Apple’s iPhone Patent Could Prove Problematic for Nearly All Touchscreen Devices

Apple was just awarded its iPhone patent three-and-a-half years after filing. Patent number 7,966,578 was awarded for “[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.” Depending on how loosely you interpret that excerpt and others from within the filing documents, the patent could grant Apple control over nearly any device using a capacitive screen and multitouch interface. This could potentially give Apple all the ammunition it would need to bully nearly every competitor out of the market. This includes Android handset makers.

Even more, the patent seems to cover the same technology in tablets and personal media players. Do we see the problem developing here? One patent expert told PCMag that “unless the patent is invalidated, it would allow Apple to stifle innovation.” However, this is an extreme case. There is the chance that the patent is only deemed valid when applied directly to Apple’s iPhone, only covering its interface and web interactions. It would still create legal problems for competitors making touchscreen smartphones, but Apple’s case wouldn’t be nearly as strong. The most likely result of this patent won’t be an Apple monopoly of the touchscreen device market, but rather a series of settlements that see manufacturers such as HTC and Samsung licensing the technology from Apple for a hefty fee.

[via PCMag]

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  • M.Spit

    god bless america

  • 254

    F Apple

    • Fapple57

      I agree! FApple! tinyurl.com/3wr5po2

  • Rui

    God, this patents issue is becoming frustrating!!!
    What the hell are the patent officers doing, are all of them dumb?!

    • HalfwayCrook

      Yes.

      • http://twitter.com/mattpoulsen Matthew Poulsen

        No they’re not.  Many have advanced engineering backgrounds.  Why don’t you read the patent before passing judgment.  Too bad the author didn’t, he has misled all of you.

        • Guest

          Finally, a voice of reason.

  • Nick

    When the fuck will we see a Patent system that is at least controlled by people with brains? 

    • Alecgale

      probably after our government is controlled by people with brains

    • DannyB2

      When the people who regulate it give it enough money to do its job, and when those people aren’t driven by campaign money themselves.

  • Bob

    Touch screens were around long before Apple, this is a non issue.

    • wakkoman

      Obviously they weren’t patented. Considering Android and all other touchscreen devices these days have similar multitouch features as the iPhone originally did, expect Apple to make a lot more money.

      • bumpU

        here you go again

    • cyberb0b

      Not CAPACITIVE; MULTITOUCH screens! Previous devices with touch screens such as the Palm, Symbian, WM, etc., did not use capacitive screen. They used resistive screens and certainly did NOT have multitouch capabilities. When will the fandroids beating this drum?

      • bumpU

        When will you stop trolling “fandroid” sites boss? Herb

      • Khalid.H

        Multitouch is a separate patent. http://goo.gl/vDS2Y

        This patent seems to just cover “a portable multifunction device with a touch screen display”.

      • TalkingMoose

        Now that the patent has been granted and everyone can take a good look, expect the challenges to be filed.

        Capacative touch predates the iPhone.  The general idea of applications being driven by a touchscreen predates the iPhone.  Merging the two is obvious and will probably not hold up.  

        They may have a case for multitouch, however.  It may be challenged also, but in the end licensing it might just be cheaper than fighting it.

        What the Appolytes need to understand is that Apple did not invent the universe.  They don’t even innovate all that much.  They package things well, and market them very well.  They convince their users that inferior technology is cutting edge, and to their credit, do that very well.

        • cyberb0b

          So WHO do you consider to be the inventor of this technology. A “concept” is not a product that the problem with the US patent process is that people are patenting “concepts” and not products. 

          I can conceive of a flying car, but not build one. So, does that mean that I am the inventor and should hold the patent for the flying car even though you may have actually built one? 

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Cris-Tate/1820221201 Cris Tate

        In 1983, Bell Labs at Murray Hill published a comprehensive discussion
        of touch-screen based interfaces.[9] In 1984, Bell Labs engineered a
        touch screen that could change images with more than one hand. In 1985,
        the University of Toronto group including Bill Buxton developed a
        multi-touch tablet that used capacitance rather than bulky camera-based
        optical sensing systems.[5]

        A breakthrough occurred in 1991, when
        Pierre Wellner published a paper on his multi-touch “Digital Desk”,
        which supported multi-finger and pinching motions.

        Not that hard to find prior art. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Multi-touch

        • cyberb0b

          Again, concepts are not products. They aren’t even blueprints for building said product. I don’t understand why this is so hard to understand and it’s your kind of thinking that has the US patent laws all screwed up. You think because someone jotted down a note on a napkin, it’s an invention? 

