Feb 17 AT 4:21 PM Dustin Earley 119 Comments

Google’s notification bar patent could spell trouble for Apple

notification patent

Android has long been the target of many lawsuits from large patent holding companies, especially Apple. As a Google owned patent for the notification bar as we know it, filed for in 2009, nears a possible approval, the tables may finally be turned.

When it comes to features, Google’s Android is ahead of, or on par with, every mobile operating system available today. But there’s one area where Android’s severely lacking: patents. Google released an operating system without owning any patents on a lot of the key technologies used to make it function. If Android would have never taken off, this probably wouldn’t be a problem. Instead, as Android has become a success, it’s become the target for what is arguably the most powerful company in the technology industry, Apple.

Lawsuit after lawsuit from Apple has left Android and the manufacturers using the platform trying their best to fight back. If a patent on Android’s notification bar is approved any time soon, Apple may be the one fighting back next.

In 2009, Google filed a patent for Android’s notification bar. If you’ve used iOS 5 or know anything about Apple’s “Notification Center,” you know that it’s a direct, blatant rip off of Android’s notification bar. According to the filing, Google would own the patent for “a computer-implemented user notification method includes displaying, in a status area near a perimeter of a graphical interface, a notification of a recent alert event for a mobile device, receiving a user selection in the status area, and in response to the receipt of the user selection, displaying, in a central zone of the graphical interface, detail regarding a plurality of recent messaging events for the mobile device.”

Since Google doesn’t own the patent to the notification bar yet, they can’t do anything but sit back and watch Apple use it in all of their most popular devices. Even the latest version of the Mac’s operating system, OS X 10.8, uses Notification Center. If Google’s patent application for Android’s notification bar is approved, there’s little to reason to believe it wouldn’t be an easy victory for Google, should they decide to take Apple to court over it.

It will be interesting to see what Google does with the patent should they manage to secure it. Will they immediately take Apple to court, or would using it as leverage in other patent negotiations make more sense? This will definitely be worth keeping an eye on.

Via: Phandroid

Source: Google Patents

Dustin Earley: Tech enthusiast; avid gamer; all around jolly guy.

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    you learn something every day.. great article Dustin

    • Jeff Pan

      Haha true! Hope this is approved !

      • spazby

        the sooner the better



      • AmericanJedi001

        Man, some people are just plain ol’ dumb. You are one of those people.

    • android fragmentation

      this is fragmentation

  • redraider133

    Nice to see. Maybe this will put apple in their place( if the patent is awarded) and they will stop all these petty lawsuits.

    • zerosix

      That would be awesome.
      Stupid “slide-to-unlock” patent versus stupid “slide for notifications” patent. And we, customers, pay for all that sh*t.

      • AsakuraZero

        apple patents are vague too wide on their explanation hope that google ones are not like that.

        anyways this is an all out war now

      • redraider133

        I just wish all the lawsuits would stop. You don’t see Google going after other OS’s like MS and apple are. Seems like a waste of money to me but I guess they don’t want their lawyers just sitting around getting paid to do nothing.

        • zerosix

          That exactly what I mean. I don’t understand the number of minuses.
          I say, that the patent system is sick, if it makes such stupid patens possible, and that all this BS is not “protecting intellectual property”, but unhonest concurrence and that corporations should improve their products, not patent portfolios.

          • aranea

            The patent system requires an overhaul yes but if they award patent for sliding your finger over a screen they should award this one too so others have ammunition against apple.

  • ags29

    If Google is awarded this patent and they do not take Apple to court on it, then shame on them.

    • Steve Barry

      I’m not so sure on this one. Frankly, I think a reciprocity agreement would be more beneficial to Google in this case vs ridding Apple of their notification center. I think it would be better if Google brought out the “we have this on you, it’s now one of your core features. Let’s put the patent war to rest and move on” stance. Apple smokes Google and everyone else in the patent vault, so I don’t think it’s a war Google really wants to partake in.

      • Harlan Sanders

        You’re likely right. Although with Google acquiring Motorola, Google will have so many patents over everyone in the cell phone market, it won’t even be funny. Motorola is expected to get an injunction against Apple any time now. Googorola will be nothing to be trifled with.

