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Meet The Man Who Designed a Tablet Computer 15 Years Before the iPad 374

Posted by timothy
from the flat-and-functional dept.
Doofus writes "The Washington Post has a profile of Roger Fidler, who 'invented' the tablet computer in the 1990s, while working as a visionary for newspaper firm Knight-Ridder. He is now embroiled in the Apple/Samsung legal war, as an expert witness. Fidler admits that other prior art influenced him, such as the tablets being used as computing devices in 2001: A Space Odyssey. Prior prior art."
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Meet The Man Who Designed a Tablet Computer 15 Years Before the iPad

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  • Re:iPad (Score:4, Informative)

    by Kreigaffe (765218) on Saturday March 10, 2012 @04:50PM (#39313817)

    This is ALL about the iPad. Apple is claiming that they own the patent and/or copyright to a rectangular tablet with a screen on the front -- all of 'em. Especially Samsung's, because they look similar. Their position is that nobody else ever before thought of or created anything like the iPad, and hence, everything else is a copy of the iPad.

    Apple doesn't have a leg to stand on, and that this has gone on so long is an embarrassment.

  • Not about the tablet (Score:5, Informative)

    by xswl0931 (562013) on Saturday March 10, 2012 @04:56PM (#39313859)

    Apple is not making any claims on patents on the general idea of a tablet. They asserting design patents on specific design elements. If this guy's tablet invention shows prior art to Apple's designs patents, then those patents should be invalidated. Repeating the "rectangle with a screen" rhetoric is more akin to religion than science.

  • GRiDPad (Score:5, Informative)

    by wiredlogic (135348) on Saturday March 10, 2012 @05:00PM (#39313877)

    The first tablet was the GRiDPad [wikipedia.org] from 1989.

  • Re:iPad (Score:5, Informative)

    by UnknowingFool (672806) on Saturday March 10, 2012 @05:01PM (#39313879)
    Apple has never claimed that they invented the tablet. They claim they own the design patents of their tablet in that Samsung's phones and tablet looks too much like theirs. Notice that they have not sued others for design patents and they are specifically suing Samsung for certain models. As for the rectangular tablet thing, Apple like any claimant must describe in detail every single aspect in legalese. The rectangular tablet is one of the many details they had to spell out. They cannot say to a judge "Well look at it, it looks like our product."
  • Re:iPad (Score:5, Informative)

    by Americano (920576) on Saturday March 10, 2012 @05:24PM (#39314003)

    Apple is claiming that they own the patent and/or copyright to a rectangular tablet with a screen on the front

    Except that's not what they've claimed at all. They have a specific "design patent" on a specific design, look, packaging for a specific device. And when somebody (ESPECIALLY SAMSUNG) copies that design in extreme detail, Apple alleges in court that Samsung has infringed on its design patent.

    Their position is that "Samsung, specifically, is using a suite of design cues covered by our patent to make their tablets look like knockoffs of ours - confusing customers into thinking they're buying an Apple device."

    You might try understanding the legal issues before you spout off about them - whether or not you agree with Apple's arguments that the devices are "too similar," or with the idea of design patents in general, misrepresenting the actual facts of the case just makes you look rather slow and dim-witted. Do try to keep up.

  • by MichaelSmith (789609) on Saturday March 10, 2012 @05:41PM (#39314109) Homepage Journal

    I bought it from a second hand dealer around 2001. It was operated with a stylus and came loaded with software which might be used by a telecomunications service person. It was basically a windows 3.1 laptop with a touch sensitive screen.

  • by TuringTest (533084) on Saturday March 10, 2012 @05:47PM (#39314157) Journal

    'nuff said. [wikimedia.org]

  • Re:iPad (Score:5, Informative)

    by LordLucless (582312) on Saturday March 10, 2012 @05:48PM (#39314161)

    As for the rectangular tablet thing, Apple like any claimant must describe in detail every single aspect in legalese. The rectangular tablet is one of the many details they had to spell out.

    No, no they don't. Design patents are illustrative, not descriptive. And it's very hard to think of anything this design patent shows that isn't "rectangular. round corners": USD627777S1 [scribd.com]

  • Re:iPad (Score:4, Informative)

    by grumling (94709) on Saturday March 10, 2012 @10:45PM (#39315685) Homepage

    You forgot one more bullet point:

    - Tablets look a whole lot like their paper counterparts. Rectangular, sized to be hand-held, and used with hands and eyes.

  • Re:iPad (Score:3, Informative)

    by Hognoxious (631665) on Sunday March 11, 2012 @06:19AM (#39317029) Homepage Journal

    Straight isn't a word you normally associate with Apple.

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