decoration decoration
Stories

GROKLAW
When you want to know more...
decoration
For layout only
Home
Archives
Site Map
Search
About Groklaw
Awards
Legal Research
Timelines
ApplevSamsung
ApplevSamsung p.2
ArchiveExplorer
Autozone
Bilski
Cases
Cast: Lawyers
Comes v. MS
Contracts/Documents
Courts
DRM
Gordon v MS
GPL
Grokdoc
HTML How To
IPI v RH
IV v. Google
Legal Docs
Lodsys
MS Litigations
MSvB&N
News Picks
Novell v. MS
Novell-MS Deal
ODF/OOXML
OOXML Appeals
OraclevGoogle
Patents
ProjectMonterey
Psystar
Quote Database
Red Hat v SCO
Salus Book
SCEA v Hotz
SCO Appeals
SCO Bankruptcy
SCO Financials
SCO Overview
SCO v IBM
SCO v Novell
SCO:Soup2Nuts
SCOsource
Sean Daly
Software Patents
Switch to Linux
Transcripts
Unix Books
Your contributions keep Groklaw going.
To donate to Groklaw 2.0:

Groklaw Gear

Click here to send an email to the editor of this weblog.


To read comments to this article, go here
Apple's Stupid Patents It Wants to Use Against Samsung's Galaxy S4 ~pj Updated 4Xs Prior Art?
Thursday, May 23 2013 @ 11:31 PM EDT

The judge in Apple v. Samsung II asked the parties to narrow their claims, so they did but now Apple would like to add more claims [PDF], specifically to include the Galaxy S4. Samsung just sold 10 million S4s in less than a month, and Apple's hair must be on fire.

Would you like to know what it thinks of all you 10 million users of the new Samsung Galaxy S4 phone? It thinks you are infringing their stupid patents too, meaning, I would imagine, that if it is successful in this case, it will ask for an injunction against the phones you want and bought.

I'll show you what this stupid case is all about and what Apple thinks about you for buying the phone you want to buy and use, which Apple would like to make illegal to buy and use in the US by means of some infuriating software method patents. If you don't see why software shouldn't be patentable subject matter after watching Apple go for Samsung's throat with these patents, I give up.

Not really. My plan is to keep writing until you give up.

The latest fililngs, first, so you can follow along:

521 - Filed & Entered: 05/20/2013 Terminated: 05/20/2013
STIPULATION WITH PROPOSED ORDER re [496] MOTION to Compel Production of Documents From Related Litigations, [499] MOTION to Compel Complete Production of Source Code for All Accused Productions filed by Apple Inc.(a California corporation). (Selwyn, Mark) (Filed on 5/20/2013)

522 - Filed & Entered: 05/20/2013
STIPULATION AND ORDER FOR AN EXTENSION OF TIME by Judge Paul S. Grewal, [521] Stipulation. (ofr, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 5/20/2013)

523 - Filed & Entered: 05/21/2013
CLERK'S NOTICE Continuing Motion Hearing, continuing [476] Samsung's Motion for Leave to Amend and Supplement Its Infringement Contentions: 6/4/2013 Motion Hearing continued to 6/11/2013 at 10:00 AM in Courtroom 5, 4th Floor, San Jose before Magistrate Judge Paul Singh Grewal. ***This is a text only docket entry, there is no document associated with this notice.*** (ofr, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 5/21/2013)

524 - Filed & Entered: 05/21/2013
Declaration of Bruce Barker in Support of [516] Administrative Motion to File Under Seal filed byOmniVision Technologies Inc.. (Attachments: # (1) Proposed Order)(Related document(s)[516]) (Barker, Bruce) (Filed on 5/21/2013)

525 - Filed & Entered: 05/21/2013
MOTION for Leave to Amend Its Disclosure of Asserted Claims and Infringement Contentions; Memorandum of Points and Authorities in Support Thereof filed by Apple Inc.(a California corporation). Motion Hearing set for 6/25/2013 10:00 AM in Courtroom 5, 4th Floor, San Jose before Magistrate Judge Paul Singh Grewal. Responses due by 6/4/2013. Replies due by 6/11/2013. (Attachments: # (1) Proposed Order)(Lyon, Hervey) (Filed on 5/21/2013) Modified text on 5/22/2013 (dhmS, COURT STAFF).

