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Tags apple , lawsuits , samsung

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Old 13th August 2012, 08:17 PM   #241
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Originally Posted by OnlyTellsTruths View Post
That you are, supposedly, an expert on patents seems to be the very reason you are blind to several of the multitude of reasons why the system is horribly broken.
This really smacks of the typically woo argument of "All the experts are sheep! Only us outsiders who have never actually bothered to learn anything about this subject area can be trusted to know the truth!"

It just doesn't hold up to basic scrutiny. Everything else equal, the patent attorney, patent examiner, and experienced patent applicant in this thread deserve more deference regarding the proper assessment of facts than the other members of the thread with little to no experience or education in this area.
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Old 13th August 2012, 09:56 PM   #242
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Originally Posted by BenBurch View Post
No, but I deal with real patent issues in a real workplace.

I know that my opinion matters not at all in whether a patent gets issued and whether a patent survives a challenge.

Guys go to school for YEARS to become patent attorneys - along with Admiralty law, Patent law is one of only two recognized specializations in the legal profession. There are literally TONS of TOMES on patent law.

So the chance that I know the answer to a question like that is small, and unless you also have 35 years of an engineering career behind you, the chances you know the answer is approximately nil.
So are you also opinion-less with regards to Apple vs Samsung? Or is it just when Apple may have ripped off ideas (as Steve Jobs himself said they were shameless about) that you reserve judgement?

I admit that I don't know if is enough for a patent violation. But it was very clearly borrowed from Android. My point is that that it is that everybody borrows ideas from each other. It is not just Apple coming up with ideas and those ideas being stolen. And Apple looks like the bad guy for declaring "thermonuclear war" on Android when they are perfectly willing to use ideas from Android that they like.

Last edited by The Dark Lord; 13th August 2012 at 10:04 PM.
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Old 14th August 2012, 12:11 AM   #243
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Originally Posted by Horatius View Post
At this point, ridicule is entirely appropriate.

We don't accept that sort of willfully ignorant nonsense from woos, why should I accept it here?
Well, just as long as you understand that being uncivil is a breach of the MA.
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Old 14th August 2012, 01:13 AM   #244
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Originally Posted by Horatius View Post
...in a maze, while being chased by ghosts, looking like a pie with a piece missing, and making "waka waka waka" sounds.

But then, I've given up hope that you'll ever understand that.
Pacman ATARI and Pacman arcade :



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Old 14th August 2012, 02:08 AM   #245
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Originally Posted by BenBurch View Post
No, that fee is not out of line at all, Tyr 13.

Nobody HAS to license any patents at all. A patent is an exclusive right for 14 years.

If Apple wanted to, it could simply deny Samsung the patents. To license them at all is a gesture of goodwill.
Depends on the territory and how the patents are viewed in that territory. Given the breadth of Apple's claims if it was successful it would probably end up being legally forced to licence at least some of those patents for a low fee.
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Old 14th August 2012, 02:11 AM   #246
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Originally Posted by OnlyTellsTruths View Post
Because this field, phone software, is the one being horribly abused. Compare it to the previous 40 years of video game software to see how the system should actually work.
I do think video games is a very good example, if the patent legislation had been the same back in the 80s (and we had the same type of patent-trigger happy companies) the industry would have been strangled at birth.
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Old 14th August 2012, 02:13 AM   #247
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Originally Posted by BenBurch View Post
...snip...

So the chance that I know the answer to a question like that is small, and unless you also have 35 years of an engineering career behind you, the chances you know the answer is approximately nil.
Think you've rather forgotten that this case will be decided by a jury, all of which I am 100% certain are not patent lawyers.
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Old 14th August 2012, 02:17 AM   #248
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Originally Posted by HENTAI DOUKYUSEI JP View Post
Pac-Man's copyright was successfully defended quite a few times, it was one of the key IPs that lead to the licensing model (of IP) in the computer games field. I'll try to find some links but this was pre-internet so not sure what will be on-line.

ETA: Should have known, everything is on the internet!

