot on. I attended a seminar on managing and deploying Ipads. Some fanboy a couple of rows in front of me had on his macbook (of course) a picture of Steve Jobs as his desktop background. I shit you not. Freakin' weird...

Re:Apple is just plain evil - worse than Microsoft (1)

TheGratefulNet (143330) | more than 2 years ago | (#38443222)

sony deserves no good will from anybody.

But the freakish cult of sony zealots will defend sony anyway.

works for many companies. but who, here, is actively avoiding sony products? oh, they make some kind of game that teenagers simply cannot live without. riiiiiight.

same with apple. shit that fans cannot live without, no matter how much evil they do.

btw, shiny white plastic causes evil to not stick to it, didn't you know that? rounded corners stop also repel evil spirits.

So... (2)

Dan East (318230) | more than 2 years ago | (#38442834)

In that case, who holds the patent for using apps not during phone calls? What about a patent for using apps when Wifi is on? Or Bluetooth?

Palm Treo is calling from 2002... (3, Funny)

James McP (3700) | more than 2 years ago | (#38442848)

For the love of god, who is doing prior art searches? Drunken tweeners who don't know how to use Google?!?

Re:Palm Treo is calling from 2002... (1)

synapse7 (1075571) | more than 2 years ago | (#38442970)

Correct me if I'm wrong, wasn't the pre able to do this before the iphone?

Re:Palm Treo is calling from 2002... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38443166)

I think everything did this before apple.

Economics of the Patent Office (5, Interesting)

Scowler (667000) | more than 2 years ago | (#38442878)

Our US Patent Office is economically incentivized to approve patent applications, regardless of their merits. If a patent review officer approves a patent application, that means revenue rolling into the institution as the patent is granted and registered. If the patent application is denied, that means outgoing $ as the applicant may litigate the matter and/or appeal.

If our "forward"-thinking Congress really wants to do something about patent reform, they should change the economic model of our patent office, such that the funding of the office is neutral in regards to whether patent applications are approved or denied.

Re:Economics of the Patent Office (5, Interesting)

Scowler (667000) | more than 2 years ago | (#38443018)

Just to follow up, a few ideas that I wish Congress would consider...

#1 Force more patent application appeals into arbitration, and away from the court system. Make the applicant pay for the cost of the arbitrator.

#2 Change the accounting model. Proceeds from granted patent applications should NOT count as revenue towards the patent office and its continued operations, but should directly go into the US treasury.

#3 Provide a formal process for taking into account newly found prior art for patents already granted, including an arbitration process that has the power to revoke such patent. The arbitrator should show some deference to the granted patent, of course, and the cost of such a process should fall squarely on whichever entity is trying to get the patent erased from existence. This would, however, provide us all a way to quantify how well all the attorneys and lawyers involved in a patent application are doing: how many times have they had a patent revoked due to lazy research and missing prior art?

Re:Economics of the Patent Office (2)

green1 (322787) | more than 2 years ago | (#38443238)

How about charging a higher application fee, but no registration fee. That way the patent office doesn't have any incentive either way as to whether to grant the patent or not, but still gets money to keep in operation. Might also help with people filling patents they know shouldn't be granted, because they'd know they have to pay the full cost even if it's rejected.

Re:Economics of the Patent Office (2)

Scowler (667000) | more than 2 years ago | (#38443304)

I thought about something like this, but discarded it because it seems like it would be too advantageous towards larger corporations, that can afford big upfront fees in terms of numerous patent applications, but that smaller businesses and individuals would find daunting. I believe a good solution here would not discourage anyone from filing, just discourage them from being lazy in terms of prior art research.

Granted, at the end of the day, it's the same thing in practical terms... i.e. you are paying more lawyer fees because they have to spend more time doing more research. But at least this kind of cost scales with the breadth of the patent application in question. If it is a broader patent request, then there should be more research required.

Slightly Sensational (3, Interesting)

Voltage Spike (643170) | more than 2 years ago | (#38442898)

This patent covers two items that I am not familiar with today.

1) The application list is displayed alongside the call controls so that you have immediate access to call functions while browsing applications.

2) Applications become call-aware and offer a button to change back to the "phone application" somewhere in the interface.

Android doesn't implement these features, and they are not entirely desirable anyway. I'd much rather have a single interface to accessing applications (hit the home button and then use the shortcut I'm familiar with), and I prefer to have a link to the phone call in the notifications where it is always available.

So a little sensational, but the patent doesn't cover ground-shaking ideas.

Re:Slightly Sensational (2)

Archangel Michael (180766) | more than 2 years ago | (#38443146)

Android doesn't care ... there is a status bar which switches you back to the phone anytime.

This is a dumb patent, right up there with swinging a swing. "One a Phone" is the new "on the internet" patent opportunity.

Re:Slightly Sensational (3, Interesting)

exomondo (1725132) | more than 2 years ago | (#38443174)

1) The application list is displayed alongside the call controls so that you have immediate access to call functions while browsing applications.

