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Microsoft Files Patent for Apple's iPad Page Turn

Apple was very proud to show its fancy page-turning animation for its iBooks app on the iPad and iPhone. The touch-gesture controlled motion would translate into a page flipping animation that would go as slow or quick as the user wanted. It's commonplace for Apple to incorporate little touches like that in its user experience – except Microsoft may have thought of it first.

In a patent application submitted by Microsoft on January 7, 2009 called "Virtual Page Turn," Microsoft describes:

One or more pages are displayed on a touch display. A page-turning gesture directed to a displayed page is recognized. Responsive to such recognition, a virtual page turn is displayed on the touch display. The virtual page turn actively follows the page-turning gesture. The virtual page turn curls a lifted portion of the page to progressively reveal a back side of the page while progressively revealing a front side of a subsequent page. A lifted portion of the page is given an increased transparency that allows the back side of the page to be viewed through the front side of the page. A page-flipping gesture quickly flips two or more pages.

What's described here is basically what happens for page turns on the Apple devices. Of course, there are other applications on the iPhone and iPad that also use this page turn animation, even before Apple adopted it for iBooks.

Time will tell if Microsoft gets ownership of this e-reading feature.

(via GoRumors.)

Marcus Yam
Marcus Yam served as Tom's Hardware News Director during 2008-2014. He entered tech media in the late 90s and fondly remembers the days when an overclocked Celeron 300A and Voodoo2 SLI comprised a gaming rig with the ultimate street cred.
  • Its not fair that a company can just sit back and patent as many potential technologies that they want, without needing to deveop a product that utilizes that technology. They can just sit back and demand royalties from companies who actually do use that patented technology.
    Reply
  • mitch074
    I'm pretty sure that prior art + obviousness would make that patent invalid: neither MS nor Apple were the first to do a page turning animation, and "use your finger to turn a page" is hardly an invention.
    Reply
  • lifelesspoet
    Oh snap!
    Reply
  • hixbot
    The patent system is out of control. I'm not blaming MS for doing this, but I don't think such trivial things should be able to be patented.
    Reply
  • silentq
    microsoft is looking to get some money to pay of NTP for their lawsuit..
    Reply
  • silentq
    microsoft is looking to get some money to pay of NTP for their lawsuit..
    Reply
  • LORD_ORION
    You should not be able to patent virtualized real work behavior. They alread gt away with softphones, next is page turning of a virtual book?Idiotic.
    Reply
  • anamaniac
    As much as I like seeing Macintosh getting owned as the next guy here, no.
    Microsoft, just no.
    Reply
  • awood28211
    @abcd1211: It is completely fair. A patent is merely an exclusive right to and invention for the public disclosure of said invention. An invention does not constitute a physical creation but merely can be imagined and documented. These are as defined by US law which governs said parties in this matter.

    NOW, on the other hand... this problem here exists in that the invention must be new, non-obvious and useful (subjective). For MS to argue that a digital book page turn is new could be debated but them to argue that it is "non-obvious" would be ludicrous. It would be like me asking for a patent on video games in which digitally represented cars in the games make sounds that mimic real cars.

    IF this becomes a blow up lawsuit of some sorts, I could see this paving the way to basically say that a digital representation of anything that occurs in reality is not patentable. If two apps exists that show a nature scene and one has a tree fall down periodically, is that then patentable and enforceable if the competing application shows a tree fall down? I mean, we can really see how that would be ridiculous.

    HOWEVER, on the other hand, I am in full support of allowing patents on the PROCESS, not the representation. The process being more stringent. IF they managed to come up with a unique way of making it happen as opposed to just the visual representation, they should go for it.

    I'm not an Apple fan, this is true, and MS is how I make my livelihood (VB/c# programmer) but seriously MS... a patent on turning a page?
    Reply
  • The patent system is a lawyers' playground primarily serving the purpose of blocking innovation or extracting money after the event. At the same time big corporations seem to flout the system in the expectation that they can cow the rights owners through sheer power or via brilliant legal minds that can split hairs sufficiently to steal an idea.

    It started off well enough -- so that new technologies should be made public (as in "patently obvious") particularly where they had relevance to the military interests of the nation (that being England).

    In exchange for publishing an idea so that it could be disseminated to the advantage of the nation, the originator was awarded exclusive rights (for a limited period) that he could license for a fee to those who wanted to adopt it.

    The brilliance of the system was that by giving a financial value to an idea beyond its actual realisation as (say) a machine that was a marketable product, the originator was able to attract capital to develop the idea and collaborate with others without risking losing control of the invention.
    Reply