1982 http://www.patentarcade.com/2005/04/...-phillips.html
1983: http://www.davis.ca/en/entry/video-g...-case-summary/
And still being defended in 2010: http://www.techdirt.com/articles/201...81510430.shtml
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Old 14th August 2012, 02:19 AM   #249
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Ms Pac-Man was unauthorised, for example. The history section is interesting!
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ms._Pac-Man
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Old 14th August 2012, 02:59 AM   #250
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Useful article: http://news.cnet.com/8301-13579_3-57...-in-one-chart/

ETA: And about another case that could have some bearing on the topic of this thread: http://www.fosspatents.com/2012/08/u...l-summary.html
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Old 14th August 2012, 05:15 AM   #251
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Originally Posted by BenBurch View Post
So the chance that I know the answer to a question like that is small, and unless you also have 35 years of an engineering career behind you, the chances you know the answer is approximately nil.
How many years of an engineering career does Judge Koh have? The jury?
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Old 14th August 2012, 05:21 AM   #252
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Originally Posted by WildCat View Post
How many years of an engineering career does Judge Koh have? The jury?
The judge has years and years of practice in this sort of law.

The jury, like all juries, can be assumed to know nothing at all, and the trial educates them in both the law and the facts, and the judge gives them instructions on how they should resolve the case.

And this is how patent cases have been decided in the USA for 222 years.

From the Audion tube to the Zamboni.
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Old 14th August 2012, 05:30 AM   #253
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Originally Posted by BenBurch View Post
The judge has years and years of practice in this sort of law.
As far as I can tell her experience in patent law goes only from 2002-2008. She began her career as a "Women's Law and Public Policy Fellow".

Originally Posted by BenBurch View Post
The jury, like all juries, can be assumed to know nothing at all, and the trial educates them in both the law and the facts, and the judge gives them instructions on how they should resolve the case.

And this is how patent cases have been decided in the USA for 222 years.

From the Audion tube to the Zamboni.
By your own criteria Koh is completely unqualified to decide this case.

Compare/contrast Koh's career to Richard Posner's career.
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Old 14th August 2012, 06:12 AM   #254
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Originally Posted by Darat View Post
Think you've rather forgotten that this case will be decided by a jury,
Only some aspects are decided by the jury. Other aspects are decided by the judge.

And, in many cases, the judge rules on a controlling question (like invalidity) and it will never reach a jury.
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Old 14th August 2012, 06:23 AM   #255
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Originally Posted by AvalonXQ View Post
Only some aspects are decided by the jury. Other aspects are decided by the judge.

And, in many cases, the judge rules on a controlling question (like invalidity) and it will never reach a jury.
How is that meant to add anything to the snippet you quoted, the jury decides on the verdict and I am 100% sure that none of the jury are legal patent lawyers with decades of experience behind them. Nothing you stated contradicts what I said nor even expands on it.
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Old 14th August 2012, 06:28 AM   #256
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Originally Posted by Darat View Post
How is that meant to add anything to the snippet you quoted, the jury decides on the verdict <snip>
Again, this is an oversimplification and not even always true.

Patent questions are an unusual and delicate mixture of questions of fact and law, and often the outcome will turn entirely on a question of law - which means that the "verdict" isn't decided by the jury at all in those cases. You can't take for granted that the jury is the controlling party in all cases. Often it's the judge.
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Old 14th August 2012, 06:46 AM   #257
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Originally Posted by AvalonXQ View Post
Again, this is an oversimplification and not even always true.
This is called a strawman i.e. you have made up the point that you attribute to me i.e. that I have argued that a jury always makes the decision on a verdict and then you attack the made-up position.

I have been talking about this specific case not all cases and in this case it is the jury that will make the decision regarding the verdict.

Originally Posted by AvalonXQ View Post

Patent questions are an unusual and delicate mixture of questions of fact and law, and often the outcome will turn entirely on a question of law ...snip...
That is hardly unusual it is what most legal trials are about.

Originally Posted by AvalonXQ View Post

- which means that the "verdict" isn't decided by the jury at all in those cases. You can't take for granted that the jury is the controlling party in all cases. Often it's the judge.
You don't seem to understand that this case will be decided by the jury. A jury that will not have one "expert" on patent law or other forms of IP law.
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Old 14th August 2012, 06:53 AM   #258
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Originally Posted by Darat View Post
That is hardly unusual it is what most legal trials are about.
No, most legal trials are about questions of fact. If you have a jury trial at all, then you are evaluating at least one question of fact in addition to questions of law. Otherwise you don't bother with a jury.