526 - Filed & Entered: 05/21/2013
Administrative Motion to File Under Seal filed by Apple Inc.(a California corporation). (Attachments: # (1) Declaration of Robert A. Vincent, # (2) 1-Declaration of Joshua Furman In Support of Apple Inc.'s Motion for Leave to Amend Its Disclosure of Asserted Claims and Infringement Contentions, # (3) Exhibit 1 to Furman Declaration, # (4) Exhibit A1-A15, # (5) Exhibit B1-E23, # (6) Exhibit F1-F14 (Part 1), # (7) Exhibit F1-F14 (Part 2), # (8) Exhibit G1-G4, # (9) Exhibit G5-G10, # (10) Exhibit G11-G16, # (11) Exhibit H1-H20, # (12) Exhibit 2-11 to Furman Declaration, # (13) Proposed Order)(Lyon, Hervey) (Filed on 5/21/2013)

527 - Filed & Entered: 05/21/2013
Declaration of Daniel Shim in Support of [516] Administrative Motion to File Under Seal filed bySamsung Electronics America, Inc.(a New York corporation), Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd.(a Korean corporation), Samsung Telecommunications America, LLC(a Delaware limited liability company). (Attachments: # (1) Exhibit A)(Related document(s)[516]) (Fazio, Michael) (Filed on 5/21/2013)

528 - Filed & Entered: 05/21/2013
Administrative Motion to File Under Seal Samsung's Reply in Support of Motion to Amend Infringement Contentions filed by Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd.(a Korean corporation). (Attachments: # (1) Trac Declaration, # (2) Proposed Order Granting Motion to Seal, # (3) Samsung's Reply in Support of Motion to Amend Infringement Contentions, # (4) Briggs Declaration, # (5) Exhibit 1, # (6) Exhibit 2, # (7) Exhibit 3, # (8) Exhibit 4, # (9) Exhibit 5, # (10) Exhibit 6, # (11) Exhibit 7, # (12) Exhibit 8)(Maroulis, Victoria) (Filed on 5/21/2013)

529 - Filed & Entered: 05/21/2013
CERTIFICATE OF SERVICE by Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd.(a Korean corporation) re [528] Administrative Motion to File Under Seal Samsung's Reply in Support of Motion to Amend Infringement Contentions (Maroulis, Victoria) (Filed on 5/21/2013)

In a Fourth Amended Disclosure of Asserted Claims and Infringement Contentions (yes, its fourth), Apple accuses Samsung of direct infringement of a list of "method claims" Apple got a stupid patent on, and then it says that, in effect, all you users of the Galaxy S4 are infringing too, so it accuses Samsung of indirect infringement:
Samsung induces the infringement of others under 35 U.S.C. § 271(b) to the extent it contracts, instructs, or otherwise induces others to make, use, offer to sell, sell, or import the Accused Instrumentalities within or into the United States. Samsung also contributes to the infringement of others under 35 U.S.C. § 271(c) to the extent it offers to sell, sells, or imports part or all of the Accused Instrumentalities within or into the United States. To the extent Samsung’s direct infringement is based on joint acts of multiple parties, the role of each such party is described according to Apple’s current understanding in Apple’s Infringement Contentions, the First Amended Infringement Contentions, the Second Amended Infringement Contentions, the Third Amended Infringement Contentions, and these Fourth Amended Infringement Contentions, including Exhibits A through H and any supplemental exhibits, pursuant to Patent L.R. 3-1(d). Defendants infringe each method claim of the charted claims because it has performed each and every step of the charted claims, including but not limited to through testing and use by its employees. Defendants also infringe those claims by selling Accused Instrumentalities their customers and encouraging those customers to use the products in a manner that meets each and every step of the charted claims.
Samsung is inducing you to become infringers of Apple's stupid patents. You have no right, in Apple's perfect universe, to use a Galaxy S4, in Apple's perfect world. How do you like the USA's stupid patent laws now, you dirty criminals, you? Exhibits A-H of #526 are the patents:
Exhbit A: U.S. Patent No. 5,666,502, "Graphical user interface using historical lists with field classes"

