apple’s 103 page 8,243,027 patent

It has become a ritual.  Every Tuesday there is a rush to write about Apple’s new crop of issued patents.  The coverage is quick for sure.  Do we learn all that much?  Not really, certainly not enough to form an opinion as to the significance of any one newly published bit of patentese.

In many respects one is taken back to the movie Airplane.  To be honest I do not remember the characters in the scene.  I just remember a simple question about a piece of paper spit out from something or somewhere in the control tower.  “What do you make of this?”.  The rather descriptive answer; “I can make a broach, a hat or …”.  The details are lost in the absurdity of the whole thing.  What is the relevance? Everything.  The significance of a patent is not who can read and make something of the Abstract or Summary the fastest.  The significance is found in the difficult bits.  The bits that take time to interpret, to flesh out and digest.

Yesterday, US patent 8,243,027, entitled “Touch Screen Liquid Crystal Display”, was the one that seemed to receive more attention than not.  I have neither had the time nor willpower to look into all 78 Figure pages and 18 Description pages, but there is plenty to whet my appetite on the face page and in the Claims. 

On the face page we find the application was filed in June 2007 and claims priority from two provisional applications.  With an issue date of August 14, 2012 the application took just over 5 years to issue to patent, i.e. on the longer end of the spectrum.  There are also roughly two pages of references, with 20 documents being cited by the examiner.  All told it does not seem to have been the easiest prosecution.  Finally, there are a total of 85 claims, which is quite a few by modern standards.  For a while now any more than 20 claims in a US patent requires extra fees.  Of all 85 only three (1, 30 and 66) are independent.

Considering the drafting fees for all those pages, a longish prosecution and a whole bunch of claim fees, a decision was made somewhere to invest considerable money in this particular patent.