Apple granted smartphone touchscreen patent

June 22nd, 2011 by Katie Gatto in Technology / Business

(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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"Apple granted smartphone touchscreen patent." June 22nd, 2011. http://phys.org/news/2011-06-apple-granted-smartphone-touchscreen-patent.html