Just when I thought that the world of patents couldn’t get any more ridiculous, Apple has come in to restore my faith in insanity!
This week Apple was granted a patent for their page turning technology in iBooks. It’s not that we readers will now need to pay a licensing fee each time we turn a page, but we simply cannot animate that page turn. Apple was granted the patent on the particular animation with patent number D670,713 titled “Display screen or portion thereof with animated graphical user interface.”
If you’ve ever used iBooks, you’re no doubt familiar with the life-like page animation. The animation responds to a simple swiping motion with the finger, which turns the page over just as it happens on a paper book. A different swiping motion will flip the pages quickly, and a vertical finger movement will flip the page just enough to reveal what’s on the next page. While I appreciate the invention page turning as much as the next reader who enjoys more than one page of reading in a sitting, I feel that maybe the US Patent Office has gone a little far this time.
Just look at the renderings that were submitted with the patent filing. They show a page first being turned a little. Next the page is turned a little more…I know that you can guess what the third image depicts.
It’s not the first patent that Apple has acquired that has raised eyebrows. This past summer Apple was able to patent the “curved corners” on their iDevices. Apple has been involved now in over two years of litigation with Samsung over the design and functionality of Samsung’s best-selling “Galaxy” devices. In August’s court ruling in addition to finding Samsung guilty of patent infringement, the jury awarded damages of $1.05 billion to Apple. Clearly, it pays to have patents…
I have been to Qualcomm’s San Diego headquarters – a veritable museum of patents and I fully recognize the importance of these. Patents are necessary and valuable tools for protecting intellectual property. That said, as with any tool, their use should be judicious, aimed at fostering innovation and increasing competition by safeguarding inventors and companies that are willing to risk capital to bring their unique creations to market.
I am not convinced that a patent for an animated page-turn meets those criteria.
About Hutch Morton
President and GM of Premier Digital Publishing. Hutch has been reading books for 33 years, reading blogs for 12 years and writing blogs for less than that. A pioneer in digital content marketing, Hutch passionately seeks to find new ways to connect with media.