When one thinks of the centers of interaction design innovation, Philadelphia may not be the first city to come to mind (unless you live/work here, of course). But a couple of recent items in the UX patents world might make you think otherwise:
- On May 21st, Twitter was granted patent 8,448,084 for user interface mechanics, aka "pull to refresh". While Twitter, the patent assignee is a west coast firm, the inventor, Loren Brichter is based out of West Chester, PA - not quite Philadelphia, but close enough. See this recent Wall Street Journal piece on Brichter's, referring to him as a "high priest of app design". With their Innovator's Patent Agreement, Twitter is promising that the 084 patent "will only be used for defensive purposes". We'll see how this plays out going forward.
- Then, on June 1st, Joe Mullin of Ars Technica reported on another local development. Flatworld Interactive is currently suing Apple for infringement on touch screen patents for swiping gestures invented by Slavko Milekic, professor at University of the Arts in Philadelphia. Moreover, Flatworld Interactive is partly owned by John McAleese, formerly of Philadelphia-based law firm Morgan Lewis - a firm that represents Apple.
Interesting times - in an interesting place. And rememember, the Constitution, which provides the rights to patents, was written right here in Philadelphia.
Learn more about interaction design patents at my upcoming presentation - No Swiping. Patents in the Interaction Design Process.