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Apple, many others in crosshairs of touchpad lawsuit - Page 2

post #41 of 65
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Originally Posted by fruiteatingbear View Post

"F--- off Tsera you parasites" was the phrase that sprang to my mind

Watch your mouth, my children access this site.
post #42 of 65
From the patent:

Quote:
Apparatus and methods for controlling a portable electronic device, such as an MP3 player; portable radio, voice recorder, or portable CD player are disclosed. A touchpad is mounted on the housing of the device, and a user enters commands by tracing patterns with his finger on a surface of the touchpad. No immediate visual feedback is provided as a command pattern is traced, and the user does not need to view the device to enter commands. A microcontroller within the device matches the pattern traced by the user against a plurality of preset patterns, each of which corresponds to a predefined function or command of the device. If the pattern traced by the user is a reasonably close match to any of the preset patterns, the device performs the predefined function corresponding to the matched pattern

The patent describes a hand held touch screen device that implements gestures.

Devices like these have been around a lot longer than 1999, and the concepts described were well understood and much more advance than this.

They avoided the term "gesture" perhaps to make it sound novel (by 1999 this was well understood and explored technique) except when noting the prior art of the palm pilot. Even then they slyly note the pilot used a stylus...which of course is half correct. PDAs were touch screens as well, and many apps easily work with finger gestures without having to "view the device to enter commands".
post #43 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by Virgil-TB2 View Post

The strength of their patent is in the details. You can't just say "i hereby patent the idea of controlling a device with gestures,"

Apparently you can, which is the sad thing.
post #44 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by christopher126 View Post

Apple should sue the Tyler court in the Eastern District of Texas!

Or at least pony up a little dough to have it paved over.
Makes me wonder how many companies lobby to have something done about that place. I don't care what party you're from, activist courts are an outrage.
post #45 of 65
I'm all for patents that protect original and novel work, but I'm irked by patents that seem to restate existing technology. It reminds of when we were kids. We used to play a game about claiming territory. We'd step in a fresh patch of snow and claim that then someone else would step just ahead of you and claim that patch of snow. Dumb.
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post #46 of 65
You do understand right that some companies don't spend thousands of dollars on anything other then lawyers? They actually think up ideas based on what they think other technology companies will do in the future, and patent the ideas without any intent to spend any money developing the technology. Under the Constitution of the US, the whole purpose of patent law is to benefit the public good by giving companies motivation to develop technology for the public to use. Don't see how the above referenced practice benefits the public. Other companies actually spend money developing patents on technology that is better then their own current technology not to release the product, but to prevent others from doing so. Can't see how that benefits the public good either.

Those advocating patent law reform want to curb the practice of allowing patents to be filed by those who's only purpose of filing patents is to try and blackmail real innovators in the future. In the very least, place a cap on the amount of damages allowed by such companies and disallow those sham companies from being able to put an injunction products using the patents.

Do you really think Apple read this company's patent and based on that said wow that is a great idea, let us knock it off? Interesting enough Apple bought Fingerworks in 2005. Fingerworks has been in business developing multi-touch systems since 1998. ALong with the developers, Apple acquired all related patents.

Quote:
Originally Posted by bdkennedy1 View Post

Who are you to call this frivolous? Companies spend thousands of dollars protecting themselves with patents. That's why patents exist ***



EDIT: PLease, no attacks.
post #47 of 65
poor apple was sued because of a stupid patent about the usage of a touch screen. but did anyone remember how many stupid patents apple holds? the whole concept of pantents seems so stupid, and it is obvious that they are not as good as they sound in theory (to protect companies from stealing ideas by their competitors).

the patents should stop, and competition should start. i can understand that logos or shapes are copyrighted, but ideas and ways how to operate things should not especially if you can only patent the idea of it!
post #48 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by bodypainter View Post

poor apple was sued because of a stupid patent about the usage of a touch screen. but did anyone remember how many stupid patents apple holds? the whole concept of pantents seems so stupid, and it is obvious that they are not as good as they sound in theory (to protect companies from stealing ideas by their competitors).

the patents should stop, and competition should start. i can understand that logos or shapes are copyrighted, but ideas and ways how to operate things should not especially if you can only patent the idea of it!

I'm sure Apple does hold a few questionable patents, but I don't see them running around trying to sue people left and right. Is that because our Mac-centric website don't report on it, or because there are very few lawsuits by Apple? Many companies patent everything they can think of as a defensive measure. It establishes they they created the item in the patent (regardless if it was a "patentable idea"), and prevents someone from filing a similar patent later and then suing. The best way to prevent a lawsuit over a stupid patent is to file the stupid patent yourself first.

