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Tavistock NJ

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Why Samsung won't lose tablet lawsuit by Apple

Apple couldn't patent the iPad. It was already in the public domain - multiple times.


In 1994, while running a lab dreaming up the future of newspapers, Fidler starred in his own video demonstrating a prototype he cooked up that was remarkably like the iPad — black, thin, rectangular, with text and video displayed on-screen.

A narrator described technology that at the time sounded like science fiction: “Tablets will be a whole new class of computer. They’ll weigh under two pounds. They’ll be totally portable. They’ll have a clarity of screen display comparable to ink on paper. They’ll be able to blend text, video, audio and graphics together. ... We may still use computers to create information but will use the tablet to interact with information — reading, watching, listening.”

Apple is suing Samsung, alleging that the Korean company copied its iPad design. And Samsung is defending itself, in large part, by using Fidler’s video-gone-viral, saying it proves the design was already in the public domain and is thus not patentable.

While nursing his tablet ambitions, ­Fidler worked on other projects at Knight-Ridder, including a service to bring interactive content to TVs. In 1992, he persuaded his superiors to let him open a skunk-works lab in Colorado to work on the tablet, and he recruited some of the brightest, most-forward-thinking minds in computer software, hardware and newspapers to join him.

The lab was essentially a tiny office in a glorified parking garage. Their neighbor: Apple. It, too, was thinking about the future of media in its own lab. Knight-Ridder’s lab worked on ideas for providing news to Apple’s ill-fated hand-held Newton device, an early personal digital assistant.

Apple and the Knight-Ridder lab were constantly swapping ideas and even visitors. Newspaper executives would visit Apple, then stop by Knight-Ridder. Newspaper executives would visit Knight-Ridder, then stop by Apple.

Samsung’s lawyers countered that Fidler’s video put the design into the public domain in 1994, well before Apple filed its patent. (They mentioned his 1981 essay, too.) Samsung’s lawyers also noted that when Apple filed its patent, the company made no mention of Fidler’s device even though the company, which had its lab next to Fidler’s, knew of it because it had worked with him and his lab. The U.S. District judge in the case, Lucy H. Koh, declined Apple’s request to halt sales of the Galaxy Tab, in part because she found Samsung’s argument about Fidler’s tablet convincing.

“Apple has not established that it is likely to succeed at trial against Samsung’s challenge to the validity of the D’889 patent,”the judge wrote.

And here is where all the hullabaloo gets complicated for Fidler.

“I cannot honestly say whether Steve Jobs took his inspiration for the iPad from my tablet, but it’s hard for me to believe that he wasn’t aware of it, because the videos were circulating everywhere,” ­Fidler said. “I can’t believe they weren’t aware of what I was doing.”

In the 1968 Stanley Kubrick movie “2001: A Space Odyssey,” a collaboration with Arthur C. Clarke, astronauts use tablet computers. Samsung has even mentioned the movie in its legal filings, saying it provides more evidence that the idea was in the public domain. Fidler recalls having seen the movie and though he says he wasn’t consciously thinking of it all those years later, he acknowledges it could have been an influence.

Imagine that. Apple took the idea developed by others; patented it; and then sued everyone in sight. The patent should never have been approved in the 1st place. The U.S. Patent office is a joke.
The nine most terrifying words in the English language are, I'm from the government and I'm here to help.


Beaverton, OR
Try again.

Heavy Artillery For The Little Guy
Tulsa, OK

2 edits
reply to FFH5
Apple has been able to patent many things however that should have been completely unpatentable. The USPTO is failing miserably.

Remember a key test of whether to grant a patent is obviousness, such as an obvious extention of technology, and also, prior art.

And yet time and time again Apple is granted patents that fail both litmus tests.

They now have patents on the rotating display, icons that arrange position based on the way you hold the device, multitouch, icons that change appearance when selected.

Basically imagine common things that many devices, PC's, Microsoft Windows, and notably Android based phones (the real target they want to cripple from competing)... stuff this software routinely does now, and have done for years--- now that's all patented by Apple. Que lawsuits in 3....2....1....

Bah. Disgusted.

Stuff that should never have been granted and has tons of prior art and is obvious extention of existing technology.