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Motorola likely to change Android photo viewing to avoid Apple patent

post #1 of 26
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Apple is likely to win a patent dispute against Motorola related to photo gallery scrolling on a touchscreen device, as the smartphone "war of attrition" continues.

Intellectual property expert Florian Mueller with FOSS Patents used the phrase "war of attrition" to describe the ongoing conflict between Apple and Android-based handset makers. He revealed that a German court indicated this week in a hearing in a lawsuit between Apple and Motorola that the Android photo gallery is likely in violation of an Apple patent.

"The court doesn't have much doubt about the validity of this patent and appears rather convinced (at the end of the hearing even more so than at its outset) that the Android photo gallery constitutes a violation of that patent at least in its 'zoom in' mode and possible (though this is not yet certain) in its 'zoom out' mode," Mueller wrote.

The patent in question is European Patent 2059868, entitled "Portable Electronic Device for Photo Management. It was awarded in September of 2010.

Though he said Motorola isn't particularly frightened by possibly losing to Apple in the Munich I Regional Court's ruling in February, it would be yet another example of Apple winning against an Android handset maker without a single "knockout" blow. It's likely that a victory would require Motorola to modify its software and work around Apple's original ideas.

That's exactly what happened with HTC, which was found this week by the U.S. international Trade Commission to be in violation of a "Data Detectors" context-aware patent from Apple. A day after the ruling, HTC was already said to be testing phones that worked around Apple's intellectual property and would not be in violation of it, allowing HTC to sell its phones and avoid the ITC injunction.

Apple also had initial victories against rival Samsung over its patented designs for the iPhone and iPad. Samsung responded by redesigning its Galaxy Tab 10.1 touchscreen tablet in Germany, which allowed the company to begin selling the device and is expected to withstand legal threats from Apple.



Mueller said Apple's "war of attrition" may not have an immediate impact on Android and competing handset makers, but over time it could chip away at the functionality found on Android devices.

"While one or two wins of this kind won't be enough to change consumer preferences, the aggregate effect of the enforcement of a half a dozen or more patents of this kind could make an appreciable difference in user experience," Mueller wrote.

"Apple is fighting for long-term opportunities. As long as it doesn't come under enormous pressure, it can afford to crack one nut at a time, country by country."
post #2 of 26
Kinda wanna know what this patent actually is...is it like the Samsung case with the bounceback? Or is it something else entirely?
post #3 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

"The court doesn't have much doubt about the validity of this patent and appears rather convinced (at the end of the hearing even more so than at its outset) that the Android photo gallery constitutes a violation of that patent at least in its 'zoom in' mode and possible (though this is not yet certain) in its 'zoom out' mode," Mueller wrote.

That's rather inane - even for Mueller.

The court is not supposed to have ANY position on the issue at the outset.
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Gatorguy 5/31/13
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"I'm way over my head when it comes to technical issues like this"
Gatorguy 5/31/13
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post #4 of 26
Complete Patent document:
https://data.epo.org/publication-ser...68&ki=B1&cc=EP

Looks to me that this patent included pinch to zoom, tap to zoom, and swiping to switch pictures. It also includes the way that a user would initiate a picture message/email from the photo screen and the gallery mode.

I've always wondered why Android phones were able to zoom the way an iPhone does without any copy-write/patent issues.

It is also good to note that all these patents that Apple is finally getting were applied for back in 2007 before the first iPhone was ever introduced.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ftf4riVJyqw

7:34 - FTW
post #5 of 26
See, it's not that difficult MOT...... just design your own crap and everyone will be happy. Companies have gotten so lazy. It's easier to wait for the litigation rather than actually do some development.
post #6 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by GotWake View Post

See, it's not that difficult MOT...... just design your own crap and everyone will be happy. Companies have gotten so lazy. It's easier to wait for the litigation rather than actually do some development.

These patents affect the user experience and are exactly the ones Apple should be going "thermonuclear" on. For most the Android user experience is already subpar to iOS. This will help clarify why iOS is better. The so-called competitors are responding by suing over basic technology patents which are harder to prove infringement on.
post #7 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by AbsoluteDesignz View Post

Kinda wanna know what this patent actually is...is it like the Samsung case with the bounceback? Or is it something else entirely?

Yeah, the idiocy of publishing an article all about a patent and then not even devoting a single paragraph to the description of what the patent covers is astounding. AppleInsider is sooo sloppy nowadays. It's like they don't even give a crap anymore.

I know they published the link to the funky PDF embedded in the funky website of the actual patent itself, but we aren't all patent lawyers here. A simple description (even one of AppleInsider's famous single sentence paragraphs), would seem to be in order.
post #8 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by lkrupp View Post

These patents affect the user experience and are exactly the ones Apple should be going "thermonuclear" on. For most the Android user experience is already subpar to iOS. This will help clarify why iOS is better. The so-called competitors are responding by suing over basic technology patents which are harder to prove infringement on.

