Microsoft files patent for virtual page turning animation

A patent filed in 2009 by Microsoft which attempts to suggest the company invented the idea of a virtual page turning animation that was likely filed during the planning or pre-production process for the now dumped Microsoft Courier project has surface today.

The patent, discovered by GoRumors today, suggests that Microsoft is claiming they invented the idea of the page curling animation, which is similar to that seen when flipping from one page to the next in the iBooks application on Apple's new iPad tablet device. It seems Microsoft filed the patent when planning or early development of Microsoft's own tablet device -- the Microsoft Courier, which was dumped in April this year - was underway, with an excerpt from the patent reading as follows:

“One or more pages are displayed on a touch display. A page-turning gesture directed to a displayed page is recognized. Responsive to such recognition, a virtual page turn is displayed on the touch display. The virtual page turn actively follows the page-turning gesture. The virtual page turn curls a lifted portion of the page to progressively reveal a back side of the page while progressively revealing a front side of a subsequent page. A lifted portion of the page is given an increased transparency that allows the back side of the page to be viewed through the front side of the page. A page-flipping gesture quickly flips two or more pages.”

While the patent has yet to be awarded to Microsoft despite being filed last year, there is one feature that does separate it apart from all existing e-book applications - the ability to flip through multiple pages at once by dragging your finger down the right-hand side of the screen, according to The Register. You can't do this on any e-book device that's in production at the moment, including the iPad, Amazon Kindle and the Barnes and Noble Nook.

At this stage it's unclear whether, if the application is granted, Microsoft would attempt to go after the likes of Apple and Amazon and pursue them legally for infringement of the patent. 

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49 Comments

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They're just trying to chip away at the iPad/Kindle market so they can suck the life out of it for themselves. When you can't beat 'em, patent it and sue 'em!

MS would try to patent anything that says MS on the edge. Paper-V Paper-Toliet Paper. Greed demons. I agree that the USG -Patent Office plays along. If they could patent words, they would charge each time you use it in a sentance.

I have a question. People above has said that "If you don't patent it, somebody will". But if the idea has been implemented before you file for the patent, surly it's invalid as there is prior art?

rtire said,
I have a question. People above has said that "If you don't patent it, somebody will". But if the idea has been implemented before you file for the patent, surly it's invalid as there is prior art?

Precisely. But of course that does not stop patent trolls like MS.

Looks like no one here had actually read the patent text. I wouldn't call it "animation". It's obviously describes interaction and interface on a digital reading device. Did any of you see such interface on a digital reading device??
Looks like hating MS without thinking is sooooooo cooool.

But it's not an invention, it's merely a natural implementation. For instance, you shouldn't be able to get a patent for a volume dial on a touch display simply because you're the first to develop the method - it goes against innovation, which is the very purpose of patents.

There is never a justification for patent trolling, no matter how much you love microsoft,

I'd just like to echo the remarks of the previous response, and say that the action and animation of turning a page is quite obvious, and already documented in the physical world that it's unpatentable.

Perhaps the best way to get around this is just if everybody stops respecting stupid stuff like this.

There is no way that I'd give Microsoft money to allow me to have a pretend page turning animation, and there is no way that I'd respond to legal threats over it.

Jelly2003 said,

There is no way that I'd give Microsoft money to allow me to have a pretend page turning animation, and there is no way that I'd respond to legal threats over it.

You application would then not be allowed to be downloaded off any site (including your own) and you would not be able to sell your product.

Furthermore, if you would continue, you would problably not only recieve fines but also jail time.

(This is considering if you product is big. Obviously they wouldnt go after someone as null as you)

To be honest, I can't see this being approved anyway. There is simply far too much prior art for this to be valid. If it does get approved, then it once again exposes the anachronistic and outdated system we have today as inadequate, and should be abolished completely.

Hurry up!!
Let's file patents on flying animations, zoom animations, auto scrolling, glow effect, page transitions,
jumping bunnies !!

Is there any patent to type on web forum. Things are really dumb with microsoft and apple is also second to none. LOL

lordcanti86 said,
Let's be honest, if MS didn't try to get this patent someone else would have.
Who was after it? Really, the animation has been out for years and Microsoft is only now trying to patent it.

