Sep 26th, 2011

I think it would be fair to say that it was, in fact, Apple who introduced the world to multitouch technology in smartphones with iOS (even if they didn’t invent it). Well, back in January of 2007, Apple was trying to trademark the term but now, after almost 5 long years, the United States Patent and Trademark Office has denied Apple the “multi-touch” trademark. According to the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board at the USPTO the term “multi-touch” has become a more general term (like Kleenex or Asprin). Here’s what the trademark attorney had to say on the matter:

“Thus, from the foregoing, we find that “multi-touch” not only identifies the technology, but also describes how a user of the goods operates the device. Based on the evidence discussed above, as well as other evidence in the record, we agree with the examining attorney that MULTI-TOUCH indeed is highly descriptive of a feature of the identified goods. We now consider whether applicant has submitted sufficient evidence to establish acquired distinctiveness of this highly descriptive term.”

While I’m not the biggest fan of Apple, this ruling could be seen as a bit unfair seeing how after 4 years, it’s only now that multitouch has become a general term for interacting with our touchscreen devices. Had this have been reviewed back when we were still using stylus’s on Windows Mobile devices, I think the ruling would have turned out a lot different. But there it is. We can now legally say our Android devices feature “multi-touch” technology without fear of reprisal. Thank gawd too. Because I would hate having to type out or say “multiple simultaneous touch point devices.”

[MacRumors via Gizmodo]