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HP granted patent for webOS user interface? Yep. A year ago. 13

by Derek Kessler Mon, 18 Feb 2013 6:31 pm EST

HP granted patent for webOS user interface? Yep. A year ago.

News has been making the rounds today that HP was just last week issued a patent last week for the webOS user interface. Technically, this is correct, patent US8373673 B2 was granted and published on 12 February 2013. The patent was filed on 20 December 2011 - after HP announced plans to open source webOS - and bore the names of Daniel Shiplacoff, Matias Duarte, Jeremy Lyon, and Richard Dellinger.

There's just one catch: this was a continuing patent application, as it says in the first line of the description. The original application (US 2009/0278806 A1) for the webOS user interface was filed on 6 May 2008. If you're doing the math, yes, more than eight months before the Palm Pre was unveiled at CES 2009. That application was followed up in more webOSy detail on 20 July 2009 with application US 2010/0185989 A1 - after the Pre had launched. That patent was granted and published on 17 April 2012 as US8159469 (well after HP had purchased Palm, revealed and launched the TouchPad, killed all webOS hardware that would use these patented interfaces, and started into the open sourcing process).

We even discussed it in November of 2011, when we were digging the cool multi-level wave launcher for which we're still waiting.

The 'news' of the most recent webOS user interface patent granting comes courtesy of Patently Apple (why are you guys putting your watermark on images you've pulled from a public patent application?), who strangely said that this patent "breathes a little life into their various ongoing projects"… which makes absolutely no sense for an open source project.

That's alright, we get it. Research is hard.

Source: Google Patents

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13 Comments

Strange, date in image is my birthday :)

Aren't you a little young to be posting on the internet?

The Patently Apple post sounded like a bash against HP for half of its length instead of thoughtful analysis on the patent. Also, I'm wondering what this quote is supposed to mean: "[...] the operating system may one day resurrect in HP devices powered by CPUs supporting multiple operating systems." Are they saying a single processor is unable to run different OS types, or two OSes at once? Both statements would be false, unless they know something I don't.

They don't.

Any mention of stacks in these filings? Wave launcher pretty inventive when you think about it. I don't have it anymore tho, I opted for the virtual keyboard because I can launch more stuff with it

So we gunna c Gram.com up n runing soon since the patent was approved 5 days ago?

Somehow I doubt a patent application approval was what they were waiting for.

Unlikely. Remember, Gram doesn't officially exist, and there's no telling when HP will announce it.

Doesn't matter. The subject matter in the application was already protected from the date of publication/filing, as well as to an extent, the filing date of the previous parent applications. The question though is, are the patents assigned to HP or Palm? Also, are they licensed to Gram or is Gram suppose to be the company that owns the IP. I wonder if in the formation of Gram, no one thought of this and HP can then technically sue its employees for infringement.

with HP everything is strange and no sense.

How long is a patent like this good for?

Patents are good for 20 years, plus any PTA (Patent Term Adjustment) days added, from the filing date. This one though, has a terminal disclaimer, so it will expire most likely when one of the parent applications expire.

Derek, couple of things:

-What you list isn't an application number. That's the publication number for when applications get published. An application number is when you see 10/xxx,xxx, for example (in this case, its parent application is 12/505,543 and 12/115,992).
-Also, although the patent was filled in 2011, this doesn't necessarily mean much. In the patent world, continuations are when you file an application, want to add something new to the application, and then file a new application to put that new matter in it. Alternatively, if you have something in an original application, and wish to pursue it in a different application. So, this application, being a continuation, although filed in 2011, is a drop-off of the 2009 application. So in other words, the 2009 application had something that in the course of prosecution was dropped, and used here instead.

Without taking a look into PAIR (great tool to see the actual prosecution of this from the USPTO, provided the application is published), the most likely scenario is the 2009 patent had something in it that the Examiner didn't like so to appease them, they just dropped it in favor of filing another application for it. Sorry all, but this stuff is just old stuff thought up back in 08/09. And, with a quick look, without looking at the other patents, looks like the subject matter the Examiner didn't like in the other applications was: "wherein a shape of the launcher interface dynamically changes based, at least in part, on a location of the object while the gesture is performed by the user."