By Dennis Abrams
As Nick Bilton bluntly stated last week on The New York Times Bits blog, “If you want to know just how broken the patent system is, just look at patent D670,713, filed by Apple and approved this week by the United States Patent Office.”
It is this design patent, titled “Display screen or portion thereof with animated graphical user interface,” that gives Apple the exclusive right to the page turn in an e-reader application.
“Yes,” said Bilton, “that’s right. Apple now owns the page turn. You know, as when you turn a page with your hand. An ‘interface’ that has been around for hundreds of years in physical form. I swear I’ve seen similar animation in Disney or Warner Brothers cartoons.
Apple’s argument was simple: its patented page turn was unique because it had a special type of animation other page-turn applications had been able to duplicate.
Says Bilton: “The patent comes with three illustrations to show how the page-turn algorithm works. In Figure 1, the corner of a page can be seen folding over. In Figure 2, the page is turned a little more. I’ll let you guess what Figure 3 shows.”
The page-turn patent was filed in December 2011, and claims three inventors: Elizabeth Caroline Cranfill, Stephen Lemay, and Mikio Inose.