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US Patent Office Invalidates Apple's "Rubber Banding" Patent

timothy posted about 2 years ago | from the kill-software-patents dept.

GUI 213

bhagwad writes "The patent that was the cause of so much grief to Samsung in the recently concluded trial with Apple has been tentatively invalidated by the USPTO. The challenge was filed anonymously, but it obviously could have been filed by any smartphone manufacturer. Will this have an effect on further proceedings in the case or perhaps more importantly on the inevitable appeal?"

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213 comments

Finally (5, Funny)

RenderSeven (938535) | about 2 years ago | (#41741231)

Signs of life from the USPTO

Re:Finally (5, Funny)

jkrise (535370) | about 2 years ago | (#41741517)

This is what the rascal Florian Mueller has to say: Apple's rubber-banding (overscroll-bounce) patent is still going to go through a lengthy proces before it may or may not be invalidated. There can be more than one non-final Office action by the Central Reexamination Division. Even a "final Office action" is not final at all. It can be reconsidered by the Central Reexamination Division itself, and the last decision by that division can be appealed to the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB), which used to be called the Board of Patent Appeals and Interferences (BPAI) until recently and is like an USPTO-internal appeals court. Remands by the PTAB to the Central Reexamination Division cause further delay. When the USPTO is done with the patent, its decision can be appealed to the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. And theoretically, a Federal Circuit decision can be appealed to the Supreme Court, which doesn't hear many patent validity cases (but does take a look at important issues from time to time).

Apple has many patents in play against Android. It doesn't matter in a strategic sense if some of them, or even many of them, get invalidated. It just needs to enforce enough of them to ensure product differentiation. The '381 patent covers a signature element of the iOS touchscreen user interface, and Apple is going to fight hard to keep it alive. But at the end of the day it's just one of many patents-in-suit.

Someone needs to whip this scoundrel a 1000 lashes on his bare buttocks until he understands what shit he is spouting as a so-called 'expert' on patents.

Re:Finally (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41741631)

This is what the rascal Florian Mueller has to say:

I stopped reading there, anything Florian Mueller has to say is irrelevant.

Re:Finally (4, Insightful)

Zontar The Mindless (9002) | about 2 years ago | (#41742633)

This is what the rascal Florian Mueller has to say:

I stopped reading there, anything Florian Mueller has to say is irrelevant.

Can somebody please offer a cluebat to the BBC, who keep quoting him as though anything he has to say is worthwhile? Thank you.

Re:Finally (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41741653)

Darn it! I had my bet on finding life on Mars first. Should have figured the USPTO exists to make other people money.

Re:Finally (4, Insightful)

MightyMartian (840721) | about 2 years ago | (#41741713)

And rather too late. Apple clearly knows that it's idiotic patents won't hold up in the long run. What counts is that a competitor was hamstrung for some period of time. The object of the game isn't to ban products; Apple knows perfectly well that sooner or later the bulk of its patents are going to be rejected. The point is to cripple competition just long enough to release its own products.

Re:Finally (2)

RenderSeven (938535) | about 2 years ago | (#41742161)

Yes and no. Samsung hasnt been all that hampered and they've both landed a few blows. Until that $1000000000 check clears I wouldnt say Samsung has been actually hampered, and who can say how much all the press has helped (or maybe hurt). Perhaps Apple was foolish to go after Samsung first, rather than a smaller also-ran player just to build up some case law against a less-capable and less-funded legal team?

Re:Finally (2)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41742383)

Damned if you do... damned if you don't.

If they go after the small fries, it will be years down the road before the will affect their main competitor (Samsung, at this point). During that time S3, Note2, etc will be "stealing" customers from Apple.

On the flip side, they go after the big-boy first to stop the leak while it's small, but have a bigger fight on their hands.

I think they saw what happened last time (Mac vs PC), saw weapons they could use (Patents) and went with it. In one respect, it makes sense. All's fair in war after all. In the other sense, it's easy to lose face due to going to the dark side (Lawyers, lack innovation, spending more money on lawyers than new products, etc).

