Apple has been awarded its long sought after patent. Intellectual property pros say it is so extensive and far-reaching the iPhone manufacturer may be able to intimidate other smart phone producers from the U.S. market entirely.
Apple’s patent essentially gives ownership of the capacitive multitouch interface the firm pioneered with its iPhone to it, said one source who is involved in intellectual property litigation on similar matters.
What is more, the patent appears comprehensive enough in range to cover almost any mobile device having an interface that includes the finger movements used to control Apple’s touchscreen devices, the source said.
That means tablet computers which are just like the iPad, and media players of Apple -like interfaces could also be goals for the legal team of Apple.
Another patent specialist said Apple could use its recently awarded patent to “bully” rivals.
“This patent covers a kind of functionality without which it’ll be challenging to build a competitive smartphone,” said Florian Mueller, an award-winning intellectual property activist with 25 years of software sector expertise who blogs at Foss Patents.
“Unless this patent becomes invalidated, it’d enable Apple to stifle invention and bully competitors.”
Mueller did warn if prospective legal opponents were able to show that they didn’t merely ape the iPhone’s touchscreen interface finger swipe for finger swipe that the courts wouldn’t probably take the side of Apple.
“The method to read a patent claim is that it’s just infringed if the accused technology is implemented in its entirety all of the characteristics must be fit,” Mueller said.
“In this case, big portions of the independent claims 1 and 2 describe a smartphone, but additionally, there are special references to the ‘translation’ (in terms of relocation) of touchscreen contents with a touch gesture.
The first source also noted that Apple’s intellectual property rights could be construed to cover just the iPhone interface’s interaction with Web pages. But that’s still quite a debatable scenario for makers of iPhone – the source added.
“This patent covers smartphones that permit an user to manipulate the display of a Web page with finger gestures using distinct fingers and/or mixtures of fingers, so it seems broad enough to cover all modern touchscreen smartphones because they all let you use one finger to transfer the Web page left or right, and a mix of two fingers to zoom in and zoom from the web site,” the source said.
Apple could conceivably restrict makers of touchscreen smartphones, tablet computers, and other mobile devices from selling their products in the U.S. More likely is that Apple would reach a settlement with such challengers and start licensing its patented technology for a tidy new income stream.
If Apple does decide to play hardball and squeeze out competitions rather than set up cross licenses, the source said, it is entirely possible a court could find that in the public interest to scrap the patent rather than enable a monopoly on what has become a defining interface for a whole category of consumer apparatus.
Reading More >>