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Apple receives patent for "genie" dock effect

post #1 of 35
Thread Starter 
Apple issued patent for interface design effect in Mac OS X.

The United States Patent and Trademark Office on Tuesday granted Apple Computer with a patent for an "ornamental design for a user interface for computer display."

Otherwise known to Mac OS X users as the "genie effect," the feature presents the illusion that application and Finder windows are shrinking into the system dock when minimized by the user.



The document credits the original design to Bas Ording, an interface developer who has endured a lengthy term at Apple working directly under the helm of Steve Jobs.

Apple filed for the patent in February of 2002, two years after the company first introduced Mac OS X and the Mac OS X Dock to the world.
post #2 of 35
Someone should just patent matrix multiplication and get the whole thing over with.

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post #3 of 35
Quote:
Originally posted by Amorph
Someone should just patent matrix multiplication and get the whole thing over with.


This is indeed a ridiculous patent. This is very disappointing coming from Apple.
post #4 of 35
Don't blame Apple, blame the flawed system.
post #5 of 35
If you can copywrite a logo, I think this is perfectly sane. As the patent said, it's ornamental. It's not like patenting the concept of binary.
post #6 of 35
Quote:
Originally posted by kim kap sol
This is indeed a ridiculous patent. This is very disappointing coming from Apple.

I disagree. I think Apple should patent everything they do. I'm tired of Microsoft stealing Apple's inventions. You can bet that if Apple didn't patent this, we'd be seeing Genie effects in Longhorn.
post #7 of 35
Quote:
Originally posted by bdkennedy1
I disagree. I think Apple should patent everything they do. I'm tired of Microsoft stealing Apple's inventions. You can bet that if Apple didn't patent this, we'd be seeing Genie effects in Longhorn.

Damn right! Now the Longhorn date may be pushed back further now, due to them having to take out the genie effects

But seriously if you had an idea that makes money, you'd want to hold on to it. Idea = money, stealing the idea is the same as stealing money.
Daniel Tull
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Daniel Tull
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post #8 of 35
Would the genie effect when opening/closing the the formatting palette in Microsoft Word violate this patent?
post #9 of 35
I would type "touche" but getting that accent typed from my windows box is a PITA.
post #10 of 35
Longhorn Coming in 2006*

*Or when we take out all the Apple stuff

LOL

LarryISKewl


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Welcome, please put your seat in the upright position and get ready for your plunge into hell. Enjoy the flames!
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post #11 of 35
Feb 2002. So this means if i come up with the device of the milleniium I have to wait 2 years just so i can make sure nobody rips my idea.

What the hell is wrong with our government you ask?
post #12 of 35
I think anyone who sees this as a ridiculous patent has no appreciation for how expensive Human Computer Interaction work is. And any new development that's the result of an investment should benefit the investor. That's what drives innovation so well in the United States.

It's likely that many patents go too far, but a novel kind of video effect that conveys important information is valuable, and thus should be patentable in my opinion. I've previously seen effects which shrink and grow windows to iconify they (I remember it in twm Xwindows,) but not one that interpolates both the size and position, to essentially show the user both the new size and location in a gradual way.

Anyway, I think that while the patent system definitely grants patents that it shouldn't, that this isn't one of them and that I'm glad the US has a system where investment in ideas can pay off.
post #13 of 35
There is a special look & feel to using a Mac (and an iPod) and I have no problem with Apple protecting that. It's one of the things that sets Apple apart and is worth protecting. MS is nicking enough of Apple's ideas as it is.
Ken
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Ken
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post #14 of 35
Quote:
Originally posted by macrules101
Feb 2002. So this means if i come up with the device of the milleniium I have to wait 2 years just so i can make sure nobody rips my idea.

Well , after you submit it, you can claim patent pending. Regardless if you have a patent or not, you need gobs of cash if you ever hope to defend it, because if you don't you lose it.
post #15 of 35
You guys ought to do a little homework. Two minutes spent at uspto.gov revealed that the patent is a design patent, not a utility patent.

