Apple snags blockbuster multi-touch patent

“Apple was granted two dozen patents in the US Patent and Trademark Office’s weekly patent-palooza, held each Tuesday, providing Cupertino’s legal team with a new cache of ammunition to be fired up in future patent wars,” Rik Myslewski reports for The Register.

“Snuggled in amongst Tuesday’s hoard is a patent entitled ‘Multipoint touchscreen’ that could potentially be big trouble for manufacturers of other multi-touch devices – such as, oh, practically every other smartphone and tablet on the market,” Myslewski reports. “The abstract of this patent – which seems at first blush to be exceptionally broad – portends trouble for Apple’s competition: ‘A touch panel having a transparent capacitive sensing medium configured to detect multiple touches or near touches that occur at the same time and at distinct locations in the plane of the touch panel and to produce distinct signals representative of the location of the touches on the plane of the touch panel for each of the multiple touches is disclosed.'”

Myslewski reports, “Most certainly, some of these user-interface patents will be pored over by patent-law teams at Google, Samsung, Motorola, and others, but we can’t help but think that the implications of patent number 8,125,463, “Multipoint touchscreen”, has the greatest potential to upset a few applecarts – or, as Cupertino might prefer to call them, Apple patent infringers.”

Read more in the full article here.

Related article:
Apple granted significant Multi-Touch™ patents – February 28, 2012

22 Comments

  1. “One image accompanying the 34-page patent also may engender apprehension in the Android et al. community, illustrating as it does a generic smartphonesque, tabletish device being prodded in multi-touch fashion:”
    Apparently by Bart Simpson…

  2. All well and good. However, what good are IP patents when the courts disregard such blatant IP patent infringement? Eric T. Mole will bribe any and all at an attempt to stop the Apple tsunami., ESPECIALY the courts. I ask all today… Who is governing the Government?

      1. France is now investigating Google’s Privacy Policies.

        I feel so much better now that France is stepping up to the plate and slamming the hammer down on such evil Google practices.

        Yeah OK! What a JOKE! Eric T. Mole has Google’s checkbook out and pen ready and the French KNOW IT! GREEDY SPINLESS FRENCH SOBs. Google = Satan
        Let the Payoffs resume.

    1. Oh dear. I like Tim Cook to bits. He is awesome, very likable and a fantastic CEO. But he will never, ever make a keynote that funny, brilliant and insanely great like Steve.

      Steve, R.I.P. I miss you dearly. We all miss you.
      Shit, tears are back. Again.

  3. I’ve tried to explain things like this to non-geeks… They always assume I’m talking about the gestures themselves.

    No, you can’t patent a gesture. But you sure as hell can patent the underlying components that make them possible!

  4. Seems Apple has had to allow Android to continue while it waits for patent approval. As they are approved Android will die a slow death. HOWEVER, these patents may be declared FRAND and industry essential? Android will survive if so, but it won’t be free. Still a win for Apple! That may have been Googles goal: create An industry dependence to make these patents essential to force Apple to license them and at a lower cost. Not a FRAND expert but seems plausible ……

    1. There is no “standard” that appl hast be “fair” with here. A FRAND patent would be one that is essential to an industry standard, for instance, a method for slicing up a radio signal to be shared by disparate devices. IOS may be the “gold standard” for what a touch device should do, but they own the whole ball of wax.

    2. I’m not an expert as well on patents, but I think that FRAND only applies to international standards such as 3G etc where it is necessary to allow interoperability between different vendors. THe operation of a touch screen phone is not part of a standard and as such should not be covered by FRAND.

    3. FRAND patents are needed to get a two way signal from one wireless phone to another or a land line. Same goes for data download and upload. It’s essential and there is only one way to do it.

      Using finger touches to operate a cell phone, tablet, computer is not the only way to do things. A pointing device with cursor works. So does voice commands. Then there is that old standby, the stylus.

      Patented finger gesture touch layers on a screen are not required to market a viable cell phone, tablet or computer.

      These touch screen patents will not be declared FRAND.

    4. No, it is not plausible, or possible, for Apple patents in question to be “declared” susceptible to (F)RAND rules. Standards dependence is something agreed to.

      Motorola and Samsung are in trouble over patents that they themselves insist are essential to standards that they have pledged to support on a fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory basis. Without that pledge, they could hold on to their rights for whatever the market, or each individual buyer, will pay (or do without),

  5. I love Apple products and philosophy. BUT I am increasingly uneasy about all these patents locking out others. Right now, this seems great. But leadership and companies change. A number of years from now, if we have lost the leadership we have now, and lost vision, it may be we only see routine products but with a company out to simply make money by selling or just preventing others from using these patents. Short term, great. Long term, looking at the forest, potentially worrisome. If some other smaller company (“smaller” includes every company other than Apple, of course) rises from the ashes with the vision Apple has had for so many years, and if Apple has lost it due to poor leadership years from now, the other company could find it so onerous to compete, they could simply give up. We would all lose in that case.

    Let’s hope that Apple stays healthy in both vision and realization of that vision.

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