        • 4n1m4l

          Im not sure, but I think that its the particulars, not the quantity that make patents useful in war.

          • Linn

            It’s the territory covered, which is why the idiotic broad ones that slip through are the ones worth the most. The system awards abuse.

      • thekaz

        More beneficial, but with Steve Jobs’ famous declaration of wanting to destroy Android, I am not sure if that’s what Apple wants.. of course, with Jobs’ not around, perhaps other Apple executive will come to their senses and strike a deal.

      • Eric R.

        Google does not have the same goal as Apple. Google will want to strike a deal for fair usage revenue.

      • ags29

        What you’re saying sounds nice and reasonable, but I just don’t believe Apple is interested in striking deals with Google that would be in any way beneficial to the Android manufacturers that they’re continually suing the shtt out of.

      • raichleb

        Yes. Absolutely. Kind of like the Cold War standoff. If both have nukes, it makes it tough for either side to use one.

      • WlfHart

        Seriously, this war needs to come to a halt. Preferably even an end.

      • aranea

        I’m not sure which one I’d prefer i.e. ripping iOS of notifications or reciprocity. I can’t stand i-fans going around thinking that the notification is something invented by apple for them only.

    • elijahblake

      yeah shame on Google for suing Apple for something as common as a notification bar!!!! /SSSSSSSSS

  • Noriega713

    Good ol’ G1… anyways…Good for Google… I hope this will Byte (lol) Apple right where it hurts.

  • xray49er

    was wondering how apple was able to blantantly rip off this from android. All my iphone buddies show me this on their phone like apple reinvented the wheel. I just sigh and say i was doing this on the g1 when you guys were making fun of my keyboard.

    • Dan13

      The same hold true for me. They are just sooo excited that Apple has “done it again.” I even overheard a conversation between some Apple fanboys talking about how Android stole it from Apple. *squeezes stress ball*

      • Tristan

        The more interesting thing I’ve heard is how Google somehow stole it from WebOS….before WebOS even existed!!!!

        • Tristan

          not quite sure why I got downvoted…must be a miscommunication…I’m saying that that argument I’ve heard from Anti-google/android people is retarded and temporally impossible.

    • Jimmy Du

      Kinda reminds me of the time when Apple took two years to implement copy/paste on iOS, then when it did… People were acting like it had never existed before!

    • AbusedTortoise

      With Apple’s luck they will sue Google in Germany over this and the court will declare Google made a time machine, went into the future, stole the notification center from Apple than came back to the year 2009 and filed the patent. Apple is too quick to say someone stole something from them and German courts are too quick to agree

  • Deeds

    Finally Google can give Apple a taste of its own medicine

  • T1392

    Mayne they can agree on a i let you use the notification bar, we use slide to lock feature unless Google changes the lock screen on all of the furore phones to just face unlock.

    • T1392

      Damn sometimes Swype kills me lol doh!!!

    • Tristan

      we don’t really need slide to unlock…in Germany the new ICS lock was found not to infringe and if the patent claims are to be taken literally we will be getting a lock screen that blows the competition away.

  • Alex Belko

    I hope the patent will be approved soon, even nokia copied the notifications bar in Belle

  • skugern

    The notification bar is one of the things that makes Android amazing. I’d love to see this solidify so Google can push back harder at Apple.

  • Hall Lo

    oops apple, OOPSS

  • Dee

    If i was google i would make a commercial about all the things apple stole from android. LOL that would be a surpreme slap to apple.


    Everybody should just accept that the American UI patents are just silly.

    They should *ALL* be invalidated.

    There is absolutely no method involved and for most of them prior art exists in some form – sometimes dating back to the 60s.

    It’s sad how little people know their history, especially in computing.

    And how cleverly the patent lawyers exploit this ignorance.

    • mrwirez

      No Way Google let’s this pass. Apple will have no option, they either have to…

      1-Pay a royalty fee for every device with Android type notifications
      2-Cut a deal with Google. As in permitting the Android lock screen to survive.
      3-Revamp their entire notification system OS wide.

      Goose meet Gander! ;)

      • dcds

        Sincerely, the notifications bar it’s way more valuable and useful than the simple slide to unlock.