Also, we all know that Apple spends quite a bit on R&D, so it's likely they are at least exploring product possibilities for their many of their patented technologies. Companies like the one in this article have no R&D and do nothing with their patents but sit on them and wait for an opportune time to file lawsuits.
post #49 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cisco_Kid View Post

Watch your mouth, my children access this site.

That got me rolling. Send your kids OUTISDE for crying out loud. Unbelievable.
post #50 of 65
Hey how about Apple Insider write an article that doesn't wipe the rear of Apple in the first sentence by drawing a summary conclusion for readers, before anyone has a chance to read the facts?

Thanks CNN, I mean Fox, I mean Apple Insider.
post #51 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

Is there no prior art for this? I thought the first iPod with a touch wheel was introduced in 2002, predating this 2003 patent.

Irrelevant. What matters is the date the patent was applied for which was 1999 - but see below.

Quote:
Originally Posted by bonklers View Post

i totally agree, if you don't have a working product, then you should not be able to sue for patent infringement.

Quote:
Originally Posted by marokero View Post

I guess I missed whatever was said, but it doesn't matter. I believe patents should only be enforceable if said company actually put effort in developing beyond what was put on paper. There's no common sense anymore...


That goes WAY too far. I have personally been in situations where my company invented something new but didn't have any use for it, so we licensed the technology to someone else. Those are perfectly legitimate patents.

Quote:
Originally Posted by UltimateKylie View Post

I don't see whats wrong with this lawsuit.

They filled it in 1999 (only granted in 2003) way before anyone thought of using touchpads to control portable electronics (specifically stated in the patent). Back in 1999 the nipple mouses were popular on alot of laptops. But regardless this patent specifically ignores laptops and talks portable electronics and mentions MP3 players and that the touchpads would replace buttons and have a built in array of patterns it would recognize (and yes up or down or circles are patterns).

And the end of the day... you don't patent a PRODUCT you patent an IDEA.

If you think no one was using touchpads before 1999, I guess you never heard of the Newton? Development of the Newton started in 1989 - and I think there were other touchpad devices even before that.

And your understanding of patent law is completely wrong. You can NOT patent an idea. You can patent implementation of an idea or a composition of matter, but not the idea itself.

Quote:
Originally Posted by JeffDM View Post

As far as I understand, it's neither. A patent is on a particular process or implementation. To make a far-fetched example, you can't patent the idea of a teleporter, but you could patent an implementation that makes teleporting possible.

A patent can also be a composition of matter which may or may not involve implementation of a particular idea.
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post #52 of 65
Browsing through the patent quickly indicates that it is screamingly obvious that prior art exists. Think of musical instruments. The Theramin would be a good example, but you don't actually touch the device to control it. However, Moog synthesizers of a certain age (and probably Korg and some others) used to have a "pitch bend" ribbon - that is, a small surface, maybe 3" long by .5" wide, which the user touched and moved a finger along. Making this movement changed the pitch of the note being played.

Since the claim focuses on "without needing to provide visual feedback" and "controlling function" - well, I've just shown how one could control the function of an electronic device without visual feedback by making a specific gesture along a touch-sensitive surface. Q.E.D.

In this case, the patent grant is so generic and the prior art so evident that the US PTO should pay legal fees for the people being sued for infringement.
post #53 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by wilco View Post

The only thing more boring than these patent articles are the cliched responses that inevitably follow.

No kidding. I couldn't even begin to have an opinion about the merits of this lawsuit, knowing virtually nothing about it or patent law. I know only that lawsuits of this sort are very common, and very rarely go to trial. Nothing to see here, move along.
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post #54 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by OC4Theo View Post

More lawyers per capita than any country on earth

indeed. about 80% of all the lawyers on the whole world are located in the US.
post #55 of 65
Tsera seems to come from "arrest."

What damages did this "corporation" incur? Frivolous lawsuit comes to mind.
post #56 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by dan1952 View Post

What damages did this "corporation" incur? Frivolous lawsuit comes to mind.

If you own a patent, and someone else infringes on it, you have been damaged. By definition. You have to prove it, though.

Also by definition (apparently) a "frivolous lawsuit" is one filed against you, or against someone else by people you don't like. Good thing judges get to decide which lawsuits are frivolous by a more rigorous definition.
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post #57 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by bdkennedy1 View Post

Who are you to call this frivolous? Companies spend thousands of dollars protecting themselves with patents. That's why patents exist ***

I disagree with your opening sentence. However, this appears to be a patent troll since patent number 6,639,584 claims "are limited to portable electronic devices without a display."

I agree with your following sentence.
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post #58 of 65
It seems to be Apple could easily argue that only the Shuffle should be even considered in this suit. Over and over the patent states "without visual feedback." The scroll-wheel iPods do give visual feedback--either scrolling though a menu or moving a volume indicator. The same with the iPhone, all gestures do something on the screen.