I think that as a graphical image, it should be COPYRIGHT they go after on this. Patents are for ideas, copyright for creative works. It is an animation, like a painting or a movie. You don't patent those; you copyright them.

lordcanti86 said,
Let's be honest, if MS didn't try to get this patent someone else would have.

So that makes it acceptable? And that still does not justify using against other smaller competitors for monetary gain. That my friend is patent trolling plain and simple and cannot be justified.

Patent are like branding a piece of some sort of OS or device and then just use it against someone for the profitability of money when they sue left right and center. Microsoft did not really have too do this but you never know Apple could just do the same thing Microsoft did to them 25 years ago. "Keep your friends close,but your enemies closer"-Bill Gates. "Those guys think they're revolutionaries. They're not revolutionaries, we are."-Steve Jobs.

The question is complex. I do think this is a rather ridiculous that someone can get a patent for virtual page turning; I suppose next someone will get a patent for virtual birthday parties claiming that they have discovered an annual event to which a process (party) is attached. On the other hand, something needs to be done for true process discoveries so that companies can benefit. Perhaps the solution lies in trying to define what pertains to the ordinary and what pertains to a real discovery. The patent laws need serious overhauling by people of common sense.

frbubba said,
I do think this is a rather ridiculous that someone can get a patent for virtual page turning

Agreed. It's the same as trying to patent genes. The action/animation of turning the page of a book in the physical world is well known and quite obvious, and so trying to patent the simulation of it on screen is manifestly unpatentable. Just more patent trolling from MS, nothing new to see here.

Kinda stupid you can do this, but if other companies are going for stupid patents (naming no names here), then why should Microsoft be any different?

Singh400 said,
Kinda stupid you can do this, but if other companies are going for stupid patents (naming no names here), then why should Microsoft be any different?

MS has been one of the most aggressive patent trolls, enthralling companies left right and centre in order that they might wipe out any semblance of competition. MS's policy is destruction or taxation. Who do you think funded SCO's campaign against GNU/Linux? Who do you think sued TomTom, HTC and others for the purpose of levying the microsoft tax?

I don't know if they invented it, but I can say Microsoft that I saw use it. There was a demo application in Expression Blend 1 that did it. I'm about to use it in an application I sell, so they'd better not sue me!

You should be sued for such an ignorant comment.
So many companies throughout the world just want to pay thousands if not hundreds of thousands of dollars in patent fees just so they can hope to sue someone someday? Is that what you are saying.

I assume you don't have too many bright ideas to patent correct?

mrmomoman said,
You should be sued for such an ignorant comment.
So many companies throughout the world just want to pay thousands if not hundreds of thousands of dollars in patent fees just so they can hope to sue someone someday? Is that what you are saying.

I assume you don't have too many bright ideas to patent correct?


There are companies that have filed patents for nothing more than to attempt to sue other companies. I believe it was Eolas that attempted to sue Adobe, Microsoft, and Apple for Flash, ActiveX, and QuickTime respectively. Eolas had acquired a patent for "...the triggering of active functionality through a Web browser..." which basically covered any sort of browser plugin. The problem was that this idea was implemented years before Eolas was even a company. Furthermore, Eolas had never even designed or published a plugin themselves. They simply tried to get away with patenting a vague idea to which they knew other companies would use. It was for the purpose of suing other companies. In other words, your comment is more ignorant than the comment you are replying to.

HeretikSaint said,

There are companies that have filed patents for nothing more than to attempt to sue other companies. I believe it was Eolas that attempted to sue Adobe, Microsoft, and Apple for Flash, ActiveX, and QuickTime respectively. Eolas had acquired a patent for "...the triggering of active functionality through a Web browser..." which basically covered any sort of browser plugin. The problem was that this idea was implemented years before Eolas was even a company. Furthermore, Eolas had never even designed or published a plugin themselves. They simply tried to get away with patenting a vague idea to which they knew other companies would use. It was for the purpose of suing other companies. In other words, your comment is more ignorant than the comment you are replying to.

