November 18, 2012
Apple Granted Patent For Digital Page Turning Applications
redOrbit Staff & Wire Reports - Your Universe Online
Believe it or not, the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has granted Apple exclusive rights to technology that simulates the act of turning a page on e-readers, tablet computers, and other digital devices.According to Nick Bilton of the New York Times, the USPTO granted the Cupertino, California-based tech giant's application for patent D670,713, entitled “Display screen or portion thereof with animated graphical user interface,” last week.
The patent, which is includes figures to illustrate exactly how the whole page-turning thing works, makes electronic simulation of the action the sole property of the iOS device manufacturer, Bilton said. He says that the granting of the patent demonstrates "just how broken the patent system is," and points out that turning pages is "an 'interface' that has been around for hundreds of years in physical form."
Apple initially applied for the patent slightly less than one year ago, claiming that the animation they developed to simulate turning pages was unique and different than those featured in other e-readers, VentureBeat's Tom Cheredar wrote on Saturday.
"Apple´s page turning mimics how you´d turn a physical page from the edge of the paper, slowly pulling it back to see the following page. By contrast, the e-reader application from Google mimics turning by pressing your finger in the middle of the page to advance to the following page," he explained.
"At the same time, I realize, we´re discussing ownership for methods of turning a damn book page, which is about as arbitrary as outlining the difference between tying your shoes using the Bunny Ears method verses the Crisscross method," Cheredar continued, adding that having their patent application approved means that "theoretically“¦ Apple can now wage a legal war against companies that make apps that compete with iBooks."
The patent itself covers only the animation described in the illustrations accompanying the application, Gizmodo's Eric Limer said, meaning that it is possible that e-book software might not be the only use Apple intends for it. Furthermore, he says that since it should cover only the very specific activity demonstrated in the patent request, it should not cover other activities that are similar in nature, such as the aforementioned Google Books method of page-turning.
"This is just a design patent, so it's not like Apple's ownership of this patent will keep other eReaders from providing functionality; it'll just keep them from looking like books while doing it," Limer added. "Or force them to simulate page turning from the top corner instead of the bottom. Granted, this isn't world shattering stuff, but it all seems pretty stupid. Is this really stuff that we need to be patenting?"