Exhibit B: U.S. Patent No. 5,946,647, "System and method for performing an action on a structure in computer-generated data"

Exhibit C: U.S. Patent No. 6,847,959, "Universal interface for retrieval of information in a computer system"

Exhibit D: U.S. Patent No. 7,761,414, "Asynchronous data synchronization amongst devices"

Exhibit E: U.S. Patent No. 8,014,760, "Missed telephone call management for a portable multifunction device"

Exhibit F: U.S. Patent No. 8,046,721, "Unlocking a device by performing gestures on an unlock image"

Exhibit G: U.S. Patent No. 8,074,172, Method, system, and graphical user interface for providing word recommendations

Exhibit H: U.S. Patent No. 8,086,604, "Universal interface for retrieval of information in a computer system"

And if you say, but, but, I don't do all the steps in the stupid method patent, Apple has a word for you:

C. Patent Local Rule 3-1(e) – Nature of Infringement

Based on Apple’s current understanding, each element or limitation of each asserted claim of each asserted patent is literally present in the Accused Instrumentalities, except where explicitly indicated. To the extent that any element or limitation of the asserted claims is not found to have literal correspondence in the Accused Instrumentalities, Apple alleges, on information and belief, that any such elements or limitations are present under the doctrine of equivalents in the Accused Instrumentalities. Apple further incorporates by reference its Infringement Contentions, First Amended Infringement Contentions, Second Amended Infringement Contentions, and Third Amended Infringement Contentions under Patent L.R. 3-1(e).

By doctrine of equivalents, they mean stuff like one patent that mentions storing the program on a floppy disk, and no one much does that now, but they may instead use a thumb drive.

You know what a method is? It's a process. Here's a silly example:

  1. Buy some Oreo cookies.
  2. Buy some milk.
  3. Take both cookies and milk home.
  4. Unwrap the cookies.
  5. Get a glass from the cupboard.
  6. Pour 8 ounces of milk into the glass.
  7. Divide the Oreo cookie.
  8. Lick the filling off.
  9. Dip the rest of the cookie into the milk.
  10. Eat the cookie.
  11. Repeat until you have had enough cookies.
  12. Drink the remaining milk.
  13. Put the glass in the sink.
  14. Wash the glass.
  15. Close the package of remaining cookies with a twist tie.
  16. Put the cookies in the cupboard.
  17. Put the milk in the refrigerator.
The End. That's a method of eating Oreo cookies. The law calls a method patent a process. Now if you invented a machine that dips your cookies for you and pours your milk for you, you could probably get a patent on your invention without me complaining. But people do get method patents and the only machine is that you follow the steps "on a computer", although as you saw in the CLS Bank case, it's getting harder. What was that patent about? The Federal Circuit's Judge Lourie explained it like this:
The patents, which all derive from the same family and share substantially the same specification, concern “the management of risk relating to specified, yet unknown, future events.” ’479 patent col. 1, ll. 8–10. In particular, the patents relate to a computerized trading platform used for conducting financial transactions in which a third party settles obligations between a first and a second party so as to eliminate “counterparty” or “settlement” risk. CLS Bank, 768 F. Supp. 2d at 224. Settlement risk refers to the risk to each party in an exchange that only one of the two parties will actually pay its obligation, leaving the paying party without its principal or the benefit of the counter-party’s performance. Alice’s patents address that risk by relying on a trusted third party to ensure the exchange of either both parties’ obligations or neither obligation. Id. For example, when two parties agree to perform a trade, in certain contexts there may be a delay between the time that the parties enter a contractual agreement obligating themselves to the trade and the time of settlement when the agreed trade is actually executed. Ordinarily, the parties would consummate the trade by paying or exchanging their mutual obligations after the intervening period, but in some cases one party might become unable to pay during that time and fail to notify the other before settlement. Id. As disclosed in Alice’s patents, a trusted third party can be used to verify each party’s ability to perform before actually exchanging either of the parties’ agreed-upon obligations. Id.; see also ’479 patent col. 5 ll. 61–63 (“The invention also encompasses apparatus and method dealing with the handling of contracts at maturity, and specifically the transfer of entitlement.”).
But, you may say, that's stupid. People have been doing that forever and a day. True, and that's what the court ruled. But the USPTO issued those patents. They went to court with a presumption of validity, because the USPTO did that. And several judges didn't agree it was stupid, and warned darkly that this ruling is the end of the US patent system as we know it.

