Wednesday, April 2, 2014

The Five iOS Features Apple Is Claiming That Samsung (or Google) Stole

Ben Lovejoy:

The patents are, of course, worded in the usual dense legaleze. If you want to read them for yourself, you can find them on the US Patent and Trademark Office website in the links below. But here’s my reading of what each one is about, in plain English.

[…]

Patent 5,946,647: “System and method for performing action on a structure in computer generated data”

[…]

Patent 6,847,959: “Universal interface for retrieval of information in a computer system, a patent that Apple claims is central to universal search”

[…]

Patent 7,761,414: “Synchronous data synchronization among devices”

[…]

Patent 8,046,721: “Unlocking a device by performing gestures on an unlock image”

[…]

Patent 8,074,172: Method, system and graphical user interface for providing word recommendations

Florian Mueller:

I have had discussions on Twitter and email with Apple fans who find it hard to believe that Apple, after revolutionizing the market, can’t prevent companies like Google and Samsung from providing some of the same functionality. But Apple, like everyone else in this field of incremental innovations, is standing on the shoulders of giants. A smartphone or tablet is a mobile computer, but Apple does not own all computing technology. Apple achieved key breakthroughs for those product categories. Those breakthroughs weren’t just marketing successes. They wouldn’t have been possible without certain technical achievements that made portable touchscreen devices as usable as they are now. But Apple didn’t create all of this singlehandedly on a green field. There were other touchscreen devices before, and they came with features of the kind many people mistakenly regard as foundational Apple inventions (for example, the Neonode N1m already had slide-to-unlock, even though in a less elaborate graphical form).

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