Apple’s Latest Design UI Patent Win Could Spell Thermonuclear Disaster for Android

With Apple already litigious against Android over the belief that late Apple CEO and cofounder Steven P. Jobs thought that Android had stolen from Apple’s intellectual property and design, the latest patent win for Apple could spell a disaster for Android. The new patent covers basic aspects of the iPhone’s graphical user interface and is dubbed “Portable electronic device, method, and graphical user interface for displaying electronic lists and documents.”

Wired reports that the patent was finally awarded on Tuesday and while the patent may not sound big, revolutionary, or all that important, its simplicity and vagueness may open the doors for Apple to challenge UIs and interfaces that other Android smartphone manufacturers are using.

“As portable electronic devices become more compact, and the number of functions performed by a given device increase, it has become a significant challenge to design a user interface that allows users to easily interact with a multifunction device,” according to the patent. “This situation is unfortunate because the user interface is the gateway through which users receive not only content but also responses to user actions or behaviors.”

The patent reached areas such as email lists, camera UIs, and menus. As this design patent is more encompassing of the various aspects of a UI on a touch-based OS, Android manufacturers may have a difficult time re-working and re-tooling their UIs and OS to skirt Apple’s patent this time around.

While today, this seems like common sense with the popularity of touchscreen and slate-based devices. However, when the iPhone debuted in 2007, Apple’s rivals were focused on smaller form factors, buttons, and how to minimize screen taps by implementing additional button presses or keystrokes. The iPhone did revolutionize the way we interact with phones using a touchscreen and much of that could be credited to maturing hardware technologies, such as multitouch capacitive touchscreen displays, which are far easier to use than the resistive-based touch screens of the day.

In his autobiography, Steve Jobs said that he’d go as far as waging thermonuclear war against Android and other thieves of the company’s intellectual property. And since Steve Jobs passed, current CEO Tim Cook isn’t backing down either. In his interview at the All Things D D10 conference this year, Cook said, “From our point of view, it’s important that Apple not be the developer for the world. We can’t take all of our energy and all of our care and finish the painting, then have someone else put their name on it.”

It’s unclear how Apple will proceed with its latest patent victory here. The company had been waging patent suits against various Android manufacturers in the past in various regions of the world, including the U.S. Some of those Android players that had crossed paths with Apple include HTC, Samsung, and Motorola.

12 Comments

  1. Scott

    07/18/2012 at 5:25 am

    What is with the patent office.

    How can you patent a menu.
    This is f’in ridiculous.

    Apple is trying to force people to buy their overpriced crap.

    I think google should change android to non open source and patent the notification shade and sue apple.

    I will never buy apple crap again. Next they will patent the voice.

    Reply

    • Ash

      07/18/2012 at 9:48 am

      Scott,
      All the major phone manufacturers are doing this in a bid to try and win tit for tat lawsuits, its all a big marketing ploy

      There is an article about it over here http://iphoneleaks.co.uk/index.php/2011/09/apple-vs-htc-round-2

      Reply

    • Brandon Burr

      09/23/2012 at 2:20 pm

      I totally agree with Scott! What is this bull? An apple employee put a gun to my head and forced me to buy their overpriced crap. Wow, what kind of world do we live in where people can invent things and put a price tag on them as the owners of the technology? That’s not a world I want to live in!

      *facepalm*

      Reply

  2. Rodrick

    07/18/2012 at 7:39 am

    I agree with Scott how can you patent this?? I’ve literally seen a layout like this before the iPhone was even made. The US patent system defiantly needs reform

    Reply

  3. ken

    07/18/2012 at 9:43 am

    Cannot believe these ongoing patent wars over minor issues I feel, Its holding back development plus many now afraid to produce a new phone due to Patent trolls pioneered in the States. Am very disappointed with Apple to the point where I will never purchase a apple product. Apples Market place appears to be secure, so nothing to worry about as they have huge loyal followers. From a disgusted mobile phone user.

    Reply

  4. Vishal

    07/18/2012 at 10:21 am

    He once said- “7 inch tablets are dead on arrival.”
    Wrong- They are alive and thriving.
    He once tried to sell us the mac “cube” convinced that it was going to be a groundbreaking success.
    Wrong again- It crashed and burned into the history books.

    He now has us believe ( from beyond the grave ) that android is a ‘stolen product”.

    He now has us believe that it is reasonable to sue a company that has just filed for bankruptcy( Kodak )

    He now has us believe that apple products cannot be manufactured in the US and instead have to be assembled by overworked, underpaid, depressed factory workers who commit suicide.

    Wow! And we the public are willing to pay through out nose and line up before their stores for this product made by unhappy suicidal human beings !

    There once was a saying – “the evil that men do lives after them”…Well done Steve Jobs !

    Reply

    • Brandon

      09/23/2012 at 2:24 pm

      You sound enlightened on this subject. What $500B company did you build from the ground up?

      Reply

  5. Alex Perry

    07/18/2012 at 10:25 am

    Just imagine in the 50’s if toaster manufacturers kept suing each other because the switch to lower the bread into the toaster was “pushed” into the “down” position.

    Reply

  6. scott

    07/18/2012 at 12:56 pm

    Apple is hilarious.

    Apple or steve jobs once said the following

    Users dont want a bigger screen. HEHHEE

    Iphone doesnt need a dual core processor. now there are rumours its quad

    Iphone doesnt need more memory . now its 1gb

    Reply

  7. Doug

    07/19/2012 at 8:09 am

    The US patent system has been broken for a long time ask the family of the man who invented delayed windshield wipers. Apples patent is like patenting the paper and pencil used to write notes in class probably awarded by a apple stock owning apple product adic t who has no real technology or engineering skill and so they are willing to accept the pitiful pay of a patent office employee

    Reply

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