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Pinch-to-Zoom and Rounded Rectangles: What the Jury Didn't Say 147

Posted by samzenpus
from the and-the-story-continues dept.
CharlyFoxtrot writes "Steve Wildstrom at Tech.Pinions takes on some of the what he calls folklore surrounding Apple v Samsung, investigating what was and wasn't part of the case and how the media got it wrong: 'There's one serious problem with the first sentence, which was repeated dozens of times in stories in print and on the Web. Apple only has a limited patent on the pinch to shrink, stretch to zoom gesture that is a core element of touch interfaces. And the 826 patent wasn't in dispute in the Samsung case because Apple never asserted it. In fact, this particular patent does not seem to be in dispute in any litigation.'"
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Pinch-to-Zoom and Rounded Rectangles: What the Jury Didn't Say

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  • As if... (Score:1, Flamebait)

    by relyimah (938927)
    As if anyone would actually read up on something before commenting? /. is a great example of this... I read articles months ago with what Apple was actually complaining about (buttons, etc.)... pinch and zoom was never an issue. The media says and the sheep follow....
    • Re:As if... (Score:4, Informative)

      by msauve (701917) on Thursday August 30, 2012 @07:24PM (#41185427)
      Why read up, when even the author of the linked article doesn't?

      The Apple '915 patent [google.com], which was at issue, does assert a claim to "pinch/zoom." Claim 8 includes:

      responding to at least one gesture call, if issued, by scaling the view associated with the event object based on receiving the two or more input points in the form of the user input.

      • Re:As if... (Score:5, Informative)

        by CharlyFoxtrot (1607527) on Thursday August 30, 2012 @07:38PM (#41185501)

        Nilay Patel of the verge, an actual honest-to-god copyright lawyer not just someone who plays an expert on the web, disagrees in his aptly named "The myth of pinch-to-zoom: how a confused media gave Apple something it doesn't own" [theverge.com]:

        "So let's just be extremely clear about this: the jury ruled that 21 of 24 accused Samsung phones infringed claim 8 of Apple patent 7,844,915, which specifically covers a programming interface which detects if one finger on a screen is scrolling or two or more fingers are doing something else. It is one possible step along the road to pinch-to-zoom, but it is definitely not pinch-to-zoom itself. And — crucially — it may not be that hard to design around."

        Maybe read up there too ?

        • Re:As if... (Score:5, Interesting)

          by msauve (701917) on Thursday August 30, 2012 @07:57PM (#41185623)
          In exactly what way is "scaling the view associated with the event object based on receiving the two or more input points" not "pinch to zoom?" I'm not defending the patent - there's more than ample obviousness and prior art [ted.com]. The link you gave simply describes ways around the claim to "pinch to zoom," it doesn't disagree at all.

          The claim very clearly does describe "pinch to zoom." To say that it doesn't is simply disingenuous. That's different than saying it's a valid claim.

          Oh, BTW, the link's counter-example, scrolling with two fingers, doesn't work with Google Maps, it causes a change in pitch instead of scrolling (at least it does on my non-Samsung, Android phone, running ICS).
          • by akamad (1308139)
            I think the issue is that the pinch-to-zoom patent that Apple has is more limited than most people think. Here is a write up on the patent: http://www.engadget.com/2010/10/13/apple-awarded-limited-patent-on-pinch-to-zoom/ [engadget.com] So the patent seems to be for pinching and zooming, then letting go and pinching and zooming again as one action. I'm no patent expert, but I'm not sure if that's the same as doing those two things separately as two actions.
            • by msauve (701917)
              No. That's the '826 patent, which is different. Prior art/obviousness for that one is that it is an attempt to duplicate the function of a trackball (acceleration, intertia, multiple strokes, etc.).
            • by jythie (914043)
              Patents are almost always more limited then people think. Usually when a case gets media (even niche/blog) attention someone comes up with a good soundbyte for describing the patent then everyone takes that for the whole document.. completely ignoring all those sections that explain the details regarding what it actually covers....

              Patent reporting has gotten as bad as science reporting.. I might despise software patents, but I rarely trust the accuracy of stories about them.
          • Ah, but it doesn't mention pinching, what it is is a method to determine an action based on the fact if 1 (resulting scrolling) or 2 fingers (resulting in a gesture) are on the screen. It doesn't define the gesture, whence the workaround mentioned in the article of having 2 finger scrolling so this patent is circumvented because there is no differentiation being done based on the 1 finger -> scroll, 2 fingers -> gesture method. Or so I gather, I am no lawyer.

            • by msauve (701917)
              "Ah, but it doesn't mention pinching"

              It doesn't have to. It mentions "scaling," which covers both pinch and spread. Additionally, the other counter-example in the link you provide draws a distinction which may not even exist - between "scroll" and "pan." Where's the definitive, legal, definition which say that scrolling can only be vertical or horizontal? Why can't I scroll diagonally?
              • Re:As if... (Score:5, Informative)

                by CharlyFoxtrot (1607527) on Thursday August 30, 2012 @09:00PM (#41185945)

                No, "scaling" is what the interface does as the result of a gesture, pinching is what the fingers do which again is not defined in the document. There's a reason the patent is called "Application programming interfaces for scrolling operations": it focusses on scrolling and how that operation is distinguished from a gesture. And a gesture is just defined as having 2 ore more input points without further elaborating on the state of those input points.

                Scrolling is defined in the full patent text [uspto.gov] as :

                "Scrolling is the act of sliding a directional (e.g., horizontal or vertical) presentation of content, such as text, drawings, or images, across a screen or display window. In a typical graphical user interface, scrolling is done with the help of a scrollbar or using keyboard shortcuts often the arrow keys. Gesturing is a type of user input with two or more input points. Animating operations include changing content within a given time period."

                So, they only mention the 2 axis.

                • by msauve (701917)
                  You don't know what exempli gratia means, do you?
                  • Well aren't you fancy with all your latin :). It means "for example" of course, I also know that in a legal text if you don't define something exactly lawyers will find a way around it. You brought it up, I don't think the directionality of the scrolling matters only the difference between the scroll action and the resultant end-of-screen bounce (what this patent is really all about) and how that's different from a not further defined gesture action resulting in scaling.

                    • For those following along at home, this is what happens when a lawyer does describe a pinch to zoom gesture [uspto.gov] :

                      "1. A method, comprising: detecting at least two first contacts on a display surface of a multi-touch-sensitive display device; detecting a first motion associated with the at least two first contacts, wherein the first motion corresponds to a multi-touch gesture; adjusting a parameter of a graphical object in accordance with the first motion; detecting a breaking of the at least two first contacts;

                    • by msauve (701917)
                      "the resultant end-of-screen bounce (what this patent is really all about)"

                      Try to follow along. The "bounce" patent is '381, not '915.
                    • by mosb1000 (710161)

                      Maybe I'm just more literate than the average reader, but this clearly doesn't cover "pinch to zoom." This allows the user to resume a multitouch operation for a period after removing his fingers from the glass to essentially allow him to continue his adjustment further than he otherwise could.

                    • Re:As if... (Score:4, Interesting)

                      by WaywardGeek (1480513) on Thursday August 30, 2012 @11:56PM (#41186719) Journal

                      Sorry, but no. That's what happens when random slashdotter's try to describe a patent that they believe means "pinch to zoom" when in fact it does no such thing. This patent clearly describes a more complicated gesture.

                      The reason Apple is not defending pinch to zoom is they didn't invent it. It was clearly demonstrated in the original Ted talk that inspired Apple to peruse multi-touch technology. I've been involved in two situations where I found that one of my patent claims was not valid due to prior art. In the first case, the patent examiner had already approved my claims, and he argued with me that my claims were still valid. He restricted my claims in the most minimal possible way to avoid the prior art when I pushed the matter. That's fine... I think he was trying to be good to a rare inventor who was trying to be honest about prior art. In the second case, my customer (I was a contractor for Zvi Orbach) told me after we'd submitted a patent why it was invalid due to prior art at Chip Express. I called the patent office, and was advised that I should not attack claims I'd filed for a previous employer. I had already quit, in part due to this issue, though Zvi had given me many other reasons to stay away from him.

                    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

                      by WaywardGeek (1480513)

                      Er... my point to my rambling comment is that Apple clearly lacked an honest inventor in this case. Their lawyers will naturally try to keep their clearly invalid multi-touch patent on the books, never suing anyone with it, simply because they know it's invalid. It's only the inventor who breaks the law by not bringing prior-art to the patent office, and as I found out, there is zero penalty to inventors who break this law.

                    • Yeah I confused myself there. This one is the scrolling patent, then there are separate bounce and pinch patents.

          • From what I understand, it's a technicality (which might be another reason to dislike patents, if you will):

            • 1) to infringe that patent, you must infringe every element of claim 8
            • 2) one of the elements of claim 8 describes distinguishing between one touch (to scroll) and two or more touches (the "pinch" gesture)
            • 3) so, you CAN implement "pinch to zoom" without infringing this patent; all you have to do is (for example) make two touches scroll as well as "pinch to zoom"
            • by AmiMoJo (196126)

              Actually it seems like you don't even need to do that since Apple hasn't bothered to sue anyone over it yet. Presumably there are other specifics to the patent (didn't read it, natch) that prevent them from wielding it.

        • Re: (Score:2, Flamebait)

          by msauve (701917)
          BTW, I've never met a lawyer who could be called "honest to God." They'll take whichever side they're paid to.
          • Re:As if... (Score:5, Insightful)

            by the eric conspiracy (20178) on Thursday August 30, 2012 @09:00PM (#41185949)

            They are advocates. That's what they are supposed to do.

            If they took your money but not your cause that would be dishonest.

            • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

              by msauve (701917)
              "They are advocates."

              You misspelled "whores." HTH! HAND!
            • by tsotha (720379)
              Yep. And sometimes lawyers do refuse to take cases, either because they don't think they can win or because they don't think they can be an effective advocate. Those two things are usually related, of course, but not always.
            • by AK Marc (707885)
              That's why the system is broken.. They should take the "side" of protecting your rights. Even if you are a murderer, you have rights. They should not be advocates in the sense that they need not believe in your innocence, nor advocate it (except where doing so is done to protect your rights). But they should be advocates for the truth. In fact, currently they theoretically hold a duty to the court above the duty to their client, though in practice, they have a duty to neither.
              • Truth? What is that? Surely you cannot propose that a system of justice can infallibly determine the truth. A lawyer of course is much less capable than that.

                There have been plenty of legal cases where it seems obvious from the facts available that the defendant is guilty of the crime.

                Except he is not.

                Your lawyer is not there to judge your guilt. He is there to advocate your position in court as part of the process of hopefully finding the truth.

                The system may be broken, in particular by the way your pocket

                • by AK Marc (707885)

                  But while the system we have sucks, it sucks less than all the others.

                  The only time I see that is from the people who know nothing of the others.

        • Re:As if... (Score:5, Insightful)

          by pipedwho (1174327) on Thursday August 30, 2012 @08:11PM (#41185687)

          And more crucially: Is that claim negated by prior art? And should it have been considered obvious to a "person skilled in the art"?

          From the comments of the jury foreman, he (they) seemed to misunderstand what prior art actually is. And thus had a conflict of reasoning in applying the patent loosely to the device in question, while requiring prior art to exactly match the device in question. Whereas, the prior art should have been loosely matched to the patent, and not to the infringing device - thus negating the claim in the patent. (Assuming the prior art did actually apply.)

          I've noticed that people involved in the patent system (lawyers and inventors) seem to develop an increasingly more stringent view as to how closely prior art must be to invalidate a claim. Reworded, that means that their interpretation of novelty has the bar lowered to the point where the concept of obviousness gets watered down to be meaningless. So any 'invention' that is different in the most minor or pointless way becomes fair game for an IP grab.

          Now that would be fine if infringement of the patent was taken as strictly, but that doesn't seem to be the case. If the claims are looked at more broadly when applied to "infringement" than they are when applied to the prior art that would invalidate them; then the patent system becomes a stumbling block rather than a way to 'promote science and the useful arts'.

        • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 30, 2012 @08:48PM (#41185897)

          From the jury foreman:

          "One of the most decisive pieces of evidence was reading the minutes for myself of a meeting that was held at a very high level between Google executives and Samsung executives.

          It was for a tablet and Google was concerned that for the sake of their operating system that the look and feel and the methodology that they [Samsung] were using to create their tablet was getting too close to what Apple was doing.

          And in the memo themselves - remember this was minutes - they stated that Google demanded that they back away from that design.

          And later there was a follow-up memo among themselves, these executives, and in black and white it says: we elect to not pass this information down to the divisions that were actually involved in the design.

          So, from the sake of the engineers they went merrily along continuing their design not given any orders to back away.

          They knew nothing of that meeting. To me that kind of raised a light bulb in my head that when I got in the jury room I wanted to read the minutes of that meeting myself.

          When we went into deliberation in the jury room we not only had all the physical evidence of everything that was presented, but we also had sealed source code in its entirety from both sides, we actually had the memos that were talked about in the trial... and there was a piece of evidence after a piece of evidence that just clearly stacked up. "

          http://www.bbc.com/news/technology-19425052 [bbc.com]

          • Why did the jury foreman consider Google's opinion to be the arbiter of this case? What if Google were just being over-cautious? That was likely the Samsung boards opinion, and why they chose not to pass this onto the engineers. From the BBC article it seems that the Jury's decision was that if Google and Apple says its so - then it must be so.

            Every time I read statements from the jury foreman - they seem to be evolving - with the news stories finding holes in his previous statements.

            What amazes me is his s

            • by BenJury (977929)

              "the software was an entirely different methodology, and the more modern software could not be loaded onto the older example and be run without error." So because they could not run the software from a device produced in the 2010s on a device produced in the 1990s - it was not considered as prior art... astonishing.

              I've just been reading that article and the whole thing just reads like a train wreck. Although I understand that these sorts of interviews cant then be used in the appeal in the US?

              This also sticks out in that interview:

              Do you think if you hadn't been on the jury then we might have ended up with a very different verdict?
              I think so. But let's not say me specifically.

              Let's say if there had not been an individual who had the technical background, and there had not been an individual who had gone through the process, the verdict might have been different - or it might have been the same.

              I believe that the jury system in this country stands. The individuals would have ultimately come to a verdict. It might have been a lot longer.

              But what definitely would have been required is passing more questions to the judge and having them come back. In our case we didn't have to.

          • by hazydave (96747)

            I understand the Google concern.

            Take a look at the section of the stuff released that shows icons. Now, you can argue if Apple has any exclusive right to rounded-square icons... I'm pretty sure early versions of SymbianOS either enforced this, or used it as the standard design-guide stuff. Most "rows of icons" handheld devices have traditionally used the more typical icons you find everywhere, which have an image, transparent background, and no borders. At least as an option.

            Looking at just that bit, it's p

        • by BillX (307153)

          Interestingly, the '826 pinch-to-zoom patent [weblogsinc.com] could be more correctly called "double pinch to zoom": it covers a more narrow implementation in which the system recognizes a user doing a pinch-to-(activity) gesture followed by a 2nd pinch-to-(activity) within a preset time, maintaining the activity state in between. A naked pinch-to... activity (or any number of them) isn't covered if the system doesn't explicitly connect the repeated pinches together. This is probably why Apple hasn't asserted it. (And betwe

        • by DeadCatX2 (950953)

          I actually went and read that link. I'm assuming that the claims it presented "untangled" (i.e. without all the "the method in claim x" crap). Allow me to excerpt the parts I think are relevant, from the link you provided to The Verge.

          - determining whether the event object invokes a scroll or gesture operation by distinguishing between a single input point applied to the touch-sensitive display that is interpreted as the scroll operation and two or more input points applied to the touch-sensitive d

          • . Your argument seems to be that it's okay for Apple to patent the combination of these very basic and natural actions and gestures because this isn't that hard to design around?

            He's saying it isn't a broad patent.

            • by DeadCatX2 (950953)

              So in other words, exactly what you quoted. Because it isn't a broad patent, it's okay for this combination of actions and gestures to be patented, since it's not hard to design around the patent.

              I'm sorry but I still disagree. People did one finger scrolling before Apple, people did pinch to zoom before Apple, but Apple gets to patent the combination? In my opinion that's wrong.

          • Ultimately, this boils down to patenting "scroll with one finger or pinch-to-zoom with two"

            No, scroll with one, or gesture with two, where gesture is any operation that follows 2 or more simultaneous inputs.

            Your argument seems to be that it's okay for Apple to patent the combination of these very basic and natural actions and gestures because this isn't that hard to design around?

            I don't care about patents. We could throw away the whole patent system tomorrow and it's be no skin off my back. It wouldn't change the fact Samsung is copying Apple here. But as long as we are operating within this system you have to apply its rules consistently and that means you can't just throw out cases because you don't like the claimant because that's just arbitrary. That's what I'm do

      • You don't understand how patent claims work. You can't just take one sentence out of a claim and say that the overall patent covers whatever's in that sentence.

        • by msauve (701917)
          So, according to you, one can exclude individual sentences in claims, and therefore invalidate any/all patents at will.
          • by mosb1000 (710161)

            If you don't execute every method described in a claim, you have not violated that claim. That's how it works.

            But this doesn't just apply to patent claims. Whenever you take a single sentence out of context you may be misrepresenting the overall meaning of the sentence. It's scary to think that so many moderators apparently don't understand that, or didn't bother to check before moderating your misleading/misinformed post.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 30, 2012 @07:18PM (#41185403)

    On This hour of As The Bezel Turns will Steve Jobs really come back from the dead? Will we finally know if Tim Cook switched the paternity result test disowning his own sons Larry Page and Sergey Brin? Will the wedding of Melissa Meyer and Jerry Yang be stopped at the eleventh hour by her bitter rival Carly Fiorina? Did Samsung CEO Kun Hee Lee recover from his sudden bout of amnesia?

    Oh, nevermind, it's just another rehash of the fucking patent trial. Please make it stop.

  • I’m not sure where the idea that pinch and stretch was at stake originated.

    Simple. It originated among people disingenuously insinuating that this trial was all about pinch-to-zoom and rounded corners. In fact, these are simply rhetorical shorthand for the obviousness and prior art that should have undermined Apples claims.

    OTOH, I get writer is saying about the sorry state of writing. He knocked that one out of the park.

    • by jmerlin (1010641) on Thursday August 30, 2012 @07:44PM (#41185537)

      I'd like to point out that it seems to me that patent infringement and considerations of the prior art and obviousness are being inverted lately. Prior art should be a very wide concept, because of obviousness. As I understand the patent legislation that I've read, if it's obvious to any expert given the current state of the art (later deemed the prior art), it doesn't meet patentability criteria. Instead, with modern patent trolls and people like the foreman in this case, everyone seems to be making arguments that would dramatically shrink what defines prior art and obviousness by requiring an identical and exact copy of an existing thing (which could, however, be a claim for a copyright infringement), rather than allowing for obviousness to any expert. Simultaneously, when considering infringement, which should be that of an identical and exact copy in part or whole of a patented thing, it seems like people are trying to apply obviousness by claiming "well, it's obvious if you changed our patent in these ways that they would be infringing, so you see, they're infringing". I'm pretty sure it's supposed to work the other way around.

      • by mickwd (196449) on Friday August 31, 2012 @01:57AM (#41187105)

        Very interesting interview [bbc.co.uk] with the jury foreman on the BBC.

        Especially his statements like:

        "The jurors wanted to send a message to the industry at large..."

        "And in example after example, when we put it to the test, the older prior art was just that. Not that there's anything [wrong] with older prior art - but the key was that the hardware was different, the software was an entirely different methodology, and the more modern software could not be loaded onto the older example and be run without error."

        "And so consequently, when we looked at the source code - I was able to read source code - I showed the jurors that the two methods in software were not the same, nor could they be interchangeable because the hardware that was involved between the old processor and the new processor - you couldn't load the new software methodology in the old system and expect that it was going to work. And the converse of that was true."

        I hope Samsung's lawyers are watching.

        • by anethema (99553)

          Doesn't matter. Statements made by the jury after a trial mean nothing. They could say "neener neener we just didn't like samsung" and the verdict would stand.

          • by jmerlin (1010641)

            It does mean something. The foreman was acting as an expert witness for the other jurors, but was not admitted by the judge or any lawyer. So his opinions as a non-expert were instrumental in influencing the case. IANAL but this sounds like very good grounds for a re-trial or an appeal at least.

            I'm talking specifically when he is talking about what defines prior art (you're supposed to ask the judge that, or the lawyers, not assume you know the answer), and when he claims he could read source code so he

    • by hazydave (96747)

      It did actually involve rounded corners -- that became the focus of many pundits and bloggers, simply because that was such a public thing in Europe, the various "it does", "no it doesn't" decisions over the Galaxy Tab vs. the iPad, the "Community Design" that doesn't look like either one of them, etc.

      This was on the table. The jury rejected it -- they agreed with the UK judge: the Galaxy Tab is just not as cool as the iPad :-)

  • From TFA:

    How did so many get this so wrong? I fear it betrays something ugly about the way tech reporting worksâ"and doesnâ(TM)t workâ"these days. Depth, expertise, and reflection are all lacking. So is serious research

    The note at the end:

    Note: The original version of this post said the jury had rejected all claims regarding the rounded-corner design. The jury in fact rejected all claims only regarding willful infringement. On the simple question of infringement, the jury rejected a majorit

  • Wait, so the "news" got the facts wrong and didn't bother doing even a little bit of research for their stories before "reporting" their "news"? I'm *SHOCKED*. Shocked, I tell ya!

  • Please understand (Score:5, Insightful)

    by fnj (64210) on Thursday August 30, 2012 @09:44PM (#41186163)

    Please understand. Nobody cares WHICH patents were used to squash competition like a bug. On the one side, Apple and their partisans only care that competition was squashed. They don't care how.

    And on the other hand, actual thinking people only care that not just the patent system as it is presently tortured, but the very IDEA of patents is an evil, stinking, obscene insult to humanity. It is corporate welfare. It is a denial of nature and evolution. It strangles competition. It does not further the advance of useful arts in ANY WAY. It stifles the advance. While accelerating transfer of wealth to the wealthy, It hurts the economy. It props up the cancer of bloodsucking lawyers - not the lawyers who participate usefully in addressing criminal acts and REAL civil transgressions. It gives the finger to small business already reeling under the assault of the System. It even uselessly damages very large corporations like Samsung who employ many people. And Samsung will quickly move to pass the cost along to the consumer if this decision stands.

    Only idiots believe that patents encourage innovation. Patents strangle innovation. In the absence of patents, innovation would flourish because it confers advantage. The real advantage comes not in planting your boot on the other guy's neck to get a competitive edge at the expense of everybody else. The real advantage comes from making a superior product at a superior price, for its OWN sake.

    N.B. - most people, if they interviewed me skilfully, would conclude that I am to the right of Ghengis Khan. In actuality I deny the whole right/left fraud. If I have one message, it is: don't filter every single issue through the prism of some presumed regimented Rule Of Everything imposed from outside your own conscience.

    • The concept of patents aren't even the real problem here, the system by which we grant the patents is what brought us to this point. It's really easy to make a claim on fundamental concepts with software because our system is seriously flawed. It's gotten so bad now that the problem is affecting hardware and design concepts. People think that patents are meant to protect and lock down ideas, which isn't what they're supposed to do. Lawyers capitalize on this ignorance and patent clerks enable it. THAT is th
    • Only idiots believe that patents encourage innovation

      But encouraging innovation isn't the (direct) intention of patents: it's to get the technical details published and available to the public (in return for which the inventor gets a time-limited monopoly on its use).

      In industries where seeing an invention in use offers little clue to its construction (e.g. drugs), that may be a reasonable bargain. It would take huge resources to rediscover and re-test a drug, and so publication saves money in the end.

    • by tlhIngan (30335)

      Only idiots believe that patents encourage innovation. Patents strangle innovation. In the absence of patents, innovation would flourish because it confers advantage

      Actually, Android is proof this is not true, as Google actually has worked around most of the patents, leading to the innovation and differences you see between iOS and Android (for better or worse - there are things iOS does better, and things Android does better). And face it - why do many high end Androids end up being slates? Where's the inn

  • I recall fairly vividly playing around with a mandelbrot set exploration program which used a single left click to zoom in on the area centered on the click. This would have been in the 1990's.
    • by dzfoo (772245) on Friday August 31, 2012 @04:19AM (#41187663)

      Read the patent. No, really, it's enlightening and a propos to any discussion on the subject.

      It does not claim the "tap-to-zoom" gesture as novel. It claims a specific mechanism that describes how to determine which parts to zoom, when to zoom in or out, and on which part to focus and center; all using various methods and heuristics to determine user intent.

      Have you noticed that in say, Mobile Safari, when you double-tap to zoom it doesn't just "zoom in"; it tries to determine which is the relevant content block that the user is selecting and magnifies that, often at the exclusion of the surrounding content. The mechanisms to determine what to do and how to do that is what is claimed in the patent.

      The prior art on "tap-to-zoom" is precisely a non-contextual and non-discriminating magnification at the point of contact; which is different.

      Yes, reading, it's a dangerous thing.

                -dZ.

      • What is it about selecting the tapped frame when multiple are displayed, and zooming out when only a single frame is double tapped, is non-obvious?

        If you are double tapping to zoom, and asked a typical, advanced/senior UI programmer what should occur in the context of browser - how does this not end up on a yellow pad in a brainstorming session??

        • by dzfoo (772245)

          You tell me! If it were so obvious, how come every previous implementation did not include that? So far, prior art included the wholesale and indiscriminate magnification of the point of contact.

          It is obvious, of course, once you see it for the first time.

        • by tooyoung (853621)
          The patent is for the mechanism, not just the abstract concept. The patent explains how to implement this. You can come up with your own technique for how to solve the problem, as long as it is different from the patent.
  • I fear it betrays something ugly about the way tech reporting works–and doesn’t work–these days. Depth, expertise, and reflection are all lacking. So is serious research.

    And the serious research in TFA is the author asking a guy on Twitter...

  • by zuperduperman (1206922) on Friday August 31, 2012 @03:40AM (#41187503)

    He spends half the article complaining about supposed misreporting of "rounded corners" as an issue and then admits that in fact the jury did decide in favor of Apple's design patent on the rounded corners (qualified by equally dumb things like a "flat surface", and a "grid of icons", but that hardly makes the reporting of it sensationalist).

  • In the end, the patentsystem sucks, and Apple has just grabbed the runner-up spot on my list of companies I don't buy products from (and even with all the lawsuits flying around, they still have a looooong way to go if they want to take over the number-one spot from Sony).
  • by sl4shd0rk (755837) on Friday August 31, 2012 @09:29AM (#41189865)

    "I think the jury did an admirable job making sense of the case they were given. They certainly did better than much of the tech media, which have made a complete mess of the verdict."

    The jury *completely* screwed up. They started by ignoring the prior-art argument[1] samsung made, and then the foreman proceeded to sway everyone[2] with an "I got my own patent so listen to me" bullshit. The jury was an ill-fated catastrophe from the beginning of deliberations.

    [1] http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20120826/23534320161/applesamsung-jurors-admit-they-finished-quickly-ignoring-prior-art-other-key-factors.shtml [techdirt.com]

    [2] http://www.eetimes.com/electronics-news/4394863/Jury-foreman-recounts-Apple-vs--Samsung-case [eetimes.com]

It was kinda like stuffing the wrong card in a computer, when you're stickin' those artificial stimulants in your arm. -- Dion, noted computer scientist

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