Are you sure that you can speak on ignorance? You know for a fact that companies set out to create an idea/patent an idea just to sue? That was my point - what was yours? Give me a break. Read before you type. I guess you know about Jerome Lemelson? If not read up. Perhaps you can learn something. Not worth the arguement. I still stand by my point. You went off tangent. We can talk about small companies even like Intellect Wireless who has tried to sue Apple, T-Mobile and the likes. I am talking about MS and companies like them. Real companies with real products. Not "patent trolls" that have not produced anything. Most of them don't win. i4i which a lot of people thought were "patent trolls" actually produced a product.

Edited by mrmomoman, Jul 9 2010, 4:59am :

mrmomoman said,
I am talking about MS and companies like them. Real companies with real products. Not "patent trolls" that have not produced anything. Most of them don't win. i4i which a lot of people thought were "patent trolls" actually produced a product.
You both are talking about the two sides of the coin.

Big companies are being forced to patent everything they do (rather than just the meaty stuff) to avoid being caught by a patent troll for something they maybe felt was unworthy. This has led to Microsoft and IBM patenting a ridiculously large number of things, and many of them are both obvious and worthless.

i4i made a product, and even worked with Microsoft. However, their patent was a joke. The gist of their patent was using XML to make less generic documents. In other words, if you find a date tag, then it means a date is there (though the name can be anything, as long as its known). This was the purpose of XML. To put it more plainly: without such a meaning, the documents would be mostly useless. Frankly, this is obvious to anyone that has any understanding of XML (a requirement for blocking/throwing out a patent).

Scorbing said,
They want to patent it so they can have an excuse to sue the hell out of everyone who is using it.

Exactly. So they can patent troll and black mail smaller competitors even further. Not content with a tax on all PCs, they want to force the microsoft tax across mobile phones too. The very definition of a malevolent company.

LoveThePenguin said,

Exactly. So they can patent troll and black mail smaller competitors even further. Not content with a tax on all PCs, they want to force the microsoft tax across mobile phones too. The very definition of a malevolent company.

Really Linuxfanboi? Show us just a few links where Microsoft was the aggressor in a patent legal fight.

Microsoft patents to protect itself from vultures, I think you are mixing them up with a fruit company that does use their patents offensively.

LoveThePenguin said,

Exactly. So they can patent troll and black mail smaller competitors even further. Not content with a tax on all PCs, they want to force the microsoft tax across mobile phones too. The very definition of a malevolent company.

Oh yes because Microsoft files plenty of law suits against small companies for silly patents. It isn't like the complete opposite happens all the time or anything...

I still think its stupid that you can patent this sort of stuff.

Innovation would be much more awesome if big companies couldn't patent frugal things like animations.

I understand there's a need to be able to say "oi, i came up with that, you nicked it" an animation on a page turn just isn't it.

Also, hasn't this been done on web pages for years now? (flash bases, sits in the top right hand corner, and reveals the page when you pull on it)

I'm not sure if it was progressive, i still get the feeling Ive seen this a long time ago..

GeekTwo said,
I still think its stupid that you can patent this sort of stuff.

Innovation would be much more awesome if big companies couldn't patent frugal things like animations.

I understand there's a need to be able to say "oi, i came up with that, you nicked it" an animation on a page turn just isn't it.

True, but the problem is that somebody will patent it if you don't. Then they sue you for patent infringement. So you have to file a patent for something like this if only just to protect yourself.

GeekTwo said,
I still think its stupid that you can patent this sort of stuff.

All patent and copyright laws are stupid and one sided. Originally they were written to enrich culture, but now instead they suppress and demonise cultural exchange of information and ideas.

GeekTwo said,
Also, hasn't this been done on web pages for years now? (flash bases, sits in the top right hand corner, and reveals the page when you pull on it)
Yes and no. The corner looked like a page, but I have never seen one that followed your mouse.

pickypg said,
Yes and no. The corner looked like a page, but I have never seen one that followed your mouse.

It has been done in flash for ages. You probably won't see it much because it's annoying to drag when you can just click, but a quick google will probably show quite a few examples.