The sad reality of the smartphone-wars is that there is less show of innovation and more of litigation. The leading tech-giants are busy in searching new patent infringement scenarios, for they do not want to miss a single opportunity to take-down each-other. They are busy fighting over designs when they should be busy creating one.
Apple, as always, is up with something more obnoxious, more whacky this time. Apple reportedly has (self) attested the fact that it is the author of wide-ranging patent for displaying content on touch-screen devices. Interestingly, U.S. Patent 8,223,134 applies to display of pictures, albums, emails as well as some other sort of documents. The patent does not focus on the ‘what’ factor. Rather, it focuses on the ‘how’ factor– how the device responds to finger gestures or how is the UI rendered in response to difference user interactions.
The patent covers the UI developed for iOS as well, which includes things like scrollable display or perhaps, the scroll-bar itself. Google apparently has copied this underlined concept and used it in developing its leading smartphone OS- Android. According to tech-experts, this could kill off Android completely. Though granting of design does not mean the whole UI would need to be redesigned. Applicable standard like FRAND can be applied to facilitate “fair and non-discriminatory” access to certain technologies. In simple words, the one who uses it has to pay some royalty for using those patents.
Most patents in U.S are granted without much research and testing, says patent law expert Florian Mueller. Apple holds several important patents for the use of touch-sensitive screens, some of which are also featured in the global patent procedures. Additionally, the U.S patent office has also granted it other patents dealing with processors and memory. The question nevertheless is not the credibility of these patents, but how laws are framed to facilitate innovation. If Apple’s claims are accepted, it could virtually churn off the entire Android market as major devices from Samsung, HTC or Sony deploy touch-screen technology. Patenting this would mean the price of Android-based smartphones would also level up with Apple devices, as they would have to pay Apple the so-called “royalty” for using their technology.
On a personal note, Apple’s claims are not only dubious, unethical, preposterous and illogical, but to some extent even naïve and irresponsible. Forget what they’re claiming, the more serious question nevertheless is why are they even allowed to raise such half-witted claims?