Where was that in the patent? I saw icon replacement and switching but not displaying an application list alongside call controls:

displaying on the touch screen display a first user interface for a phone application during a phone call; detecting activation of a menu icon or menu button during the phone call, in response to detecting activation of the menu icon or menu button, replacing the first user interface for the phone application with a menu of application icons

2) Applications become call-aware and offer a button to change back to the "phone application" somewhere in the interface.

I couldn't see that in the patent application, it specifies that there would be a button to change back to the phone application but not that applications would be aware of or include it.

It does say:
modifying the corresponding application user interface to include a switch application icon

Which could presumably include it listed as a 'toast' notification icon at the top like windows phone does.

fuck 4 bitch (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38442910)

What next? (1)

jenningsthecat (1525947) | more than 2 years ago | (#38442968)

This seems about as obvious as walking and chewing gum at the same time - maybe I should patent that, 'prior art' or no, and get rich for a bullshit-trivial idea. The patent office needs to grow a pair; and all the C-levels and lawyers of all of the corporations that are trying to lock down the very air we breathe, ought to be bare-ass spanked and sent to bed without supper every day for a year. Irresponsible snot-nosed brats with entitlement issues, every single one.

Evil enough yet? (5, Insightful)

Coolhand2120 (1001761) | more than 2 years ago | (#38443006)

And exactly when does Apple receive the moniker: "Lord of all evil"? Can we vote to change Apple's logo on /. to a spinning flaming skull circa interweb 1999? Can someone please tell me what it is that Apple has innovated? Not only did they not make their own OS (last I checked FreeBSD is not a product of Apple inc.) but they steal from the open source community. (Logic:if they don't plan on playing nice they really don't deserve to benefit from the eons of man hours that went into creating the OS they so arrogantly tout as their own. That's just my opinion of course.) So what exactly did Apple innovate, invent or create? All I see here is a more up to date version of the windows mobile phones that came out in the late 90's.

Everything they've "invented" is nothing but mashups of technologies that already exist in software frameworks made by people other than Apple. Even the combinations they've selected existed long before the iPhone was created. Voice controlled AI? Ya, we were already doing that a long time before Apple abandoned their PPC hardware platform for the "not as good as the PPC" Intel platform. They are a decade late to the smart phone race, but they claim to be the most prolific innovators in the market. Anyone with even a cursory knowledge of the patents involved know without equivocation that Apple's arguments are worse than baseless, they are an insult to anyone who has used this technology for the last 20 years. And now they aim to cripple their competition, not thorough making a better product, but by using the perverted rule of law as a cudgel to prevent fair competition.

Apple really is the new root of all that is evil.

Re:Evil enough yet? (1)

ThePeices (635180) | more than 2 years ago | (#38443364)

I wish I could mod you up to +6 insightful.

Well said.

Re:Evil enough yet? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38443424)

Yeah, but did they bundle Internet Explorer with their OS? After all that's why we all started calling Microsoft evil.

Libel (2)

C_Kode (102755) | more than 2 years ago | (#38443030)

The idiots who approve stupid patents like this should be held libel for court costs when a company has to go to court to get them overturned.

Re:Libel (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38443262)

It's liable. LIABLE!

Electricity (2)

multiben (1916126) | more than 2 years ago | (#38443060)

What if Tesla had patented AC? Where the hell would all these idiots be then? For christ's sake US gov, do something about this. It is ridiculous!

Apple files Patents, Google delivers features (1, Funny)

paulsnx2 (453081) | more than 2 years ago | (#38443316)

Apple patent filing date: Jan 2008

First Android ships with said feature implemented: Oct 2008

What we really need... (3, Interesting)

PortHaven (242123) | more than 2 years ago | (#38443334)

Is a company with balls...

"Patents, we don't need no stinkin' patents."

COURT: You must respect patents.

COMPANY: "You just lost patent refinery #'s 1, 2 & 3."

Seriously, patents need to go the way of the buffalo. No company should be allowed to own a patent. Just individual inventors.

Treo 650 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38443340)

I still use a Treo 650 as my day-to-day phone, and I do this all the time as part of my work - switching to the calendar, task list, or memo pad while in a call. Hell, I once played Solitaire while on hold on speakerphone!

Please Apple... pretty please (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38443372)

Please Apple....
*** Rant Mode On ***
Please ... DIG a Hole, stay there and DIE but ASAP...
Steve is there please go with him.

Apple, I don't want Your products... not anymore (No craPhone, no craPlets, no iMacraps)
*** Rant Mode Off ***
Ohh pretty please Apple... it's X-mas time

Patent Explained (2)

PortHaven (242123) | more than 2 years ago | (#38443382)

Everyone is saying there is nothing new here. But not the patent. It's the ability to do these things and now use a finger gesture.

Um, that may be harder to find prior art for. But I think I've found an example of prior art for Apple that's been used since the advent of mobile phones used in cars.

m|m

hello? heard of webOS? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38443408)

I could do this really easily in webOS. It would be the same as switching apps without a phone call. What a stupid patent.

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