From your response, it appears you don't recognize the legal distinction between a question of law (a matter of legal interpretation determined by an officer of the court and usually subject to de novo review) and a question of fact (a matter of interpretation of the evidence determined by a fact-finder, often a jury, and usually subject only to review for clear error). Both are the subject of legal procedings; both are involved in this case; either can control the outcome (as should be obvious from the fact that Posner's Apple case was decided based on a question of law review that didn't require a jury).

In practice, it looks like this case may be decided by a question of fact infringement ruling by the jury -- but this is not necessarily the case, nor should that make you think the jury makes the only verdict coming down here.
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Old 14th August 2012, 06:58 AM   #259
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Originally Posted by AvalonXQ View Post
No, most legal trials are about questions of fact.
No the two aspects are usually part and parcel of the what a trial is about.
Originally Posted by AvalonXQ View Post
If you have a jury trial at all, then you are evaluating at least one question of fact in addition to questions of law. Otherwise you don't bother with a jury.
So as I have stated in this case a decision will be made by a jury, one that is not composed of IP legal experts. That is a fact about this case.

Originally Posted by AvalonXQ View Post

From your response, it appears you don't recognize the legal distinction between a question of law (a matter of legal interpretation determined by an officer of the court and usually subject to de novo review) and a question of fact (a matter of interpretation of the evidence determined by a fact-finder, often a jury, and usually subject only to review for clear error). Both are the subject of legal procedings; both are involved in this case; either can control the outcome (as should be obvious from the fact that Posner's Apple case was decided based on a question of law review that didn't require a jury).

In practice, it looks like this case may be decided by a question of fact infringement ruling by the jury -- but this is not necessarily the case, nor should that make you think the jury makes the only verdict coming down here.
Again - all of which does not alter, contradict nor expand one iota on what I initially stated that you objected to i.e. that this case will be decided by a jury who will not be experts in matters of IP or IP law.
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Old 14th August 2012, 07:00 AM   #260
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Originally Posted by Darat View Post
Again - all of which does not alter, contradict nor expand one iota on what I initially stated that you objected to i.e. that this case will be decided by a jury who will not be experts in matters of IP or IP law.
Absolutely it does. You're stating as a certainty that this case will turn on the jury ruling (I assume you mean the jury ruling on infringement). I'm telling you that this is often not the case and may not be the case here.
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Old 14th August 2012, 07:07 AM   #261
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Originally Posted by AvalonXQ View Post
Absolutely it does. You're stating as a certainty that this case will turn on the jury ruling (I assume you mean the jury ruling on infringement). I'm telling you that this is often not the case and may not be the case here.
There are several matters that the jury will be asked to decide on not just a matter of a patent infringement (there are plenty of sources you can use to get yourself up to speed regarding this trial, if you'd like some links let me know).

But in the end the people that will make the decision or rather decisions on this trial are a jury, none of who will be experts in IP law and that fact won't change by anyone denying that fact.
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Old 14th August 2012, 07:12 AM   #262
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Originally Posted by Darat View Post
But in the end the people that will make the decision or rather decisions on this trial are a jury, none of who will be experts in IP law and that fact won't change by anyone denying that fact.
Yes, by definitions the decision-makers in a jury trial are the jury. However, in the end, the person who will make the decisions on this case is the judge, using the jury decisions as only one set of information to come to a decision.

That's the point I was looking to make, and it's an important one -- the case may turn on the jury decision or it may not. It's not accurate to assume the jury decision to be the final or controlling one.
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Old 14th August 2012, 07:18 AM   #263
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Originally Posted by AvalonXQ View Post
This really smacks of the typically woo argument of "All the experts are sheep! Only us outsiders who have never actually bothered to learn anything about this subject area can be trusted to know the truth!"

It just doesn't hold up to basic scrutiny. Everything else equal, the patent attorney, patent examiner, and experienced patent applicant in this thread deserve more deference regarding the proper assessment of facts than the other members of the thread with little to no experience or education in this area.
I would compare it to the opinions of real estate agents in 2005 regarding whether or not the US was in a housing bubble.

