Many people claim that Apple is the de-facto standard of innovation in the tech industry. I would argue they are more likely the standard on how to create patents.
Let us take a look at Patent D’889 filed by Apple. You will see how vague their patent is. A rectangle device, a flat surface. Predominant screen on one side. Pretty generic.
What Apple has done is create a patent around the look and feel of any device that makes logical sense for a touch experience.
But the somewhat more intriguing piece is that they did not create the design at all. Basically equates to as simple as how Samsung (the current lawsuit target of Apple) has stated in their court case:
“Attached hereto as Exhibit D is a true and correct copy of a still image taken from Stanley Kubrick’s 1968 film “2001: A Space Odyssey.
In a clip from that film lasting about one minute, two astronauts are eating and at the same time using personal tablet computers. The clip can be downloaded online at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JQ8pQVDyaLo. As with the design claimed by the D’889 Patent, the tablet disclosed in the clip has an overall rectangular shape with a dominant display screen, narrow borders, a predominately flat front surface, a flat back surface (which is evident because the tablets are lying flat on the table’s surface), and a thin form factor.”
Here’s a rough comparison: I try to patent a device for the use of rest. Its design includes one or more devices that allow a vertical extension, and in some cases a device used for back support. In some others, horizontal devices intended for arm support. Bam! I’m now collecting royalties on every chair that gets produced.
Right now Samsung is under temporary suspension of sales in Europe with some of their devices because it might infringe on a patent as vague as this one. A user unlocking a device by dragging an image.
Even as we speak, Apple is claiming that they have created a new interface in iOS 5, which would look new to most people – most people, that is, that don’t use Android or RIM devices. Frankly, it’s a direct copy.
It’s just a shame that Android and RIM did not patent these user experiences. Let’s hope that Apple doesn’t patent them in the interest of preserving its “innovative design.”