This is one of the simplest and most succinct descriptions of the patent situation I've read. Kudos for the clarity.
post #9 of 26
That link definitely was not there when I posted earlier... They just added it.
post #10 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by GotWake View Post

See, it's not that difficult MOT...... just design your own crap and everyone will be happy. Companies have gotten so lazy. It's easier to wait for the litigation rather than actually do some development.

Actually is IS that difficult. In fact it's impossible for any new company to build any smartphone without infringing on someone's else's IP, often unknowingly. If every player actually kept their patents to themselves and never licensed them them there would be no iPhones, Blackberrys or Galaxy S's

EDIT: The thought occurred to me that if every company acted like Apple in it's attitude towards licensing, then Apple might not even exist today as an independent company. Every modern mobile comm product depends on having access to someone else's intellectual property in some way.
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post #11 of 26
Android makers are just ripoff artists.

I even recently read that Hasbro is suing Asus over the Transformer Prime.

These people have no concept of intellectual property at all. Did they think that they can get away with just stealing and using whatever they please without getting any permission at all?

What a bunch of clueless clowns.
post #12 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by GotWake View Post

Companies have gotten so lazy. It's easier to wait for the litigation rather than actually do some development.

This behaviour is not something new. Remember the Ford Pinto lawsuits?

"One of the tools that Ford used to argue for the delay was a "cost-benefit analysis" of altering the fuel tanks. According to Ford's estimates, the unsafe tanks would cause 180 burn deaths, 180 serious burn injuries, and 2,100 burned vehicles each year. It calculated that it would have to pay $200,000 per death, $67,000 per injury, and $700 per vehicle, for a total of $49.5 million. However, the cost of saving lives and injuries ran even higher: alterations would cost $11 per car or truck, which added up to $137 million per year. Essentially, Ford argued before the government that it would be cheaper just to let their customers burn!"

(from the following website)

http://www.engineering.com/Library/A...ord-Pinto.aspx
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See, in the record business, you can show someone your song, and they don’t copy it. In the tech business, you show somebody your idea, and they steal it. (Jimmy Iovine)
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post #13 of 26
Swiping is patented?

And doesn't pinch to zoom have prior art?
post #14 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by lkrupp View Post

These patents affect the user experience and are exactly the ones Apple should be going "thermonuclear" on. For most the Android user experience is already subpar to iOS. This will help clarify why iOS is better. The so-called competitors are responding by suing over basic technology patents which are harder to prove infringement on.



Android is Doomed!
post #15 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by AbsoluteDesignz View Post

Swiping is patented?

And doesn't pinch to zoom have prior art?

http://patft.uspto.gov/netacgi/nph-P...S=PN/7,812,826
post #16 of 26
Quote:

I don't think that means what you think it means in regards to my questions.
post #17 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by AbsoluteDesignz View Post

And doesn't pinch to zoom have prior art?

Care to provide any evidence to back that claim up?
post #18 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by F1Ferrari View Post

Care to provide any evidence to back that claim up?

There's some pinch-to-zoom implementation from the 90s or something.

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post #19 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by F1Ferrari View Post

Care to provide any evidence to back that claim up?

If you really are curious and have an open mind there's two pretty good articles here explaining competing claims of first use, as well as a description of the limits on Apple's supposed patent of "pinch to zoom". It's not as all-encompassing as some might assume, with some liberal use of exaggeration in some of the claims.

http://www.engadget.com/2009/01/28/a...epth-analysis/
http://www.engadget.com/2010/10/13/a...pinch-to-zoom/
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post #20 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gatorguy View Post

If you really are curious and have an open mind there's two pretty good articles here explaining competing claims of first use, as well as a description of the limits on Apple's supposed patent of "pinch to zoom". It's not as all-encompassing as some might assume, with some liberal use of exaggeration in some of the claims.

http://www.engadget.com/2009/01/28/a...epth-analysis/
http://www.engadget.com/2010/10/13/a...pinch-to-zoom/

Based on the second link, Apple does indeed have the patent on 'pinch to zoom' as used on pretty much every mobile device I've seen demoed in the last few years. Even with the limitations on the patent, how could anyone else's mobile device not pinch to zoom in almost exactly the way described in that patent?
post #21 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

Mueller said Apple's "war of attrition" may not have an immediate impact on Android and competing handset makers, but over time it could chip away at the functionality found on Android devices.

"While one or two wins of this kind won't be enough to change consumer preferences, the aggregate effect of the enforcement of a half a dozen or more patents of this kind could make an appreciable difference in user experience," Mueller wrote.

"Apple is fighting for long-term opportunities. As long as it doesn't come under enormous pressure, it can afford to crack one nut at a time, country by country."

Time is on Apple's side. They can and will draw out the patent war for as long as they want to. They've submitted hundreds of new patent applications in 2011 alone. They're ready for a decades-long fight. They're going to protect their intellectual property against copying. It's what any company in Apple's position would do.

iPhone and Android phone fanboys alike live and die by each quarter: by market share numbers, by each patent law suit win or loss, by each tiny little hardware spec or software feature advantage. Trying to push each others' buttons. Hoping for a knockout blow that will never come. At least not in the mobile phone space.