This case is not a very good example, but the fact remains that it is impossible to write any significant piece of software without violating many patents, because there are so many software patents for obvious things, and that the amount of research necessary to even determine which patents a new piece of software violates would be cost prohibitive for all but the most widely-used software. For an individual or small company, there is nothing to do but develop your software and hope not to get sued. Ask those developers if the system is broken. I don't think you will find any who say it is not.
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Old 14th August 2012, 08:44 AM   #264
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Modified,

Yes, the system is broken, but this isn't about software patents by-and-large.

This is about classical patents for things like the form of a device, and the way you interact with it, and also about trade dress and copyright.

In those cases, software is an embodiment. You could build an iPhone which contained no software at all except for the applications; A huge ASIC would do everything the OS does, as well as providing an environment for the apps to run in.

Trouble with that is you can't ever patch it.
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Old 14th August 2012, 09:06 AM   #265
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Multi-Touch isn't new, even gestures combined with multi-touch isn't::

Quote:
A breakthrough occurred in 1991, when Pierre Wellner published a paper on his multi-touch “Digital Desk”, which supported multi-finger and pinching motions.
There have been Wacom graphics tablets for decades that allowed the use of a mouse and a pen (both wireless) at the same time, and they were able to differentiate between them. Wacom also made a series of graphic tablets with embedded LCD/TFT screens decades ago. So even the idea of having multiple input points at the same time on a screen isn't novel.

I remember capacitive touchpanels on laptops that were multi-touch capable quite some time ago, before any iPhone. Given that all those ideas were readily available, and combined in various ways, i really don't see how anyone can seriously claim that doing the same on a smaller device's screen is not obvious.

Greetings,

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Old 14th August 2012, 09:18 AM   #266
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Originally Posted by Modified View Post
I would compare it to the opinions of real estate agents in 2005 regarding whether or not the US was in a housing bubble.

This case is not a very good example, but the fact remains that it is impossible to write any significant piece of software without violating many patents, because there are so many software patents for obvious things, and that the amount of research necessary to even determine which patents a new piece of software violates would be cost prohibitive for all but the most widely-used software. For an individual or small company, there is nothing to do but develop your software and hope not to get sued. Ask those developers if the system is broken. I don't think you will find any who say it is not.
And it is pretty much impossible to search for "software" patents before you've developed the software, mainly because that implementation is only locked down at the end of development and of course the language used in patent applications. Only the "big ticket" patents get the publicity that means you can knowingly avoid them.

Case I was involved with is a patent held by IBM, in our software the player could choose an unlocked section of the game by going to a screen and clicking on the next chapter. The design of the page was as if on strips of film stock (so black bordered and white sprockets) greyed out when not accessible, and then "processed" when unlocked into a colour image, IBM claimed that was a breach of one of their patents. Now the company I was working for had deep pockets and was certainly not worried about prolonged court battles (they were quite often embroiled in court actions defending their own IP, including patents) however we ended up making a settlement with IBM even though (after about 6 months of working on it on and off) one of my guys had come up with some very strong prior art. Because the company legal department just didn't think it made financial sense to defend the software in court. The software was several years old when IBM slapped the patent infringement on us (we didn't even stock it any longer). Plus in the meantime IBM had gone through all our other software and thrown in another handful of patent infringements claims so it made much more sense for us to agree to a one-off payment to retrospectively "licence" IBM patents.

For a smaller company the options that were available to us simply wouldn't have existed and more than likely that action alone would have meant the end of the company. Not many software developers have a parent company with a worldwide legal department on hand to deal with such matters!

And the "film strip" patent is one (at least at that time) IBM had never used itself...
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Old 14th August 2012, 10:21 AM   #267
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Originally Posted by Horatius View Post
Hey, anyone want to see a real ridiculously broad patent claim? Check out what I'm working on:


http://brevets-patents.ic.gc.ca/opic...ims.html?type=


Bonus points to the first person who isn't AvalonXQ () who spots the first dependent claim that isn't completely ridiculous!
Can I just complain about the word "radiopharmaceutical"?
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Old 14th August 2012, 10:30 AM   #268
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Originally Posted by Christian Klippel View Post
Multi-Touch isn't new, even gestures combined with multi-touch isn't::



There have been Wacom graphics tablets for decades that allowed the use of a mouse and a pen (both wireless) at the same time, and they were able to differentiate between them. Wacom also made a series of graphic tablets with embedded LCD/TFT screens decades ago. So even the idea of having multiple input points at the same time on a screen isn't novel.

