ipad multi touch Apples multitouch patents under attack

Two of Apple’s most important patents are under attack from an unknown party.  U.S. Patent 7,469,381 and 7,479,949 are patents related to the multitouch software that Apple uses in its products.

ipad multi touch Apples multitouch patents under attack

Two of Apple’s most important patents are under attack from an unknown party.  U.S. Patent 7,469,381 and 7,479,949 are patents related to the multitouch software that Apple uses in its products.  According to fosspatents.com, these are the reexamination requests of the patents by the anonymous party.

7,469,381:

PCT Publication No. WO 03/081458 on "controlling content display", by AOL/Luigi Lira, published on October 2, 2003

U.S. Patent No. 7,786,975 on a "continuous scrolling list with acceleration"; inventors are Bas Ording, Scott Forstall, Greg Christie, Stephen O. Lemay and Imran Chaudhri

PCT Publication No. WO 01/029702, which later resulted in U.S. Patent No. 7,152,210 on a "device and method of browsing an image collection"; assigned to Philips (named inventors: Elise van den Hoven, Josephus Eggen)

7,479,949:

U.S. Patent Application Publication No. 2002/036618 on a "method and apparatus for detecting and interpreting path of designated position", assigned to Canon (named inventors: Masanori Wakai and Satomi Kayano)

U.S. Patent Application Publication No. 2006/0101354 on "gesture inputs for a portable display device", assigned to Nintendo (named inventors: Hideyuki Hashimoto and Shigetoshi Kitayama)

U.S. Patent Application No. 2005/0012723 on a "system and method for a portable multimedia client", assigned to Move Mobile Systems (named inventor: Matt Pallakoff)

U.S. Patent Application Publication No. 2003/0063073 on a "touch panel system and method for distinguishing multiple touch inputs" (assigned to a group of individual inventors; first-named inventor: Bernard O. Geaghan

It’s not strange for companies to go after each other’s patents, but usually the names of the two parties are known.  In this particular case, however, we don’t know who is making a move against Apple.  One theory is that Google is behind the filing, and it’s a legitimate theory.  Apple has been using patents ‘381 and ‘949 to impose limitations on top Android manufacturers such as Samsung, Motorola, and HTC. 

Not surprisingly, everyday there’s a new patent war, but as it stands, many tech giants need to carve out a stake in the “multitouch” department to keep their devices competitive.  It’s unlikely that ‘949 will be an Apple’s exclusive in the future since it mainly deals with the tolerance level and angle of the initial touch movement on a touch interface.

Wakai patent app figure 35 Apples multitouch patents under attack

As seen in Figure 35, the patent cites the angles that coincide with the touchscreen behaviors.  Any manufacturer can deviate from the angles shown in Figure 35 to mitigate the patent’s specificities. 

An in depth conversation of the two patents under examination can be found here.