Apple awarded multi-touch patent

Apple has been awarded a patent protecting their touch screen device, method, and graphical user interface for determining commands by applying heuristics. Commonly used in the iPhone, this protects the method of multi touch and could cause issues for devices such as the recently announced Palm Pre and Microsoft's Surface machines.

According to World of Apple the patent awarded was number 7,479,949 on January 20, 2009. Originally applied for on April 11, 2008, the patent covers multi-touch and all associated gestures such as pinch, swipe and rotation.

Image courtesy of Mac Rumors

Steve Jobs is listed as one of the inventors in the patent. Do you think this will cause issues for multi touch devices going forward? Will the Pre ship? Vote in our poll below and leave a comment.

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This ain't gonna affect any devices like the Microsoft Surface, or Palm Pre, so no need to start stressing, or predicting the end of such devices, as many people have already stated here.

this protects the method of multi touch and could cause issues for devices such as the recently announced Palm Pre and Microsoft's Surface machines.

I am sure Microsoft... and other "touch" competitors... have already filed patents where necessary to protect themselves.

I am going to register for the *gesture* of the 3 fingered salute (aka ctrl+alt+del) :D
Would make a mint with that tax

This is a very specific patent with regard to the type of touch technology; however, the gesturing is just insane to be included.

For anybody that thinks Apple or 'Jobs' invented anything to do with multi-touch; here:
http://www.ted.com/index.php/talks/jeff_ha...ouchscreen.html

MS also had multi-touch research projects going back as far as the early 90s with pen-windows 3.1 devices, and even TabletPC devices with 'mulit-touch' input were available as far back as 2003 in retail products.

The whole 'gestures' is going to be hard for Apple to hold on to, as they didn't even come up with the gesture concepts they use on the iPhone (see video above for just one example).

Rumor has it that Apple RAN from the 2006 TED conference and started working on a portable multi-touch device that became the UI for iPhone. If you note from the video, even the 'made up' on the fly gestures by the presenter as 'examples' are what Apple ended up using on the iPhone.

And Apple tries to paint MS as the company that rips off other people's technologies... Geesh...

Any patent battle between Apple and Palm will not be left unnoticed by the other mobile companies (Microsoft, etc.) I'm sure they'd join in on Palm's side not to help Palm, but to shove this ludicrous patent into the ground.

i have been under the impression, ever since apple demoed the iphone and Microsoft demoed 'surface' that the two multi-touch technologies were VERY different ... the tech that apple uses in the iphone is small enough to fit in a hand-held device ... Microsoft's 'surface' uses a series of projectors that sit at the bottom of the table, which detects input from one or multiple fingers ... even if Microsoft wanted too, they couldn't incorporate their multi-touch tech into a handheld, they would need to 'refine' their tech ... and not use the same method apple uses (which is now patented)

okay i guess i have to comment then

I hate the patent system, some strange legal company is made to sue everyone at the touch of a patent that someone holds from years ago suddenly shows up years after such instead of getting on suing before a product is popular, is a current problem(one right now i can think of is Parental Control on tvs/ect).

As for the patent here, it basically pertains to the whole device, and apparentlly finger gesturing.

My whole thing is that a lot of this **** came from Science Fiction overall before it became real, and the fact that no one decided to patent LCARS, or the Minority Report(or any other science fiction tech) gesturing is either bad hindsight, or some other stupid reason(like the patent office only giving such to real capable to make things?). Basically my thing is that: if it's been seen, invisioned in media, then no one should be able to patent/copyright such, and that goes for the multi-touch and gesturing.

The device is a goddamn PADD = Personal Access Display Device (although with higher functions than a PDA of StarTrek due to technological advances).

Microsoft Surface – Multi-touch Technology and Patents

Multi-touch technology has been there quite for some time and some patents are filed on different ideas. Apple has filed a patent for Multi touch gesture dictionary too. FINGERWORKS, INC. had filed for many patents and had few products like iGesture, TouchStream etc. The company seems to have ceased its business for the reasons not known. Microsoft too has more than 5000 patents to its credit for various ideas. They are bound to make many more based in Microsoft Surface.

It is reported that theUnited States Patent Application by Microsoft bearing number 20070192550 citing “Adaptive Granularity Refinement In Detecting Potential Data Races” is said to be the patent for Microsoft Surface. But the same is not clear. Microsoft also files a patent application for ‘A display system and method for use in controlling movement of a virtual image version of a physical object is described’ against 20070188444, which probably would be useful for Microsoft Surface.

Apple’s United States Patent Application number 20060097991 dated May 11, 2006 for “Multipoint touchscreen” is for ‘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’. Another application 20060026521 from Apple, ‘Gestures for touch sensitive input devices’ is for ‘Methods and systems for processing touch inputs are disclosed. The invention in one respect includes reading data from a multipoint sensing device such as a multipoint touch screen where the data pertains to touch input with respect to the multipoint sensing device, and identifying at least one multipoint gesture based on the data from the multipoint sensing device.’

Im sure microsoft will have their arses covered witht their implementation of multitouch and will have something to say about the matter, we shall see soon enough I guess...

