Saturday, September 15, 2012

The 1993 Infinity One "Wall" Bounce-Back: Prior Art for the Obvious Non-Original Apple Bounce-Back Patent?

What is the prior art and how original (non-obvious) is the bounce-back rubber-band scrolling patent for which Apple is currently collecting billions of dollars and stopping the import and sale of competing products with similar functions throughout the world?

From INFINITY ONE: THE SECRET OF THE FIRST DISK
a role-playing game adventure by Andis Kaulins, 1993
(here in the Minoan Labyrinth of Crete)
The 1993 Infinity One Boing Bounce-Back


This is essentially an update from the last paragraphs of our previous LawPundit posting at The History of Electronic Display Organization Including Scrolling.

Take a look at the above video from the role-playing game Infinity One, a ca. 10 MB game that I -- an AMATUER programmer -- singly programmed and designed (also all the art) via STOS in the year 1993 for Atari ST and then in 1993-1994 converted to a Windows graphic version via Visual Basic, the version from which the video snip was made today (running in compatibility mode in Windows Vista). My interest at that time -- in my spare time, as a hobby and as leisure -- was merely to learn basic programming and see what I could do with those basics.

The 1993 Infinity One Bounce-Back
Prior Art for the Apple Bounce-Back Patent?

In software programming this 1993 game, upon reaching a limit -- here the wall - if the game character tries to go through the wall, much like extending text as an image beyond the edge of a display, the image is shaken and then returned to its original position, accompanied by a "boing" noise created by a chorus of helpers in those days.

What -- as a matter of basic software programming -- distinguishes the Apple bounce-back patent from the above animation that I created in Infinity One, where the active game display rectangle shakes or "bounces" as it were and returns to its original position? My bounce-back may be very short, but the principle is the same and the length of the bounce-back should be irrelevant for patenting.

The fact that Apple applies this basic software programming principle to text or to scrolling is irrelevant, because the software programming essentials are essentially the same in moving program data around in a software environment, whether one calls the data image, text or a scrolling list.

Why current patent grants and patent law cases regard the Apple bounce-back to be a non-obvious software programming innovation not anticipated by prior art is in my eyes a mystery.

Building billion-dollar fortunes on this kind of child's play is simply not the way the economy should be operating and not the way that intellectual property rights in our world should be distributed.

Be this all as it may, my purpose in throwing this animation into the discussion is to show how tenuous patent software grants are and why they should not be permitted. All of these things are simply applications of the state of the art, such that even I, as an amateur programmer, could "discover" them. Hence, for someone skilled in the art, all of these things are as obvious as they can be and no one should be given any monopolies, patent or otherwise, on them, thus hindering other software programmers and creating product monopolies that are harmful to the national and world economy.


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