Friday, August 03, 2012

Old California Speed Limit Sign is Virtually Identical in Design to Apple iPad

We studied law in California and at that time had a convertible to drive to boot, which brings back fond memories of driving in the Bay area.

As a special treat for patent-savvy car drivers
and also as CLE for judges judging patent and design matters,

we have looked at old California speed limit signs in the same grand State that is now hosting the Apple and Samsung design infringement case

and have found that the iPad is a virtual rectangular design replica of the old California speed limit sign (also having rounded corners and a border), photographic examples of which we found at classicdriver.com (photo of speed limit sign by Bonhams) and at the AARoads Blog, which we used as the basis for our illustration below




(the outline of the "acclaimed" minimalist iPad "design" is at the left and the old California speed limit sign is at the right, by which we have changed the original sizes of the two but have retained the relative actual height and width dimensions of each)

We see then that the iPad rectangular design is a direct rip-off of the old California speed limit sign. A conscious or subconscious causal design influence is in fact not excludable.

The iPad is essentially a familiar old California speed limit sign as far as its design is concerned.

Again, as in our previous posting, the point here is that the design display to which Apple claims proprietary rights is not their invention or design whatsoever. A ubiquitous generic speed limit sign IN CALIFORNIA already used that very same design to display information long before the iPad, and that pad or tablet does nothing else than to use this same format to display its information digitally - that difference does not justify special IP rights.

There is NO INVENTIVE STEP and nothing unique has been created.


Massachusetts First Standardized License Plate 1957 as Nearly Identical Prior Art for the Apple Phone

Who invented the iPhone image display form? -- definitely not Apple.

The ubiquitous and generic US license plate is absolute prior art for rectangular display of text and image graphics with rounded edges in a bezel prior to more modern information apparatus. Let us look at the website

Massachusetts RMV - History of the License Plate

for a good example.

The first standardized motor vehicle license plate in Massachusetts out of the year 1957 -- more than 3 decades prior to the iPhone -- is shown below (original graphic found at http://www.mass.gov/rmv/history/):


It is virtually identical to the over-hyped "prize-winning" design of the Apple iPhone (image thumb in actual dimensions below),


and shows how the masses, legislatures, courts and judges can be duped and still are being duped -- just look at currently ongoing litigation in California and elsewhere.

An Apple iPhone is a banal license plate copy, at least in terms of design.


The point here is that the design display to which Apple claims proprietary rights is not their invention or design whatsoever. Ubiquitous generic license plates already used that very same design to display information long before the iPhone, and that phone does nothing else than to use this same format to display its information digitally - that difference does not justify special IP rights.

There is NO INVENTIVE STEP and nothing unique has been created.

Motor Vehicle Registration Plates - License Plates - As Your Most Obvious Prior Art for Text and Graphic Information Displays on Rectangular Surfaces with Rounded Edges Enclosed in Bezels


All excited about the patent wars?
Settle down. It is really all about "old stuff".
There is massive prior art for the display of text and graphics in rectangles (viz. rectangular surfaces) with rounded edges.

Take an overlooked source -- your own car.

Plug the following search phrases into Google image search and look what you get:

"historical motor vehicle registration license plates"

The amusing thing about the patent wars involving erroneously granted design patents for rectangular displays is that motor vehicle license registration plates around the world serve everywhere as visible prior art for the display of text and graphic information on rectangular surfaces enclosed by bezels with rounded edges.

The fact that those display designs now also serve AS DISPLAYS for modern technical apparatus such as TVs, pads, pods, tablets, cell phones, mobile phones, smartphones, or whatever you want to call them, is completely beside the point.

The fact is that there is - rightly seen - no legally protectable invention involved in the application of such ubiquitous generic designs to modern technical apparatus -- there is simply no patentable or design-patentable inventive step -- as required by the patent law.

Rather, the application of such displays to modern apparatus is dependent on the state of art of technology -- which determines the permissible thickness of bezels and displays as well as the amount of surface they can cover.

Being one step ahead of the competition in applying OLD technology to new things does not make it "invention" covered by intellectual property laws.

Such applications are not only obvious on their face, but they also reflect the fact that text and graphic information can be placed on flat surfaces in only a very limited number of ways, evident not only to those skilled in the art, but to every other idiot.

Legislators, judges and courts who do not see the very things that are everywhere in front of their eyes should be sent out to pasture.


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