Those items like forward and back on the iPod, that don't give visual feedback, are all clicks of a button, not gestures. I'm not to scared for Apple on this one.

As for frivolous lawsuits, I'd be a little scared if Apple wasn't targeted. It would mean they weren't successful enough for patent trolls to target.
post #59 of 65
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They may be parasites, but they do buy ads. \
post #60 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by wilco View Post

The only thing more boring than these patent articles are the cliched responses that inevitably follow.

Who pissed in your cornflakes Wilco?

Nah, skip it...

If you weren't so utterly insignificant in my life I might have actually cared. If I had to throw out a random guess you're a lawyer who actually does this sort of work (or is close to someone who is) and somehow has to convince yourself that what you're doing is a good thing!
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post #61 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by D.J. Adequate View Post

It seems to be Apple could easily argue that only the Shuffle should be even considered in this suit. Over and over the patent states "without visual feedback." The scroll-wheel iPods do give visual feedback--either scrolling though a menu or moving a volume indicator. The same with the iPhone, all gestures do something on the screen.

Those items like forward and back on the iPod, that don't give visual feedback, are all clicks of a button, not gestures. I'm not to scared for Apple on this one.

As for frivolous lawsuits, I'd be a little scared if Apple wasn't targeted. It would mean they weren't successful enough for patent trolls to target.

As you say, there isn't a touch sensitive surface on the Shuffle. The old models had five buttons, the new model doesn't even have buttons or an input surface, it's controlled through the growth on the earbud cord.
post #62 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by Virgil-TB2 View Post

Some good thinking here, but I think you are wrong ultimately.

First, Apple was the first to use a trackpad or touchpad and that was in 1994. It could be argued that part and parcel of that idea is the "gesture" even though specific gestures were not introduced until much later. (The first person to think of the idea of using gestures to control electronics using capacitance, patented their idea in 1919 BTW.)

Secondly, the first iPod had a mechanical wheel, which was then replaced by the capacitance clickwheel version. So moving your finger in a circle is a gesture, but they could easily argue that it was just a way of using touchpad technology that they developed, to replace the physical wheel. The clickwheel is therefore a natural development of previous technology that should be allowed.

Third, the patent in question probably does itself in by specifically mentioning that one isn't looking at the device when using it, and by the fact that the fingerworks people were doing this stuff for years and years and these guys never went after them.

Lastly, your statement that you don't patent a product, but an idea is almost completely backwards from the real situation. You can't patent an idea at all, you can only patent an implementation of an idea, which in most cases is a product or a series or group of product ideas.

The strength of their patent is in the details. You can't just say "i hereby patent the idea of controlling a device with gestures," you have to say how you want to do that exactly and provide an example or two. These guys' example describes a touchpad that is used without looking at, that responds to pre-programmed gestures. It's both different from the implementations of the manufacturers they are suing and also very vague. Thus there is probably a lot of previous art (the very existence of Apple's trackpad is likely one), and there is some question as to whether the idea is even patentable in it's generality.

I appreciate your points but still disagree. You say they should give an example or two... they do in fact, in 1999 they dreamed up of an MP3 player that is controlled this way.

Additionally. Apple doesn't go to the patent office and hand them an iPhone. Nor does anyone else... they give ideas of products or more importantly portions of product. These ideas must be specific, that I do agree with and with this case I guess that is for the courts to decide on if it was specific enough. I think it was.

But also might I add that I think perhaps the Zune is more infringing on their patent the iPod as you are right in the iPod evolution. But it is still "doing away with buttons in favour of touchpad using gestures." If I had brought up that sentence prior to this article you surely would have mentioned the evolution of the iPod to this new technology.

I think really anyone reading this patent back in 1999 could obviously see the patterns would have included forward to skip track backwards swipe for previous track. And that is the beauty with the Zune and iPod is the ability to do this without special headphones or looking at the device. Now you need special headphones for the iPod Touch and iPhone, in a sense going back (if your loose your headphones or use a better pair). Perhaps a future generation will allow the touchscreen to duplicate swipes/patterns in the iPod mode when the screen is locked.

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post #63 of 65
This will solve all of these bogus "patents". One simple rule. In order to patent something, you must have a working model to present to the patent office. No more of this patenting an idea, and just sitting on it to make money off of something that you were too lazy to create!
post #64 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by ericblr View Post

This will solve all of these bogus "patents". One simple rule. In order to patent something, you must have a working model to present to the patent office. No more of this patenting an idea, and just sitting on it to make money off of something that you were too lazy to create!

I guess that solves the problem of patenting human genes.
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post #65 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by GQB View Post

I have a patented finger gesture I'd like to share with this east Texas court. Can we let them secede already?

Oh crap.

If this is what I think it is, it means I owe you royalties and a lot of them.
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