I hope they are right, and here's why. Here's a pure method patent, a Method of Swinging on a Swing:

A method of swing on a swing is disclosed, in which a user positioned on a standard swing suspended by two chains from a substantially horizontal tree branch induces side to side motion by pulling alternately on one chain and then the other.
But, you may say, the USPTO wouldn't *really* approve *that*, would they? They did. After all, while the application said people have been swinging on swings forever and a day, this was a new method:
These methods of swinging on a swing, although of considerable interest to some people, can lose their appeal with age and experience. A new method of swinging on a swing would therefore represent an advance of great significance and value.
I believe the person who filed this did it as a test of the USPTO's brain matter, and the USPTO failed the test. I've explained all this to say that Apple is claiming ownership of finger gestures, which people have been doing forever and a day. And they want to shut Samsung's S4 business down, based on those stupid patents which they claim as great inventions because you do them on a smartphone.

One patent is about choosing an item from a drop down list, believe it or not:

Graphical user interface using historical lists with field classes
US 5666502 A
Abstract

A data input technique for a computer that provides the user with a historical list of potential choices for the data input is described. A historical list is displayed to the user so that the user can input data by selecting an item from the historical list being displayed. The historical list contains the most recently and/or frequently used data values for the data field that the user is inputting data. Preferably, the historical list is displayed over a form also being displayed that requires the data input into its one or more of its fields. By using the historical lists a user is able to enter data with a greater ease of use than previously obtainable. The historical can also be shared between different applications that execute on the computer system concurrently or at different times. By sharing the data between applications, the historical list becomes more useful and valuable to the user and thereby further improves the ease of use of the computer system. The data input technique can be implemented numerous ways, including as a system, an apparatus, a graphical user interface, or a method, or as a computer readable medium....

A relatively new form of computer, the pen-based computer system, holds forth the promise of a marriage of the power of a general purpose computer with the functionality and small size of a personal organizer. An example of a pen-based computer system is the Newton made and marketed by Apple Computer, Inc. of Cupertino, Calif. A pen-based computer system is typically a small, hand-held computer where the primary method for inputting data includes a "pen" or stylus. A pen-based computer system is commonly housed in a generally rectangular enclosure, and is provided with a dual-function display assembly that can serve as both an input device and an output device. When operating as an input device or "tablet", the display assembly senses the position of the tip of a stylus on the viewing screen and provides this positional information to the computer's central processing unit (CPU). Some display assemblies can also sense the pressure of the stylus on the screen to provide further information to the CPU. When operating as an output device, the display assembly presents computer-generated images on the screen. The dual-function display assemblies of pen-based computer systems permit users to operate the computer as a computerized notepad, among other functions. For example, graphical images can be input into the pen-based computer by merely moving the stylus on the surface of the screen. As the CPU senses the position and movement of the stylus, it generates a corresponding image on the screen to create the illusion that the stylus is drawing the image directly upon the screen, i.e. that the stylus is "inking" an image on the screen. By "ink" it is meant that pixels on the screen are activated in such a manner that it appears that the stylus is leaving a trail of ink on the display assembly. With suitable recognition software, the "ink" can be recognized to input text, numerics, graphics, and other recognized information into the pen-based system....