        Which comes as no surprise since Google it’s made of engineers, and Apple seems to be made more of lawyers these days…

      • pjax

        lock screen isn’t important. and it’s easy to work around it

        What I want is iOS’ overscroll effect. Android’s “edge lights” just doesn’t cut it for User Experience

        • delinear

          I love the way over-scrolling works in ICS, where the edge of the page lifts up towards the user. I think it’s suitably different to Apple’s interpretation and works really well.

    • Street

      There was a good idea behind the thought of the patent system. It was to keep developers from just coping each over and over and cause them to innovate. To force them to think of different ways to do the same things. Companies now a days just abuse the system though. They copy each other and claim everything to be there own.

    • Ishken

      There shouldn’t be a software patent. Software is essentially a book written in a different language. It should have stayed within the realm of copyright protection and no further. This is more a case of which was done better; The Lord of the Rings (Apple) or A Song of Fire and Ice (Android). Both take their cues from The Once and Future King (Linux) and The Poetic Edda (Unix). In the end it is all language and while it can be copyrighted, any similarities need to be brushed off as unintentional or incidental and not a violation of intellectual property.

      If you didn’t create the language, you don’t get to own it. It doesn’t matter how well you write in it, you are just borrowing what someone else did before.

  • Thorpeland

    I was wondering how apple could sue Google for practically having “a device with a screen”… while apple could just rip off Androids notification bar and get away with it. I sure hope this passes and Crapple gets a taste of their own medicine.

  • greeny42

    And let the battle of meaningless one-upsmanship continue!

  • slurms mckenzie

    fuck yea layeth the smackdown on there ass

  • R.S

    IF Google is granted this patent (big if) and then successfully sues apple, it won’t surprise me when the courts over turn it like they did with the Motorola lawsuit.

    • Dan13

      I’d be surprised if Google didn’t get this patent. If Apple can earn a patent on something as trivial as “slide to unlock,” then Google should be able to earn the rights to this.

  • YoYo

    Just wondering….why are all these lawsuit in Germany?

    • sylar

      Slightly different patent system I believe but I’m no expert on that.

    • monkeys

      Germany’s Patent Office is well respected, a ruling by them is pretty much accepted in all the other European courts.

  • http://www.jimtravis.com jimtravis

    Great news, hope patent is approved, and Google uses it wisely.

  • mrwirez

    God… I hate everything about Apple.

  • YMS123

    Patent denied : Apple invented it retroactively…. NOT! HEY APPLE IF YOU LIVE IN A GLASS HOUSE (or store) DON’T THROW STONES (especially when you never use Gorilla Glass….)

    • pjax

      they have been very excited about gorilla glass. they’ve put it on the front and back of iPhone 4

  • sylar

    Whoo hoo time for Google to nail Apple to the wall over some patents.

  • sylar

    Also time for Apple to meet its maker?

  • Alexander drzfr3shboialex

    Apple, take that!

  • Richard Yarrell

    Great choice to change up this will prevent future lawsuites..

    • squiddy20

      What’ are “lawsuites”? Don’t you know it’s spelled Lawsuits? Doesn’t your “bitch slapping” Galaxy Nexus auto-correct all the misspellings you make? When I (rarely) make mistakes on my “useless” Samsung Moment, it certainly gets auto-corrected.

      • mrwirez

        WAAAAYY uncalled for… douche.

      • AbusedTortoise

        Relax Douche Bag, the spelling police will arrive shortly, no need to make you citizen’s arrest.

  • kwills88

    I kinda want to see a settlement more than anything. As much as I am not a fan of iOS, it should come down to “I won’t sue you if you stop suing us” kinda thing, and “let’s have the consumers be the judge and jury for our products instead of hiding behind lawyers”.. The whole patent wars is annoying and it’s hurting us more than anything.

  • Shawn Clark

    If Google get this patent (in which i dont see why not), I hope Apple get whats coming to them and come up with sumthin new besides tryna make us redo procedures that we studied n tested…maybe yet infact they need to see and experienced how that feels like for once.

