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Old 11-10-2012, 08:11 AM   #360
Sil_liS
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sabredog View Post
Perhaps so, but it should never have been granted in the first place. The ramifications to innovation are horrendous.

Before the iPad was revealed to the world, there were dozens of devices that were "rectangular with rounded corners".
I like the way the UK court ruled on the design. Court of Appeal’s judgment that Apple linked to as part of the apology:
Quote:
33. I turn to the front first. For it is obviously the most important feature of all, that which strikes the eye and would strike the eye of the informed user as most important. Its features are verbalised by the first four features identified by Apple:
(i) A rectangular, biaxially symmetrical slab with four evenly, slightly rounded corners;
(ii) A flat transparent surface without any ornamentation covering the entire front face of the device up to the rim;
(iii) A very thin rim of constant width, surrounding and flush with the front transparent surface;
(iv) A rectangular display screen surrounded by a plain border of generally constant width centred beneath the transparent surface.
I would add one other feature, that the edges of the front as shown on the representations are sharp. The sides are at 90o to the plane of the front face. So the thin rim has only its side visible on a front view.

34. I propose to consider design restraint first. The Judge held that:
[104] The rectangular display screen is totally banal and determined solely by function. Apart from that there are some other design constraints applicable to this feature but they do not account for the identity between the Samsung tablets and the Apple design. These devices do not need to have biaxial symmetry nor be strictly rectangular. Nevertheless the significance of this identity is reduced by the fact that there are other designs in the design corpus which are very similar too.
35. So you could have a front face of somewhat different shape, but the general shape (rectangular with rounded edges) is not that significant. I do not see how that assessment can be criticised.

36. As to item (ii) (transparent and flat over the entire face with no ornamentation), the Judge found that flatness was common and transparency essential. He held that there was a certain amount of design freedom (you could have a bezel or raised frame). Touch screen technology meant you did not need a raised frame to protect the screen. The degree of ornamentation of the front was a matter of designer choice.

37. As to the thin rim:
[119] As before, this aspect of the design is the product of trade offs by the designer which include functional considerations but also include aesthetics. The designer can choose to have a flush rim or a bezel, can choose the rim thickness and whether it is constant around the device. Within a general overall constraint, the designer has significant aesthetic design freedom.
38. And as to the border within the frame:
[126] I find that there is a degree of design constraint applicable here. The devices need some kind of border. The border need not be as described in feature (iv) but there are limits on design freedom.
The Judge added this:
[127] Irrespective of the matter of design freedom, to my eye, feature (iv) would strike the informed user as a rather common feature.
39. All of this appears to be a proper assessment of the degree of design freedom. In overall terms for a hand-held tablet (1) you need a flat transparent screen, (2) rounded corners are unremarkable (and have some obvious functional value in a hand-held device), and (3) you need a border of some sort for functional reasons. There is some design freedom as regards ornamentation, the rim, the overall shape (rectangular or with some curved sides) but not a lot. And the main thing, the screen itself was something with which the informed user would be familiar as indeed Mr Silverleaf acknowledged when arguing the "dotted line" point.
It continues with examples of patents from 2003 and 2004 that are close to Apple's registered design for the front of the device.
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