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Apple wins patent for OS X Preview app functionality

post #1 of 8
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Apple on Tuesday won a patent for an early version of Preview, the Mac application that can display and perform keyword searches in documents without having to open the software that created them.

Preview Patent
Source: USPTO


The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office granted Apple's U.S. Patent No. 8,335,986 for "Previewing different types of documents," which describes the basic functionality of the current Preview app.

According to the patent's abstract, the property covers a "previewing application" for displaying a plurality of documents simultaneously in a single window, with the content appearing as digital books. Users can view pages in one or two dimensions and search through all opened document for specified keywords which are then displayed in an ordered fashion.

While the language calls for a slightly different user interface and tweaked usability function when compared to the existing Preview app, the patent outlines the underlying operational features that serve as a basis for the current standard OS X software. Specifically, the current iteration of Preview does not display manuals or PDF files as "books," but the application does include powerful content search tools that arrange pages according to the '986 patent.

Patent Search

Preview Search
Search tool view in patent (top) shows highlighted text in-window, Preview (bottom) uses column to arrange results.


The invention is basically a software-agnostic document reader that displays content in a managed format easily digestible by the user. Key to the property is the ability to search within the document, with results also displayed in a logical manner, which in this case only shows pages containing the keyword.

Both the patent and the current Preview app use a sidebar column that displays opened documents or pages within an opened document. This space also displays pages in which a search term is present either by page number or a ranking heirarchy.

Patent Column

Preview Column
Column view as seen in patent (top) and Preview (bottom).


In place of the two-dimensional book format detailed in the patent, Preview uses a multitouch-enabled view akin to "Coverflow," the UI first introduced with iTunes and the iPod touch. The latest Mac OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion operating system allows for full-screen viewing and multitouch page navigation. Preview is the default document viewer in OS X unless otherwise specified by the user.

Coverflow View


The '986 patent was first applied for in 2009 and credits Conrad Carlen, Patrick Coffman, Ryan Staake and Matthew Sarnoff as its inventors.
post #2 of 8
Yaye, more software patents...

Social Capitalist, dreamer and wise enough to know I'm never going to grow up anyway... so not trying anymore.

 

http://m.ign.com/articles/2014/07/16/7-high-school-girls-are-kickstarting-their-awa...

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Social Capitalist, dreamer and wise enough to know I'm never going to grow up anyway... so not trying anymore.

 

http://m.ign.com/articles/2014/07/16/7-high-school-girls-are-kickstarting-their-awa...

Reply
post #3 of 8

Patenting this is more questionable than patenting the push button. There's a lot of previous art ignored by this patent.

 

Btw, Skim (and many other document readers) infringe this patent.

post #4 of 8

AI, once again I ask you to please stop writing patent headlines with the word "win". There is no competition to the patent system. An application is filed for an invention and is granted or not. I didn't "win" my drivers license. I applied for it and the government gave it to me. The idea is the same.

post #5 of 8
Quote:
Originally Posted by chabig View Post

AI, once again I ask you to please stop writing patent headlines with the word "win". There is no competition to the patent system. An application is filed for an invention and is granted or not. I didn't "win" my drivers license. I applied for it and the government gave it to me. The idea is the same.

 

Actually, it's more correct to use the word "win" on this patent, because Apple actually "won" this patent. Forbidding to release software with page preview in book format affects a lot of already available previewers. Skim and many others are affected. So, actually, Apple "won" against them, which were already doing this.

post #6 of 8
Just more proof that the legal profession is out of their depth in the world of computers. Not many technical people would allow that this app passes the non-obviousness test.
post #7 of 8
Originally Posted by chabig View Post
There is no competition to the patent system.

 

Well, when legally-valid patents, upheld in court after a lawsuit, can be considered for invalidation, I'd venture that saying either "win" or "granted" is lying.

 

Is there a single word to describe the act of doing something that has zero purpose or guarantee of success?

Originally posted by Marvin

Even if [the 5.5” iPhone exists], it doesn’t deserve to.
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Originally posted by Marvin

Even if [the 5.5” iPhone exists], it doesn’t deserve to.
Reply
post #8 of 8
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

Is there a single word to describe the act of doing something that has zero purpose or guarantee of success?

Hmm, perhaps, 'granted'? I get what you mean though...

OnT: I think this is invention is 'nice'
OffT: I think QuickLook is way more used, more useful.
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