Apple looks to be shoring up multi-touch patent claims for battle

“On September 29, 2011, the US Patent & Trademark Office published two multi-touch related patent applications from Apple that revealed a very odd twist,” Jack Purcher reports for Patently Apple.

“Apple had just been granted two identical patents in June and it appears that they’re already back to extend their multi-touch claims,” Purcher reports. “In light of Wintel aiming their sites squarely on all things Apple a few weeks ago by revealing their intent to launch multi-touch tablets, Ultrabooks and desktops aggressively over the next 12-36 months – it appears that we may be in store for a new war front on all things multi-touch at some point in the future.”

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“Apple is either gearing up for these legal battles or is shoring up their claims so as to support new multi-touch devices in the future like their patent pending ‘iMac Touch,'” Purcher reports. “Apple first introduced Multi-Touch with the debut of their 2007 iPhone, at a time when no one was implementing this on consumer devices. So if there’s going to be a war on Multi-Touch patents, then it’s safe to say that Apple is more than ready.”

Much more in the full article, including Apple’s patent application illustrations, here.

11 Comments

  1. I fear the judge in a hearing may deny Apple’s claim on multi-touch patents on the same grounds that Apple’s application for trademark of the name was rejected: accelerated widespread adoption of the technology.

      1. Theoretically, there is still some faith in patent system in this field, since multi-touch patents are method patents, not design patent and not TM. However, that faith is not very reliable, since, besides the factors I discussed below, too much money in the stake already. The pressure on the court to deny Apple’s rights will be phenomenal.

    1. Trademark and patent litigation are completely separate. The first relates to branding, and the second to underlying technology. Either first to invent or first to file wins in patent litigation, and you don’t lose the patent through infringement.

      1. Unfortunately, patent can be cancelled, declared void, obvious, trite, so it is not that far away from “common use” in a TM denial. But yes, in patents-of-methods consideration, chances for fair judgement are higher.

    2. No it won’t, very different and very separate from each other.

      Apple may have not got a tradmark, but it owns all the patents, and this is what matters.

      So your concerns are unfounded.

    3. COMPLETELY different issues. Saying the term “multi-touch” has become generic like xerox, is not the same as multi-touch on a device. Apple has already patented some parts of its implementation of multi-touch. This is just more. No need to “fear” anything. If it’s patentable, the patent judge will not stop it due to the reasoning used for not allowing a trademark.

  2. Because USA’s patent system is so slow, Apple not only suffers from unpunished and unstopped IP theft for years, some of the ideas and concepts that were filed for patenting/TMs to the time of final stages of approval become “common use”. This is how, for example, Apple lost “Multi-Touch” TM, and got court in Denmark denying tablet patent as “obvious”.

    If Apple had their patents enforced timely, no one in the right mind would say that iPad design is “obvious” (because prior tablets all were fat plastic with shaped borders, not all-flat glass surface), and “multi-touch” would not be considered “common use”. Only few professionals knew the term back then.

    USA’s patent system is an epic failure, unfortunately: it does not protect innovators.

  3. This is one area that is key for Apple. What’s the use of patenting anything if you can’t win on Multi-Touch. This is what propelled the iPhone and now iPad. Apple deserves to earn a royalty here. If it wasn’t for Apple’s Multi-Touch technology and getting the consumer excited about this, there would be NO innovation in the PC and mobile industry. They should collectively kiss Steve Jobs right hand ring like the Pope to boot!

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