Originally Posted by DrDoppio
The image does not simplify the process nor does it make more efficient, so the lightbulb and sleeve analogy is moot.
The innovation is marginally useful, obvious
, and arguably novel (just about any GUI element relies on movable images).
Judging from my iPad experience, the image and its apparent manipulation enhance the gesture in several ways (whether or not that includes simplification, which is not a requirement in any case), and this underscores the fact that, for patentability, a proposed innovation is considered as a whole rather in terms of each of its individual components:
1) It precisely defines where the finger movement must take place, minimizing the likelihood of errors related to positioning.
2) It statically specifies where the finger movement must begin and where it must end in two dimensions, further reducing the possibility of inadvertent triggering or misinterpretation of signals.
3) It dynamically illustrates the required movement before the action is initiated and then shows a ready signal when the finger is placed in the correct position for starting the action (and not otherwise).
4) It suggests that your finger must touch the surface of the screen, adding a level of required specificity in the third dimension (i.e., height above the screen).
5) It provides the illusion of moving an object (i.e., sliding it) in a way that adds meaning to the gesture that is relevant and feels natural at a conceptual level.
6) It allows for both visual and audio feedback upon satisfactory completion of the gesture.
7) It allows the user to change his/her mind about unlocking and instead abort the procedure at any point during the gesture prior to lifting the finger from the image at the end of the motion.
There's probably more, but I think that's clear enough. The addition of the image and appropriate animation related to the required movements enhance and improve the entire experience of using a gesture to unlock.Here's another example (again, just supposing):
Someone develops a drinking straw that allows better performance in getting the last bit of fluid out of a glass. The innovation involves a mechanism whereby the straw senses the level of fluid, and its diameter is reduced dynamically when the remaining fluid in the glass is lower than a certain level. Prior to this development there were no straws in operation that incorporated dynamic adjustment. Is the inventor entitled to receive a patent?
Does this innovation meet the criteria of being non-obvious, novel, and useful? This is what matters.
...NOT that straws have been in use almost forever.
...NOT that most people wouldn't buy it.
...NOT that the straw can perform its function even when the new mechanism fails.
...NOT that only a few people are interested in draining their glasses of the last dregs.
...NOT that the innovation is, therefore, only marginally useful
...NOT that the new mechanism is not necessary for the straw to operate.
...NOT that this component is not indispensable
to the basic funtionality of a straw.
...NOT that the addition of such a mechanism might have been obvious.
...NOT that the mechanism is used elsewhere and is therefore obvious.
Bear in mind that the significant criteria must be applied to the entire package rather than its components. So claiming that a component, e.g., a graphical image, is obvious by itself has absolutely no bearing. Similarly, claiming that the image by itself does not improve or enhance the process in some way is irrelevant. It's the totality that must be examined!