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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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  • Apple (Score:4, Interesting)

    by future assassin ( 639396 ) on Saturday December 22, 2012 @07:42PM (#42372157) Homepage

    There's a patent for that...

    Seems its worth while for Samsung to hire people and screen for any prior art on "Apple" patent then request reexamination with the evidence too boot.

  • umm... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 22, 2012 @07:50PM (#42372181)

    Porter, Thomas; Tom Duff (1984). "Compositing Digital Images". Computer Graphics 18 (3): 253–259. doi:10.1145/800031.808606. ISBN 0-89791-138-5.

  • wow (Score:5, Interesting)

    by RedHackTea ( 2779623 ) on Saturday December 22, 2012 @08:46PM (#42372453)
    I didn't believe it until I read it myself:

    Source [uspto.gov]

    "A method and apparatus is described for producing a translucent image over a base image created on the display screen of a computer system by a selected first application program, and conducting image operations either on the base image created by the selected application program with reference to the translucent image produced, or conducting image operations on the translucent image with reference to the base image of the first application program. The first application program runs on a central processing unit (CPU) of a computer system to produce a base image, and another application program referred to as the overlay program is run to produce the translucent image such that portions of the base image which are overlapped by the overlay image are at least partially visible through the translucent image. There is also a mechanism for blending the first video data and the second video data to produce a blended image on the screen assembly."

    "The efficient use of the available display screen space for observation of images and windows containing images, while particularly pronounced for pen computer systems, is common to all computer systems which display information or images to the user. No matter how large a particular display may be, a particular user will be tempted to attempt to display more information on the screen than can effectively be handled.

    Images or information presented on a display screen are typically presented as opaque images, i.e., images "behind" a displayed image are obscured. This is the case with display windows which are layered on a particular screen, with the uppermost window image partially or completely blocking the view of the lower windows. For two windows to be capable of interaction, it is preferable that the user be able to observe both images at the same time, or at close to the same time."

    And that's if you can manage getting through the ridiculous descriptions of "pen-like" devices... Does the lawyer that wrote this have any respect for himself?

    Even if it is some type of "new" transparency, I feel like it would be hard to come up with a new method that hasn't already been done in OpenGL [opengl.org].
  • Re:umm... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 22, 2012 @11:08PM (#42372961)

    Obvious once someone shows you how? ;-)

    We had almost two decades between the original compositing work at Lucas and later at Pixar, and the invention of the front-to-back algorithm in the patent. Adobe didn't think of it when they added porter-duff compositing to Display Postscript, Apple didn't think of it when they first implemented Quartz 2D.

    The fact remains that nobody realized how much more efficient it would be to reverse the order of evaluation until a Core Graphics engineer at Apple (a friend of mine, as it happens) had a brainstorm in the process of rewriting the compositing code to make it run as shader program on the GPU during the time when Apple was implementing Quartz Extreme. In that time, a lot of smart people had written composition functions and missed this "obvious" optimization.

  • Re:wow (Score:4, Interesting)

    by VortexCortex ( 1117377 ) <VortexCortex.project-retrograde@com> on Saturday December 22, 2012 @11:52PM (#42373101)

    And that's if you can manage getting through the ridiculous descriptions of "pen-like" devices... Does the lawyer that wrote this have any respect for himself?

    That's because if they'd said Accumulating Z-Buffer, or Stencil Buffer, the examiners would have easily found the 1970's era patents. The goal of a patent lawyer is to word the patent in such a way that none of the phrases they search for match any of the already existing patents.... Which also answers your question: No, they have absolutely no respect for themselves, but neither do examiners which let this shit get to this state in the first place. Lawyers and attorneys hate simple laws and rules and language -- They can't milk the society for money or have job security if that happened.

  • Re:Why anonymous? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Zontar The Mindless ( 9002 ) <plasticfish.info ... m ['il.' in gap]> on Sunday December 23, 2012 @04:18AM (#42373891) Homepage

    The patents already invalidated were challenged anonymously too. Why challenge anonymously? I don't see any particular benefit.

    Pretty simple, really. It's so that:

    (a) Apple can't claim on appeal that the USPTO are in cahoots with $apple_competitor, because

    (b) the USPTO can state truthfully that they don't know who filed the challenge to Apple's patent, and thus USPTO will conduct the re-examination based on the merits, and not on the players.

Genius is ten percent inspiration and fifty percent capital gains.