Nowadays, we can't help but feel trepidation whenever a patent or patent-related problem makes it to the news, and this time is no different in that regard.
In fact, we might even say that there is an extra reason to be wary: Apple
is the one who won patent 8,223,134, which could be an indicator that yet another long and exhausting string of lawsuits
is on the horizon.
The patent describes
ways in which documents and lists are displayed within a mobile operating system.
Indeed, the patent was granted for “Portable electronic device, method, and graphical user interface for displaying electronic lists and documents.”
The technology relies on a touchscreen, defines how the displaying process works and describes how lists and documents look like.
That last part looks suspiciously much like Apple having just been granted a monopoly on the right to satisfy what is, at the end of the day, nothing but a visual preference.
“[In] some embodiments, the functions may include telephoning, video conferencing, e-mailing, instant messaging, blogging, digital photographing, digital videoing, web browsing, digital music playing, and/or digital video playing. Instructions for performing these functions may be included in a computer program product configured for execution by one or more processors,” Apple wrote in the patent.
There are many possible ways of implementing the patent, making 8,223,134 quite important and broad, all things considered. We have little doubt that the Cupertino company will start lawsuits
over it or add it to existing ones.
As biased as that sounds, there is no denying the fact that, though this new one isn't about to gather dust, Apple files for and receives a high number of patents every year, some of which it never uses itself.
There's also the drawn-out war with Samsung
and others to take into account. As virtuous as perseverance is, using the legal system to kill competition
instead of ensuring it doesn't make for good publicity, though we suppose USPTO is to blame too, for granting all those filings.