All posts in Patents

Podcast #166: Verizon iPad and More Apple Patents

Verizon introduces a new iPad commercial with a pretty sweet Mi-Fi deal. So sweet that Susie’s pretty bummed about her iPad 3G.
Apple drops another patent and this time it looks like our beloved menubar is in trouble. Oh no, not the menubar!

Plus, we answered a few reader calls, and your questions from Twitter and Facebook.

This week’s Battlestar Applactica picks:

Katy Perry Revenge – .99

Fruit Ninja HD – .99

Routesy Pro Bay Area – .99

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Apple Sues Motorola Over Patents

It would seem that lawsuits in the mobile space are all the rage nowadays. With the recent announcement that Motorola would be suing Apple over patent infringements, it seems that Apple is keeping the suing tag game going by launching two different patent lawsuits covering six different patents they believe Motorola has infringed upon.

According to Patently Apple, Apple is suing Motorola over six different patents that cover the following aspects of the Droid devices:

First case 0661

1 – Apple, Inc patent titled: Ellipse Fitting for Multi-Touch Surfaces: Patent Abstract: Apparatus and methods are disclosed for simultaneously tracking multiple finger and palm contacts as hands approach, touch, and slide across a proximity-sensing, multi-touch surface. Identification and classification of intuitive hand configurations and motions enables unprecedented integration of typing, resting, pointing, scrolling, 3D manipulation, and handwriting into a versatile, ergonomic computer input device.

2 – Apple, Inc patent titled: Multipoint Touchscreen: Patent Abstract: 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.

3 – Taligent, Inc patent titled: Object-Oriented System Locator System: Patent Abstract: A method and system for adding system components (documents, tools, fonts, libraries, etc.) to a computer system without running an installation program. A location framework is employed to locate system components whose properties match those specified in search criteria. The framework receives notification from the system when system components whose properties match the search criteria are added to or removed from the system. 

Second Case 0662

1 – Apple, Inc, patent titled: Touch Screen Device, Method, and Graphical User Interface for Determining Commands by Applying Heuristics: Apple’s invention generally relates to electronic devices with touch screen displays, and more particularly, to electronic devices that apply heuristics to detected user gestures on a touch screen display to determine commands.

2 – Apple Computer, Inc. patent titled: Method and Apparatus for Displaying and Accessing Control and Status Information in a Computer System: Apple’s invention generally relates to the field of computer systems; particularly, the present invention relates to displaying a status and control function bar or window to enable access of user selected indicia to a computer system user.

3 – Apple Computer, Inc. patent titled: Support for Custom User-Interaction Elements in a Graphical, Event-Driven Computer System: Apple’s invention relates to graphical, event-driven computer systems, more particularly to custom interactive user-interaction elements in a computer system having a window-based graphical user interface.

Both cases were filed in the US District Court of the Western District of Wisconsin. The first lawsuit covers patents that involve the Multi-Touch functions of the iPhone, while the second lawsuit covers patents involving user interface elements of the iPhone.

“Motorola has a leading intellectual-property portfolio, one of the strongest in the industry, and we intend to vigorously defend ourselves in this matter,” Motorola said in a statement. “We are confident in our position and will pursue our litigation to halt Apple’s continued infringement.”

You can read more about the patent suit on Patently Apple.

via Ars Technica


Follow this article’s author, Cory Bohon on Twitter.




Apple Scores Three Big Patents


(Image courtesy of Patently Apple)

Lately, Apple almost seems to be coming out with patents so much, the sky almost seems to be the limit.  Today, Apple grabbed three major multi-touch patents, that could have some implications for all things “touch” down the line.

As of yesterday, Patently Apple is reporting that Apple was awarded three pretty important multi-touch patents.  The first, “Portable Electronic Device with Multi-Touch Input,” states in detail the multi-touch input method that’s currently on the iPhone, iPod touch, iPad, and Apple’s link of multi-touch trackpads.  Kind of similar to the input techniques of some of their competition, no?

The second, “Ellipse Fitting for Multi-Touch Surfaces,” is fairly similar to one that Apple had filed last year.  This one tells of multiple input methods that might ring a bell if you’re an iOS user: typing, pointing, scrolling, object manipulation, and so on.  The third, “Simultaneous Sensing Arrangement,” talks of some of the sensing mechanisms that are in multi-touch devices.

You can go check out Patently Apple for the full scoop, but the short and long of it is, that the patents are pretty much for the hardware and input methods that make up multi-touch.

As TUAW points out, you can agree or disagree that Apple innovated multi-touch, but the bottom line is that they now own the patents for multi-touch.  Now, the real entertainment could possibly turn to what Apple will do now that they own the patents.  Keep your eyes peeled!

Follow this article’s author, Matthew Tilmann on Twitter



Apple Patents a Haldheld Device that Works with Your Hands

Apple has really been racking up the patents lately, haven’t they? Most of the time, they don’t really amount to much, but the thrill of anticipation for Apple’s next generation product is pretty much spearheaded by these black-and-white blueprints that make their rounds on  the internet.

Case in point: Apple has patented a “handheld device” that uses capacitive sensors to recognize who you are based on the way you hold the device. The device would adjust itself based on the way your fingers are situated and your grip. The device might also be able to generate buttons right on to the chasis (we’re visualizing that it’s like the way that Android phones have buttons that fade in and out), depending on which hand you’ve got it in. There’s not much else beyond that, but the idea is that there is no on orientation for a handheld device, and it gives the mantra that you’re “holding it wrong” a whole new meaning.

Anyway, all these patents are just teasers for a better device in the end. So hold on to your horses and don’t start salivating just yet–the patent is still a patent, after all.

Follow this article’s author, Florence Ion, on Twitter.


Rumor: Patents Hint at iMac Touch

Anyone who’s ever followed the emotional roller coaster of Apple’s patents knows that sometimes the Apple Patent falls far from the tree. And sometimes, it hints at completely awesome technology we could never have dreamed possible.

Take, for instance, the lofty claims that Apple has been prepping a touch Mac of sorts. And yet, only two days after Patently Apple dug up a patent for a touchscreen MacBook, they’ve found a patent for a touchscreen iMac.

Whether these Macs will come to fruition or not may be a discussion worth having, but what’s indisputable is that the minds at Cupertino are clearly thinking about touchscreen technology.

While MacBooks could feasibly make sense as touch-enabled computers, iMacs have always been more difficult to imagine. Alas, with the new patent findings it seems our concerns have been addressed, and rather brilliantly.

The idea behind the iMac patents (lovingly dubbed the “iMac Touch”) revolves around a dual-OS device that transitions from mouse and keyboard input to touch-based depending on which position the screen is in. That screen would be able to be pulled down to an angle that would lend itself to less exhausting arm movements. Pulling said screen past a certain angle would activate a rotation sensor mounted on the adjustable stand of the display. And voila, you’ve got a touchscreen iMac.

Though we’ve been skeptical whether such a technology would be practical or ultimately beneficial, the more we see the less we doubt. We’re going crazy dreaming about crazy gorgeous games and drawing straight into Photoshop from an iMac.

Or a MacBook.


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