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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 ilsaloving ( 1534307 ) on Friday November 16, 2012 @06:57PM (#42007289)

    There are an insufficient number of Picards to adequately supply the amount of facepalm this requires and deserves.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 16, 2012 @07:02PM (#42007349)

    So how does the US patent system actually work? You apply and automatically get a patent then it's up to the courts to decide whether it's legitimate or not latter? Why bother having a patent office at all if they don't knock down crap like this?

    • by GPierce ( 123599 ) on Friday November 16, 2012 @07:51PM (#42008025)

      There was a time when parts of the federal government actually did an honest job - most of the time. Drug regulators actually blocked marketing of drugs that were dangerous to your health. The SEC kept crooks from selling dishonest investments. The Bureau of Land Management kept people from buying horses and selling them to slaughterhouses.

      Some time in the last thirty or so years, large parts of government (and private enterprise) became thoroughly corrupt.

      The patent office is just one more example where a bought-and-paid-for-congress (along with the patent office bureaucracy) modified the rules so they no longer protect the public interest - they protect Corporate America.

        If you have a valid patent, you can't afford to defend it. If some corporation has a completely bogus patent, you can't afford to challenge it.

      Read up on the Enclosure acts of the early 18th Century. At this time the aristocracy essentially invented our modern form of private property. Intellectual property is a modern day way of inventing something new - Intellectual property rights that didn't really exist until someone bought the right politicians. Much of it is a form of governmental theft covered up by a concept (patents) that was once honest and a benefit to everyone.

      • Your take on history is hilarious, the government has never been good at anything aside from issuing money and conducting war. Show me a time in history when government was corrupt and I'll tell you why you're completely incorrect. The government overlooks things its friends do, etc. It's no different in private industry, except the government has virtually unlimited power to ruin your life.
      • If some corporation has a completely bogus patent, you can't afford to challenge it.

        Are these incredibly simple patents actually defended in court, or are they acquired only to make headlines and scare small businesses from attempting to encroach on the turf of these big corporations?

      • There was a time when parts of the federal government actually did an honest job - most of the time. Drug regulators actually blocked marketing of drugs that were dangerous to your health. The SEC kept crooks from selling dishonest investments.

        That's a nice dream. Not related to anything in history, though.

    • Patents cost money, the more patents are granted the more money the patent office makes. The less money it needs from government, the lower you can keep taxes (for the rich if you don't spend it straight on politicians).

      You get the patent system you paid for. Republicans want it to be self-sufficient so the patent office sells its product, patents, as fast as it can and lets other worry about the cleanup.

      Gosh, it is almost as if Republicans care more about money then society. How odd.

  • 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!
  • Hyperbole (Score:4, Insightful)

    by ShanghaiBill ( 739463 ) on Friday November 16, 2012 @07:11PM (#42007489)

    From TFA:

    ... gives Apple the exclusive rights to the page turn in an e-reader application. ...

    There are real problems with the patent system, but this kind of stupid misleading hyperbole does not help. Apple does not have exclusive rights to page turning, they were granted a patent on a specific algorithm. If you think they shouldn't have been granted that patent, then that actual issue should be addressed, rather than the made up garbage in TFA.

  • 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.

      • by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 16, 2012 @08:21PM (#42008307)
        Who decides what is "close enough"? If i want to make a page animation, how do I know I am not infringing? Does the patent list the exact set of design features that must be met to satisfy infringement? What if my animation has all of those features except 1, am I infringing? What is to stop Apple from suing me anyway because I cannot afford to defend in court?
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Anonymous Coward

          > Who decides what is "close enough"?

          Jurors like Velvin Hogan. Yeah, you might remember that guy who ruled in favor of Apple and is now being accused of misconduct for having ignored the judge's instructions, having told the other jurors false things about what the law says, and having intentionally withheld important information during voire dire, among other things.

        • Who decides what is "close enough"? If i want to make a page animation, how do I know I am not infringing?

          First, you shouldn't try copying the original and modifying it slightly. That is (1) unoriginal and (2) risky. You could look at the design patent and the prior art that it quotes. When prior art is quoted, it means "we know this looks a bit similar, but it's really different, so it doesn't affect us getting the patent". So you have two images now: One that is patented, and one that is definitely not infringing. That could give you some direction.

      • You know what? Design Patents shouldn't exist at all. If something is that synonymous with your brand then trademark it. Otherwise GTFO.
        • by tlhIngan ( 30335 )

          You know what? Design Patents shouldn't exist at all. If something is that synonymous with your brand then trademark it. Otherwise GTFO.

          You realize that trademarks are far worse, right?

          Because you're not saying "it has to have this list of items" (omitting any one of them means you don't violate the patent), but it just has to be "close enough".

          Remember, a design patent enumerates a list of attributes that constitute the design. Omit one and you're not violating it. (Think "rounded corners" - the patent act

          • So then you make trademark more defined and harder to get granted. In the end maybe only Logos and Names get trademarks.
      • Note the IBM patent is a normal 'method' patent, not a design patent. Does this make it better? No, it makes this all worse, because it means the patent system not only is actually just that broken, but that it was already as far back as 1995.

  • by NixieBunny ( 859050 ) on Friday November 16, 2012 @07:20PM (#42007643) Homepage
    Why, oh why, do coders think it's a good idea to waste time pretending that every computer page is a paper page by making the corner flip up and move over? It's slow and distracting and adds nothing to the user experience except aggravation.
    • Well, for once, Apple has patented a way of spending more precious battery energy on something that doesn't need to be done at all. They can keep this one. :-)
    • Not to mention the fact that it mimics turning one page at a time. Want to flip ahead further? Drop out of the fancy animated effects and do a traditional chapter search. Way to maintain the mnemonics and illusion!