Personally, I think this will hasten their slide back into mediocrity (further into?). The conflicting needs to 'innovate' (Siri, Maps, Mini) while also protecting their cash cows have affected their ability to do anything of notice. Everything they are doing right now is "me-too"

Re:Finally (1)

jbolden (176878) | about 2 years ago | (#41742387)

That would be the strategy if the goal was a slow win of money from Android. Apple genuinely believes Android infringed and their primary goal was to force Android to start forking their look and feel design away from Apple. That's likely been achieved as the systems are forking more and there is less copying.

Re:Finally (4, Insightful)

Tough Love (215404) | about 2 years ago | (#41742807)

Apple genuinely believes Android infringed...

Apple does not genuinely believe anything except that it must defend its margins by fair means or foul.

Re:Finally (2)

DragonWriter (970822) | about 2 years ago | (#41742891)

Perhaps Apple was foolish to go after Samsung first

Apple actually went after HTC first. They went after Samsung second (but before the HTC case was resolved.)

Re:Finally (5, Informative)

Zordak (123132) | about 2 years ago | (#41742943)

Signs of life from the USPTO

This rejection means nothing. Something like 90% of first office actions are rejections. That's just how the USPTO does business, and it's how they've done business for a long time. Even a "final" rejection isn't final. It just means you have to pay more money to keep arguing with the examiner. And you can keep doing that for as long as you're willing to continue paying the fee to go "one more round."

This is a very run-of-the-mill rejection. The court will probably just ignore it. Until the patent is for-real-finally rejected by the patent office (meaning it's been more than six months since the examiner issued an office action and Apple hasn't responded), the patent is strongly presumed to be valid.

This ends the educational portion of today's episode of Slashdot. We now return you to your regularly-scheduled trolling, flame-baiting, karma-whoring, and Microsoft-bashing.

Wooo (4, Insightful)

WillRobinson (159226) | about 2 years ago | (#41741245)

Seen this on terminals long ago think they were zerox, while it didnt bounce it did behave like it had weight an friction. Oh I forgot "On a Cell Phone"

Re:Wooo (2)

ibsteve2u (1184603) | about 2 years ago | (#41741609)

Bugs Bunny did it a long time ago, making a hole out of nothing to pop into to get away from Elmer Fudd.

Re:Wooo (3, Funny)

EdIII (1114411) | about 2 years ago | (#41742439)

It would be fitting to see Looney Tunes referenced in a patent office filing now wouldn't it?

Obviously (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41741247)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1CsTH9S79qI&feature=player_detailpage#t=267s

I may be an AC, but (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41741251)

... I hope I speak for registered users as well, when I say:

YYYYYYYYYYYYEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEESSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS!

I did it (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41741253)

I filed it.

Because it was stupid.

Re:I did it (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41742447)

I filed it too.

Hate it (3, Interesting)

StripedCow (776465) | about 2 years ago | (#41741255)

The annoying thing about it is, rubber banding works sometimes, but not always.
The rule seems to be that rubber banding is activated only when the display contains scrollable content.
They should make it behave the same way, regardless of whether the content is scrollable.
Geez... it really gets me irritated, such basic UI concept and they can't even get it right.

Re:Hate it (2)

berj (754323) | about 2 years ago | (#41741415)

I'm confused. Why would there be scrolling semantics when there is no scrolling? Do you want to see scroll bars when there's no scrolling content too?

Re:Hate it (5, Interesting)

SuperMooCow (2739821) | about 2 years ago | (#41741527)

I think what he's saying is that if there was a rubber band effect, it would confirm that the device accepted his scrolling command but also show him that it's not supposed to scroll.

Re:Hate it (1)

StripedCow (776465) | about 2 years ago | (#41742839)

Correct :)

Re:Hate it (1)

narcc (412956) | about 2 years ago | (#41741603)

That might not be too bad. How else would you know that there was scrolling content short of an impotent attempt to scroll? (Thinking of those scroll bars that only appear while you're scrolling, but are otherwise not visible.)

I'm sure that there's a better way. The point is that it's not completely ridiculous.

