Apple is granted a patent for turning pages in an eBook (!)

Thanks to the ongoing patent wars, most of us probably don’t think too highly of the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). The fact that they just granted Apple a patent for turning pages in an eBook probably isn’t going to help change that.

Yes, you read that right — Apple is now the happy owner of US Patent D670,713, a patent that covers — drum roll, please — turning a page in eBooks. Specifically, the patent covers the turning of a page when a user swipes or taps a portion of the screen.

It should be noted that this is a design patent, not a utility patent. Being a design patent means Apple does not hold the exclusive rights to the technology behind turning pages in an eBook. Rather, Apple owns the rights to the specific page turning animation the patent describes (see the animate in the image above). While it is obviously a good thing that Apple has not been granted a utility patent for turning pages (yet), it is still absurd that they have been granted a patent for the animation of turning pages. Aren’t patents only for “innovation”?

What is more absurd is Microsoft filed for a similar patent in 2009. It isn’t entirely clear, however, if Microsoft has been granted that patent or not. (USPTO has an extremely bad website…)

No wonder we have an overworked justice system here in the United States.

[Thanks Godwin, via Forbes, image via Digital Trends]

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11 comments

  1. Mike

    @Spredo: I highly doubt that the U.S. Patent Office has any risk of losing its images, or access to them, as a result of an Apple patent application and what the Patent Office might do on it. Presumably, the Patent Office is protected under the terms of whatever arrangement it has with Apple with regard to QuickTime; and Apple would not want the bad press, and legislative action, that would result from Apple “blackmail.” Just like a government’s use of Windows as an operating system.

  2. Spredo

    This is quite understandable, if you just look at this:
    http://dottech.org/87747/why-is-apple-quicktime-required-to-view-images-on-the-website-of-united-states-patent-and-trademark-office/

    What business of today would risk having their website lose all their pictures…

    I think the dialogue goes something like this:
    “We want this patent.”
    “You can’t patent “turning a page”!”
    “How is your website today? Many pictures?”
    “We’ll get right on getting that patent in order”
    “Great! How are you on that other patent… The one where we patent the “Apple action device”? You know… the device that starts all Apple devices and programs…Most people call it “the finger”? And don’t forget your website”.
    “We are working on patenting the “Apple Action Device”, so within the next couple of weeks, you should have full control of ANY market that uses the “AAD” to start just about anything.”

  3. sl0j0n

    Hello, all.
    Just more proof that the insane are running the asylum, and the idiots are in charge.
    This what we should expect, when lawyers are making the rules.
    They only ‘legislate’ for their own benefit, not for the general good.
    Also, imo, proof that Armageddon can’t come soon enough.

    Have a GREAT day, neighbors!

  4. clockmendergb

    I Have just today seen an advert for the nook reader showing the pages turning .
    and they look just like the illustration on top of this page.
    Is this prior use or are we in for more court cases?

    Need I ask

    Mike
    I happen to agree with everything you have said.

  5. naveed

    What is it going to take to knock some sense in to the patent system? Something really needs to be shaken up (or is it down?)

    I was using page flipping in Windows mobile from God knows when. Don’t the USPTO trolls look for prior art themselves? Are they so technophobic, that anything that’s not published on paper or other patents, doesn’t exist? I assume using Google is taboo there.

  6. Mike

    @clockmendergb: It’s all $ and ease of production. In my humble opinion, the U.S. Government should tax the heck out of U.S. companies when they do this, to dis-incentivize this. And yes, I would be willing to pay a greater amount for products, to help my country keep people employed locally.

  7. clockmendergb

    Foxcomm is now getting rid of workers in favor of robots.

    Now as I think of this I ask myself how much cheaper is it to run robots in China in comparison with the United States.

    the cost difference is not nearly as great as paying workers, I would imagine .

    So the Question begged is.
    Why are they not bringing production back to the States?

    Am I missing something here.