          • kidtronic

            Inventions aren’t just physical products. Especially with technology being driven more and more by bits of code. The US patent laws are definitely screwed up, but not because people are able to patent systems. 

        • PhilNelwyn

          “A breakthrough occurred in 1991, when Pierre Wellner published a paper on his multi-touch “Digital Desk”, which supported multi-finger and pinching motions.[10][11]Various companies expanded upon these inventions in the beginning of the twenty-first century. The company Fingerworks developed various multi-touch technologies between 2001 and 2005, including Touchstream keyboards and the iGesture Pad. [...] Apple acquired Fingerworks and its multi-touch technology in 2005. Mainstream exposure to multi-touch technology occurred in 2007 when the iPhone gained popularity, with Apple stating they ‘invented multi touch’ as part of the iPhone announcement,[15] however both the function and the term predate the announcement or patent requests. Publication and demonstration using the term Multi-touch by Jefferson Y. Han in 2005 predates these,[16] but Apple did give multi-touch wider exposure through its association with their new product and were the first to introduce multi-touch on a mobile device.”

      • Limbonik

        When I worked at Dejavu back in 2000, I used to ring in customers on a multi touch screen.

        This was before Apple’s phone.

        And because someone argues a point =/= fanboy. I could care less whose phone had the bigger balls; Apple OR Android. People who throw around that word are no better than people who Godwin an argument. Take off your trollerskates, get in your roflcopter and fly off into the sunset and lets bicker like adults.

        • cyberb0b

          Then I would assume that Dejavu has a patent for this and will be richer than God after suing Apple? If they don’t, how stupid were they??

          • Limbonik

            What would Dejavu need a patent for? Oh wait, because I cited the employer I used a device at they must be the person who created said component?

            Sometimes I wonder if people read before they start chanting “apple”. It’s really no wonder as to why people mock sheep so incessantly.

          • cyberb0b

            Oh, so you didn’t bother to specify the multitouch capacitive device that you used at Dejavu. You just said there was one but didn’t feel the need to disclose what it was. It wasn’t that I didn’t read your comment, it was just poorly written. 

      • jroc74

        You might have a point about multi touch, but capacitive was out before the iPhone on phones.

        LG Prada…but I dont think it was multi touch.

        • cyberb0b

          Most everyone decided to selectively ignore that fact that I included the term multitouch in my comment and then countered with insults instead of facts. Thanks for not doing either of those. 

          It’s ridiculous that one cannot comment on blogs anymore without a load of childish attacks from FANBOYS on both sides of the isle. I never said that Apple was better than Android or any other platform. I only stated that the reality is they invented and PATENTED a working, multitouch screen. If that pisses people off then so be it but that’s the reality.

          The Prada did not have multitouch nor did the other hardware devices that were touted as having capacitive touch screens by others. The multitouch is the meat of this patent and the reason that Moto stayed away from it for their devices, at least in the beginning. I don’t know if they still do or not. 

          I also don’t disagree with the idiocy of patent process here in the US. I think it’s written to keep the litigation attorneys in business. 

          • jroc74

            Thanks and yea…multi touch…the key word here…

            Oh well. Unless someone have something locked and hidden away in a cave somewhere and decided to surprise everyone, I think Apple might have a slam dunk here.

  • VOP0MLjUV38kWM8M

    Utter BS.  I’d like to patent the word “the” and license it to everyone who would like to use it in everyday text and speech.  Patents should only apply to very specific implementations so that they’re not broad-reaching like this one is.  I’m sure the court system wouldn’t mind having fewer frivolous IP cases.  One can only hope Apple isn’t the new SCO…

  • RG

    “licensing the technology from Apple for a hefty fee”… And who again suffers? The people with higher prices…

  • Rew6718

    That’s as ignorant as granting a patent for a 4 wheeled motorized vehicle today. It just makes no sense whatsoever.

    • TheDrizzle

      Well to be fair, Apple did file the patent three and a half years ago. This was before touchscreens became the standard.

      • Elvis the Queen

        But LG sold devices with capacitive touchscreens as the only input method already (LG Prada).

        • wakkoman

          Looks like they forgot to patent it. OOPS.

          That’s the system we have today. Don’t hate the player. Hate the game.

          • BryanOklahomaCity

            A player who takes unfair advantage of a flawed game is just as bad as the flawed game.

          • John Kotches

            The existence of the LG Prada seems like an establishment of prior art.