Re:Hate it (1)

ToastedRhino (2015614) | about 2 years ago | (#41741681)

Doesn't the fact that the content doesn't scroll at all (i.e., that there is no rubber banding effect) provide the exact same information? You'd still have to make an "impotent attempt to scroll" to see the rubber band effect so it really doesn't save any steps, and iOS is generally responsive enough that if it doesn't scroll when you try you know that that's on purpose and not the OS lagging behind input.

Re:Hate it (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41741747)

All true. But Steve Jobs told his followers that in order to be cool they need their display to dance under their fingertips. Simple doing the obvious (not scrolling when it can't be scrolled) isn't cool.

Re:Hate it (2)

TheLink (130905) | about 2 years ago | (#41741761)

No because the content not scrolling at all could mean your finger tips are too dry, or you missed etc.

Whereas if the behaviour was consistent and it rubberbands, it means the OS got your input just fine.

Re:Hate it (3, Informative)

Bobfrankly1 (1043848) | about 2 years ago | (#41742013)

Doesn't the fact that the content doesn't scroll at all (i.e., that there is no rubber banding effect) provide the exact same information?

Not really. I've had scrollable content not scroll at all because the iOS was stalled out thinking. Then I've had content that looked like it was supposed to scroll but gave no feedback. Made me wonder if the iOS was stalled out again or if it really wasn't scrollable. At least the MacOS has the beachball on the cursor to let you know when the OS is stuck on itself.

You'd still have to make an "impotent attempt to scroll" to see the rubber band effect so it really doesn't save any steps, and iOS is generally responsive enough that if it doesn't scroll when you try you know that that's on purpose and not the OS lagging behind input.

The "generally" being in your experience, not in mine nor my associates.

Re:Hate it (2)

tomhath (637240) | about 2 years ago | (#41741507)

It's like any other gesture. It works when you know exactly what to do in exactly the right context. But unless you know what to do in what context, forget it.

the HP touchpad does that (1)

Chirs (87576) | about 2 years ago | (#41741637)

In it's web browser...try to scroll on a non-scrollable webpage, and the whole screen shifts up somewhat then snaps back into place when you lift your finger.

Re:Hate it (1)

hack slash (1064002) | about 2 years ago | (#41742367)

FireFox on my Android tablet does this bounce-back thing when I zoom out too far or scroll beyond the edge of the page and then take my finger(s) off the screen. I really hate it. I can't find an option to turn the fucking bounce thing off.

Faith In Humanity (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41741259)

Restored.

Someone's getting fired... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41741261)

...doesn't the guy who invalidated the patent know not to upset their #1 customer?

Re:Someone's getting fired... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41741477)

...doesn't the guy who invalidated the patent know not to upset their #1 customer?

Why would that decision upset IBM?

Re:Someone's getting fired... (2)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about 2 years ago | (#41741573)

Don't worry, 'rubber banding' on all mainframes with touchscreen interfaces is still safe...

Same ol' stuff (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41741265)

Why can't this crap happening DURING the trial?

Re:Same ol' stuff (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41741529)

Why can't this crap happening DURING the trial?

Because it would be far less entertaining.

Re:Same ol' stuff (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41741781)

Why can't it happen BEFORE the trial is a much better question.

Re:Same ol' stuff (1)

PortHaven (242123) | about 2 years ago | (#41742403)

Less drama and headlines for the media.

About time.... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41741267)

Could it be that the USPTO is doing something RIGHT for a change?

Re:About time.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41741717)

Could it be that the USPTO is doing something RIGHT for a change?

I have no idea, this is pretty much the same concept as buttered bread on the back of a cat or stormtroopers vs red shirts. Two impossible scenarios and one of them has to happen.
My guess is that USPTO will invalidate the Apple patent but for the wrong reason and then use the support for their descition to motivate the incorrect reasoning in other cases.

Re:About time.... (1)

ArhcAngel (247594) | about 2 years ago | (#41742349)

I built a sterling engine using a 2 cats and a slice of buttered bread tied together once.

they should pay. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41741271)

Now Apple should be forced to apologize on a full-page ad in some newspapers. Or be forced to wear a tutu in the breakroom over lunch or something.

