I can see the value of multi-touch and why patent protection is important. With regards to tapping an email or phone number to initiate a email composer or dial the phone number, the technique appears long before Apple iPhone has launched. Even it wasn't, why would the patent be granted? The allegation seems to hurt the consumers and the market more than helping.
Apple is little more than an anti-competitive patent troll at this point, and my iphone4 is the first and last Apple purchase I will ever make. Everything they do just entrenches their monopoly, denies technology to competitors (this silly patent/PA Semi/Siri/Anobit/etc), and positions themselves as the middleman between their users and content providers (ie the debacle where they tried to shake down Amazon for a cut of their Kindle book sales). A proper counterpart to Google's Don't Be Evil. Apple may make nice hardware but to me not worth the extra few hundred dollar Apple tax for the privilege of owning it, and I don't think it is good for anyone for any one company to have as much power as they have accumulated.
Apple and other big companies has also been sued for silly patents. Remember creative suing Apple for a crappy patent and getting 100m$. & NTP suing RIM and getting off with 600+m$ for some silly patents. Cant blame Apple alone for this mess.
There are so many ways people can work around a patent. You cant patent a concept, but only one realisation/embodiment of a circuit/concept. Once the competition understands the concept, they can easily create work arounds. Remember it was Apple who first released a phone with multitouch and capactive screen. Although apple had strong patents, competition have created work arounds for these patents within a few years, which is why you have multitouch support in Android phones now. Inshort it is very hard to defend a technology patent. what companies can do is to sue each other, even on silly patents.
I am pretty sure, that people who complain about the silliness of these patents, havent ever tried to actually invest and develop, technologies by themselves.
It's quite simple. Patents, however trivial, are lucrative. Apple is a public company. It has a moral duty to its shareholders to maximise its profits (within the limits of the law, morals and culture).
Rick, no one can explain this craziness. It's like trying to explain why Kim Kardashian is famous, even though she's not an actress or a singer or an artist, and has no outwardly observable talent -- she's simply famous for being famous.
And some patents are simply valuable for being valuable, regardless of their outwardly observable merits.
How the patent system works is beyond weird to me.
I would appreciate anyone weighing in to explain to me why this was seen as a valid, infringed patent.
The decision is here: http://www.usitc.gov/secretary/fed_reg_notices/337/337_710_Notice12192011sgl.pdf
It seems to me the nexus between engineers and the legal system is narrowband at best.
Clicking on an address to email to it is to say the least very obvious. The only losers will be some users of the iphone. If Apple really cared about making the world a nicer place to use technology they would not be so petty. It's a good job they have 40 billion in the bank. These lawyers are the ones that get the most from this!
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