A design patent is a perfectly legitimate way for Apple to prevent Microsoft or other potential thieves (and once I've named Microsoft, there aren't many others to fear) from stealing the "genie effect." Had Apple filed for a utility patent for this effect, I may concur with those of you who think that the process was a waste.

While it is dismissed as mere eye candy by the nerd community, the genie effect nicely displays where a minimized item goes, and as such, is a valuable element for the UI. My daughter was amazed when I showed it the her while holding down the Shift key.
post #16 of 35
Quote:
Originally posted by the cool gut
Quote:
Originally posted by macrules101
Feb 2002. So this means if i come up with the device of the milleniium I have to wait 2 years just so i can make sure nobody rips my idea.

Well , after you submit it, you can claim patent pending. Regardless if you have a patent or not, you need gobs of cash if you ever hope to defend it, because if you don't you lose it.

And, in some ways "patent pending" is more powerful than an issued patent. With an issued patent, infringers can dissect your claims and try to go around them. They can hire patent attorneys who can tell them whether to go forward, cease production or try to negotiate a deal with the true inventor.

If you have a pending patent and find someone doing something similar, you can notify them of their "potential" infringement without having to give them the exact claim language (because you don't know what will be allowed or reject and which ones will be accepted upon revision.) The infringer then goes forward at his own peril.
post #17 of 35
What else have they patented?

Expose?
post #18 of 35
I hope Apple is patenting things that matter...like Exposé. And I hope it was done a year or more ago because it won't be granted for at least a year.

edit: salmonstk, beat me to it.

edit2: they should also patent the global menubar.
post #19 of 35
Quote:
Originally posted by macFanDave
A design patent is a perfectly legitimate way for Apple to prevent Microsoft or other potential thieves (and once I've named Microsoft, there aren't many others to fear) from stealing the "genie effect."

Too late: Microsoft already stole it. Remember the little toolbar genie effect in Office X?
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post #20 of 35
Quote:
Originally posted by Amorph
Too late: Microsoft already stole it. Remember the little toolbar genie effect in Office X?


I'm praying to all ten of my gods that you're kidding.
post #21 of 35
Quote:
Originally posted by Placebo

I'm praying to all ten of my gods that you're kidding.

He's not kidding but it is only on the OS X version of Office. Maybe App;e will not mind as long as it is not done on Windows.

However, all these software patents are just crazy. Somewhere at sometime someone already has developed this. These patents are going to make it impossible to write programs. When will someone patent a= b+c?
post #22 of 35
Quote:
Originally posted by danielctull
But seriously if you had an idea that makes money, you'd want to hold on to it. Idea = money, stealing the idea is the same as stealing money.

Uhh.. no it isn't. Intellectual property and physical property are not the same. The simplest way to demonstrate that is, you don't lose your idea if someone "steals" it.
post #23 of 35
I would tend to agree that as long as the use of the "Genie" effect in Office remains a Mac only feature, Apple will not complain.
In fact, for Office v.X, I read that MS:MacBU had to completely write their own genie effect from scratch, because it was not (at that time) part of any public API they could call.
I think I also heard (but I'm not as sure of this part) that once Apple saw what they did, Apple actually sent the MacBU a few tips on how to better implement the effect.

I wouldn't even be surprised if Apple has already (or will soon) send the MacBU a free license to that patent, but only for Mac use, not on Windows. In any case, I certainly can't see Apple forcing MS to drop the feature from Office:mac.
post #24 of 35
Quote:
Originally posted by stingerman
However, all these software patents are just crazy. Somewhere at sometime someone already has developed this. These patents are going to make it impossible to write programs. When will someone patent a= b+c?

They don't seem to serve the correct purpose of patents (definition from US constitution):

(Congress can pass laws) "To promote the progress of science and useful arts, by securing for limited times to authors and inventors the exclusive right to their respective writings and discoveries"

If software should be patentable at all (I understand there are good arguments against it), I think software patents' "limited time" could well be five years. That would leave time for people to cash their invention in the software world, but would not unduly block technological progress. Technology moves so much faster today that the law is obsolete.
post #25 of 35
Quote:
Originally posted by Gon
Uhh.. no it isn't. Intellectual property and physical property are not the same. The simplest way to demonstrate that is, you don't lose your idea if someone "steals" it.