Re:they should pay. (3, Funny)

Jintsui (2759005) | about 2 years ago | (#41741537)

I'm pretty sure some Apply employees already do that..

Re:they should pay. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41741791)

Now Apple should be forced to apologize on a full-page ad in some newspapers. Or be forced to wear a tutu in the breakroom over lunch or something.

No.

Apple fanbois will be forced to remove their tutus.

And the eyes they don't get blinded by the overload of pasty-white shininess will bleed - the world over.

First reaction... (-1)

ElitistWhiner (79961) | about 2 years ago | (#41741283)

No Shit!

WTF will reward innovation, research and development now Sherlock?

Re:First reaction... (1)

ibsteve2u (1184603) | about 2 years ago | (#41741521)

Money?

stupidest question ever? (1)

sribe (304414) | about 2 years ago | (#41741293)

Will this have an effect on further proceedings in the case or perhaps more importantly on the inevitable appeal?

Yes.

oh dear, uspto..... (3, Insightful)

P-niiice (1703362) | about 2 years ago | (#41741301)

Why can't the Patent Office do their jobs when reviewing these Bs patents the first time?

Re:oh dear, uspto..... (5, Insightful)

Stirling Newberry (848268) | about 2 years ago | (#41741379)

Because the USPO is paid for by fees.

Re:oh dear, uspto..... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41741487)

But isn't that the ideal way to run government? Like a business? Instead of stealing our hard-earned money?

Re:oh dear, uspto..... (4, Interesting)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about 2 years ago | (#41741839)

But isn't that the ideal way to run government? Like a business? Instead of stealing our hard-earned money?

There are arguments to be made in favor of running certain aspects of government like a business(if our national parks got to set ticket prices according to actual demand, they'd have a lot less trouble with understaffing and overcrowding...); but there are some issues to watch out for:

1. If you are a business, you have 'customers' and you are beholden(sooner or later) to provide 'customer service'. Be very careful that your 'customers' are the same people that it is your mission to serve and that 'customer service' is the same product that it is your mission to provide. This is a particular problem with government departments that have regulatory functions. In terms of day-to-day interaction, shared professional backgrounds and skill sets, etc. the 'customer' is usually the party who needs to be kept in line; but the mission of the department is the protection of the public(who should be the 'customer'; but who the regulators rarely interact with). In the case of the USPTO, the de-facto 'customer' ends up being the patent applicant, not the vague, voiceless, largely inchoate mass of 'people who don't want inefficiencies introduced by bad patents'. It's natural enough, and likely to progress even faster if the entity is overwhelmed by its caseload, or if there is a revolving door between USPTO examiners and corporate patent attorneys(which, even in the absence of corruption of any kind, the fact that similar skills are required by both jobs tends to mean will happen to some degree).

(To end on a positive note) The institution of 'Agricultural extension programs', typically associated(in the US) with the research programmes and faculty experts at local Land-Grant Colleges and Universities that operates reasonably successfully as a sort of 'like a business; but in a broad sense' program. Their objective is the improvement of agricultural standards and outcomes in their area, through consultation and expertise on local conditions, pests, etc. along with research made possible in part through access to the data gathered by working with the agricultural population at large, and often offering certain soil testing, analytical, and pest identification services at accessible prices. These aren't "like a business" in the sense that they are run for-profit, and they do have a basic research, R&D, and educational mission; but they are operated as an essentially pragmatic, productivity and profit improving, adjunct to private agriculture in their region.

Re:oh dear, uspto..... (1)

jbolden (176878) | about 2 years ago | (#41742441)

There is actually a pretty good way to handle that. You have two agencies that are staffed very differently.

A is a pro business commerce group that is involved and coordination
B is an hostile agency that goes after the worst offenders

For example on environmental regulation of coal
A is staffed by people from the coal industry and people from West Virginia, Ohio...
B is staffed by people from wildlife preservation from California, New York....

That way in terms of regulation A plays good cop and B plays bad cop.

Re:oh dear, uspto..... (3, Insightful)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about 2 years ago | (#41741849)

But isn't that the ideal way to run government? Like a business? Instead of stealing our hard-earned money?

