Originally Posted by alienzed
If Neofuck's patent was just granted, doesn't Apple nullify theirs and not the other way around?
Neither patent nullifies the other. It is possible to have two very similar patents at the same time. One patent can be used as prior art to invalidate the other patent, but that isn't automatic.
Let's take a very simple example (obviously absurd, but will demonstrate the point).
Neonode gets a patent for blue. They file in 2002 and the patent isn't awarded until 2012. This patent covers anything that's blue.
Apple files for a patent on cyan in 2007 and it is awarded in 2009.
Apple is unable to practice its cyan invention without a license from Neonode covering blue.
Similarly, unless Neonode can demonstrate that cyan was SPECIFICALLY covered in its original patent filing, they might require a license from Apple for cyan.
Adding layers of complexity is the first to file bit (see below).
Patent law is not trivial and there are often multiple patents involved in a single product or process. Which explains why standards bodies came up with FRAND, btw.
Originally Posted by n00g77
I love reading the patent related posts here...always so incredibly wrong. This one is actually close.
The last feature of the claim reads "(i) an object (read: finger) touching the touch sensitive area at a location where the representation (read: icon) is provided and then (ii) the object gliding along the touch sensitive area away from the touched location..." At this point, the claim would cover the slide to unlock feature (where previous comment is in error).
However, the claim further qualifies (ii) reciting "wherein the representation (icon) of the function is not relocated or duplicated during the gliding."
Thus, the claim specifically precludes the icon (e.g., the slide to unlock icon) from moving/sliding with the finger. In other words, it negatively claims apples exact implementation (a practice which it normally avoided at all costs as it explicitly tells someone how to circumvent the claim). None of relocated, duplicated or gliding were even mentioned in the specification. I don't have to look at the prosecution history to know that this was probably required to get an allowance. Pretty narrow patent in reality, it's like the opposite of drag and drop and the icon doesn't even move with the cursor.
That seems reasonable. A patent claim must be read verbatim. If they had not said anything about the icon remaining immobile, then it probably would have covered Apple's implementation. but since they specifically required that the icon remain fixed, Apple has a very strong argument.
Originally Posted by copeland
As far as I know in the US Patents are based on the invention date. If you can prove that you invented it first it doesn't matter that you filed it later.
But I think that the US is in the process to change that to the regulation you mentioned.
Yes, but it's not quite that simple. Although first to invent is legally entitled to the patent, there's also a strong presumption that first to file will be granted a patent:
However, the first applicant to file has the prima facie right to the grant of a patent. Should a second patent application be filed for the same invention, the second applicant can institute interference proceedings to determine who was the first inventor (as discussed in the preceding paragraph) and thereby who is entitled to the grant of a patent. Interference can be an expensive and time-consuming process.
As you mentioned, there is a bill being considered right now to change first to invent to first to file, but it will have some pretty serious opposition.