Claims

What is claimed is:

1. A pen-based computer system, comprising:
an I/O display system including at least an input tablet and a display screen;

a memory system for storing program code and data;

a CPU for processing the program code in accordance with the data; and

a plurality of history tables maintained within said memory system, each of said history tables corresponding to a different field class,

wherein when inputting data via the input tablet into a field of a form being displayed on said display screen, a list of choices is produced from said history table for the field class corresponding to the field and displayed on said display screen.

2. A pen-based computer system as recited in claim 1, wherein each of said history tables stores historical information concerning usage of data values with respect a different one of the field classes.

3. A pen-based computer system as recited in claim 2, wherein the list of choices produced from said history table is a menu list of most recently and frequently used data values for the field class.

4. A pen-based computer system as recited in claim 2, wherein when a user selects one of the choices from the list of choices, the selected choice is input into said computer system and displayed in said display screen in the field of the form.

5. A pen-based computer system as recited in claim 2, wherein said history table for the field class corresponding to the field is updated in accordance with a selected item.

6. A pen-based computer system as recited in claim 5, wherein said history tables comprise a plurality of entries, each entry including at least a data value, a time of last use, and a frequency of use.

7. A pen-based computer system as recited in claim 5, wherein the updating of said history tables causes at least one of (i) a data value to be placed in said history table and (ii) causes the time of last use and the frequency of use of one of the data values associated with the selected item to be updated.

8. A graphical user interface, comprising:

a history list for each of a plurality of field classes;

a form having at least one field requiring data input, the field being associated with one of the field classes; and

a history list selector for selecting the history list for the field based on the field class associated with the field.

9. A graphical user interface as recited in claim 8, wherein said history list for each of the field classes is a menu list of most recently and frequently used data values for the field classes.

10. A graphical user interface as recited in claim 9, wherein said graphical user interface is for a pen-based computer system, and wherein said history list produced for each of the field classes stores historical information concerning usage of data values with respect the associated field class.

11. A method for inputting data into a computer system having a display screen associated therewith, said method comprising:

(a) displaying a form on the display screen of the computer system, the form having at least one field associated with a field class and requiring data entry by a user;

(b) displaying a history list associated with the field class on the display screen on the computer system;

(c) determining whether the user has selected an item from the displayed history list;

(d) assigning a data value for the field to that of a data value associated with the selected item when said determining (c) determines that the user has selected an item; and

(e) updating the history list in accordance with the selected item when said determining (c) determines that the user has selected an item.

12. A method as recited in claim 11, wherein the computer system is a pointer-based computer system.

13. A method as recited in claim 11, wherein the computer system is a pen-based computer system.

14. A method as recited in claim 11, wherein the history list is a list of most recently used data values for the field class.

15. A method as recited in claim 11,

wherein said method further comprises (f) inputting the data by some other means when said determining (c) determines that the user has not selected an item, and

wherein said updating (e) comprises:

(e1) determining whether the data value already exists in the history list; and

(e2) adding the data value to the history list if the data value is determined not to exist in the history list.

16. A method for inputting data into a computer system having a display screen associated therewith, said method comprising:
(a) providing a history table for each of a plurality of field classes;

(b) displaying a form on the display screen of the computer system, the form having at least one field requiring data entry by a user;

(c) producing a history list for the field on the display screen of the computer system based on the history table for the field class associated with the field;

(d) displaying the history list produced on the display screen of the computer system;

(e) determining whether the user has selected an item from the displayed history list;

(f) assigning a data value for the field to that of a data value associated with the selected item from the displayed history list when said determining (e) determines that the user has selected an item from the displayed history list; and

(g) updating the history table in accordance with the selected item when said determining (e) determines that the user has selected an item from the displayed history list.