I remember capacitive touchpanels on laptops that were multi-touch capable quite some time ago, before any iPhone. Given that all those ideas were readily available, and combined in various ways, i really don't see how anyone can seriously claim that doing the same on a smaller device's screen is not obvious.

Greetings,

Chris
A patent, a valid patent, can be combining existing things in a novel way.

In fact, almost all patents are at least partially just that.
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Old 14th August 2012, 10:43 AM   #269
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Originally Posted by Alareth View Post
Can I just complain about the word "radiopharmaceutical"?


It's a perfectly cromulent word!


In any case, report written, much better prior art found than either the US or the Europeans, and I expect I'll get the claims limited to the real invention I spotted in the sub-claims.

Still no takers on figuring that one out?
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Old 14th August 2012, 10:49 AM   #270
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Originally Posted by Christian Klippel View Post
Multi-Touch isn't new, even gestures combined with multi-touch isn't::



There have been Wacom graphics tablets for decades that allowed the use of a mouse and a pen (both wireless) at the same time, and they were able to differentiate between them. Wacom also made a series of graphic tablets with embedded LCD/TFT screens decades ago. So even the idea of having multiple input points at the same time on a screen isn't novel.

I remember capacitive touchpanels on laptops that were multi-touch capable quite some time ago, before any iPhone. Given that all those ideas were readily available, and combined in various ways, i really don't see how anyone can seriously claim that doing the same on a smaller device's screen is not obvious.

Greetings,

Chris

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Old 14th August 2012, 10:55 AM   #271
Christian Klippel
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Originally Posted by BenBurch View Post
A patent, a valid patent, can be combining existing things in a novel way.

In fact, almost all patents are at least partially just that.
But then what about the "non obviousness" clause? The one that says the new invention has to be non-obvious to someone trained in the arts?

I just can't see how such patents can be granted, or uphold, at all under these circumstances. After all, those ideas already existed long before this lawsuit. Combining them is not only blindingly obvious to anyone involved in that technology area, but was already combined.

Seriously, only the distinction that these two particular touch gestures do two different things, and only those things, is worth a patent? That's just laughable. Let's face it. There is a single screen, the only method of data entry it by touching it, and humans happen to have more than one finger usually. Of course you have to use different gestures involving different numbers of fingers to make that thing usable.

On my mouse i have three buttons. In my graphics software, using the left button makes it use the selected tool, using the middle button scrolls the view. In my PDF viewer using the left button makes it scroll the page, using the middle button makes it zoom in/out, all depending on which direction i move the mouse. On a touch screen i have no separate buttons. It can't distinguish between any single finger. The the only meaningful (and really friggin obvious) way is to use a different number of fingers.

The patent system is utterly broken, beyond repair. This is finds it's pinnacle of abuse in the fact that companies can exist solely for the purpose of trolling others with patents. They never produce anything, they never invent anything, they just buy patents from others and try to milk everyone else. In my opinion that is only possible because stupid, trivial patents with way too broad claims get issued. Only because of that it is possible to troll others with silly patents.

And regarding prior art and obviousness. I often see people defending patents by saying "yea, but show me the prior patent/paper/etc. about that", "it wasn't obvious, otherwise we would see prior art", etc. Ever tried to entertain the idea that a hell lot of things that are now patented are so damn trivial and obvious? That came up with that thought "heck, thats so darn obvious, everyone else with sufficient knowledge must know that already"? That many people thought that many things were just too simple, trivial, and obvious to even go through the hassle and expenses of getting them patented?

At least for myself i know that i had quite some ideas in software as well as electronics that i thought were too trivial, but much later seen patents for them. Patents that were issued and granted long after i thought about it. Simply because not every brainfart is worth a patent.

Greetings,

Chris
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Old 14th August 2012, 11:07 AM   #272
Christian Klippel
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Originally Posted by Horatius View Post
You can bang your head all you want. Doesn't change the fact that multi-touch is decades old. Also doesn't change the fact that it is pretty obvious to anyone trained in the arts how to combine these technologies. After all, none of them are really new.

