Apple secures patent for iOS list editing and more

“The US Patent and Trademark Office officially published a series of thirteen newly granted patents for Apple Inc. today,” Jack Purcher reports for Patently Apple.

“In our last granted patent report of the day we primarily focus on one of Apple’s original iPhone patents that relate to editing file or file folder lists easily,” Purcher reports. “Other granted patents issued today cover the technology behind Apple’s second generation iPod Shuffle and how the iPhone was redesigned after 2007 so that it could double as an external hard drive.”

Read more in the full article here.

Joe Aimonetti reports for CNET, “It’s yet another example of Apple gaining stronger legal ground to defend the look and feel of iOS from competitors looking to capitalize on the popularity of the mobile operating system.”

“We know it better as ‘that easy way to reorder the list of cities we really want to know the weather forecast for’ function,” Aimonetti reports. “Tap the Edit button in the top-right corner, tap and hold the three-bar icon, and drag the list selection to its new position (and watch the other list items shuffle to the new order).”

Read more in the full article here.


  1. I could be completely wrong, but it seems as though many the patent infringement issues with software/OS features like this one arise because other developers see a good idea and implement it long before the patent is granted to the original inventor. This huge lag time means features can become widespread and even integral to many other products before the patent they infringe is completed. For example, this “list editing” patent is for something that was first released with the original iPhone in mid-2007. That’s almost 5 years ago! That’s a tremendously long time in this day of breakneck-pace software/technology development.

    I don’t know much about IP law, but would a developer in, say, August 2007 have been able to find evidence that a patent on the list editing feature was in progress?

    1. This is always a risk. As I understand you first search for filed patents and prior art. With an apparent clear field, you file as soon as you can describe the invention – ‘first to file’ is key. Perhaps Apple’s competitors filed later and were not awarded the patent. Or perhaps they just ignored the risk. Patent law is complex no doubt.

      1. First to file is key for much of the world. First to invent has been the rule in the U.S. since the birth of the patent office. Both approaches have flaws – the first to invent approach can certainly lead to some complex and lengthy legal battles. First to file has simplicity in its favor. My understanding is that the U.S. is considering changing to ‘first to file’ to be more compatible with other nations.

  2. Well I suppose you might think it’s a great idea, but why rip off someone else’s work? The fact that the other party might be patenting it should only be a secondary concern. Be inspired, but come up with your own ideas should be the exercise.

    1. It’s called, “Why Reinvent the Wheel?” Adopting a good idea is not wrong in and of itself, and if the idea is not patented, neither is it illegal. Of course, the best practice is to take a good idea and make it better, in which case you are not ripping anyone off and are moving the technology forward.

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