Apple granted Radial Menus Patent

Apple has been granted a major patent relating to a new radial menu design for computer applications, according to a report from Patently Apple. In the newly granted patent 8,245,156, Radial menu selection, Apple describes a design for radial menus that can be used for both desktop and portable devices, working with a mouse or touch interactions using a finger, stylus or iPen, presenting menus and submenus at optimal locations. Such a new radial menu system would be an alternative method of presenting menu options from the traditional linear pull-down menus that have been used in most computer applications and operating systems to date.

Radial menus would appear as a collection of menu options presented as a set of wedges surrounding a central cursor position on a display, with submenus cascading from the first circle of wedges as necessary. Apple’s patent describes several unique aspects of radial menu implementations using sweep-based gestures, including Sweep Commands, Selecting and Activating Menu Items with Sweep Commands, Predicting Stopping Location of Sweep Commands, Serial Sweep Commands, Moving Menus and Spring-Load Commands. The patent was originally filed in 2008 and lists Charles Migos and Jean-Pierre Mouilleseaux as the inventors.

  1. Once again, how is an *idea*, basically an application for the Minority Report interface from 2002, one that has actually been implemented in multiple apps across all platforms because it simply makes sense in a touch based UI something you can *patent* and, by extension, *own*?

    It’s like being able to patent the cylindrical vessel as pottery making improved in ancient Greece. This idea is not original, it’s not novel, it’s simply an obvious iteration from extension of existing ideas, something any thousands of interface programmers would (and have) come up with on their own given current interfaces.

    This is why there’s so little actual innovation out there. They spend so much time and money locking up every 2+2=4 idea that comes across their desks, secure in the knowledge that the broken and corrupt system will allow them to prevent anyone who doesn’t also have a seven plus figure budget for their legal team to play ball with them.

  2. I agree with you Code Monkey, but how much of this is get it patented before the others do and sue us?
    The whole patented system is a joke anymore.

  3. @2: It’s all of the above. This is clearly where things are headed so it’s a game of let’s patent it ‘first’. Inevitably there will still be hundreds of patents that either explicitly or implicitly can be claimed to cover such an interface, so all Apple’s patent gives them is the opportunity to play “my patent is bigger than your patent” in the courts, which is always easier than challenging the validity of the patent itself. Apple knows they will be sued, and Apple will sue others, and this is just how the game is played, and it is nothing but a game where only those who can afford the legal team to fight the dozens of suits that come up over every major product can play. It’s disgusting.

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