          • wakkoman

            Resistive screens do not equal capacitive screens. 

            Also, LG would have to fufill the reduction to practice obligation before even having a case. Since they didn’t file a patent for capacitive and multitouch touchscreens, there is no case.

          • http://twitter.com/mattpoulsen Matthew Poulsen

            it may be. But Apples patent claim is actually pretty narrow.  Its not just on all “touch screens.”  There are several limitations, one of which is the requirement of “two fingers.”  Here is the first independent claim.

            at a portable multifunction device with one or more processors, memory,
            and a touch screen display; displaying a portion of web page content in a
            stationary application window on the touch screen display, wherein the
            portion of web page content includes: a frame displaying a portion of
            frame content, and other content of the web page, comprising content of
            the web page other than the frame content; detecting a translation
            gesture by a single finger on or near the touch screen display; in
            response to detecting the translation gesture by the single finger,
            translating the web page content to display a new portion of web page
            content in the stationary application window on the touch screen
            display, wherein translating the web page content includes
            simultaneously translating the displayed portion of the frame content
            and the other content of the web page; detecting a translation gesture
            by two fingers on or near the touch screen display; and in response to
            detecting the translation gesture by the two fingers, translating the
            frame content to display a new portion of frame content in the
            stationary application window on the touch screen display, without
            translating the other content of the web page.

          • http://www.facebook.com/people/Cris-Tate/1820221201 Cris Tate

            In any scenario, that is the dumbest most asinine argument anyone has ever made.

            And something does not need to be patented for it to be considered prior art.

          • chris125

            Damn dude you want to suck apple a little harder? I mean they sue over everything and seeing how other touch screen phones(samsung) were made before it I dont care if it was patented or not when you make it and sell it before another company(apple) they cant sue you. Go back to isheep land and let steve jobs tell you what you can do. After all he is probably very upset they lost all that money to nokia and arent going to win against samsung who makes their parts. Ever hear of the old saying don’t bite the hand that feeds you? If i were samsung I would cancel the contract with apple that would show them whose boss. Samsung doesnt need it anyway they already sell millions upon millions of devices.

          • lye

            Guys it’s not a game.

          • Poliwannacracker

            Have YOU ever heard of the saying don’t bite the hand that feeds you? Apple pays Samsung billions every year for parts and has legally binding contracts to fulfill their obligations. If Samsung “cancels” their contract they would be sued up the ass. This isn’t a schoolyard, its business. If Samsung pulled out Apple would find another supplier for the huge contracts. 

          • Ckoch0125

            And apple cant get the parts Samsung offers from others since Sammy has patents and what not on the processors used.

          • http://twitter.com/mattpoulsen Matthew Poulsen

            that is not how it works.  They don’t have to patent it in order to preclude Apple from getting.  All that has to be done is that information be known to the public, creating what is known in the patent biz as “prior art.”

    • ChicagoBernard

      If you had invented touch screen technology wouldn’t you want the right to patent and profit from it? Oh and bad news, car companies have and do patent the technology that goes in to their engines and onboard systems pretty regularly.

      http://www.underdogdirectory.com/technology.html

      • ratnok

        They DIDN’T invent the technology!! That’s the point! There were many touch screen mobile devices for years before Apple ever joined the party and filed this patent- Palm and PocketPC were the most successful. I was using touchscreen mobile devices back in the 1900′s!

        • Roger_Ramshit

          Were those devices multi-touch screen. Did those tablets require a stylus. Not sure…just asking.

      • JohnnyTbone

        apple did not invent the touch screen

    • Guest

      “It just makes no sense whatsoever”. What? It makes all the sense in the world. Nobody (read it again, N-O-B-O-D-Y) was doing touch-screen, pinch & stretch, etc., phones before the iPhone. Apple patented something they created. Just because everybody else stole their invention and ran with it, does not mean that Apple doesn’t deserve the patent. The patent is just 4 years late being granted. Samsung and Nokia were still making bricks and Motorola had its “ultra-cool” Razr. Wtf? There was no innovation in phones. Look, Microsoft screwed Apple out of potential trillions of dollars when the Supreme Court said Windows was nothing like Macs because “a ‘Recycle Bin’ is nothing like a ‘Trash Can’. Let’s hope this patent is upheld and nothing even remotely similar to that happens again.

  • James

    Software patents are evil.

  • Elvis the Queen

    How is that even possible, when there have been devices commercially distributed using this technology already?
    I mean, what the phuck is wrong with american patent rights? In Europe you can only  patent something that is not being used by your competitors already.