17. A method as recited in claim 16, wherein the history table corresponding to each of the field classes includes a plurality of entries, each entry comprises a data value and usage information, and

wherein said producing (c) comprises:

(c1) identifying the history table for the field class associated with the field; and

(c2) generating the items of the history list from the data values in the history table identified.

18. A method as recited in claim 17, wherein said generating (c2) generates the items for the history list from the data values in the history table identified, and thereafter orders the items based on the usage information associated with the data values.

19. A method as recited in claim 18, wherein the usage information comprises a time of last use and a frequency of use for each data value in the history table.

20. A method as recited in claim 17, wherein the data values within the history table correspond directly or indirectly to input values for the field.

21. A method as recited in claim 17, wherein the data values comprise one of a data string and a data pointer, and wherein the data pointer points a data record containing pertinent information.

22. A method as recited in claim 16, wherein the history table contains the most recently used data values for the field class. 23. A method as recited in claim 16,

wherein said method further comprises (h) inputting the data value by some other means when said determining (c) determines that the user has not selected an item, and

wherein said updating (g) comprises:

(g1) determining whether the data value already exists in the history list; and

(g2) adding the data value to the history table if the data value is determined not to exist in the history list.

24. A method as recited in claim 23, wherein said updating (g) further comprises:
(g3) updating the usage information corresponding to the data value to reflect its recent usage.
25. A method as recited in claim 24, wherein the usage information comprises a time of last use and a frequency of use for each data value in the history table, and

wherein said updating (g3) updates the time of last use and the frequency of use corresponding to the data value.

26. A computer readable medium containing program instructions for inputting data into a computer system having a display screen associated therewith, said computer readable medium comprising:

computer readable code devices for displaying a form on the display screen of the computer system, the form having at least one field associated with a field class and requiring data entry by a user;

computer readable code devices for displaying a history list associated with the field class on the display screen on the computer system;

computer readable code devices for determining whether the user has selected an item from the displayed history list;

computer readable code devices for assigning a data value for the field to that of a data value associated with the selected item when said determining determines that the user has selected an item; and

computer readable code devices for updating the history list in accordance with the selected item when said determining determines that the user has selected an item.

Seriously, Apple? Seriously? You want to be the only company in the world that can do that? Seriously? The computer was built able to do that. It's in there. The only change is some software, and software is abstract. If you don't believe me, write a program that details a method or process on how to build a house. Run the program. Do you get a house? Is there anyone in the modern world that doesn't have drop down lists that show you stuff you earlier inputted? So Apple gets to make everybody pay for something as obvious and essential as this or block them from the marketplace? Seriously? What kind of patent law is that?

That's just one of Apple's stupid patents. How about this one:

Missed telephone call management for a portable multifunction device
US 8014760 B2
Abstract

In one aspect of the invention, a computer-implemented method is disclosed for use in conjunction with a portable electronic device with a touch screen display. A list of items comprising missed telephone calls is displayed. Upon detecting user selection of an item in the list, contact information is displayed for a respective caller corresponding to the user selected item. The displayed contact information includes a plurality of contact objects that include a first contact object, comprising a telephone number object having a first telephone number associated with the missed telephone call, and a second contact object. Upon detecting user selection of the second contact object, a communication with the respective caller is initiated via a modality corresponding to the second contact object....