...

I really, really hope that's sarcasm...

If not, I'll make you a deal: I'll get the government to stop "stealing your money," and in return, you stop using the services and infrastructure that "stolen money" pays for.

Re:oh dear, uspto..... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41741593)

They get the application fees regardless of whether or not the patent is issued.

Re:oh dear, uspto..... (1)

Blue Stone (582566) | about 2 years ago | (#41742375)

Additionally I remember reading an article where some guy, an 'activist' judge or similar decided that he wanted the USPO to behave in a stamp-and-approve manner and let the courts sort out any fall-out, disputes etc, after the fact. He and others convinced a whole slew of other people and the USPO became the anti-competitive malign tumour in the body of innovation and competition that it is today, feeding lawyers and their families and paying for their second homes and yachts, while legitimate businesses and competition is stifled.

Bonus points to anyone who can link to that article.

Re:oh dear, uspto..... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41742827)

Uhh, hey dumbass tinfoil hatter... You're not going to convince me that a JUDGE would make a ruling that would be beneficial to the legal industry. That is a disgusting conflict of interest and is immoral and unethical. JUDGES don't do that. That's why they're elected or appointed into their position.

You fucking conspiracy theorists are so naive.

It at first you are rejected...try again. (5, Interesting)

DeadCatX2 (950953) | about 2 years ago | (#41742459)

Chances are that it was rejected the first time. And the second time. And the third time...

You see, when Apple doesn't get a patent approved, they just change a few words and keep trying. Take for example the '604 patent. It was rejected twice in 2007, three times in 2008, once in 2009, twice in 2010 and once in 2011. (source: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/10/08/technology/patent-wars-among-tech-giants-can-stifle-competition.html?_r=0&pagewanted=all [nytimes.com] )

Finally it got approved (tenth time is the charm!).

Re:It at first you are rejected...try again. (2)

DragonWriter (970822) | about 2 years ago | (#41742761)

Chances are that it was rejected the first time.

Well, actually, it was largely approved the first time, in an earlier patent that Apple filed (which was only granted after this one was filed), that's one of the reasons many of the claims in this patent are being rejected.

What is it about? (1)

foma84 (2079302) | about 2 years ago | (#41741317)

Can someone please translate that shit to plain English?
What does the patented "Rubber Banding" do and how important this single invalidation is?

Re:What is it about? (2)

alen (225700) | about 2 years ago | (#41741371)

on iOS there is a cool effect

say you want to refresh a page. you scroll down just a bit, let your finger off the screen and the data/text bounces back and forth a bit like a rubber band

pure eye candy and cool

Re:What is it about? (5, Informative)

ToastedRhino (2015614) | about 2 years ago | (#41741737)

You're describing pull to refresh, not rubber banding. It's a different, but I would agree somewhat related, idea than the rubber band effect, and Twitter actually owns the pull to refresh patent, not Apple.

Rubber banding is when you get to the end of a scroll view, the view continues to scroll a bit past where it's supposed to while showing a generic background (it's now the grey linen on iOS, can't remember what it used to be), then bounces back to the top of the screen. This provides a visual indicator that you've reached the end of the scrollable area.

I won't argue that this should be a patentable idea, but if it were only "eye candy" and not functional in some way every other smart phone maker wouldn't be trying to/have already implemented (and removed for fear of litigation in the case of Android) it.

Re:What is it about? (5, Informative)

Vicarius (1093097) | about 2 years ago | (#41741437)

What does the patented "Rubber Banding" do...

Rubber banding happens, when you try to scroll past the content, your screen will scroll a little beyond the content and then bounce back. This gives the user a visual feedback that device is responding to the input (trying to scroll) and that device is not frozen; thus, making the experience less frustrating.

Re:What is it about? (1)

devent (1627873) | about 2 years ago | (#41742481)

Don't you have a scroll bar that indicates how many content your can scroll and where in the document you are?

Re:What is it about? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41742613)

How in hell is visual feedback patentable?

Captcha: looming

Re:What is it about? (1)

Gaygirlie (1657131) | about 2 years ago | (#41743025)

How in hell is visual feedback patentable?