And spare me your "but, but, it's just a teensy-tiny narrow thing that Apple patented". Because in the end all you have is that it is a patent on which finger or number of fingers to use to do a certain thing. All these ideas existed before. On a mouse you use different buttons to do different things. As i said in my post to BenBurch, multi-touch screens have no different buttons, so the only logical way is to use a different number of fingers to emulate different buttons like a mouse.

And there are loads of programs that, since before any smartphone was sold, did different actions based on what button you clicked on your mouse.

Really, get over it. Obvious thing is obvious. Age old ideas are age old ideas. All that stuff was thought of by people long before any iPhone was sold. Doesn't matter in how many fancy words you package such patent claims, or try to give the impression how narrow it is meant to be.

The way patents used nowdays, that is, as weapons against competition, clearly shows that "narrow" is nothing more than a catch phrase to get it accepted by patent clerks. In reality the companies try to enforce them as broadly as possible, for whatever reason they can imagine makes at least the tiniest bit of sense, just to get rid of competition.

The patent system is broken. Beyond repair. Patents should have never ever be granted on any thing software related. Software is math. The mass of software related patent suits in the last years is witness to that. It's not only Apple, it's a problem with that whole industry.

Greetings,

Chris

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Old 14th August 2012, 11:12 AM   #273
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Originally Posted by Christian Klippel View Post
You can bang your head all you want. Doesn't change the fact that multi-touch is decades old. Also doesn't change the fact that it is pretty obvious to anyone trained in the arts how to combine these technologies.
You can keep saying that, and your uninformed opinion will continue to be worth less than the electricity used to display it.
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Old 14th August 2012, 11:18 AM   #274
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Everything is obvious once you know it. The greatest ideas man ever had are obvious now. But they were far from obvious before they were developed.
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Old 14th August 2012, 11:33 AM   #275
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I see. So it's just the old fashioned "i deny that it was obvious, just because, and anyways, now it's easy to claim it's obvious after you have seen it" stanza. Doesn't really make a good argument. Because it implies the assumption that everyone is just a stupid moron, except for that one guy who wrote it into a patent. Lame position to take, really.

@AvalonXQ: Stands to reason whose opinion is uninformed on the technology or methods involved when you fail to see obvious things as obvious. Maybe you never thought about such a thing before and thus it wasn't obvious to you. Maybe you just can't think of such things, which would be a completely different matter.


Yes, of course it is "obvious" how something works once you have seen it. Thing is just that it is also obvious that quite some people already had such ideas, way before Apple came up with it. Stands to reason that Apple was by no way the first to think about it, let alone to come up with it.

Again, what you people seem so vehemently try to cover up is the tiny little fact that the stuff about not being obvious refers to someone trained in the arts, and not just some random Joe.

Greetings,

Chris

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Old 14th August 2012, 11:39 AM   #276
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When people keep whining about how obvious everything is, I'm reminded of this (starting at 4 minutes):

YouTube Video This video is not hosted by the ISF. The ISF can not be held responsible for the suitability or legality of this material. By clicking the link below you agree to view content from an external website.
I AGREE
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Old 14th August 2012, 11:42 AM   #277
Christian Klippel
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Originally Posted by AvalonXQ View Post
When people keep whining about how obvious everything is, I'm reminded of this (starting at 4 minutes):

YouTube Video This video is not hosted by the ISF. The ISF can not be held responsible for the suitability or legality of this material. By clicking the link below you agree to view content from an external website.
I AGREE
I guess it would be totally non-obvious to check if a YT video can be embedded before actually embedding it, right? Must be worth a patent or two to have that implemented in forum softwares!

Greetings,

Chris
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Old 14th August 2012, 12:11 PM   #278
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Chris,

I am not (I hope) a stupid moron. But I have seen inventions that I should have thought of but did not.

One of these is the passive holographic optical element backlight for PDA screens.

In the pioneering PDA project I was on, we spent months trying to make an electroluminescent backlight work. We could not for many reasons. Finally we went for the usual reflective layer.

Then Polaroid pitched us a reflective layer that was a holographic optical element. It worked amazingly well.