Claims

1. A method, comprising:

at a portable electronic device with a touch screen display:

displaying a list of interactive items comprising missed telephone calls, wherein each item in the list of interactive items includes a first interactive displayed portion and a second interactive displayed portion distinct from the first interactive displayed portion;

immediately in response to detecting a finger gesture on the first interactive displayed portion of a respective user selected item in the list, initiating a return telephone call to a return telephone number associated with the respective user selected item;

immediately in response to detecting a finger gesture on the second interactive displayed portion of the respective user selected item in the list, completely substituting display of the list of interactive items with display of contact information for a respective caller corresponding to the respective user selected item, the displayed contact information including a plurality of contact objects; the plurality of contact objects including:

a first contact object comprising a telephone number object having the return telephone number, and

a second contact object associated with a non-telephonic communication modality for contacting the respective caller; and

immediately in response to detecting user selection of the second contact object, initiating a communication with the respective caller via the non-telephonic communication modality corresponding to the second contact object.

2. The method of claim 1, wherein the second contact object is an email contact object, and wherein initiating the communication via the non-telephonic communication modality corresponding to the second contact object includes preparing an email message with the selected email address associated with the second contact object, ready for text input by the user.

3. The method of claim 1, wherein the second contact object is an instant messaging object, and wherein initiating the communication via the non-telephonic communication modality corresponding to the second contact object includes preparing an instant message to the number associated with the second contact object, ready for text input by the user.

4. The method of claim 1, wherein a single item in the list of interactive items corresponds to a plurality of consecutive missed telephone calls.

5. The method of claim 1, including, while displaying the list of interactive items comprising missed telephone calls, displaying, within a respective single item in the list, a number indicating a plurality of consecutive missed telephone calls.

6. The method of claim 1, wherein a single item in the list of interactive items corresponds to a plurality of missed telephone calls from a plurality of distinct telephone numbers associated with a respective caller.

7. The method of claim 1, wherein the second interactive displayed portion of the respective user selected item is identified by an icon displayed within the respective user selected item....

Blah blah blah. There's more. Read it if you can stand to, or if you are searching for prior art, which I hope you do. This was filed for in 2007. Invented in 2007? Seriously, Apple? Seriously? A list of missed calls? You think you should be the only one who is allowed to do that without paying Apple? Seriously?

[ Update 3: A reader found this comment on Smart Phone Forums, dating from 2004, with thumbnails of Treos that provided a list of missed calls and a method to add them to your contacts. Just saying.]

Here's the serious part. It can block Samsung from selling the S4 in the US if it gets permission to add this junk to the case and prevails. And the Alice in Wonderland nature of patent law is such that unless Samsung can demonstrate prior art or invalidity, it can do it.

How do you like software patents? Are they not stupid? Overbroad at best? Not innovative in any way that matters? Should Samsung pay millions to Apple for having drop down lists? For showing icons of somebody that called whose call you missed? Are they blankety blank kidding?

Of course not. Apple knows this is stupid. It has to. It's a tech company. But it's useful for competitive purposes. That's what US patent law has descended to, thanks to the USPTO and the Federal Circuit allowing software patents. The result is that even very basic and very essential functionality is owned by somebody, entire categories, and now you maybe understand why software developers, as opposed to their CEOs, hate software patents. It's a land mine, and you can't do even simple, obvious things without being accused of infringement.

And if your CEO is a donkey, he'll actually sue over it, and judges will act like the stupid patents are wonderful and they have to assume the USPTO letting them issue gives the patents an assumption of validity, and that's how you fall down the rabbit hole. At the bottom you pay millions for this stupid stuff. Or people can't buy phones they really want, because some stupid patent is treated like it's the Holy Grail.

That's not even the worst Apple patent. How about this one:

Unlocking a device by performing gestures on an unlock image
US 8046721 B2
Abstract

A device with a touch-sensitive display may be unlocked via gestures performed on the touch-sensitive display. The device is unlocked if contact with the display corresponds to a predefined gesture for unlocking the device. The device displays one or more unlock images with respect to which the predefined gesture is to be performed in order to unlock the device. The performance of the predefined gesture with respect to the unlock image may include moving the unlock image to a predefined location and/or moving the unlock image along a predefined path. The device may also display visual cues of the predefined gesture on the touch screen to remind a user of the gesture....

