Apple patent (iOS Notification Center, drawing 004)

We’re not sure this was the right move on Apple’s part, but the company has in fact filed for the iOS Notification Center patent with both the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) and the World Intellectual Property Organization. While the document tries to outline the feature in excruciating detail, even the most ardent Apple fans would have to admit that the feature is way too similar to Google’s Notification Bar in Android.

To make matters worse, Google got there first as its Android software had the Notification Bar in place before Apple introduced Notification Center in iOS 5, which was released in June 2011.

Maybe Apple hastily moved to file for this patent because Samsung last month filed a lawsuit in its home country against Apple regarding the iOS Notification Center, arguing the feature infringes on one of its active patents?

Be that as it may, Apple’s patent application titled “Systems and methods for displaying notification received from multiple applications” and filed under the USPTO patent No. 2,013,000,7665 seeks to highlight the familiar system-wide feature on iPhones, iPods and iPads that aggregates alerts from apps.

The filing reads:

Responsive to receiving the notifications, the electronic device can control the manner in which the notifications are displayed while the device is operating in a locked or an unlocked state. In some embodiments, the electronic device can allow users to customize how notifications are to be displayed while the device is in the locked and/or unlocked states.

The company writes that because electronic devices can contain many applications, “the potential for application-based notifications can become numerous and unwieldy, particularly if a user is required to access each application individually in order to view application-specific notifications”.

Hence, a system-wide solution to handle those alerts is needed and it should be “a more efficient and intuitive approach” for organizing notifications.

Apple patent (iOS Notification Center, drawing 002)
The patent application provides a detailed overview of the iOS Notification Center.

With the introduction of the Notification Center in iOS 5, which made its way to OS X Mountain Lion in 2012, Apple finally has given its users the long-sought feature that helps them organize a bunch of alerts produced by stock and third-party apps.

Apple patent (iOS Notification Center, drawing 006)
No detail is too small: Apple illustrates everything related to the look and feel of iOS Notifications.

The filing also describes how a user can check out alerts on his or her lock screen and even interact with certain types of notifications, like those generated by the Calendar and Reminders apps.

Apple patent (iOS Notification Center, drawing 008)
The familiar Settings section for Notifications.

In Apple’s implementation, users can slide their finger over a notification on the lock screen to be taken directly to a notifying app.

Apple patent (iOS Notification Center, drawing 010)
Apple outlines every Settings pane related to Notifications.

A dedicated section in the Settings app provides additional options pertaining to the frequency and order of notifications and other details. Apps can display either banner notifications that pop up briefly at the top of the screen or pop-up alert boxes. Additionally, Apple lets you enable or disable app icon badges and notification sounds on a per-app basis.

Apple patent (iOS Notification Center, drawing 007)
Apple’s patent drawings illustrate the various designs for iOS Notifications. 

With iOS 6, Apple also introduced a Do Not Disturb mode to silence all alerts (i.e. when you’re in a meeting) or schedule DND mode to automatically kick in at certain times (say, from midnight till 7am).

An unknown time-related bug was blamed on the iOS DND mode failing to turn off outside scheduled times on New Year’s Day. Apple yesterday confirmed the issue would automatically fix itself on January 7, 2013. The bug didn’t stop the company from airing its awesome, though unfortunately-timed, advertisement focused around this feature.

Apple’s application was first filed in June 2012 and is based on a provisional application from June 2011, the document reveals. Both ‘inventions’ are credited to long-time iOS software engineers Imran A. Chaudhri and Eliza Block.

Apple patent (iOS Notification Center, drawing 012)

Apple also outlines the Notification Center on iPads.

In case you’ve been wondering, the search giant filed for its own patent application for the Notification Bar in Android back in 2009, two years prior to Apple’s Notification Center filing.

Here’s a drawing from Google’s filing.

Google patent (Notification Bar, drawing 001)

Wanna bet how long until Samsung or Google move to invalidate this patent?