    Well tomorrow I will claim the patent rights for Forks, Dishes, Saucers and Spoons – all restaurants will have to pay me.

    • cyberb0b

      Which device BEFORE the iPhone used a capacitive touch screen with multitouch capabilities? 

      • elarella

        The LG Prada was first to use a capacitive touch screen.  They didn’t sell that phone in the US, though you can get it unlocked if you had AT&T or T-Mobile.   Apple merely marketed the hell out of the iphone, so it gave everyone the impression that they were first to the market with an innovative product.

        • cyberb0b

          You fail. LG Prada was not multitouch. Read the whole statement next time. 

      • guest

        the lg prada

      • jaden

        Hahahaha!

        Okay, U just effing made my day! Ha!!!

    • http://twitter.com/mattpoulsen Matthew Poulsen

      Because these patents relate to pinch zoom and N gesture technology.  NOT touchscreens in general.  This is a horrible article.

      • jroc74

        Is pinch to zoom in the software? I think it was missing in some browser apps.

  • nonya

    this is the stupidity of the patent system.  they just approve anything and let the courts invalidate the stupid ones instead of doing some work on the front end.

    • http://twitter.com/mattpoulsen Matthew Poulsen

      they are allowed about 8 hours of time on a typical patent.  They don’t really have an option.  Fortunately, with patent reform likely going through soon the PTO will have an expanded budget, which will increase patent quality.

      • DownSouthLivin

        If it only takes them 8 hours to approve a patent then why is this Apple patent 3 1/2 years in the making? Where are you getting your information? Do you work in a patent office?

        • http://twitter.com/mattpoulsen Matthew Poulsen

          I’m a patent attorney and deal with the USPTO daily.  And the reason it takes so long is because there is a backlog off about 1 million patents. Its often 2 years before a filed patent even gets looked at. The patent office has simply been underfunded for decades. The user fees they get are siphoned off by politicians who divert to other worthless fat cat projects.  As a result, the PTO is broken.  That appears to be changing though as the funding issue is being voted on in the very near future.  

          This isn’t the PTO or the patent examiner’s fault. Its Congress’s fault.

          • http://twitter.com/binglut9 Brian

            Or it could be lazy ass government workers

          • http://twitter.com/mattpoulsen Matthew Poulsen

            Sorry, I understand that’s a cool popular thing to say, but you’re wrong.  But if its easier for your mind to accept then go ahead and ignore the purse stripping that Congress has committed year in and year out, the million patent application backlog, the hiring freeze, and the furloughs. 

          • cyberb0b

            Matt: If you can’t tell, a great deal of the posters on this site know how to do little but be insulting. I’ve seen more insults and pointless rants on this site than any other. What a waste of space. 

  • JodyS

    Patent officers are getting nice kickbacks from somebody…gee I wonder who’s paying them off?!?!

    • http://twitter.com/mattpoulsen Matthew Poulsen

      that’s just purely ignorant. The reality is the USPTO is horribly underfunded and an examiner is given only about 8 hours to review a patent.  This has nothing to due with corruption or inefficiency.  It has to do with jackball politicians underfunding the PTO. 

      • JodyS

        Gosh, guess I am just plain ignorant for not believing that intelligence should trump stupidity. BTW – how long have you worked for the patent office?

        • http://twitter.com/mattpoulsen Matthew Poulsen

          I’m a patent attorney.  And how does your last statement even relate to this matter?  You initially claimed the PTO was corrupt and I called you on it.  How does that relate to ignorance and intelligence as you posed above?  You’re talking out of your a $ $.

          • http://twitter.com/binglut9 Brian

            A patent attorney sounds like fun…you know it took three and ahalf years so I think they spent a little more time than 8 hrs

          • http://twitter.com/mattpoulsen Matthew Poulsen

            Umm, no.  The patent probably didn’t even get looked at for 2 years.  Then it probably got looked at for a few hours, at which point the PTO sent out  a rejection.  Apple then responded to that rejection (3 months later) and 3 months after that the PTO probably looked at if for a few more hours.  And so on.  You’re not getting the vast problem the PTO examiners are faced with. Massive massive backlog.  There are actually applications that have been in the PTO and have not been looked at for up to 10 years.

          • JodyS

            Well that explains a lot!! I stand by my first statement. I still firmly be the PTO is corrupt and/or (as I pointed out by stating “intelligence trumping stupidity”) how in world do you allow a broad brushed patent to go through?!? I don’t care how many times they see it, continue to reject it. 

