Tuesday, August 28, 2012

PONG ! About that Ridiculously Granted Bounce-Back Scrolling Patent US 7469381 Which Is Anticipated by the Prior Art and Obviousness of the Old Atari Game of PONG

You can read about the ridiculously granted Apple patent 7469381 at ycombinator.com via Hacker News at Can someone explain to me (like I'm 5) exactly what, besides the general concept of list scrolling with bounce-back to indicate end of list reached, it was that Samsung copied from the 7,469,381 patent?

Well, the idea contained in the Apple patent is so simply demonstrated that you can go back to the initial days of PCs for a good demonstration of the principle used, revealing the prior art and obviousness of the invention.

The essential principle of bounce-back scrolling becomes obvious if you play the famed Atari game PONG which was virtually "the first game" in the early days of the computer and you can still play it online here.

Whenever the ball hits the paddle, that is a "bounce-back" and if it does not hit the paddle, there is no "bounce-back". Apple has essentially stolen this PONG bounce-back invention for the basics of its scrolling patent 7469381, as we see from the court decision in Cupertino, to the tune of $1 Billion.

Now, THAT is professional theft.


In both cases you are simply defining "pointers" that initiate changes when any pointer reaches a predefined mathematical position on a display. There is no "invention" or "discovery" involved here.

The fact that in Pong the defining position is the near edge of the display and in Apple the defining position can be some other reference point in the visible or non-visible display is of no consequence to the prior art and obviousness of the invention.

Whenever a pre-defined "point" under predefined conditions is reached, a bounce-back occurs. In that sense, there is no difference at all in the basics between a PONG bounce-back and the method of bounce-back scrolling.

Indeed, a similar bounce-back "invention" is still found on keyboards for word processing use. If you press Control + End keys on your keyboard when working on a text program like Microsoft Word, the cursor (viz. pointer) will spring to the end of the document from any location in the text, while if you press Control + Home at any location the cursor will spring to the beginning of the document. I.e. the text can be made to "bounce-back" forwards or backwards, and the same is true for getting the cursor to the beginning (use the Home key) or the end of the line (use the End key).

Bounce-back scrolling is most certainly no innovation that should entitle any manufacturer to exclusive rights as to its use because it is merely a modern implementation of a tried-and-true method employed in software programming long beforehand.

China Handset Technology Companies: The Chinese Are Coming

One of the reasons that a company like Apple dominates the US handset market is because the USA does all it can to keep legitimate competition out, an isolationist strategy that has no long-term chance of success, because it means that domestic industries have no pressure to keep up with technological developments, and they are in fact falling behind.

Not only has Apple been surpassed by the Korean Samsung worldwide in sales, but, according to various test reports, it also lags substantially behind in quality and technological innovation.

Samsung e.g. dominates the "best" smartphone lists in Germany, e.g., while Apple products are wallflowers.

For example, the Apple iPhone 4S is ranked 26th on the current chip.de chart, the highest ranking for that company's products -- which means that the American market does not reflect actual world handset realities.

Court decisions such as those in Cupertino against Samsung force Americans to buy "worse" products from Apple -- and at higher prices -- because they are hindering the competition unduly. The consumer is the one who bears the burden of faulty patent policies in the USA.

To make things even more difficult for America is the fact that the Chinese too are coming onto the handset market with their own branded products.

We ourselves buy our hand-helds at the wholesaler Chinavasion because almost all handsets -- also those from Apple -- are largely "made in Asia" anyway, so why should a savvy consumer pay "brand" monopolists three or four times as much simply for the label?

Giant companies such as Huawei and ZTE are becoming ever more important and are adding their own new technological refinements to their handsets.

See e.g.

Jay Greene and Roger Cheng at CNET News, Inside Huawei, the Chinese tech giant that's rattling nerves in DC

Roger Cheng at CNET News, Don't Know Huawei or ZTE? You will soon
As Cheng writes, ZTE "is the fourth-largest handset vendor in the world".

See also our previous posting on Lenovo at:
Lenovo in China with the Legacy of IBM Set to Replace HP and Dell as Number One in Global PC Market Share in 2013: Innovative and Nimble, with a Touch of Mao

The Pinch Gesture as an Ancient Non-Patentable Natural Physical Historical and Technological Hand Mechanism With Prior Pinch Pot Art Galore as Obvious as the Hand in Front of Your Face : Our Modern Patent Systems are Operating in a Fantasy World

According to the decisions of the U.S. Supreme  Court, most recently in Mayo v. Prometheus, laws of nature, natural viz. physical phenomena and processes, and abstract ideas are not patentable.

So what about the human "pinch" as a natural, physical, historical and technological "hand mechanism" with "prior art" and "obvious" to boot.

"Pinching" is one of the oldest of "hand gesture technologies" of humanity, as written at About.com:
"The potter's wheel did not appear in history until only a short 4,000 years ago. Prior to that, pinch and coil construction methods prevailed as the main ways clay was formed by man....

Producing pinch pots is the most direct method people have of interacting with clay. We push, and the clay responds. We pinch, and again the clay responds.... Through creating pinch pots, we can continually refine our ability to work by touch, rather than by sight alone."
We are in fact talking here about a VERY ancient natural phenomenon, since human gestures were formally not "invented" by man, but by God.

Now a court and jury in Cupertino, California -- apparently operating in a vast knowledge vacuum -- have said in Apple vs. Samsung litigation that some greedy folks in California should be able to obtain monopolistic rights to pinching as a technological hand gesture mechanism.

How absurd is that? Have the people at Apple never heard of pinch pots?

How does a monopolist like the Apple firm (who virtually "stole" its name from the public goodwill rather than e.g. logically calling itself Wozniak-Jobs Co.) come to apply for a monopolistic "pinch" patent and also similar "multifunctional" human gesture patents? And how do hopelessly inept organizations like the USPTO come to grant such absurd patent applications rather than throwing them out the door?

Human gestures as tools of communication even long precede the pinch pots.

As written by Michelle Trudeau in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences in
Primate Gestures May Be Clue to Human Language
"Watch a group of apes for a while and you'll inevitably see them use their hands to communicate ... the flexibility of gestures may be the first primitive step toward the evolution of human language."
Few things are as much a "natural" physical process to human beings and their predecessor apes than "hand gestures", so it is more than incredible to find the absurd granting of patents on human gestures as applied to the operation of hand-held or similar electronic devices.

The possible explanation for this patent insanity can only be vast human ignorance and stupidty on a wide scale as found in legislatures, courts, law offices and government agencies.

In the days of the horse, we might have had to ride "no hands".

Imagine if the steering of automobiles "by hand" had been patented to one manufacturer -- forcing the remainder to use the toes of their feet or other anatomical features to steer their cars.

Or just think of a monopoly patent grant on using certain hand gestures to shift gears or operate other control devices on motorized vehicles.

Granting patents on hand gestures for hand-held devices is no different.

Granting patents for ANY KIND of HUMAN GESTURE or MOTION
-- all "natural physical processes" --
for whatever purpose is beyond absurdity.
It is anathema to the human spirit.

No greedy company invented or discovered human gestures or motions.

They should in no way be able to profit via currently impossible over-reaching patent grants, overbroad patent laws and warped patent law interpretations.

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