Digital page turn? Patented!

By , Nov 17, 2012

If asked to single out a feature of iBooks that provokes most oohs and aahs, I’m sure you’d more or less unanimously opt for the page-turning effect. It didn’t take long before other e-book apps and devices began mimicking Apple’s animated skeuomorphism in iBooks.

The page-turning trick in various implementations has become a standard feature of Amazon’s Kindle apps, Google Play Books software, Sony’s recently released iOS app, plus a host of other social news readers and e-reading programs. And just like that, Apple’s now been granted a patent for the feature, meaning the company basically owns the page turn…

Earlier this week, the United States Patents and Trademarks Office published a document proving Apple was granted a patent for this feature.

The patent D670,713 entitled “Display screen or portion thereof with animated graphical user interface” outlines methods for flipping pages of an electronic book via devices like iPads and iPhones.

The ‘invention’ was highlighted yesterday by Nick Bilton of The New York Times.

From the filing:

The browsing device includes a controller that provides tactile feedback so as to lessen the user-interface differences between conventional books and e-books.

Sensors and control mechanisms in the controller generate a series of electrical signals that are interpreted by the computer that displays the e-book to control various browsing operations, such as flipping pages, controlling a rate of page flipping, jumping to pre-set locations in the e-book, etc.

Apple argues in the filing its page-turning solution differs from everything else out there in that it accurately renders how a physical page folds over when turned.

Here’s one of the illustrations from the filing.

The patent was filed in December 2011 and claims three inventors: Apple engineers Elizabeth Caroline Cranfill, Stephen Lemay and Mikio Inose.

Apple is often criticized for holding patents for features like slide-to-unlock (and its variant), rubber-band scrolling and pinch zoom, to name a few. This, however, is taking the obvious to a whole new level.

It’s not that the animation of the page turn isn’t a user interface metaphor per se – it is. But it’s impossible to deny that it’s also the exact replica of something humans have had in physical form for thousands of years.

You’d be right to ask yourself how on Earth someone could gain a patent on such an obvious thing.

Be that as it may, I’m sure someone will come up with a workaround to Apple’s patent.

In fact, Apple’s patent is likely unenforceable.

So, was Apple a tad over-zealous with this particular, ahem, ‘invention’?

Does it prove that today’s patent system is broken beyond repair?

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  • MagicDrumSticks

    Oh well. Their stock is going down steadily; apple deserves the worst possible death for their Arrogance.

    • CollegiateLad

      You’re a tool. Apple isn’t going to die because some hedge fund manager likes manipulating stocks.

      Look at their bottom-line quarter after quarter. In business, the determinant is your ability to perform not some perceived arrogance from a mindless sheep.

      • Hyr3m

        Apple’s stocks are currently ridiculously bloated. It will fall to the ground; it’s just a matter of time. Let’s hope it doesn’t stop at the ground but actually gets the apple buried deep down under… A “Tree™” might grow out of the defunct apple…

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=604885391 Richard Borkovec

    Absolute bullshit. No other way to say it.

    • seyss

      if you worked hard to design something and was the first to release it, then suddenly your 3 most close opponents just copied it, you would have a different opinion on the matter

      • http://twitter.com/oo7plasma Brandon

        they didnt design anything…. thats the point

      • ic0dex

        You’re blind!!! If you’re Apple and you had an engineer sit there and write thousands of lines of code to make this possible why wouldn’t you patent it? Apple took something from real life and implemented into the digital world, making it possible to have the same effect on a digital device! They worked hard for it and if they were the first to develop it then the patent belongs to them!

        Half of you idiots here thinking Apple just patent the 3 images above. You people need to open your eyes go to Business School and you need to understand how the business world works before you star writing stupid comments like “Absolute bullshit. No other way to say it.” or “they didnt design anything…. thats the point”

        In the business that Apple is in it’s eater you cover your ass first and screw the other guy or get screwed! You people are upset because Apple got the patent like you own Samsung or Google. Samsung and Google hold plenty of patents that Apple does not and they will have to pay for those features if they want to use them in their devices.

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000122495675 Ali Aledany

        ahahahahaha dude what the fuck does business have anything to do with coding?
        and also apple are no where near the first people to make it and the proof is the book apps that where made before ibook was even invented

      • http://twitter.com/Chindavon Chindavon

        Did whoever did that patent it to cover their ass? NO. So their’s no proof they came up with it. The proof is in the patent of the company that files for them and gets them.

      • http://twitter.com/Chindavon Chindavon

        Well said. If Apple didn’t try to patent this, you know the competitors would have. Stupid Android fanboys..

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000122495675 Ali Aledany

        was the stupid Android fanboys aim at me?

      • iUser2012

        skeumorphism itself is imitation of other things. Apple seems to lose innovative pace significantly but tries to cover it up with by taking advantage of patent system loopholes.

        what s next? shall Apple claim it invented human fingers and try to patent their usage to prevent rivals from developing touchscreen devices?

      • seyss

        you guys simply dont get it huh.. did apple invent the green phone icon on the bottom left of a phone’s UI? no. but shamesung copied it. why? when you understand this question you’ll evolve..

      • MagicDrumSticks

        Evolve? Lmfao, don’t make me laugh. You need to get your head out of your ass and understand that this is simply a case of exploiting loopholes, Apple isn’t any more special than any other company.

        The fact that you called it “shamesung” shows just how much of a narrow minded fanboy you are, please don’t try to convince us to follow your fanyboy ways.

      • seyss

        are you even reading what ppl are saying or you just like to read apple blogs and write garbage?