  • YourMainDude

    Lol weird how a shyt load of apple fans comment on other Android Forums when its regarding who did what first but when they see this article and what’s to come….. (cricket)

  • comandantecee

    It’s nice to see the ol’ trusty G1 again even if its just pictures.

  • oliverchinn

    Personally as much as id like to see Google fight fire with fire using this patent as a big can of gas – if i am being honest, with the purpose Google now trying to one up apple and develop something even more amazing, i think it would be truly epic if Google just passed off iOS5 notification center as the next iteration of ICS’s notification system…inspiring them to create something that will top it for integration into jellybean, because, shouldn’t that be whats it about?

    A good watch on the madness of patent and the concept of an idea is summed up in this video


  • Prime

    Awesome! I hope they get it!

  • Kevinthebox

    Dustin articles are always fanboi based. I don’t care about apple. I want real android news. I mean, we know you guys get a lot of hits on these flame Apple articles, but quite frankly, no one here gives two sh.its about Apple. This fanboy/patent wars are sooo childish.

  • jkinsey88

    I kind of hope that Google would take the high road and not sink to Apple’s level, but the high road is virtually non-existent in the corporate world.

    However, there is a part of me that just wants them to take Apple down a few pegs :)

    The smart thing would probably be to use it as leverage in future patent disputes since the notification bar is a bit more crucial than the “slide-to-unlock” feature.

    • dcds

      This isn’t some kind of maniqueist crusade. They need to defend themselves and catch value for their platform.

      Hopefully they sign a MAD agreement and take their nukes home to end all this madness. A cross licensing deal wouldn’t be bad either… as long as the notifications panel has more weight in the exchange, because it does.

    • AbusedTortoise

      I agree with you. Google should put out a commercial saying, “Apple uses our product and patents because its GREAT for the customer to have access to, thats why we built it in the first place. We are here to make products that customers want and will enjoy, competition should drive ingenuity not litigation.”

  • CactusCat

    Yep, nary an Apple troll in sight on this article….

  • haterontherocks

    yeah apple take that. google is gonna patent things that apple have already that’s not patent.
    Android for life

  • cb2000a

    I wonder if Google will be more gracious than Apple…wouldn’t that be something…it would really make Apple look bad.

  • Nathan D.

    It would be awesome if Google can get this and make Apple be a sour Apple.

  • E

    Google ready to take off the gloves about freaking time

  • jd

    Sue the biatch back!

  • S

    Nokia was using notifications before Android as they do now in Symbian as well as WP7

    • mrwirez

      Symbian wasn’t using the pull down notification shade/window, and WinPhone uses live tiles.. they are not the same. Look at the sketch above.

      Apple on the other hand blatantly ripped Google off on ios5.

  • jamal adam

    As they say, “what goes around comes around.” Apple is gonna feel the heat once this patent is approved.

  • honourbound68

    Bwahaha! I mentioned the notification bar ripoff on a couple of my posts. Turn about is fair play ehh Apple?? Hope you get what’s coming to you.

  • Schmidty850

    FINALLY, SOMETHING ANDROID HAS OVER APPLE!!!!! Let the tyrannical rule of Apple disappear and with it rise the best OS known to man, Android!

  • ArticulateFool

    I hope Google gets approved for this patent. They could really use the firepower.

  • http://www.infotainmentempire.com pekosROB

    How ironic. I just commented on yesterday about “where are all the articles regarding the rip off of notifications from Android?” and poof, here it is!

    Great timing Dustin! http://androidandme.com/2012/02/news/google-files-for-patent-to-combat-apples-slide-to-unlock/#comment-273678

    Y’all can send me the check in the mail for helping out. Or a free tee shirt or something. :-P Or y’all can just keep doing a great job!

  • Jon Garrett

    When Steve Jobs said “year of the copycats” was this what he was referring to?

  • jsweetser2

    Everything has been said already, I just want to say, “Ohhhh G1, how i miss thee!”

  • CTown

    Awww… I thought Google wouldn’t resort to this!

    • AbusedTortoise

      Resort to what? They have done nothing more than file for a patent in 2009. Google hasn’t done anything

  • Tony Kornheiser

    I think apple will destroy and SLAUGHTER google like the whites did with the black cotton workers,History repeats itself. Go apple!!!!!