Five letters: USPTO. 'Nuff said.

Re:What is it about? (1)

Kultiras (2589819) | about 2 years ago | (#41741485)

When you scroll past the end of the content in an app, it keeps scrolling until you pick up your finger. The content then visually bounces back to it's original constraints.

Re:What is it about? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41741575)

Watch the youtube vid up top, post marked obviously

Re:What is it about? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41741611)

It was a patent on using a rubber band and plastic wrap as a condom.

You are now free to do so.

It means Apple Is a Patent Troll and was caught (-1, Flamebait)

theshowmecanuck (703852) | about 2 years ago | (#41742165)

Apple the Patent Troll was caught with their hand in the cookie jar trying once again to claim they invented something that they didn't. The difference is, this time they were caught. And for the first time something with legal weight pointed it out. Now we need them to point out that Apple did not invent: the mouse, windows/GUI, digital music players, tablets, smart phones, the internet (and please, no lame Al Gore jokes), etc. etc. etc.

Anyone else care to add to the list of misinformation on things Apple and their fans claim Apple invented?

Re:It means Apple Is a Patent Troll and was caught (1, Funny)

Shagg (99693) | about 2 years ago | (#41742369)

Anyone else care to add to the list of misinformation on things Apple and their fans claim Apple invented?

The rectangle.

Re:It means Apple Is a Patent Troll and was caught (0)

PortHaven (242123) | about 2 years ago | (#41742443)

The One Button Curse

One button mouse
One button trackpad
One button phone
One button patent

***

In the news, Apple sues Amazon for their One-Click checkout. Amazon says, it's fine, they just have to use a link instead of a button as Apple owns all the rights to "One Button Interfaces"

About time (4, Insightful)

onyxruby (118189) | about 2 years ago | (#41741355)

The patent situation has gotten completely out of control. What was once the very capitalist means to inspire and reward creativity is now the very anti-capitalist means to stifle competition and commit lawfare.

The patent system need to be reformed as badly as any government run bureaucracy ever has. It's not just in the US either, these problems are epidemic on a world wide scale. When lawyers become more important in product development than engineers you know the system has reached a crisis point.

The point you're making is really confused (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41741655)

by your (mis)use of the word "capitalist". I can't work out what you mean by "capitalist" here and I rather suspect you can't either ...

Re:About time (1)

mspohr (589790) | about 2 years ago | (#41741683)

I don't think that patents were ever about "inspiring creativity". They were always about protecting your "invention" from competition.
I really don't think patents serve any socially useful purpose. They are just create monopolies on ideas which are exploited by corporations. The result is that the consumer has less choice and higher costs (and companies higher profits).
Anything that can be copied just by looking at it is "obvious" by definition and shouldn't be eligible for a patent. Things such as industrial processes which are less obvious and more complex can be (and usually are) considered trade secrets.

Re:About time (1)

Rytr23 (704409) | about 2 years ago | (#41741833)

They also protect people from corporations. See the small time inventor that comes up with some novel household product, they put in the work to get it made, work on marketing etc. then they get a meeting with say, Home Depot or Lowes to see if they would sell the object. Home Depot and Lowes look it over carefully, let their designers take a look..then decide, "no thanks, have a nice day" A month later they are selling the exact same thing, killing this persons idea and dream. If that person doesn't have a patent on this invention, they are totally fucked with no recourse. They spent months or years and thousands or tens of thousands of dollars trying to get this product to market, only to have some corporation take it with no repercussions whatsoever. But that's OK right? Everyone should do work for free for fucking multi-billion dollar corporations.

Re:About time (1)

mspohr (589790) | about 2 years ago | (#41742107)

This is a nice theory but history has shown that it rarely works this way.
Usually what happens is that "large corporation" copies the idea and tells the inventor to take a hike. Small inventor doesn't have money to sue so takes a hike.
The only time you see patent trials are when two large companies are battling it out. Small inventors usually get screwed if they can't sell out to large corporation.

