Apple granted major iPhone Multi-Touch patent; rival smartphone makers could face big trouble

“Apple has been awarded its long sought-after patent on the iPhone,” Damon Poeter reports for PC Magazine. “Intellectual property experts say it’s so broad and far-reaching that the iPhone maker may be able to bully other smart phone manufacturers out of the U.S. market entirely.”

MacDailyNews Take: Since when is protecting what’s yours considered “bullying?”

Poeter reports, “Some three-and-a-half years after filing for a patent on the iPhone, Apple on Tuesday was awarded U.S. patent number 7,966,578 for ‘[a] computer-implemented method, for use in conjunction with a portable multifunction device with a touch screen display, [that] comprises displaying a portion of page content, including a frame displaying a portion of frame content and also including other content of the page, on the touch screen display.'”

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“It gets quite a bit more technical in its full form, but there’s one thing patent experts consulted by PCMag agree on—Apple has been awarded an incredibly broad patent that could prove to be hugely problematic for other makers of capacitive touch-screen smartphones,” Poeter reports. “Apple’s patent essentially gives it ownership of the capacitive multitouch interface the company pioneered with its iPhone, said one source who has been involved in intellectual property litigation on similar matters. That’s likely to produce a new round of lawsuits over the now-ubiquitous multitouch interfaces used in smartphones made by the likes of HTC, Samsung, Motorola, Research in Motion, Nokia, and others that run operating systems similar in nature to Apple’s iOS, like Google’s Android, said the source, who asked not to be named.”

Poeter reports, “What’s more, the patent seems broad enough in scope to cover virtually any mobile device with an interface that incorporates the finger movements used to operate Apple’s touchscreen devices, the source said. That means tablets that are similar to Apple’s iPad, and media players with iPod Touch-like interfaces could also be targets for Apple’s legal team.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: MacDailyNews Take: This time around, there’s no poorly-written contract signed by an unprepared sugared water salesbozo.” Wherever Google and any other iPhone wannabe infringes on their patented intellectual property, Apple should make them pay dearly.

Google’s going to rue the day they got greedy by deciding to try to work against Apple instead of with them.

We’ve been pushing the state-of-the-art in every facet of design… We’ve been innovating like crazy for the last few years on this and we’ve filed for over 200 patents for all of the inventions in iPhone. And we intend to protect them.Apple CEO Steve Jobs when unveiling iPhone, January 9, 2007

We like competition as long as they don’t rip off our IP, in which case we will go after them. We will not stand for having our IP ripped-off and we will use any weapons at our disposal [to stop it].Apple COO Tim Cook, January 21, 2009

The amount of time patents and patent infringement litigation takes is criminal. How useful is the patent system patent if companies can copy at will, amass market share, and operate businesses based on theft for years and years unabated?

Related articles:
Apple awarded huge ‘multi-touch’ patent covering iPhone, iPod touch – January 26, 2009
Apple COO Tim Cook puts Palm, others on notice: ‘We will not stand for having our IP ripped off’ – January 21, 2009
Apple patent application details Multi-Touch™ swipe gestures for iPhone touch screen keyboard – December 26, 2008
Apple’s advantage: iPhone multi-touch patent – June 20, 2007
Apple’s iPhone well protected by patents – May 25, 2007

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