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Thread: Apple's Legal Arsenal Grows as the Company is Granted Another Key Multitouch Patent

  1. #1
    MMi Staff Writer Akshay Masand's Avatar
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    Default Apple's Legal Arsenal Grows as the Company is Granted Another Key Multitouch Patent


    The United States Patent and Trademark Office recently published that the Cupertino, California company now owns a crucial patent, one which described how touch events are recognized by touchscreen devices. This specific patent was one of the “200+ Patents for new inventions” that Jobs was pushing for when the iPhone first debuted according to a report from Patently Apple. The newly granted patent focuses on the oscillator signal and circuit of a touchscreen-equipped device, an integral invention directly related to how users interact with their multitouch products.

    Apple stated the following in their filing:

    In general, multi-touch panels may be able to detect multiple touches (touch events or contact points) that occur at or about the same time, and identify and track their locations.
    Before the introduction of the iPhone in 2007, most of the touch-capable devices relied on single-touch input like resistive touchscreens. The current legacy technology senses a touch when two electrically resistive sheets separated by a small gap are connected by the push of a finger or stylus, which in turn creates a voltage division that, is detected by a device controller that records the charge along the x and y axes. The resistive displays are limited in the sense that they can only recognize single inputs no matter how many objects are touching the screen.

    One method that can be used to record multiple touches at a time is to generate an oscillating signal circuit that can power and clock inputs over a substrate as in a capacitive touchscreen display, however it should be noted that it is difficult to create a precise circuit-based oscillator. What Apple’s patent provides is a solution to the capacitive touchscreen problem by using calibration logic circuitry, which compares the signal oscillation against a reference signal and tunes the clock frequency accordingly. The invention provides for an accurate capacitive display that can not only sense multiple touches but also detect hover or near touches which are also recognized as “touch events.”

    The wording of the patent states that the invention could apply to computer devices such as desktops, laptops, tablets, or handhelds, including digital music and video players, and mobile telephones. It even mentioned public computing systems such as kiosks and ATMs. In the end, what it does is add to the company’s already formidable legal arsenal.

    Source: Patently Apple

    Twitter: @AkshayMasand

  2. #2
    It's amazing that 1 simple diagram, as shown in the article above, will reap BILLIONS for Apple on future devices (and current devices if they so choose to exercise that option) that they won't even be manufacturing or selling themselves.

  3. #3
    With regard to the 'near touches' I believe my MacBook Air does this already.

    I'll explain...

    When the macbook air isn't used for a while with the screen open, before the screen switches off, it dims slightly.

    When this happens, if I put my finger as close as I can to the track pad but not touch it, the screen illuminates again.

    Try it yourselves, I can only get to repeat this with the screen dimming method.

    It must be to do with the slight electrical current generated by my skin?

  4. #4
    My iPhone is a Part of Me iLoveWindows&iPhone's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Netherscourge View Post
    It's amazing that 1 simple diagram, as shown in the article above, will reap BILLIONS for Apple on future devices (and current devices if they so choose to exercise that option) that they won't even be manufacturing or selling themselves.
    Ya ummmmm, I think it took ALOT more than a "simple diagram" for Apple to win this patent. And you don't get to that "simple diagram" without the idea, and research required to invent such a technology.
    El Zurdo

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by iLoveWindows&iPhone View Post
    Ya ummmmm, I think it took ALOT more than a "simple diagram" for Apple to win this patent. And you don't get to that "simple diagram" without the idea, and research required to invent such a technology.
    +1 for that and a "boo" for future naysayers complaining about Apple protecting patents in court. Patents can always be challenged. Apple lost to Nokia not long ago and had to sign a license agreement.

  6. #6
    this is **** Appl£ is getting a monopoly on the market, this is not good for two reasons the consumer gets a bad deal and technological break through's are bottlenecked

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by dsg View Post
    this is **** Appl£ is getting a monopoly on the market, this is not good for two reasons the consumer gets a bad deal and technological break through's are bottlenecked
    What monopoly? They INVENTED something new and are protecting their investment in that invention!

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