But iOS has already delivered the first of a 1-2 death blow combination against Android in the pad computing space. Apple has been granted dozens of patents for iPad. And they're going to defend them, naturally. But the real killer is the infrastructure. iTunes / iTunes Store / App Store / iCloud. It took Apple a decade to build up that infrastructure. It's something that Google can't copy overnight. It takes years just to negotiate record deals. Google found that out the hard way. Apple built a new model, reshaping entire industries in its own image.

You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.
- Buckminster Fuller

Only Amazon has anything remotely as deep and broad as Apple's infrastructure. And guess what. Amazon has delivered the second in the 1-2 death blow combo against Android in the pad computing space. Kindle Fire's proprietary closed fork of Android 2.3 sends zero retail profits, zero purchase history, zero product affinity, zero customer information, zero App Store revenue, zero browsing history, and zero ad revenue to Google. The key word here is, of course, "zero." Amazon might as well have used QNX or webOS as far as Google is concerned. Same result: zero.

Android needs cell carriers to succeed. Pad computers don't need cell carriers. The result? iPad dominates the mid-to-high end of the pad computing space. Kindle Fire, with its sales-subsidized low price (instead of the carrier-subsidized price in the smart phone space) dominates the low-to-middle end of the market. Google gets nothing from all that (except ad revenue from iOS, which contributes 2/3 of Google's mobile ad profits, by the way.)

But I digress. Apple will leverage their infrastructure, their patents, and their mindshare for decades. They'll chip away at competitors' copycat features as they see fit. Good luck competing against all that.

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post #22 of 26
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Originally Posted by jragosta View Post

That's rather inane - even for Mueller.

The court is not supposed to have ANY position on the issue at the outset.

Where does he says the Court took a position? He says merely the Court seems convinced that Motorola is violating Apple's patent. More so at the end of the Hearing than before. Prior to the Hearing the Court has already likely been briefed on the matter through extensive legal pleadings. It would be highly unusual for a Judge to not form an opinion on something after reading the parties' briefs on the matter. Sometimes Judges don't even need a Hearing after reading the briefs because one party is clearly right and the other is clearly wrong.
post #23 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by F1Ferrari View Post

Based on the second link, Apple does indeed have the patent on 'pinch to zoom' as used on pretty much every mobile device I've seen demoed in the last few years. Even with the limitations on the patent, how could anyone else's mobile device not pinch to zoom in almost exactly the way described in that patent?

You asked if anyone cared to post evidence of prior art, not whether Apple had been successful in obtaining a patent on some of the features of it, right? I don't think anyone claimed they didn't have one.
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post #24 of 26
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Originally Posted by Gatorguy View Post

You asked if anyone cared to post evidence of prior art, not whether Apple had been successful in obtaining a patent on some of the features of it, right? I don't think anyone claimed they didn't have one.

The first linked article only mentions mention pinch to zoom in passing that Apple doesn't have a patent on multi-touch features, and the second article says that within a limited scope Apple was granted a patent on pinch to zoom.

Where in either article is an example of prior art brought up? My original request not being fulfilled, I was speculating on how other manufacturers' devices used pinch to zoom without it falling under Apple's patent.
post #25 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by F1Ferrari View Post

The first linked article only mentions mention pinch to zoom in passing that Apple doesn't have a patent on multi-touch features, and the second article says that within a limited scope Apple was granted a patent on pinch to zoom.

Where in either article is an example of prior art brought up? My original request not being fulfilled, I was speculating on how other manufacturers' devices used pinch to zoom without it falling under Apple's patent.

Perhaps I didn't read carefully enough as I thought it also involved Palm's claims. I'll go back and look, finding a better link if that one didn't offer what you wanted to know.

EDIT: You're correct that there's not a specific mention of pinch-to-zoom gesture prior claims in my linked articles. I find reference to WebOS offering it, and Apple's failure to assert any claim that they were using Apple's IP without permission. In addition the limits that Apple put on the claim would indicate that some others might have a right to use a similar pinch gesture. Apple isn't claiming pinch-to-zoom in of of itself as unique and patented. All in all it's a somewhat odd patent:

"Apple doesn't have a patent on "pinch-to-zoom" generally, but rather pinching to zoom, and then pinching to zoom again within some fixed period of time. How long that period lasts is totally up in the air, but it has to be defined somewhere -- this patent doesn't really apply unless there's a clock running and a second gesture takes place."
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post #26 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by TBell View Post


Where does he says the Court took a position? He says merely the Court seems convinced that Motorola is violating Apple's patent. More so at the end of the Hearing than before. Prior to the Hearing the Court has already likely been briefed on the matter through extensive legal pleadings. It would be highly unusual for a Judge to not form an opinion on something after reading the parties' briefs on the matter. Sometimes Judges don't even need a Hearing after reading the briefs because one party is clearly right and the other is clearly wrong.

Now Mueller has swung the other direction with his opinion. He's pretty convinced the photo scrolling patent will be invalidated since a stay ordered yesterday.

 

According to FOSSPatents a stay (in this case benefiting Samsung)) would be ordered "only if a defendant shows a high probability (80%+) of the patent being invalidated.".

 

So much for that.

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