2012年7月5日 星期四

Apple在英國對hTC的告訴失利,原因多半是專利無效


英國高等法官7/4/2012針對Apple對HTC的專利侵權訴訟作出判決,其中涉及四件觸控技術的專利,包括先前有名的滑動解鎖的專利,可先參考:http://enpan.blogspot.tw/2011/10/unlocking-device.html

但這個明顯用途的專利(美國專利:US8046721、歐洲專利:EP1964022)仍然在英國法官(Judge Christopher Floyd)的判斷中認為HTC無侵權,而且其中有三件被認為是無效專利,包括前述滑動解鎖的專利。

此次侵權訴訟涉及的專利有:

行動裝置上的滑動解鎖:EP1964022
法官認為此案其中有4項範圍無效,原因就是使用Neonode N1m的先前技術,可以參考部落格文章:http://enpan.blogspot.tw/2011/11/slide-to-unlock.html

Claim 1:
1. A computer-implemented method of controlling a portable electronic device (400, 1000) comprising a touch-sensitive display (408, 1014), comprising:
detecting (308, 908) contact with the touch-sensitive display (408, 1014) while the device is in a user-interface lock state;
transitioning (314, 914) the device (400, 1000) to a user-interface unlock state if the detected contact corresponds to a predefined gesture; and
maintaining (312, 912) the device (400, 1000) in the user-interface lock state if the detected contact does not correspond to the predefined gesture;
characterized by
moving an unlock image (402, 1002, 1008) along a predefined displayed path on the touch-sensitive display (408, 1014) in accordance with the contact, wherein the unlock image (402, 1002, 1008) is a graphical, interactive user-interface object with which a user interacts in order to unlock the device (400, 1000).

6. A portable electronic device (100, 400, 1000), comprising:
a touch-sensitive display (126, 408, 1014);
one or more processors (106);
memory (102); and
one or more programs (132 to 146), wherein the one or more programs (132 to 146) are stored in the memory (102) and configured to be executed by the one or more processors (106), the programs (132 to 146) including instructions for:
detecting (308, 908) contact with the touch-sensitive display (126, 408, 1014) while the device (100, 400, 1000) is in a user-interface lock state;
transitioning (314, 914) the device (100, 400, 1000) to a user-interface unlock state if the detected contact corresponds to a predefined gesture;
and
maintaining (312, 912) the device (100, 400, 1000) in the user-interface lock state if the detected contact does not correspond to the predefined gesture;
characterized in that:
the programs (132 to 146) further include instructions for moving an unlock image (402, 1002, 1008) along a predefined displayed path on the touch-sensitive display (126, 408, 1014) in accordance with the contact,
wherein the unlock image (402, 1002, 1008) is a graphical, interactive user-interface object with which a user interacts in order to unlock the device (100, 400, 1000).

根據應用程式決定的觸控事件:EP2098948

法官認為此案Claim 1無效,原因其保護了一個純粹的軟體方法(computer program as such),可能是因為權利範圍中並未有硬體連結關係,因此被認定為法定無效的純軟體方法

1. A method for handling touch events at a multi-touch device, comprising:
displaying one or more views;
executing one or more software elements, each software element being associated with a particular view;
associating a multi-touch flag or an exclusive touch flag with each view;
receiving one or more touches at the one or more views; and
selectively sending one or more touch events, each touch event describing a received touch, to one or more of the software elements associated with the one or more views at which a touch was received based on the values of the multi-touch and exclusive touch flags.


行動裝置上的照片瀏覽的技術:EP2059868

對應美國專利如US8106856此件專利即為一般在手機上瀏覽照片的行為,點下去放大、左右翻頁、旋轉等,雖為軟體方法,但是權利範圍確實仍是連結了相關硬體,因此仍視為有效專利,不過hTC並未侵權

1. A computer-implemented method, comprising:
at a device (100) with a touch screen display (112):
detecting (2402) a first movement (2310) of a physical object on or near the touch screen display (112);
while detecting the first movement (2310), translating (2404) a first digital object (2300-1) displayed on the touch screen display (112) in a first direction, wherein the first digital object (2300-1) is associated with a set of digital objects; characterized in that:
in response to display of a previously hidden edge (2312) of the first digital object (2300-1) and continued detection of the first movement (2310),
displaying (2406) an area (2314) beyond the edge (2312) of the first digital object (2300-1);
after the first movement (2310) is no longer detected, translating (2408) the.first digital object (2300-1) in a second direction (2316) until the area (2314) beyond the edge (2312) of the first digital object (2300-1) is no longer displayed;
detecting (2410) a second movement (2318) of the physical object on or near the touch screen display (112); and
in response to detecting the second movement (2318) while the previously hidden edge (2312) of the first digital object (2300-1) is displayed, translating (2412) the first digital object (2300-1) in the first direction and displaying a second digital object (2300-2) in the set of digital objects.

多語言鍵盤:EP1168859

此案特別遭遇一個古老手機Hagenuk MT900前案的阻礙,被認定無效,技術為接收到訊息時,儲存起來,判斷訊息的語言,之後以對應的語言顯示


這訴訟告訴我們:
訴訟當中盡量找前案,法官自有定奪
侵權官司需要「撐」下去,核准專利也會無效
即便是核准專利,純軟體案的侵權判斷較難
權利範圍稍微併入一些硬體特徵,對專利有效判斷有幫助

當然此判決對往後Apple在英國、德國、歐洲其他地區的專利訴訟都會有影響,顯然Apple一定會有上訴的動作

Ron
資料參考:cnet.com, engadget, FOSS Patents

2 則留言:

Vince 提到...

請問一下,純軟體方法的專利一定是法定無效的專利嗎?

EN & Jane's murmur 提到...

就法律而言,各國對法定不予專利的規定不同,根據實務經驗,但普遍對「軟體」本身都不會給予專利,「與硬體連結」是迴避的最佳方式。針對美國專利,這方面需要克服一些判斷,「transformation or tied to machine」是個普遍會用的法則,另外需要克服101條一些判例的判斷,雖然法院與專利局的判斷會有不同,但是先過專利局這關吧!

一點點意見,感謝來訪!
Ron