Apple granted smartphone touchscreen patent

Jun 22, 2011 by Katie Gatto weblog

(PhysOrg.com) -- Apple was recently awarded a patent that has the potential to have repercussions across the world of smart phones and tablet PCs.

The patent, which was filed over three years ago, is specific to capacitive touchscreen technology. The is worded like this: "[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." This means that the patent could literally refer to any screen with a multi-touch interface.

The current generation of capacitive touchscreen displays work with a sheet of glass, which uses the human finger as a conductor. This input, a.k.a. your touch, then creates a response from your device. The way that this patent has been worded it could refer to any screen that has a multi-touch interface.

This could allow Apple to either squeeze competitors out of the market or to make them pay hefty fees in order to keep making their or tablet PCs that use the extremely popular multi-touch technology. Of course, it could go in a different direction, with Apple only using the patent as a means to defend their own technology, but only time will tell how it will be used.

does, like most major technology companies and hardware makers indulge in the occasional lawsuit over the infringement of patents as a way of thinning the competition and making some fast cash.

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User comments : 11

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Nikola
5 / 5 (5) Jun 22, 2011
Ridiculous.
jamesrm
not rated yet Jun 22, 2011
They think limiting the patent to "portable multifunction device" will keep it valid.
I'd say good luck to them but I would be lying

http://www.youtub...CetZ_57g

Regards
James
Magus
5 / 5 (1) Jun 22, 2011
Well I understand the want to protect your ideas and I think credit should go where credit is due, but to stop others from furthering your ideas or putting their own spin on it only hinders society as a whole.
Royale
5 / 5 (3) Jun 22, 2011
Oh Apple, just when I thought I couldn't dislike your company anymore. Honestly though, I can't believe they'd award a patent this vaguely worded.
Yellowdart
2.3 / 5 (3) Jun 22, 2011
Well if the Ford/Seldon case is any indication, it's hardly noteworthy as such a description will only be valid for their device...

Much like the court ruled that even though Seldon's patent was valid, it was only good for his automobile design.

Touchscreens have been around prior to 3 years ago, so I doubt Apple wins anything.
Royale
5 / 5 (1) Jun 22, 2011
Good point yellowdart. The funny thing is it won't even stop China from making the ripoff iPad/iPhones. heh.
jdbertron
2.3 / 5 (3) Jun 22, 2011
Good find jamesrm. None of this stuff is invention any more than my version of a sandwich. But the problem is they have the resources to drag a legal fight forever, and nobody will dare speak.
sherriffwoody
not rated yet Jun 23, 2011
So if a car with 4 wheels is only just invented now, does that mean that the inventor can patent a car with 4 wheels?
PS3
1 / 5 (2) Jun 23, 2011
How can nobody before patent this when was on Trek for years earlier?
Royale
not rated yet Jun 23, 2011
I like how we now have a diagram of how they build them though. Just switch around two chips and re-patent. Asia and Europe could then hold patents for the oPad the uPad the mePad... haha oh well, if nothing else this makes me laugh a bit at the ridiculousness.
Yelmurc
not rated yet Jun 23, 2011
Here's a excellent article about why this patent doesn't mean much.

http://thisismyne...a-crazy/