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Reexamination Request Filed Against Another Apple Patent 85

An anonymous reader writes "After the rubber-banding, 'Steve Jobs' heuristics and pinch-to-zoom patents, another Apple patent in use against Samsung comes under pressure. An anonymous filer, most likely Samsung, has filed a reexamination request against Apple's RE41,922 patent on a 'method and apparatus for providing translucent images on a computer display.' It's not among the patents a California jury evaluated this summer, but one of four patents an ITC judge preliminarily found Samsung to infringe. The reexamination request features five new pieces of prior art (three U.S. patents from the early 1990s and two Japanese patents), all of which dealt with translucent images. The patent office will decide next year whether to grant or deny the request for reexamination. Expect more such petitions targeting Apple patents."
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Reexamination Request Filed Against Another Apple Patent

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  • Re:Apple (Score:5, Informative)

    by icebike ( 68054 ) on Saturday December 22, 2012 @08:07PM (#42372269)

    We have only this anonymous poster's allegation that Samsung was involved.

    An anonymous filer, most likely Samsung,

    There are any number of possible sources for this challenge, since the technique is used in almost all smartphones in and computer
    operating systems. Windows Vista and Windows 7 relied heavily on this technique for Aero.

    So many of Apple's patents are common software techniques long in use in other fields but with an appended phrase "On a Smartphone".
    I expect more of them will be reexamined.

  • Re:umm... (Score:3, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 22, 2012 @08:17PM (#42372319)

    The patent in question describes a particular way to perform compositing in front-to-back order to save cycles. Once the alpha of a given pixel reaches 1, there's no need to render anything behind it. Porter and Duff's approach is to draw everything back to front.

  • by jkrise ( 535370 ) on Saturday December 22, 2012 @09:51PM (#42372709) Journal

    Yes, there is a patent on translucent images; granted to Apple. Despite the fact that there's been tons of prior art from many other software implementations for layered imaging techniques.

    According to one of Floriam Mueller's posts, Apple has got 100s of multi-touch patents alone, and 1000s of patents on non-touch features related to smartphones.

    Until Apple came along, hardware and software companies armed themselves with patents to ward off threats from trolls, or as a defensive measure alone. Now this company which has built an empire using copied technologies; has filed and gotten patents for obvious, trivial extensions of the same. Worse, they are using these patents to try and secure billions as 'security money' instead of competing in the markets based on the superiority of their products.

    About 15 years ago, the company was on the verge of bankruptcy. Now they have presumably the largest cash reserves of any technology company. And their ex-CEO who is now dead, proclaimed that he did not want merely monetary compensation of billions of dollars. He wanted total destruction of entire competing platforms, period. One such platform is the Free and Open Source Software (FOSS for short) platform to which Android belongs.

    Linux, Android, Apache, MySQL, PostgreSQL are a few examples of leading FOSS products which have completely changed the technology landscape over the past 2 decades. Companies like Google, Facebook, Twitter etc. have built their empires using FOSS almost exclusively. Even Apple's earlier software offerings were based on FOSS products such as OpenBSD.

    A patent regime does not sit well with the FOSS philosophy, and companies like Apple, Microsoft and Oracle have tried directly or covertly to litigate FOSS based competing products by behaving like litigious thugs. The referenced blog by Florian Mueller is tiled FOSS-Patents; however he is very much anti-FOSS; and indeed has acknowledged receipt of monies from the above companies in their anti-FOSS campaigns.

    There are many such absurdities in the patent wars being waged, which have come to a head in recent years, because of enormous monies involved. Many companies like HTC have caved in and settled in the face of such absurdities, which causes higher prices for customers. It also results in lucrative business opportunities for lawyers, and so-called IP experts such as Florian Mueller. None of which serve the purpose of granting patent monopolies - which is to promote the progress of Science and useful Arts.

    So you need not be surprised at the existence of patents on translucent images. There are patents on glossiness, rounded corners, shapes of icons, black colour, etc. based on which some schizophrenic companies expect billions in compensation from 'violating' companies.

  • by Gadget_Guy ( 627405 ) on Saturday December 22, 2012 @10:42PM (#42372861)

    It is true that a lot of people here will judge a patent by its subject matter and not the details in the patent. You are correct that this patent is not about patenting translucent images, but of using a system process or video driver to merge the graphic representations of two concurrent application's user interface.

    But it is never OK to call people names just because you disagree with them. I would have modded you down to -1 just for that had I not wanted to post here myself. You took a reasonable discussion point and turned it into flamebait by being so unnecessarily rude. So here is your flame: stop doing that!

  • The method and apparatus for implementing translucent images, and many more advanced image processing techniques

    No need to read that link, let's think back to 40 years ago, in 1972, when we had 3D shaded rendered graphics. []

    Now, just keep that in mind alone and consider any 2D graphics tricks patented ~20 years after we already were working with 3D graphics, Z-buffers, etc... 2D image convolutions? On a Computer you say? In the fucking 1990's no less? You know, around when Realtime 3D Virtual Reality Games like Dactyl Nightmare and Exorex [] could be played at the mall? When the Genesis and Super Nintendo were available? When I was using CorelDRAW? When Morphing [] graphics were so popular (the next-gen step AFTER fade transitions) that it spawned ridiculous movies and even shows like the Mighty Morphing Power Rangers?!?! And pixel color Modulation wasn't obvious to us then regardless of "apparatus"? Sorry, no dice Apple, get bent.

About the time we think we can make ends meet, somebody moves the ends. -- Herbert Hoover