  • its all boring now so who cares

  • Look at how precise Apple patents their stuff and then you scroll down to see how sloppy google does.

    • Damian W

      i think google was portrayed sloppy here only on this website. They probably filed a detailed report too.

    • Lucas Bluecat

      Googles patent was filed with the G1 pictured (first google phone). Apple has had 3 years to polish their ‘invention’.

  • This is kind of lame.. Apple knows it stole the idea from google’s Android, so it would be morally wrong to give them patent rights. THEY DID NOT INVENT THE NOTIFICATION CENTER… I think im moving away from iOS to android, going to the HTC One X..

    • Just because of a company trying to patent something (even if it didn’t invent it)??
      I thought we choose the things we use based upon personal experience and by how well it fits us.

      • Your absolutely right mate 🙂 And the iPhone did fit me better when I had a pletora of jailbreak tweaks.. But right now, my iphone is standing still, and tbh iOS6 failed to renovate..

      • we all know olaf speaks the truth so why shun the poor man. I myself am an apple fanboy but when apple makes such a beautiful iphone 5 with shit battery life then i have to definetly thinking of moving on to competition aka bb 10 :/

    • Ace

      Just go to android and move on with life.

    • Robert Kegel

      When did apple ever have morals? They can care less about its customers or whats morally right. Just keep shoveling them your money and they’ll just keep stealing and lying. If a person steals something and gets gets caught they go to jail. If a kid steals something from another kid they get punished. apple steals and they get praised and the government does nothing.

      • cajhne

        The government actually helps them. Like when Obama vetoed the ruling against a ban on Apple devices which infringed on Samsung patents. Really crooked stuff.

  • ExRoot

    This is what happens when a company has too much money in the bank.


    My constant visits to this site is what happens when you have too much time on your hands.

    Both are ridiculous!

  • Lordthree
  • goofygreek

    Im sure google will win the patent before apple does. and then we get to see google sue apple for using it, and trying to steal it.

  • Dex

    iOS 6 is actually iOS 5.1.2

    • Ace

      Not this comment…. Again

      • Tr1pTr0p

        Yes, that comment again. Why? Because it’s 100% true!

  • seyss


  • The only way Apple could file this patent was because they had to put that much detail into it. They know Google has a patent for this already, so they had to make theirs “different” to be able to file. This is still ridiculous.

  • Go innovate and stop collaboration/copying!…

  • this is really boring.. apple instead fighting with others with this patent shit at least fix what you already have with iOShit 6

  • overfritz

    There’s still a minor issue. Has Google filed for the patent, and been granted it? Who knows? The thing is, although the two display the info similarly, they display the info in a different matter. In iOS 5.x and iOS 6.x, instead of just pulling out a transparent cover at first, it shows a little bar, to make sure that you want to do that. If you do, and slide that bar down, it reveals a total screen cover, which prevents you from seeing what you were doing before hand. That, to some people, is a very nice touch and looks realistic (like if you slid open a drawer right above your desk – it covers your work), while others might dislike it, preferring something more like what Android did, which is nice in its respect because it looks more “modern” and “sleek”. Google did something cool too, but although it was filed years ago, the odds of them winning are going to be interesting. Apple and Samsung are already battling it out (and, honestly, I wish the two would just stop it, they aren’t going anywhere other than loosing money) and if Google jumps in on Samsung’s side, Apple will be fighting a loosing battle, and we will likely loose Notification Center in iOS 7 or 8. That would be a big issue, because it has become a big part of iOS now. If they get rid of it due to patents, they will have to find some other method for displaying notifications clearly and simply. There is, in case you haven’t thought about it, just about no other way.

    Sure, they do the same thing, and show it like the other, but come on, we can only have so many different notification center setups people! Patents exist to show that it is definitely one company’s, and not mistaken for a different company. There is a fine line between protecting your ideas, and locking them in a safe for a long time.