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The U.S. Patent Office recently granted Apple a patent for the functionality of turning a page on an e-reader application.
That’s right, you read that correctly. Apple now owns digital page turning, aka patent D670,713), which is officially titled “Display screen or portion thereof with animated graphical user interface.” Theoretically, this means Apple can now wage a legal war against companies that make apps that compete with iBooks, such as Google Books.
Apple, which filed the patent application nearly a year ago, claimed that its own page turning animation was unique to other e-reader applications. Apple’s page turning mimics how you’d turn a physical page from the edge of the paper, slowly pulling it back to see the following page. By contrast, the e-reader application from Google mimics turning by pressing your finger in the middle of the page to advance to the following page. Personally, I like Google’s method better, but I at least see the contrast.
At the same time, I realize, we’re discussing ownership for methods of turning a damn book page, which is about as arbitrary as outlining the difference between tying your shoes using the Bunny Ears method verses the Crisscross method.
And while Apple’s new patent is about as ridiculous as getting a patent on pressing buttons, it serves as only the latest example for how absolutely stupid our patent system has become.
Apple was also granted 38 other patents, which deal with location services, channel scanning, and other multi-touch gesture functionality.