The Media Invented a Myth that Apple filed a new Patent for a Foldable iPhone on the Eve of Samsung's Galaxy Fold
When it was one report, I chuckled. When it was five reports, I shook my head. But the myth keeps building to the level of outright stupidity and embarrassing to the media when they repeat complete nonsense by twisting it out of proportion.
The report titled "Apple files patent for foldable iPhone, on the eve of foldable Samsung Galaxy (images)," by the Silicon Valley Business Journal takes the cake. Imagine, they added "(images)" to their byline to entice readers to click on their report, when the images are 8 years old. Where's the breaking news?
In fact, Apple was actually granted a patent for this foldable phone invention back in 2014 (see the images below). Apple was granted it's second granted patent for this same invention in 2016. Apple has many more up-to-date patents showing the progress of their project and you can find them in our folding display patent archives here. And imagine this: They all come with images!
The Silicon Valley Business Journal's report dramatically stated "Last week, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office published preliminary drawings of a new Apple screen that’s theoretically capable of folding in half, like a clamshell, or in thirds, like a triangle." Isn't that something? – Preliminary drawings …. From an 8 year old invention.
Although the report had to admit that the invention dated back to 2011, the author made no mention of more relevant folding iPhone patents since that time showing Apple's ongoing progress on this project.
So why rush this half-baked report? Because their competition was reporting on this and they had to invent their own twist to not be left behind the crowd. Monkey see, monkey do.
In the end, what was actually filed on February 14th by the U.S. Patent Office was a continuation patent. Continuation patents add updates to an original invention – in this case, to Apple's 2011 patent application and Apple's 2016 granted patent. Continuation patents aren't "new" inventions unto themselves.
As a general example, an invention's original patent claims may have limited the display technology of the original invention to that of an "LCD" display. In a continuation patent filed at a later date, the company could add that the display in the invention could also use display technologies including OLED or micro-LED and so forth so as to not limit or outdate the invention. It's not considered a new patent /new invention, just an update to an existing invention that's allowed by law.
In Apple's February 14, 2019 filing, there were a number of new additions focused on a four-bar hinge. Yet the four-bar hinge was in fact mentioned in both their 2014 patent filing (see above) and their 2016 granted patent's abstract but not listed in its patent claims.
So the 2019 update focused on adding the 2016 addition of the four-bar-hinge to its current patent claims. Here's the 2016 granted patent and claims and here's the 2019 continuation patent and claims. Compare the two side-by-side to see the updates to Apple's invention that they want protection for.
While the changes are mildly interesting at best, they're certainly not breaking news worthy of a major report to be sure. Once again, the continuation patent this month was a mild update to their 2016 granted patent, nothing more. There were no new patent figures, just patent claim additions.
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