          • http://twitter.com/mattpoulsen Matthew Poulsen

            For christ’s sake.  This isn’t a “broad brushed” patent. Have you actually read the patent claims???  Only the title is broad, which is meaningless.

            The PTO isn’t remotely corrupt.  Do you even know how the PTO operates?  Do you have any evidence of corruption?

            The bottom line is the only one that lacks intelligence is you, apparently.

            You state that the PTO is corrupt or stupid because it allows a “broad brushed patent.”  But you don’t realize its not broad brushed because you didn’t take the time to read it or lack the intellectual firepower to understand it.  Either way.  The problem is yours, not the PTO.

  • Poopcrew

    I just noticed everyone at the patent office has brand new iPhone 4′s

  • http://twitter.com/Miikhail Mikhail Cass

    Is this just America?

    If i’m not mistaken a while back Motorola didn’t ship any of their devices in America with Multi-touch (but they did everywhere else in the World) because they were unsure what was happening with the patent / Apples patent only covered America?Or am i very mistaken?

    • Khalid.H

      You’re right. My Motorola Milestone came with multitouch, while its US counterpart, the Droid, never had it on launch.

  • Alunphillips

    prior art would appear to invalidate this patent, at least in the real world as for the US who knows?

  • uberlaff

    whoa… this could really stop production on new Meego phones! oh wait…

  • Jeff432

    Our patent system needs to be reformed.

  • CaptBebops

    Corporate wars are here folks.  They used to just be the figments of the imaginations of science fiction writers.  Apparently Apple feels it doesn’t own enough of the market.  They have to have it all.  Hence the ammunition of the corporate wars becomes patents and lawsuits the battleground.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=547196358 Angel Cruz

    I wonder what 5th grader drop out they have at the pattern dep. giving these out….

  • Jgoedert

    If you can not beat them… Just lie and sue them.

    I hate apple with every fiber of my being.

    • Missed_the_mark

      you can borrow most of my fibers so that you can hate Apple a little more. I won’t mind at all.

    • Guest

      You’re an idiot. Do your homework. Apple should sue every low-life, rip-off Asian, Euopean, and American company that steals their inventions. Is it a surprise to a droid fanboy like yourself that Samsung (Droid’s #1 maker) has been the display provider for the iPhone since day one. Hmmmm.. wonder where they got all that brilliant creativeness all of a sudden. Moron!

  • Rivera_uipr

    Fuck Apple. Google will find a way to brake that shit.

  • Zeorai

    The wording of the patent is pretty broad.  Mark one up for the USPTO again!  Hehehe…corporate patent attorney’s vs the USPTO.  It’s like in Civ when I’m fighting the other civ’s.  I’ve got nukes and they barely have rifleman. 

    • http://twitter.com/mattpoulsen Matthew Poulsen

      No, its not really broad.  The first  independent claim requires detection of a gesture by “two fingers” and detection of a gesture “a single finger.”  At worst this is limited to pinch to zoom.  However based on the antecedent basis issues it could be limited to the use of three fingers. Its relatively narrow.  And if I’m not mistaken, didn’t Apple actually pioneer the “pinch to zoom” technology?  If so, they probably deserve the patent.

      • mezy1

        So android should stop pinch to zoom and do what the new samsung galaxy s2 does and put two fingers down and tilt to zoom….it would be called tilt to zoom. Samsung or google should patent that gesture.

  • gtg465x

    Patents don’t mean anything until they are held up in court and my guess is, this won’t. I’m not worried.

  • Heyhihelloheydy

    Another horribly misunderstood story about patents and commenters who know nothing about patents. If Samsung or anybody else changes one feature of the claims, or figures out a better way of doing the patent claim’s process, they legally are not copying Apple anymore. It’s called a ‘design around’ and any company with a team of engineers should be able to do it. Or, the other companies can appeal to the Patent Office and show them how they did this exact same process before Apple filed for the patent. 
    Every last piece in your android phone is patented, Google sued the people who owned the android name, and here’s a list of all the google patents: http://www.google.com/search?tbo=p&tbm=pts&hl=en&q=inassignee:google&num=10#q=inassignee:google&hl=en&safe=off&tbs=ptsdt:a,sbd:1&tbm=pts&source=lnt&sa=X&ei=Nx8CTsS3LITk0QHK3cTIDg&ved=0CBwQpwUoAQ&bav=on.2,or.r_gc.r_pw.&fp=4afc07978b3d329f&biw=1038&bih=522

    • iKing

      “Every last piece in your android phone is patented, Google sued the people who owned the android name, and here’s a list of all the google patents: http://www.google.com/search?t”

      Notice how this point is largely ignored by the Fandroids…..how telling

  • Joze

    Can google simply implement the Open GL Head tracking feature they demoed into the FFC or their Android phones and enabled gestures and functions so that they phone is technically not touchscreen per se?

