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Apple owns a patent for page-turning – kind of

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David McNew/Reuters

(Read caption) Apple first filed its patent last December.

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A new patent secured by Apple means the technology giant owns the appearance of the page-turning animation used on their devices.

On Apple devices (and many others), an animation lets users slide from one page of whatever they’re reading to the next. But an Apple devices that move has an appearance similar to that of the flip of a physical page. While there’s been some confusion over exactly what it means for Apple to own this patent, as CBS News explains it, Apple’s patent is a design patent, which “protects the way an article looks,” according to the United States Patent and Trademark Office.

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So other tablet devices and phones can still have page-turning devices – theirs just can’t look identical to Apple’s.

The Apple patent has three names on it under inventors, Elizabeth Caroline Cranfill, Stephen Lemay and Mikio Inose. It was originally filed last December.