patents

Happily ever after

November 17th, 2012  |  Tags: , , ,  |  Leave a comment

In December 2011, Apple filed for a patent on page-turning animations in software. This patent was granted last week. Now there’s nothing left to keep Apple from suing MicroIllusions into oblivion:

(I’m still trying to discover whether or not Apple has also patented a system and method for ensuring that a user has the map from the original packaging before allowing him to play the game.)

Prior art

November 10th, 2011  |  Tags: ,  |  3 Comments

I have (and really like) a first-generation Luma Loop camera strap, and I understand that the recent revision is a dramatic improvement. So I found the news that Luma Labs has discontinued their whole product line in response to patent pressure rather disheartening. Duncan’s letter necessarily only provides his side of the story; furthermore, it doesn’t link to the patent in question so that his readers could evaluate his claims (most notably, that the patent application hinges upon the quite-old idea of a strap with a sliding camera mount).

Nerds who get exercised about software patents often point to particularly egregious cases in which patents are granted for obvious and non-novel techniques. Personally, I have often charitably assumed that these cases are explained by the limited domain knowledge of patent examiners; an obvious technique, when presented in a sufficiently vague and obfuscated manner, may appear novel to someone who understands the basic concepts of a field but doesn’t practice it. If the story as Duncan tells it is essentially true, though, the camera-strap patent is far harder to explain.

UPDATE: I can’t find the patent Duncan describes (which he says was filed in 2007 and granted on November 1, 2011), but I did find this patent, which would also seem to encumber any invention that resembles the Luma Loop.