      • MagicDrumSticks

        Yes. I’m well aware of others are writing. You need to notice something. This is an APPLE centric blog and people STILL disagree with this patent case. This means that we all like Apple, but I we can all smell a massive pile of bullshit. It seems that you lack the nose to do that.

        Even great companies do bad things, learn to accept that.

      • http://twitter.com/nAcolz Acolz

        You don’t get it.. They patented a digital form of turning pages. Not that they made a book and tried to patent their way of turning pages in a book.
        And to the other stupid question about fingers.. I don’t even know what to say… Can’t be serious.

      • iUser2012

        unable to understand the irony? good luck with your fruit logo stamped brain, apparently that logo hinders your thinking ability :-)

      • http://twitter.com/nAcolz Acolz

        No, how the fuck are you supposed to see sarcasm in a written comment?

      • iUser2012

        you take of fruit logo shaped glasses and read the “finger” question again. you might see it is not really a question…

        for the record: using iDevice(s) does not make me advocate of Apple’s nonsense acts.

    • http://twitter.com/doubleaa25 Adham

      The whole point of a patent. “An invention that gains you exclusive rights for a period of time.”

      Not that they invented page turning, but they did create the technology to imitate page turning digitally. Not saying it is good or bad, but according to the definition of a patent, they are allowed to do this.

      • CollegiateLad

        You’re preaching to the choir. This place has become nothing but lowbrow entertainment – in part, due to the horrible writing. It’s a shame to have a platform and not use it for the betterment of your reading base. The patent system isn’t broken but you wouldn’t know it by these lazy, sensational stories.

      • http://twitter.com/doubleaa25 Adham

        I believe you in that is what is happening here. Then again, I still feel like the vast majority of people do not actually know what a patent is. They think that an item should be patented if it is something completely new, when that isn’t the case.

    • Hyr3m

      “Utterly pathetic” would do the trick too I think ^^

  • Wassim Omais

    Wow. Well if they think that their page turning method resembles a real one, they may as well patent the book. Seriously, this is going way too far….

    • ic0dex

      The code behind the page turning is patented too not just the design. They were the first to implement this feature into a digital book and someone sate there and wrote thousands of lines of code to make this possible. Then as a company you paten this idea so other can’t use it and say they came up with it. The business world is a doggy dog world, its eater you fuck someone or get fucked! You have to cover every step and every idea or you will have others trying to take your ideas.

  • http://twitter.com/Nicki_Danny Danny

    I literally spit on my iMac when I read this on Facebook, this patent thing has blown out of proportion! I can’t help it, I’m laughing so hard!

  • wonderboydave

    cool story bro.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000122495675 Ali Aledany

      changed my life :D

  • Timothy Do

    Next patent from Apple will be the bookcase from iBook. Man this is getting ridiculous.

    • http://twitter.com/NKhan16 Nabil Khan16

      when a company works so had and INNOVATE and then another company copies it and then boast it as a feature that is not fair i agree with apple in all patents (not apple fanboy)

      • iUser2012

        remember they patented rectangle shaped case with rounded corners. even the jury who decided against samsung found this patent ridiculous! so there should be a limit for this. this is a clear abuse of faulty system.

  • Schalkb

    My gran turned over the page of a book a few decades ago. She’s gonna sue Apple….
    Wtf Apple? I see no point…

  • http://twitter.com/frozenbeeGFKS Frozen Bee .GFKS

    omg i saw this “page-turning” even before iBooks….Apple is full of f*cktards

  • Schalkb

    Apple’s next move? Patent the word “Patent”… Then everyone is screwed…. INCLUDING themselves….WHY Apple?

  • http://www.facebook.com/jonathan.liu.7503 Jonathan Liu

    Why? Apple? Why?

  • Dan

    Next up: Apple puts a patent on sunlight.

  • M Last

    must be!

  • SoCoMagNuM

    Just wow

  • http://twitter.com/xuz0 Bing

    Google patent notification center now!

  • ewiz

    Apple just wanted to patent everything under the sun, how pathetic. Now it owns rectangular shape patent, next time it will be round shape and claim the sun is its creation.

  • http://twitter.com/monster_hazardo Roger Riekki

    Lots of $.

  • dady king

    Apple please just focus on product and operating system ..this is just indicating that apple can’t be innovative .. Just think of b4 iOS was not having pull down notification.. Then android invented followed by apple.. This is how it works .. Ideas + sharing = leader .. Let world follow you..

  • http://hbang.ws/ Adam D

    It should be noted that iOS has an API to make your own book interface in 3rd-party apps – as in, with two pages on screen at once and built-in page turning. I wonder if that’s permitted in the patent or not…

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000122495675 Ali Aledany

    next patent = camera

  • http://twitter.com/decio_crytek Décio Costa Arruda

    Apple’s simply protecting their user’s exclusivity. I don’t want a cheap tablet to have the same thins as my iPad, thanks Apple…

  • http://twitter.com/wamid Mohammed Shehab

    I don’t understand how this happened.
    Classics app had this feature as well as the wooden bookshelves to display the books.. It was obvious that apple has drawn some of the design features of iBooks from that app.

    [ I just looked for Classics in the AppStore and it seems like its been pulled just recently.. ]

  • http://www.facebook.com/raaed.rizza.7 Raaed Rizza

    Apple have the patent, and it was officially allowed by the patent office, so others should not be able to do that

  • AndyDontCare

    I wonder what species of monkey flings that kind of shit approval in the US patent office. This is bullshit.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=643583833 Dailen Gunter

    Uhhh the animated page turn predates any iOS devices