Apple patents using apps during mobile phone calls

Apple Inc. “keeps getting broad and fundamental patents on basic smartphone features. And its latest, granted today, is another doozy: the ability to swap to an app while maintaining a phone call,” Erik Sherman writes for CBS News.

“Patent number 8,082,523, called Portable electronic device with graphical user interface supporting application switching, has a vital independent claim that is much broader than it looks on first reading,” Sherman writes. “You have to admire the craft of the lawyers on this one. Although the main claim is quite specific, it manages to nail down the steps in just broad enough a way to make to clumsy for a competitor to work around.”

Sherman writes, “Whether this patent, the recent location services one, or others granted since getting into court with competitors, Apple continues to harvest a collection of legal clubs that can keep other handset manufacturers tripping time after time. It has yet to raise all these clubs in court, but it could — and probably will in time.”

Read more in the full article here.


    1. THIS is exactly the type of thing that pisses me off about the USPTO and Apple. I don’t care that they are defending “their method” but the patent that gets granted is so broad that it covers everything. I should just follow my sister and move to Australia.

      1. well I am sure Apple I’d upset that you are pissed off but, having been the victim of blatant thievery from Android, Samsung and countless others, Apple’s plan is to patent EVERYTHING and use its cash stockpile to just keep suing these guys senseless … At some point they will either win the big one or the theives will give up stealing… And the patent wars, which the general public do not understand make Apple look like the big innovators and everyone else copycats…, maybe not a strategy that will pay of huge immediately … It’s like body punches… Not a knockout punch… But they really wear you down and set you up for the big one.

      2. When you are playing in a dirty game, you can’t play nice. You have to beat them with their own moves. I would be happy if all of these software patents were invalidated and there was a level playing field. Until then, I would prefer that Apple hold as many strong patent cards as possible.

    1. I disagree because they are two different functions (voice and data). If it was two apps running at the same time I would agree that it would fall under a “multitasking” definition but it’s not.

      Just my two cents.

      1. If it’s a specific software code that Apple developed to allow apps and phone conversations simultaneously, then that should be protected.

        But the ‘act’ of talking and using a smart phone?
        That’s the same kind of nonsense that Apple has to fight all the time, why would they be applying for the same broad type of patent?

          1. it will never hold up in court tho and would just be another defeat for Apple. I want to see Apple win these things- they’re going to have to use better patents than this.

    2. Nothing to do with multitasking this is a HID patent. Note MDN article title is completely false. Correct title would be “Apple gains patent on it’s interface for switching between a phone call and an app”.

  1. “ability to swap to an app while maintaining a phone call”.

    At least the poor saps on Verizon’s bassackward, 1980’s network can use this feature. Unless, of course, that particular App requires a data connection 😉

  2. The point is that they have them and more is better, at least in the current legal environment. The ITC finding has shown that pursuing IP claims has almost no upside. With HTC, it took two years and 10 claims are whittled down to 1 finding of infringement. And for this limited patent, HTC turns around and says “No biggie. We’ve been working on a work-around anyway”.

    Defending IP is now a cost of doing business – a big cost if you’re Apple.

  3. I would have expected the makers of the cellular chipset to already have this patent.

    Is there a smartphone out there that does not do this?

    Ive used it many times on mine, put my parents on speakerphone while i loom up directions for them on the internet since they can’t figure out the interweb on their own

  4. You people need to realize that when this patent was applied for (January 2007), this was very new, and no other phone did this.

    Now that almost every smartphone does this shows how far ahead of the curve Apple was, and they deserve to have the patent for this, and enforce it against everyone else who copied this functionality.

    1. Err not exactly.

      It has always been a limitation of the cellular networks, not the devices (well a limitation of the devices if they did not support the required cellular radio technology)

      The first phone I am aware of that offered simultaneous voice+data was the HTC 8525 released back in 2006.

  5. I’m amused by all the Droid fans who expect that whatever anybody invents or creates it should be theirs to use free of charge. It’s the basic teenage geek mindset: “If I’m smart enough to steal it I am entitled to it.” Of course Apple is the bad guy here. They did the inventing and the creating, and have been shamelessly ripped off for a profit by people from cultures where blatant copying is a way of life, and bluster and threats are what passes for negotiation and diplomacy. Apple is giving as good as it gets. I hope they bury HTC and Samsung, and along with them, Google: “Don’t be evil (where anybody can see)!”

  6. Google, HTC, and Samsung: If you can’t invent, steal. If you steal don’t get caught. If you get caught deny everything. If that doesn’t work then scream threats. That about covers their business plan.

  7. Imagine if Apple didn’t patent this and some patent troll or Google, etc did patent it. In a way, it’s covering their butt. I all depends on how they use it. Plus, you just need to look at a phone from HTC or Samsung before the iPhone and after the iPhone, and you know they just copied Apple.

  8. Guys could you actually read some of the facts before making dumb comments. This is a patent on the interface to switch between a phone call and an app. No the didn’t patent multitasking or using voice and data at the same time. Apple no doubt spent a lot of time figuring out the best way to do this in a natural way so people wouldn’t have to be told how. There is no reason everyone else should just be able to copy Apple’s work and skip the cost of HID when making their phones.

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