If you remember the early Android days, the web browser and other apps didn’t use the very intuitive “pinch-to-zoom” gesture that was popularized by the iPhone. This is the type of gestures that could be seen in movies like Minority Report (2002) and there are more examples of prior art. One of the reason often mentioned for the lack of Pinch and Zoom on early Android handsets was that Apple owned the patent on it, or at least that Apple used its legal muscles to discourage folks from using it. Later, the problem was solved, although it wasn’t clear why.

In the Apple vs. Samsung lawsuit, Samsung has called Adam Bogue to the witness stand. He is the man behind the DiamondTouch PC interface (video below) and says that he demonstrated a touch interface demo featuring popular gestures gestures to Apple back in 2003. Mitsubishi Electric did a lot of research on the topic in the late 90s.

Nothing came out of those demonstrations, but Mr. Bogue has kept emails to prove that the private meeting did happen. Samsung’s goal is to show that some of the patents that Apple is trying to use against Samsung and other handset makers have prior art, which may invalidate Apple’s patent tool.

It’s not clear how this will play out, but it’s great that the trial seems to go away from ridiculous arguments, towards more interesting legal terrain and actual innovation talks. With so much prior art, do you think that the patent system is broken, or that things are more subtle one may think?

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