I felt really stupid.

Not only had I just wasted months, but I had worked with holographic optical elements before.

The use of an aspheric surface as a HOE never occurred to me.

-Ben
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Old 14th August 2012, 12:36 PM   #279
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Originally Posted by AvalonXQ View Post
You can keep saying that, and your uninformed opinion will continue to be worth less than the electricity used to display it.
Would you mind outlining your expertise in software development and IP creation?
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Old 14th August 2012, 12:39 PM   #280
Christian Klippel
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Originally Posted by BenBurch View Post
Chris,

I am not (I hope) a stupid moron. But I have seen inventions that I should have thought of but did not.

One of these is the passive holographic optical element backlight for PDA screens.

In the pioneering PDA project I was on, we spent months trying to make an electroluminescent backlight work. We could not for many reasons. Finally we went for the usual reflective layer.

Then Polaroid pitched us a reflective layer that was a holographic optical element. It worked amazingly well.

I felt really stupid.

Not only had I just wasted months, but I had worked with holographic optical elements before.

The use of an aspheric surface as a HOE never occurred to me.

-Ben
Only problem here is that apples are not oranges, and as such, hardware isn't software.

Let's make it simple. I spoke of the PDF viewer i use. It's called "kpdf" and comes with the KDE Desktop. If you are viewing a PDF file, among other things you can do the following:

- Scroll/pan around the document
- Zoom in and out

You can do that in different ways too. The scroll/pan can be done using the scrollbars of the window, or the left/right/up/down arrows next to the scrollbars, or by click & hold down the left mouse button and then moving the mouse.

The zooming can be done by using the +/- icons in the toolbar, by selecting a predefined zoomlevel from a dropdown-menu in that toolbar, or by clicking & holding the middle mouse button and the moving the mouse.

How would you now replace the pointing device (mouse) to get the same functionality by using a different input/pointing device? By this i do not mean the use of icons/scrollbars, but a "direct" method using the available pointing device. That device would be a touchscreen capable of distinguishing 1 to n fingers.

I'm pretty sure that everyone with even the slightest clue about programming will come to the same solution to that problem.

Once you come up with that, you can of course add all kinds of fluffy wording about mobile/non-mobile device, single-core or multi-core CPU, etc. That wording does not change the actual method in the slightest.

Now it's clear to see that it is just a bloody obvious use of the available input methods. However, the situation would be different if the touch would not be "1 to n fingers" but only single-touch. Then it would be obvious that "if it could just detect more than one finger at the same time", but it can't do that. If you now go and invent a physical device that is capable of acting as a multi-touch input device, even transparent so you can put it over a display, then i have no problem with you getting a patent for _that_ particular invention.

Because while multitouch input methods were known of before, you would be the first to come up with that particular type of hardware implementation. But the actual _use_ of it should get no patents at all, because that is a pure software implementation. And for that matter, bloody obvious how to do things given actual capabilities of the physical device. Just replace mouse button 1, 2 and 3 by number of fingers 1, 2 and 3. It simply doesn't matter if that touch-device of yours would then be used on a big plasma TV, a graphics tables, a PDA or a small smartphone.

That's the thing about computers. They are universal. Program X can run on a multitude of different devices and platforms. It may not be feasible to use certain methods on different devices. Like, big scrollbars, toolbars and icons in them are of little use on a small mobile device's screen, but it's no biggie to use them on big screens. The other way round it doesn't make much sense to use certain gestures/touch interfaces on big screens, because it makes it impractical to do so (remember the light-pens?), but they make lots of sense on mobile devices.

But if you want, you can do such things, of course. It's just code. The program doesn't care much about it. That's why i see all that mentioning of "mobile device" etc. in that patent as nothing more than fluff, meant to distract the examiner from the core of what it is about: using one finger does X, using two fingers does Y. Which would perfectly translate to mouse button 1 does X, mouse button 2 does Y. I guess without all that silly fluff around it, such patents would get rejected right away.

Greetings,

Chris

ETA: To add some fun about multi-touch stuff for the electronics guys, check out this page (or Google for "led matrix touch" to find much more stuff about that method).

Last edited by Christian Klippel; 14th August 2012 at 12:53 PM.
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