Source

I'm not too worried about MS, as you said they'll have their bases covered anyway. It's Palm I'm worried about, the Palm Pre could of saved them but I doubt they'll still be around after Apple sues them to the stone age for patent infringement. Hopefully Apple and Palm can come to some sort of agreement they honors Apples patent and allows Palm to release the Pre, as I'd hate to see the Pre fade into history as a *might of been*.

I think palm has a few aces up its sleeve that they hae yet to reveal, they seem very confident in the ability to fight off apple in the event of any law suite being filed

No aces required. Palm and MS have their own software (and hardware) that implements multi-touch without the need to take any of Apple's. The concept and use of multi-touch is NOT patentable by Apple.

Xerxes said,
I'm not too worried about MS, as you said they'll have their bases covered anyway. It's Palm I'm worried about, the Palm Pre could of saved them but I doubt they'll still be around after Apple sues them to the stone age for patent infringement. Hopefully Apple and Palm can come to some sort of agreement they honors Apples patent and allows Palm to release the Pre, as I'd hate to see the Pre fade into history as a *might of been*.

Sorry to be pedantic, but the phrase you were looking for is "might HAVE been". That was emphasis, not shouting btw.

From a business perspective, this is great for them! First patent on the block to do the best w/ multi-touch on portable devices means that what they did was truly innovative (no surprise) and that copycats will pay royalties.

From a PERSONAL perspective... I'm ****ed with Apple for the iPhone only being available on AT&T's network. I'm a happy Verizon customer, and refuse to switch because AT&T's network BLOWS. Nothing like not being able to use your device (get calls, send mail, surf, etc) because of your carrier. This makes me ****ed because any "copycats" will be put "out of business", which means I have to choose a 1) subpar network/provider or 2) subpar equipment... or 3) carry multiple devices (and I refuse to).

So in order for this to not effect me, I need Apple to get onboard with Verizon. Please!?

Josh said,
I'm ****ed with Apple for the iPhone only being available on AT&T's network. I'm a happy Verizon customer, and refuse to switch because AT&T's network BLOWS.


The iPhone is a GSM phone, so they can market it worldwide (without having to make multiple different models). Verizon is CDMA, not GSM. Therefore it is impossible to use the iPhone on Verizon since the network is not compatible. End of story. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Verizon_Wireless#Network

I said it in the forum and i'll say it again, they do not have a patent for multi-touch, it's a patent for the device as a whole, they don't have a prayer for getting a patent for multi-touch, you can't patent somebody else's idea.

SIE said,
I said it in the forum and i'll say it again, they do not have a patent for multi-touch, it's a patent for the device as a whole

I don't know I've read thru the meat and potatos of that patent and it's not for multi-touch itself, but the ability of multi-touch screens to interpret gestures like (but not limited to) pinch/swipe/and rotate that use heuristics to interpret. That's pretty big!

Umm did you not read "A computer-implemented method for use in conjunction with a computing device with a touch screen display comprises: detecting one or more finger contacts with the touch screen display, applying one or more heuristics to the one or more finger contacts to determine a command for the device, and processing the command."

I haven't exactly read the whole document yet but where are you getting that it's only for the device as a whole? Can you explain yourself or provide some other documentation or link. While waiting for that, I'll finish reading the patent.

dogmai79 said,
I haven't exactly read the whole document yet but where are you getting that it's only for the device as a whole? Can you explain yourself or provide some other documentation or link. While waiting for that, I'll finish reading the patent.

Man just read the patent already. It isn't that hard. Use the link from the article.

You can't patent the idea, just Apple's SPECIFIC hardware and (possibly) software for doing it. Anyone can create their own multi-touch interface from scratch...no problemo.

creamhackered said,
Umm did you not read "A computer-implemented method for use in conjunction with a computing device with a touch screen display comprises: detecting one or more finger contacts with the touch screen display, applying one or more heuristics to the one or more finger contacts to determine a command for the device, and processing the command."


I read the title " Apple awarded multi-touch patent", were they awarded a patent for multi-touch?

ermax said,
Man just read the patent already. It isn't that hard. Use the link from the article.


I read part of it but was too busy at the time to look over the whole thing. I had to take off, other things to do.

How does this threaten the Microsoft surface? Surface was in development (I used one way back in 2007) long before the date Apple applied for the patent.

GP007 said,
The Surface doesn't even use the same sorta touch tech, MS already has a patent for the surface tech iirc.


And what about the touch feature of Windows 7? Will this effect it?

DSLJay said,
And what about the touch feature of Windows 7? Will this effect it?


I imagine not... Windows 7's touch functionality is based on Surface...

I am confused. There are already a billion multi touch patents already. The patent system is useless these days.

Ok, after reading some of this patent it is very specific to their implementation of multi touch. I wouldn't use this as bragging rights that they invented multi touch though. I am sure their will be a million fanboys out their claiming Apple invented the technology though. "Oh yes they did invented it... they hold the patent". hahaha.

They will re name it "Multi User Control Points" or something and make a new patant... Thats how the system works... After all theres a patent for everything u know...

I thought i saw everything untill i saw a flow chart for making a burger from Macas...