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MacDryCleaner

macrumors regular
Original poster
Jun 3, 2007
191
0
Hi All -

Remember the January 2007 iPhone announcement when King Steve was talking about multi-touch technology. He really went out of his way to indicate that the technology was patented.

Now it seems to be showing up all over the place? