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Apple Patents Page Turn Animation 192

An anonymous reader sends this quote from the NY Times Bits blog: "If you want to know just how broken the patent system is, just look at patent D670,713, filed by Apple and approved this week by the United States Patent Office. This design patent, titled, 'Display screen or portion thereof with animated graphical user interface,' gives Apple the exclusive rights to the page turn in an e-reader application. ... Apple argued that its patented page turn was unique in that it had a special type of animation other page-turn applications had been unable to create." The article doesn't really make it clear, but this is for the UI design of showing a page being turned, not the actual function of moving from one page to another. That said, the patent itself cites similar animations in Flash from 2004.
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Apple Patents Page Turn Animation

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  • by Bill Hayden ( 649193 ) on Friday November 16, 2012 @07:05PM (#42007407) Homepage
    BeOS had a 3d demo program with this exact functionality in the late 1990's!
  • It's a design patent (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 16, 2012 @07:16PM (#42007565)

    It's a design patent, not a utility patent. That means it's all about the artistic properties. For example, the BeOS page turning looks very different, so it doesn't apply. Coke has a design patent on the shape of the Coke bottle. It doesn't seem so unreasonable that Apple's artwork is different and distinctive.

  • by Anubis IV ( 1279820 ) on Friday November 16, 2012 @07:34PM (#42007829)

    It's an odd day when an AC has something more insightful to say than everyone else, but that's the case here.

    Since this is a design patent, it only covers the ornamental aspects (in fact, the methodology and the like were specifically excluded in the patent, since the patent cannot cover any function). As such, others are welcome to make page turning animations (in fact, IBM had a VERY similar patent back in '95 [] that was cited as a reference by Apple) as much as they want, so long as it doesn't look like Apple's implementation. As the AC pointed out, the BeOS design looks nothing like Apple's, so it wouldn't act as prior art that could invalidate the patent. Even the IBM patent, while similar, is not close enough.

  • Re:Notebook (Score:5, Informative)

    by gnasher719 ( 869701 ) on Friday November 16, 2012 @08:11PM (#42008221)

    Circus Ponies' has had a very similar animation from the beginning and has been continuously available on the NeXT/OSX platform for about twenty years. It was announced for iPad on 2011-08-11, three months before Apple filed.

    It's a design patent. If the other animation that you mention is very similar, then an exact copy of that other animation is not infringing (on Apple's design patent); an exact copy of Apple's animation is infringing, and something that is close would be difficult to judge.

    Guys, remember that this is a _design_ patent. And it protects the design of _one_ way to animate turning over a simulated page in an eBook reader. There are gazillions of ways to do such an animation. Some look better, some look less good. One of them is now covered by a design patent, that's all.

  • Re:Atari's "Arabian" (Score:5, Informative)

    by gnasher719 ( 869701 ) on Friday November 16, 2012 @08:17PM (#42008279)

    Didn't this game have page turning animations in it back in '83?

    Quite possibly. I don't know it. However, this isn't a "patent on page turning animations". It is a _design patent_ (which is a totally different kind of thing than a _utility patent_), and it covers the design of one specific animation, that means how this specific animation looks. You could even use the exact some algorithm that Apple uses, changing some parameters to make the animation look different, and it wouldn't be covered by this patent. Unless the animation in this game looks _exactly_ the same, it doesn't invalidate this design patent. And if you create a new animation, unless it looks _exactly_ the same, it is not infringing on this design patent. What you are _not_ allowed to do now is to make an exact copy of this animation.

  • by afgam28 ( 48611 ) on Friday November 16, 2012 @09:13PM (#42008817)

    Come on guys, the ignorance being displayed here is embarassing. Apple has not patented the general concept of turning a page. They've just claimed the rights to their specific page turn animation, that's all.

    A lot of people here clearly don't understand what a "design patent" is, and how it differs from a utility patent and copyright. Here's an example of what they all mean:

    Copyright: would apply to the code that implements the animation.
    Design patent: would apply to the animation itself.
    Utility patents: would apply to the general idea of turning of a page in an ebook.

    This is the claim from the design patent:

    The ornamental design for a display screen or portion thereof with animated-graphical user interface, as shown and described.

    Note that it only covers the animation as shown and described. If you use a different animation, you're not infringing.

    So calm down everyone. The patent system may be broken, but this is not an example of it.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 16, 2012 @09:23PM (#42008885)

    Lotus Smart Suite and Lotus Organizer had an animated page turn in the 90's. You could even choose to turn it on or off and it had sound if you wished. Prior art should invalidate this lame patent.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday November 17, 2012 @12:49AM (#42010003)

    If you have problems determining which way the page has turned, I think reading books, be it physical of electronic, is not an exercise for you. But then I guess, you're probably right. I can easily imagine reading the book up to page 300 out of 301 and then reading it all backwards to page 1 just because you couldn't distinguish the previous page from the next page. What a waste of time that is...

"So why don't you make like a tree, and get outta here." -- Biff in "Back to the Future"