Claims

1. A method of unlocking a hand-held electronic device, the device including a touch-sensitive display, the method comprising:

detecting a contact with the touch-sensitive display at a first predefined location corresponding to an unlock image;

continuously moving the unlock image on the touch-sensitive display in accordance with movement of the contact while continuous contact with the touch screen is maintained, wherein the unlock image is a graphical, interactive user-interface object with which a user interacts in order to unlock the device; and

unlocking the hand-held electronic device if the moving the unlock image on the touch-sensitive display results in movement of the unlock image from the first predefined location to a predefined unlock region on the touch-sensitive display....

There's more, but this is enough for you to realize that Apple has patented a finger gesture. Your finger making a gesture you've made before you ever knew about an iPhone. This was filed for on June 2, 2009.

So that's what Apple wants this case to be about. How damaging and ridiculous does patent law have to get before someone decides to actually fix it? I'm grateful to the smartphone patents wars for highlighting how truly stupid software patents are, and how toxic for real innovation and how damaging to the public's interest. It's like Apple wanting to own all the water.

You think I exaggerate. Well, have you heard about the new coronavirus that people are dying from? Here's a patent story to curl your hair:

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has urged countries with possible cases of novel coronavirus to share information. The move comes after Saudi Arabia said the development of diagnostic tests had been delayed by patent rights on the NCoV virus by commercial laboratories. Twenty-two deaths and 44 cases have been reported worldwide since 2012, the WHO says....

Saudi Deputy Health Minister Ziad Memish raised his concerns at the World Health Assembly in Geneva. "We are still struggling with diagnostics and the reason is that the virus was patented by scientists and is not allowed to be used for investigations by other scientists," he said.

I'll write separately about how Apple came up with its list of patents.

Update: Here's a textbook, "Human Computer Interaction", by Andrew Sears and Julie A. Jocko, which discusses finger gestures at length. Here's their earlier, "The Human Computer Interaction Handbook", published in 2002. And here's a paper by Dr. Sears published in 1990, A new era for touchscreen applications. You will see that Apple did not invent finger gestures on a touchscreen. Dr. Sears did research in the field, and as Mashable points out, his research included slide to unlock:

In the 1990s, computer scientist Andrew Sears conducted an academic study on human-computer interaction. The review described single-touch gestures, such as rotating knobs, swiping to activate — and multi-touch gestures like connecting objects and tapping to select.
Cluebat for Apple: 2009 comes after the 1990s. And these patents are heading to a courtroom *after* CLS Bank.

Update 2: Here's some info about basic gestures used back in the day, specifically published in 1999, "Visual Instruments for an Interactive Mural" by Tery Winograd and Francois Guimbretiere:

The fundamental actions with the laser pointer are stroke-based - gestures over objects and sweeps across visual elements called action bars Both have the same basic structure: the beam goes on, follows some path on the display, and then goes off. This is like Unistroke [3], in that each on/off sequence constitutes an interaction unit. A sweep is a simple gesture (straight or curved line with no reversals) that crosses one or more action bars. A sweep-like gesture that crosses no bars is ignored. In addition some instruments provide a space in which pointer strokes are uninterpreted, leaving digital ink, or being ignored.

Update 4: Human–Computer Interaction [PDF] Third Edition, by Alan Dix, Lancaster University; Janet Finlay, Leeds Metropolitan University; Gregory D. Abowd, Georgia Institute of Technology; and Russell Beale, University of Birmingham. First edition was published by Prentice-Hall Europe in 1993. Second edition was published in 1998. Third edition was published by Pearson Education Limited in 2004.


  View Printable Version


Groklaw © Copyright 2003-2013 Pamela Jones.
All trademarks and copyrights on this page are owned by their respective owners.
Comments are owned by the individual posters.

PJ's articles are licensed under a Creative Commons License. ( Details )