Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Mobile: Patent War Fatigue - Almost Over? And Why Not Just Innovate

Pull to refresh is a feature that we can't live without on our mobile devices.  Also, inertial scrolling.  Boy, is that useful.  And double tapping a screen to zoom in?  Awesome.  I use this feature everyday.

As a matter of fact, I use all of the three mentioned features above on my mobile browser and apps just about every time I hold up my phone or tablet.  And yet, Apple down the patents for the latter two features. And this is also the issue among a few that is going on now between a patent lawsuit between Apple and Samsung.

Last week, Google said that some of Apple's more valued (by Apple) should be open for all to use, maybe with a small licensing fee.  Obviously, Apple disagree.

I'm kinda torn about this.  On one hand, I'm not sure about patenting features like these.  On the other hand, some very smart people did figure out what the best touch UI features that they feel work best and it doesn't necessarily mean it is more natural.  I am sure with a population of 7 billion on this planet, there are folks out there that will one day figure a better way for scrolling or tapping to zoom.  Even better UI than pull to refresh.

Also, given the charges Apple has levied against Android hardware makers, I wonder what features Apple copied and why they haven't been sued for it.  The pull-down menu for notification comes obviously to mind.

Anyway, the patent war rages out but we could have some resolution soon.  I'd say no one copy anyone and we should be okay going forward.

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