  • Quick! to the time machine! We need to sue Gutenberg!

  • Broken Patent System (Score:3, Interesting)

    by SmaryJerry ( 2759091 ) on Friday November 16, 2012 @08:37PM (#42008433)
    I can't count the number of times that I've thought of a great idea and it turns out it exists already and is patented. The point of the patent system is to prevent copying but in a world of 7 billion people, 300 million in the united states, many ideas are going to overlap and occur independently. Each and every one of us has had great ideas and then looked it up only to find that it already exists; this is proof that the patent system is broken. In order for something to be patented it needs to be truelly original. It is criminal to allow the patent office to issue patents only based on the fact they assume other people are to stupid to think it or haven't filed paperwork to patent it because it is so obvious. Sure the average person might be, but I bet there are literally hundreds of thousands of coders would replicate the same algorithm if they worked on the same problem. So how can they patent something so rediculously easy to create for so many people? Because they assume everyone is average when they approve these patents. The patent office needs to take into account that a patent must be original to experts in the field, not just an average person, which doesn't appear to be the case. If we can make the patent process legitimate in the first place we would not have to worry about these battles over a few lines of code or patenting a 5 cent additional part and claiming it's an original idea. The patent offices need to take into account the value. How valuable is that algorithm? E.G. how much would you ahve to pay an expert before he thinks of it? For something like this, maybe $500, or a week or less worth of work/coding by one person. Could you replicate that process with any other expert? If so, then don't grant that patent. Is it really so valuable of an idea that every person in the US should be banned from implementing it? They should be ashamed to give patents for something so easily replicated and should think much harder about what it means to invent something. Inventing isn't being the first or only one to submit a piece of paper with specific words. Inventing is finding something that not one in the other 300 million people (or 7 billion) could think. If it doesn't pass that test, don't give it a patent!
    • The USPTO is basically funded by fees it charges patent applicants. In effect this means that the more it rubber-stamps, the more money it makes ... if it tightened up applications to only grant "reasonable" patents their income would plummet as the industry would no longer file for every stupid thing. Conflict of interests / moral hazard ... they get paid more the more wreckage they cause.

  • The cheesy page turn animation is a horrible UI flourish. Apple did us all a favor by forcing other tablets to employ less garish page turn effects.

  • Apple sues all physical book publishers as their devices appear to violate newly granted patent.

  • by ProfBooty ( 172603 ) on Friday November 16, 2012 @08:52PM (#42008611)

    Sounds like the author doesn't understand the difference between a design patent and a utility patent.

  • All your page curls be mine!

  • 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.

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

      Does this actual patent serve a purpose though? I have a few different Android products and my wife has an iPhone and I honestly couldn't tell you how their page turning animations differ, I just know they have one. I don't think anyone is going to confuse an Apple product with its competition based on the page turning animation. Patenting the icons and even the swipe to unlock thing (which most definitely had prior art anyway) could hold some legitimacy, but this patent just seems like something to bog

    • by Arker ( 91948 )
      I understand exactly what a design patent is, and I still think they are broken. Why should someone working on a new e-reader have to consult with lawyers and design around this thing? How does forcing them to do so, under penalty of possibly being sued into oblivion, promote progress in the useful arts and sciences? How?
  • Along with other skeuomorphic crap. E-books do not need stupid animations slowing you down when you turn pages.

  • by PPH ( 736903 ) on Friday November 16, 2012 @10:44PM (#42009355)
    Call the help desk [].
  • What some smart patent attorney needs to do is patent the use of a lower case i at the beginning of a word. This just shows how iDiotic Apple has become.
  • If somebody could go out and patent patenting anything that exists in the physical world as digital representations, wouldn't these pointless patents go away?

    OTOH, I guess the US Patent Office is doing this on purpose ... if they'd just turn down these stupid patents, all they'd earn would be the original application fees ...
    By approving the patents, they for one attract patent trolls to put on for even more of these type of patents, and also ensure that other companies spend money for them to check and pos

  • This is great. The cockroaches know no shame or limits. They just go right on, piling over each other at the patent office patenting every flicker of a UI idea, every shade of a thought of a notion .... and it's all to our long-term good.

    If they acted responsibly, if they could manage to even momentarily raise the masks of an adult face over their twisted frothing greed and steroided self-regard as "creators" then they wouldn't be racking up such an egregious track record. Oh, but they can't.


  • I am very anouyed by these senseless animations. If Apple patents them, dear companies, this is a paten i have no problem if you just accept it.

  • by gnasher719 ( 869701 ) on Saturday November 17, 2012 @10:45AM (#42011877)
    I read the actual article now, and anyone who read the article, and believed what it said, would rightfully be annoyed with the patent system and with Apple. The problem is not with Slashdot readers. The problem is with the author of the article, one Nick Bolton, who is for all I know one f***ing bloody clueless idiot.

    To you, Nick Bolton, you will enjoy reading here that you have the intelligence of a gnat. At most. You should really, really stop blogging anything until you know the difference between a patent and a design patent. It's like the difference between a goldfish and a silverfish. One is a stupid fish, one is a stupid insect. Your article is just idiotic and totally wrong, starting with the headline "Apple now owns the page turn".

    Now, Nick Bolton, I'll give you an opportunity to respond. It is obvious to anyone that you are either an idiot, or you are intentionally spreading lies. Please tell us what it is. Looking forward to your reply.

Don't tell me how hard you work. Tell me how much you get done. -- James J. Ling