    • jsweetser2

      So many unregistered posts on this thread. Put a name and email behind a dumbass comment like this – which is so far out in space i’m almost ashamed i replied to it.

    • AbusedTortoise

      Ha ha ha, that is the most distrubing post I have read on androidandme… congrats, you should win the award of, “i should never reproduce!”

  • max Pain

    Nice to see. Maybe this will put apple in their place( if the patent is awarded) and they will stop all these petty lawsuits.

  • max Pain

    FINALLY, SOMETHING ANDROID HAS OVER APPLE!!!!! Let the tyrannical rule of Apple disappear and with it rise the best OS known to man, Android!

  • Oh hey its john

    I hope apple refuses to pay royalty fees to google if google gets the patent. Will they then have to remove it from their devices? Oh man wouldnt i want to see every apple fanboy’s face then lol

  • http://None Javier Bastardo

    I’m just hoping I don’t see Google/Android turning into the new Apple. I’m sure Apple’s deserves the pain, but, personally, I would just like to see this patent wars to be over.

    • Luke Haviland

      Hopefully once Apple sees google doing the same thing they will stop trying to sue over such silly patents know damn well google can sue them right back.
      i totally agree
      these stupid patent wars need to end.
      let innovation grow!

    • Linn

      Thus far Google’s only used patents defensively, and I don’t see that changing. It’s sad to see someone have to bulk up for the arms race, but even worse to know that Microsoft makes more money from android than their own phones.

  • MoSDeeb

    Patents, the double edge sword for advancement of industries…

  • zabin

    I can’t wait for this to happen and for Apple to shut in its pants……

    Google rules

  • zabin

    Google is not tacking alone to court cuz Google is to

  • Luke Haviland

    i sure hope this will shut Apple up with their whinny patent suits

  • Henry Gomes

    Ya know….I’ve been waiting for this

  • yankeesusa

    What I’m wondering is why is it taking so long to be approved? In the end some other company can patent something similar and screw google. I guess we’ll see. If this patent is granted to Android it will be awesome. That is a big change that apple would have to make if they don’t feel like paying on it to continue using it.

    • kungpaodragon

      Was going to say the exact same thing. How is it that this patent is not rewarded to Google already. Android has had it actually “implemented” and “used” since its introduction. And the patent office still hasn’t figured out if the patent should be awarded to Google? And yet Apple files for whatever the hell they want, and many times, get it. Implemented, not implemented, sometimes a general idea like “interact with the phone to do something”, sometimes even stolen (ex. facial recognition). I seriously think we need to do some kind of whistle blowing on the relationship between Apple and patent office. I would not be surprised to find Apple blowing the patent office (probably literally).

      • Varun

        Read up. At least a little bitch.

  • mrwirez


  • Frettfreak

    WOW.. Google REALLY screwed the pooch not getting all these patents in place before now. I was wondering WTF when apple showed their notification system in IOS 5 and there were no lawsuits (cause lets face it, its pretty much a dead on android copy). REALLY hate all this lawsuit crap, however, google has to defend themselves and do what they need to do… but just remember.. Apple started all this petty crap, not google. so F’um! hope apple rots in Hell. Hte those a$$holes.

  • Linn

    I’m so sick of companies patenting obvious techniques and using the invalid patents to bleed actual innovators dry. Now Apple’s become the world’s biggest patent troll.

    Really, swipe to unlock?

    I guess the bigger question is why the US awards so many bogus patents. Why does the patent office still not hire computer scientists? Why isn’t there a less expensive way to appeal a patent approval, or present prior art?

  • kico
  • bob

    i just cannot believe that Google would make such a large mistake of not placing a patent on the critical components of their OS!

  • Ray

    Go Google!

  • Timmy

    It’s too bad for Google that the notification system was first developed at Palm by Rich Dellinger. Rich Dellinger then left Palm for Apple.

    Google is not the inventor of notification – too little too late. Google copied it from Palm WebOS.

    • Varun

      Apple made the notification centre work well. And anyway they copied it from palm anyway.


    Well, Apple, you officially suck.
    I hope no one takes offense to this, but…
    Thank god Steve Jobs died.