    • Khalid.H

      I don’t think the “move head to zoom” feature would be liked.

      • Joze

        Not move your head…but to include finger tracking when said finger is exposed and then add gestures and functions to it.

  • Curry

    Hate the game not the player? Naw, I think I’ll just hate Apple for being the closed minded assholes they are. As for the game, Apple could be in the game and I wouldn’t care, but instead they gotta be idiots about everything and act oh so arrogant. So whatever Apple.

  • Spanki

    Can I leave a hateful Apple comment here too??

  • http://twitter.com/mattpoulsen Matthew Poulsen

    A lot of people on here apparently don’t understand the patent system.  Here are a few facts:

    1) there does NOT need to be a patent filed on the technology in order to keep Apple from filing a patent.  If this technology we’re known in the “art” then Apple’s patent shouldn’t have issue and can be invalidated.  Moreover, that technology does NOT have to be reduced to practice.  The subject matter needs to be merely published.

    2) Apples patent does NOT cover all touchscreens. In fact, by reading the claim below you’ll note that it only covers the situation where “2 fingers” are used.  My guess is an embodiment of this is their “pinch-zoom” technology.  It also requires other limitations, which must be simultaneously implemented.  In essence, this patent is a mere sub-set of touchscreens in general.

    3)  Apples patent rights are defined by the “claims” in the patent, not the title, not the description, not the figures.  Please read the claims in order to analyze this.

    4)  Here is Apple’s first independent claim (its broadest coverage):

    a portable multifunction device with one or more processors, memory,
    and a touch screen display; displaying a portion of web page content in a
    stationary application window on the touch screen display, wherein the
    portion of web page content includes: a frame displaying a portion of
    frame content, and other content of the web page, comprising content of
    the web page other than the frame content; detecting a translation
    gesture by a single finger on or near the touch screen display; in
    response to detecting the translation gesture by the single finger,
    translating the web page content to display a new portion of web page
    content in the stationary application window on the touch screen
    display, wherein translating the web page content includes
    simultaneously translating the displayed portion of the frame content
    and the other content of the web page; detecting a translation gesture
    by two fingers on or near the touch screen display; and in response to
    detecting the translation gesture by the two fingers, translating the
    frame content to display a new portion of frame content in the
    stationary application window on the touch screen display, without
    translating the other content of the web page.

    • Guirella Bob

      I guess, unfortunately the same thing happens to patent clerks when they read so many words in a row – they just skip to the end :)

    • http://twitter.com/mattpoulsen Matthew Poulsen

      I would also add that the second independent claim the patent only relate to “N” gesture detection.  That’s exceedingly narrow.

      This is really a non-story.

      • MacJeffa

        Thank you for making it easier to understand

    • acey_zero

      So, someone correct me if I’m wrong, but it sounds to me like this is just patenting using a multitouch gesture to scroll a frame within a webpage without moving the rest of the page (for example “hold” the webpage in place with one finger and use another finger to scroll the frame).

      Seems like the scope of this patent is getting blown way out of proportion..

  • Ry

    If having a touchscreen is a patent then the company who originally made touchscreen computers/monitors in the ’90s should receive the royalty fees for all the touchscreen phones, after all these “smartphones” are just small computers. 

  • Smokexz

    This article is just as wrong as Gizmodos… from what the comments tell me anyways.

  • Will Cronkrite

    Apple is becoming the new Microsoft! Suing everyone that they can over everything. All these patent suits are getting out of control! Keep it up apple we saw the rise and fall of Microsoft and we will see you fall again!

  • loneknyte

    Look at the consultant for the article “Mr Florian Mueller”, name ring a bell.
    Ah patents, how I don’t love you.

  • Guest

    Random Comment:: Apple needs to bring something new and game changing instead of worrying who’s coping who. Since the ipod apple has had dead ideas. Ipod was the most popular and a creative device they produced. Every yr it’s same old same old. phone ipad and ipod release with the same old stagnant iOS. We have seen this too many times.

