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  • Apple Patents Gestures


    In a potentially significant ruling, the US Patent and Trademark Office has granted Apple, Inc. a sweeping patent for twenty-four gestures and chorded finger positions for controlling a future touchscreen OS. This means that Apple could pretty much own multitouch… it's as if the company had patented the double-click back when the first Macintosh operating system was released in 1984. If Apple is successful in making these gestures standard for touchscreen interfaces, any other company who wants to use them will have to license them from Apple.

    Patently Apple describes the scheme (sort of confusingly entitled "System and method for packing multitouch gestures onto a hand"), which specifies that some commands will be executed with your hand in a "neutral" position, with different fingers pressed to the screen, and that other, less frequently used commands will involve touching fingers to the screen in a "spread-hand" position. For example, all four fingers in a neutral position on the screen will pan the screen right and left. The same gesture with a spread hand will move the cursor to the beginning or end of the line. It seems like one of those things that's hard to describe but easy to do once you get used to it.

    One risk here is that other touchscreen platforms (O HAI, ANDROID) will use a different set of gestures to avoid patent infringement, and so we'll have a different "gesture vocabulary" to use different devices. The likelihood is that we'll eventually settle on a single standard set of gestures, though… and Apple is obviously hoping that it will be theirs.
    This article was originally published in forum thread: Apple Patents Gestures started by Paul Daniel Ash View original post
    Comments 24 Comments
    1. Ichwohneinloche's Avatar
      Ichwohneinloche -
      That would suck...
    1. davocarli's Avatar
      davocarli -
      Apple officially owning multitouch... sounds scary.. They might start mass producing killer robots (with multitouch support).
    1. The Maestro's Avatar
      The Maestro -
      I know apple likes to patent stuff they might never use but if we gotta learn all that it takes from apples simplicity
    1. peejv's Avatar
      peejv -
      This is the kind of stuff that will give us all carpel tunnel syndrome...
    1. adp's Avatar
      adp -
      Good luck memorizing all of this. The first few seem to be ok. But some of those gestures are ridiculously useless.
    1. giancarlo's Avatar
      giancarlo -
      Apple is going to legally change their corp name next year......to SKYNET
    1. cpkirkley's Avatar
      cpkirkley -
      Quote Originally Posted by giancarlo View Post
      Apple is going to legally change their corp name next year......to SKYNET


      Now this means that these blowhards will be suing any laptop maker who has been using multitouch trackpads over the past 18 months.

      Great. Can someone get Obama to overhaul the patent system in America. Its as bad a problem, if not worse, than the deregulation of capital markets.
    1. PlatoTheForms's Avatar
      PlatoTheForms -
      lol this is ridiculous; These gestures look very comfortable and natural; it would suck for them to only be limited to Apple devices.
    1. giancarlo's Avatar
      giancarlo -
      Quote Originally Posted by cpkirkley View Post


      Now this means that these blowhards will be suing any laptop maker who has been using multitouch trackpads over the past 18 months.

      Great. Can someone get Obama to overhaul the patent system in America. Its as bad a problem, if not worse, than the deregulation of capital markets.
      I can't understand half the items your macbook killer has.....that's awesome.

      I take that back...actually just had to breath for a moment and read it. Friggin MONSTER drink
    1. Jahooba's Avatar
      Jahooba -
      This won't mean much when the world (re)discovers that stylus pens are way better than the extremely inaccurate sausage-jab.
    1. whereswaldo's Avatar
      whereswaldo -
      This is one of those 5% of apple patents that will probably actually be used
    1. cypherpunk's Avatar
      cypherpunk -
      This is such a ridiculously sweeping patent that there must be some sort of prior art that will invalidate, or at least significantly weaken it.

      And at least some of those gestures definitely fail the "non-obviousness" clause.
    1. Bluprint's Avatar
      Bluprint -
      Great more lawsuits are going to follow because of a dumb patent, there should be a petition against owning the rights to any gestures. Next thing you know apple is going to patent my iphone going inside my pocket, oh wait.
    1. reddawg's Avatar
      reddawg -
      This is ridiculous. They should only have allowed the patent on the technology side, not on the gestures (look and feel). The patent courts have no understanding when it comes to technology.
    1. Amadomon's Avatar
      Amadomon -
      In oth€r n€ws, Appl€ has pat€nt€d th€ fifth l€tt€r of th€ €nglish alphab€t...
    1. Iman07's Avatar
      Iman07 -
      this is the dumbest thing i have every seen. what is wrong with apple lately? ur seriously going to patent how i move my fingers around on the phone? i mean seriously. so it looks like u can use ur middle finger and thumb on the iphone, but what if i want to patent using the index finger and thumb on my nexus, could i do that? this is getting out of control and the people at the patent office need to start brushing up on electronics, touchscreen and how the future will probably be; in terms of mobile devices and how we interact with them. there has to be some limitations on patents. so i will get sued for using my index finger and thumb if im like HTC or something but ill be okay if i use my index and middle finger? WHATS THE DIFFERENCE?! does the touch screen have a fingerprint scanner that determines what finger im using? my god!.....rant over.
    1. adrian1480's Avatar
      adrian1480 -
      patent law implementation sucks.
    1. timothyvanwing's Avatar
      timothyvanwing -
      Quote Originally Posted by giancarlo View Post
      Apple is going to legally change their corp name next year......to SKYNET
      and google changed their name to topeka...lol
    1. rhekt's Avatar
      rhekt -
      interesting. reminds me of a sign language spread sheet.
    1. tudtran's Avatar
      tudtran -
      What the ****? I don't wanna learn sign language