I'm not saying you'll lose the idea, but you'll lose money. It doesn't matter what kind of property it is.
Daniel Tull
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Daniel Tull
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post #26 of 35
Quote:
Originally posted by Booga
I think anyone who sees this as a ridiculous patent has no appreciation for how expensive Human Computer Interaction work is. And any new development that's the result of an investment should benefit the investor. That's what drives innovation so well in the United States.

It's likely that many patents go too far, but a novel kind of video effect that conveys important information is valuable, and thus should be patentable in my opinion. I've previously seen effects which shrink and grow windows to iconify they (I remember it in twm Xwindows,) but not one that interpolates both the size and position, to essentially show the user both the new size and location in a gradual way.

Anyway, I think that while the patent system definitely grants patents that it shouldn't, that this isn't one of them and that I'm glad the US has a system where investment in ideas can pay off.

Well based on this the Creation of Watson by Karelia's Dan Wood should be able to stand. Apple borrowed from them the look and feel in addition to killing the product. Talk about stealing.
Tom
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Tom
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post #27 of 35
Quote:
Originally posted by kim kap sol
This is indeed a ridiculous patent. This is very disappointing coming from Apple.


Not sure how this is affecting you in a negative way. Afterall, they've been burned before. And this is a patent, which someone obviously did some digging to find. It's not like Apple is bragging about it. Not to mention they filed it 2 years ago (Patent Pending for the post who wondered about people stealing the idea in the mean time)

Oh well. Sad to say, but in today's world it's better to be safe than sorry with these types of things.
post #28 of 35
Wikipedia has a pretty good description of software patents. Just like physical property and IP are not the same, software patents and patents concerning physical inventions are not the same. In the software world people are currently able to patent garbage that is so general, everybody's software infringes. If the system is left to run as is, the chilling effect on small companies, single developers and free software is eventually going to be huge. If you read the Wikipedia article, note the recent numbers of software patents and the amount of R&D done in companies.
post #29 of 35
C'mon, the stealing thing again? *sigh* First off, Apple let MS create that genie effect; from what I understand, Apple helped them do it right. Also, ideas aren't patentable. If MS or whomever else wants to create a similar effect or some form of visual feedback re: minimizing windows, this patent can't proclude that. No patent can. It can only safeguard the mechanism for doing this. And as others have pointed out already, design patents and utility patents are different animals which an unfortunate similarity in name. People can talk about MS stealing the GUI from Apple, Apple stealing Watson or Konfabulator, but they are all ideas, and their implementations are different. Don't like it? Tough. Our designs and ideas are recycled, used as precedents and copied ad nauseum for thousands of years. Get over it already. That's how we improve on them.

Don't make me pull up that Picasso quote again!
post #30 of 35
Pull up that Picasso quote !
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post #31 of 35
"Good artists borrow. Great artists steal. "
post #32 of 35
But to really drive this quote home:

Quote:
Originally posted by BuonRotto
"Good artists borrow. Great artists steal. "

- Steve Jobs.
"...within intervention's distance of the embassy." - CvB

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"...within intervention's distance of the embassy." - CvB

Original music:
The Mayflies - Black earth Americana. Now on iTMS!
Becca Sutlive - Iowa Fried Rock 'n Roll - now on iTMS!
Reply
post #33 of 35
1) they filed for this on 1/5/00. it's a divisional suggesting they filed it in 02.

2) to clarify - you patent not software. you patent software on a computer readable medium. trust me. if you just throw out software, you'll be rejected!

3) patents further innovation. dont make me argue with you
post #34 of 35
Quote:
Originally posted by BuonRotto
"Good artists borrow. Great artists steal. "

Actually, it's "Bad artists copy, Great artists steal."
post #35 of 35
Quote:
Originally posted by the cool gut
Actually, it's "Bad artists copy, Great artists steal."

Wow. So Billy G. and the Monkey Boy are actually the digital Van Gogh and Picasso !
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