    • cyberb0b

      Yeah. Just like Google did with all of those awesome Android devices that were out before the iPhone.. oh, wait… 

      • Guest

        Same old same old, you better thank God for iOS 5. Even that isn’t apple’s ideas those are stolen

        • cyberb0b

          Haha.. Actually I believe that Android and Apple stole those from the iOS Jailbreak devs.. 

          • Guest

            Lol, know if you said from the Xda community then yeah i could agree a little, but iOS devs they suck compared to Xda developers!!! #RealTalk

  • trainwreck

    Apple is often credited with the birth of the smart phone generation, but now they will be credited with the death of the smart phone.  They will kill innovation with legal hogwash like this.

  • MarioJr

    Apple becomes an UGLY corporate monster faster than we expected.
    BS patent. Everyone should be AFRAID of Apple way of doing business, yeah?Android FTW!

  • Jmaxku

    Via Blackima on Neowin.net:

    “As it so happens, I am a patent attorney!Had a look through it and there’s nothing to worry about, this patent isn’t a particularly big deal.It’s about a webpage with a frame inside (in the image above the webpage is 4208 and the frame is 4206).When you use a single finger to scroll, the entire webpage moves (along with the frame).When you use two fingers to scroll, only the contents of the frame are scrolledSo it’s a way of controlling iframes (or things of similar functionality). One finger scrolls the entire page. Two fingers scrolls only the contents of the iframe.”

    http://www.neowin.net/news/apple-touch-screen-patent-could-mean-trouble-for-competition

  • Nemesys06

    the patent is for a certain type of touch screen capacitive screen.  There are other touch screen technology that will make way.  legally, apple cannot patent an idea as simple as touchscreen or multitouch in general, only certain technologies that they use.  this just pushes other companies to create something better, once again leaving apple in the dust.  

    • Nemesys06

      i can also see apple trying to charge everybody a ridiculous amount to license their capacitive technology, and samsung returning the favor by charging them insane rates for the parts they supply for the future iphone/ipad.  apple is just screwing themselves over.  might not happen tomorrow, but in the near future!

  • Davros62

    As to prior art and multi touch zoom on capacative screens, google Jeff Han and Perceptive Pixel. Take a look at video of the 2006 TED conference demo. He and his team at NYU have been doing this stuff since the early 2000′s.

    Zooming by using multiple fingers on a capacative touch screen was demonstrably NOT invented by Apple.The ‘Pinch to Zoom’ gesture is simply a natural consequence of the small form factor of the phone screen. 

  • http://twitter.com/mattpoulsen Matthew Poulsen

    I’ve read the patent.  This is shoddy shoddy journalism.  This patent does NOT in anyway cover “all touchscreens.”  This patent covers certain aspects of gesture recognition on a touchscreen.  Although its not entirely clear it appears as though this patent covers “pinch zoom” (at least two fingers) in one claim and “N finger gesture” ((1 finger) coupled with “M finger” gesture (meaning two or more fingers) detection in another set of claims.  Both of these things can be relatively easily invented around.  These claims appear to be relatively narrow. 

    The author needs to understand that the excerpt he inserted means nothing with out the remaining limitations of the claim.  There is only infringement if the second company is doing ALL of those things. 

    Not to mention that if I recall I’m pretty sure Apple kind of pioneered the “pinch zoom” technology.  And beyond that the claim is more narrow than standard pinch zoom, meaning it even has less coverage than that.

    This patent is a “touchscreen gesture” patent NOT a touchscreen patent.

    Now, there may be some licensing that results from this, but this will not shut down or limit “all” touchscreen devices.

    This is what happens when someone doesn’t bother doing research before writing an article.

    And, as a disclaimer, I am no fan of Apple. I’m an Android user, so please don’t start with the fanboy comments.

    • jroc74

      thisismynext summed it up pretty good for those that cant follow reading the patent at USPTO.

      Yea…its really nothing to see here…

  • iJah420

    Before the actual RELEASE of iPhone 2007 the rumors and speculation boards were teeming with anti AAPL rhetoric and how it was going to FAIL miserably. Did Apple FAIL miserably with iPhone? The ONE point of contention that I remember VIVIDLY was how all AAPL naysayers honed in on how the iPhone had no buttons.. ie. NO KEYBOARD?! Why? FAIL!! and OH HOW IT WILL SMUDGE! I chuckle now. The last few years have been an absolute pleasure to watch. If it were not for Eric T. Mole Schmidt backstabbing Steve Jobs Android would be right there with Palm and soon to be extinct RIMM. Sweet justice has come to roost in the AAPL camp. ;)

  • iJah420

    YOUR A FUCKING COWARD SYS ADMIN!!!!! A FUCKING ANDROID LOSER! YOU AND YOUR PHANDROIDS ARE PATHETIC EL CHEAPO BOTTOM FEEDERS! 

