Patented decryption Why PayPal can freely copy the app

“Editor’s note” Alipay 9.0 version came out, he was watching, the app like a wronged children, watched their interfaces were caused by PayPal (Chao) King (XI) to do so. PayPal also has reservations, why not just move it a little more thorough? Think Tucson is really pattern is broken. Author Jia Jun Lei Feng network, is a Chief Patent analyst, his patent from the interface point tell you PayPal copied carefully; micro-letter is not to protect its own interface, but gained momentum when not.

On July 8, 2015, Alibaba owns Alipay released the 9.0 version, the new version added a “friends” and “business” two-level entrance. Surprising is that a new “friend” entry interface is almost copied the Tencent micro design to the letter. In contrast to the “friends” and “micro” after the main user interface, network of Lei Feng said with a smile: PayPal “poached” the whole micro-design team!

Patented decryption: Why PayPal can freely copy the app?

 “Poached the app teams” argument may be joking, but “steal micro-credit” is undoubtedly the PayPal’s ambitions.

Before this update, real-name Alipay has about 300 million users, these users is the use of third party PayPal payment functions. According to data released early Tencent, micro-90%, China accounted for more than smart phones, social software is the most familiar. Once the PayPal app interface design can make micro-credit without changing the habits of 549 million subject to seamlessly switch to PayPal, which expand the social benefit of PayPal.

 Goodfellas: PayPal carefully copied

User interface consists of Windows, icons, buttons, menus, these elements and their functions for software value is self-evident.

It not only as a face of the software to enable users to identify, also carries the passing user instructions, the feedback operation results of practical function. A popular set of user interface actions can enhance the user experience, increase user loyalty, leading to similar products of a unique advantage software. Therefore, many successful software providers in sophisticated ways, hoping to keep his “face”.

Keep the face of the software, usually by means of intellectual property law, copyright, trademarks and patents. Copyright in the work space, focused on protection of copyright works of aesthetic expression, but the user interface’s main function is not used as a medium to show off the designer’s aesthetic philosophy, nor be appreciated as works of art, but rather to identify the function of specific, practical actions.

Is a registered trademark of the user interface in another way, this is Tencent’s letter, in actual practice. Careful comparison can be found, although PayPal’s “friends” in the overall interface design design follows micro-style, but also in the details carefully, do change. Thanks to Tencent’s logo on the icon layout, such as “sweep sweep”, “shake shake shake” application icon. Such as:

Marcelo Burlon iPhone 5 Cases

Patented decryption: Why PayPal can freely copy the app?

However, as PayPal has done that, trademark protection to the user interface is limited to a single application icon, just made some changes in icon design, you can bypass the legal barrier of micro letter layout. Wants effective defense overall frame layout of the user interface, you also need to “patent” of this legal instrument. Most successful example in this regard to the number of Apple.

 Micro-war: belated patent umbrella Marcelo Burlon Cases

Patent umbrella is the best graphical user interface. Sued Samsung in 2012 in an action for infringement of patent, with the design patent on the Smartphone interface, Apple has won more than $ 1 billion in the first-instance ruling on damages.

In practice, United States user interface is mainly protected by design patents. Appearance design patent provides exclusive rights to the product design, patented design can avoid plagiarism by competitors within the stipulated time. With how important user interface in product promotion, interface design patent application volume also increased year by year. Computers, mobile phones and other communication products through the design of statistics –

Starting from 2005, interface design patent application numbers increased substantially by 2012, interface design patents than patents based on hardware design. Marcelo Burlon iPhone 5 Cases

Patented decryption: Why PayPal can freely copy the app?

In China, however, the user interface but not received a design patent protection for a long time. Expressly set forth in the guidelines for patent examination of: product power shows the patterns do not obtain patent protection.

This limit only declared May 1, 2014 lifted. That same month, appearance design patent applications compared to the previous month increased by more than 1 time over the next six months, patent applications are also significantly more than level of application in 2012 and 2013.

Tencent micro letters are introduced in early 2011, until May 2014, the app has been upgraded to version 5.2, interface has been fixed. Precisely because of the long-term absence of patent protection only PayPal had the opportunity for a comprehensive copy app user interface without having to take on additional risk.

New era: a staking battles

Better late than never. Tencent appearance opening month applied for a patent in more than 70 pieces of design, is a Tencent applications for companies in the same field before 3 times in total.  Patent from the interface design, you can see that Tencent’s emphasis on design patent, can also be a glimpse of the next-generation micro-functional design.

Patented decryption: Why PayPal can freely copy the app?
Patented decryption: Why PayPal can freely copy the app?

Graphical interface patented rapid growth heralds the arrival of new era of competition in the software industry:

On one hand, software developers can effectively protect their designs;

The other hand, intensive interface patents also set many obstacles to new product development.

With mobile social software, for example. In just a few months, and have accumulated thousands of pieces of similar patent. Patent search on any interface, you’ll find dozens of valid patents. Patent for any new products designed to take a lot of risks.

Patented decryption: Why PayPal can freely copy the app?

Analysis of the company through a user interface patent applications, you can also find an interesting phenomenon:

The Internet industry’s big three BAT are ranked in the top ten, like aiqi arts, music video, video companies have applied for many patents. Real hardware-oriented companies, like Samsung, Apple, Huawei, millet, in number of patents on graphical interface instead of lagging behind in these content providers.

Surge in user-interface patent means that content providers, Internet service providers for network portal design competition. Due to patent protection mechanism set up, I believe the competition will be more rational and decent, Alipay is almost copy the app like interface “salute” would gradually disappear, otherwise face legal risks are too great.

“The author” Jia Jun, PatSnap wisdom of bud’s Chief Patent analyst 

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