Re:About time (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41741885)

While you are right that patents are not about "inspiring creativity" you are wrong that they were invented for protecting "inventions". They were invented to encourage sharing of information. That is, it was meant for inventions which would otherwise have been kept secret to keep competition out. The deal is "OK, you tell us how your invention works, and in return we legally protect it for a limited time, so you still have protection from your competition, but the information is out on the open, so others can use it afterwards."

Of course many of today's patents are clearly not about the type of thing patents were originally made for.

Re:About time (1)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about 2 years ago | (#41741995)

I don't think that patents were ever about "inspiring creativity". They were always about protecting your "invention" from competition.

Unless we're talking about inventions created by the likes of Mother Theresa, those two are often one in the same.

Why should I waste time inventing something, if I can't make money off of it? Nothing wrong with altruism, but I've got a household to feed.

I really don't think patents serve any socially useful purpose. They are just create monopolies on ideas which are exploited by corporations. The result is that the consumer has less choice and higher costs (and companies higher profits).

Then you don't understand the true purpose of patents (not that I blame you; there's been a lot of intentional obfuscation of that topic over recent years); I'll give an example:

My dad is an inventor. He designs accessories for various types of "toy" trailers (by "toy" I mean ATVs, boats, jetskis, et. al). If he couldn't patent his designs, some massive corporation like Bass Pro Shops could take a quick look at the design, replicate it, and have it in every Bass Pro store in the nation by the end of the week. My dad, the guy who did all the work figuring out what needed to be done and designing the product, gets fucked.

Stuff like the aforementioned are why we have a patent process to begin with. Granted, it's a royally fucked up process at this point, but that doesn't change the fact of its necessity.

Unless, of course, you're of the mentality that mega-corporations should be the only one's who make any money, in which case I know of a particularly short pier you should take a long walk on.

Re:About time (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41742925)

The phrase is one and the same, you fucking quasi-literate knothead.

The government is afraid of the implications (1, Insightful)

PPalmgren (1009823) | about 2 years ago | (#41741721)

The USPTO, with these bogus patents, is basically creating value out of nothing. I think the reason the gov't won't touch patent reform with a 10 foot pole is that the US economy doesn't produce anything anymore, and the destruction of this bogus value is the destruction of one of the only things the US produces anymore. Its like they think we can hoodwink the world into believing there's a significant value to 1-click and a stupid rubber band GUI effect. Yes, there's some value to these, but right now its grossly inflated by a few orders of magnitude by our broken patent system.

Just because its said loud enough and repeated by policymakers doesn't make it true. The longer this goes on, the more painful the bubble pop is going to be when someone like China stands their ground.

Re:The government is afraid of the implications (1)

Shagg (99693) | about 2 years ago | (#41742445)

More like the corporate lobbyists with their truck loads of cash are telling the government not to touch patent reform with a 10 foot pole.

Re:About time (1)

Biotech_is_Godzilla (2634385) | about 2 years ago | (#41741729)

these problems are epidemic on a world wide scale.

== these problems are pandemic.

FTFY like a grammar nazi :P

Re:About time (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41741735)

I suspect to the contrary. I think some people were not happy with USPTO from the very beginning. This is just facts of life kinda things. Those happy with the current state of affairs are quiet, those unhappy are vocal, someone makes some changes and the the two groups stay the same - just membership changes.

"anti-capitalist" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41741991)

Nit picking, but: current patent situation is anti-free-market, not anti-capitalist.

USPTO pay for lawyer fees? (1)

CannonballHead (842625) | about 2 years ago | (#41741401)

So, of course, the USPTO is going to pay for Samsung's lawyer fees, right? ....

Re:USPTO pay for lawyer fees? (1)

newyorkdude (844311) | about 2 years ago | (#41741475)

USPTO should be sued by both parties for this nonsense. By Samsung for the lost lawyer fees. By Apple for the lost presumed revenue.

Re:USPTO pay for lawyer fees? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41741623)

USPTO should be sued by both parties for this nonsense. By Samsung for the lost lawyer fees. By Apple for the lost presumed revenue.

Are you nuts? That would 100% guarantee that none of the patents would ever be overturned as that would expose USPTO to huge liability.