    • riffwaffle

      yes your a bum and a ..go under thge table and make  steve b jobs happy.like all you apple users..you wouldnt know  a good phone if it was in your head.loser

  • damiankram

    Android has been an IP minefield since it was first released. Google needs to learn that you can’t copy and paste code or copy an idea you saw at another companies board meeting and not pay for it just because you give it away. Remember Apple sells phones Google sells you.

    • riffwaffle

      your an idiot

      • damiankram

        Truth hurts doesn’t it

  • http://twitter.com/iamrickets rickets

    Apple is nothing but a giant patent troll that has been simply buying innovations  or just stealing ideas since day one…..and THAT is an inarguable fact.

  • Hey-ooo

    Another confirmation the US Patent Office still has its head up its ass. Just another example why it needs to be reformed

  • Del373

    The new nexus phone…complete with 4.5 inch qHD resistive touch…wait, what?

  • InspectorGadget80

    THIS IS WHY I HATE APPLE. They think cause they invent the Touch Screen phone they have the right to sue everyone and take their money. JUST ANOTHER B.S. FROM APPLE.

  • Richardyarrell

    Man that Apple is rotten and stinking

    • socalrailroader

      It’s full of worms too, the gross, yellow maggoty kind too :D

    • squiddy20

      Do you seriously have nothing else to say? At every opportunity, all you’ve ever said is how Apple is “rotten and stinking” or some other useless variation. Why don’t you tell HOW Apple is “rotten and stinking”? Since you obviously don’t know, the exact scope of the effects of this patent are still being debated about. Jury’s still out on whether all other smartphones are “doomed” or in the clear. It all depends on how aggressively Apple defends their patent, which they have every right (and need) to do. Why don’t you read for once instead of posting such obvious BS?

  • bill

    You don’t have to be the one to invent something to own it, just the first to patent it….

  • Gezspam

    Phone tech is constantly progressing. I admit this may be a blow for other manufacturers but I think it could be a good thing, perhaps it will offer possibly newer, more innovated approaches as competition, rather than everything being so samey on the market. variety is the spice of life. I personally liked flip phones, everything is oversized and chunky these days, maybe this is the blessing that will make the designs nicer for other phones again.

    I am a mac user and have been for the best part of a decade, I love their computers but the iphone and their “apple” products do suck, had I not got into a contract with my iPhone I would be using a HTC right now IMO. All bit companies have massive legal teams I am sure there is some holes in the patent or side steps to make something similar that don’t step in the realm of the two finger patent.

  • Guest

    I don’t think so.

    God, I hope not.

    I don’t think apple is going to bully everyone, because that could end up coming back in full force. Samsung, Nokia and other companies that have loads of patents could fling hundreds or patents toward apple.

    I think they’ll sit on the patent.  I don’t think that they will go bully everyone.

    you don’t want to piss off other companies that have much larger patent portfolios than you.

  • Lancewulf

    The fact is that Apple knows that their phones are no longer top of the game, and with the fact that they only produce 2 products a year they are rapidly falling behind. Instead of producing various different styles of phones with ios, or improving the quality of their products they choose to try and sue their competitor. If you can’t beat them…Sue them.  I have heard people talking that the Iphone 5 will be an android killer. claiming that it will put android out of business.  Considering Windows and RIM phones don’t even come close to android, i could seeing the Iphone 5 ending one of them, but not android. When the iphone 5 comes out, it might be the top phone for a few months, but will quickly become 2nd rate. Look at the iphone 4. it is a crap phone, much lower quality then even the iphone 3Gs , For the most part only iFans still have iphones.

  • Jim

    Do people not remember Jeff Han? Just look him up on youtube. Everything Apple did on their touch devices, he did years before. Blatant stealing by Apple, yet they receive a patent. This is just wrong.

  • Entendre

    Does anyone else giggle whenever they read ‘two fingers’ in this thread, or is it just me?

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_KNPHBJ2QK6ZZ744UYQQX5SRMAU James

    FUCK APPLE! theyve fallen so far behind the only way for them to catch up is by stifling the competition

  • Victor Healey

    It is now clear that Android will lose multi touch. After Google forces an update at Apple’s request, all  Android users can go back to using just one finger again.