Re:USPTO pay for lawyer fees? (1)

hAckz0r (989977) | about 2 years ago | (#41742219)

Agreed, and you just unknowingly highlighted a major part of the problem. Only while the USPTO is permitted to continue to police itself will it have this corrupt kind of behaviour. History has shown that any organization which has the responsibility to police itself will ultimately become corrupt. Only by having an external branch to govern the "invalidation" process will we ever have relief from this plague. The courts are simply not adequate for this job, because too much damage has been done by the time they are even involved with a patent. So each patent should go through a pre-validation process with a non-biased technical entity, having absolute patent veto power, before it even becomes an actual patent. There must be no control held over this entity by either Congress or the USPTO, similar to the way the judicial system is appointed for life, otherwise it just won't work.

.
Why a separate life-long entity? Doing a good job has never been in the self interest of the USPTO, even from day one. Congress loves the USPTO because it derives revenue for all their pet (pork) projects when funding is otherwise scarce. Congress wants the USPTO to patent just as many things as they can to derive even more revenue, and do nothing to curtail that flow of those funds. Should the USPTO actually 'do what is right' then Congress will be very unhappy with them. Why on earth would Congress ever pass a law to make things right? That's not going to happen until Congress is actually forced by voters to face the facts of what the USPTO is actually doing to the general economy, which makes Congressional pork funding problems small by comparison.

Uncited Theft from Academia (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41741451)

Look in HCI this stuff has been done since forever. Academics got really interested in touch technologies in the early 2000s. They've been used spring decay to make "nicer" and more natural interfaces ever since.

Many patents out there are IP theft. They are stealing from public institutions and patenting technology that has been developed in academia.

Re:Uncited Theft from Academia (1)

Lieutenant_Dan (583843) | about 2 years ago | (#41742681)

Hate the game, not the player. Universities need to get smarter in protecting publically-funded IP.

Samsung? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41741633)

Was this one of the items that Samsung was said to have copied from Apple? Because if so, it sounds as though that $1bn bill will be shrinking in the near future.

Re:Samsung? (1)

PortHaven (242123) | about 2 years ago | (#41742471)

Yup...

Samsung just adjusted their next quarterly profit estimates up $500 million.

And at the end of the day ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41741677)

how much did both companies just piss away on lawyer's fees ?

Re:And at the end of the day ... (2)

MightyMartian (840721) | about 2 years ago | (#41741753)

It's irrelevant. Legal fees are simply the entry fee to the arena. That's the ticket price. The goal of the game is to hamstring your competition. Apple wins even when it loses, because it takes six to nine months for a challenge to a patent to even make a ripple, meanwhile the courts, being forced through lack of meaningful expertise, pretty much give the complainant the power of the state to shut the border to competition until such time as the patent is invalidated.

The patent system has turned the courts into pimps who sell the state's trade powers like expensive whores.

Re:And at the end of the day ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41741981)

Simple solution....ban Apple for the same length of time.

Prior Art from Apple (3, Informative)

mkraft (200694) | about 2 years ago | (#41742021)

What the linked article doesn't mention, but this one does [arstechnica.com] is that one of the prior art patents that invalidates the "rubber band" patent is owned by the same Apple employee that owns the "rubber band" patent.

Re:Prior Art from Apple (1)

PortHaven (242123) | about 2 years ago | (#41742489)

Look, there are examples done in Macromedia Flash that basically used the same concept. Albeit, maybe reversed. But still, enough of a similar concept to prove that there was NO invention at play.

*tentatively* (1)

mark-t (151149) | about 2 years ago | (#41742181)

That's a key word there...

No point in getting excited about this yet.

Who knows how long it will be, if ever, that they actually follow through with it?

real smart strategy there (1)

slashmydots (2189826) | about 2 years ago | (#41742619)

So now they get no Google maps renewal guaranteed, no screens from Samsung for any products, no licensing for anything Samsung owns, serious 4G LTE patent problems, everyone else in the entire industry hates them and it actively trying to destroy them, and they don't even get their 1 billion in all likelihood. Wow, great business strategy there, Apple.
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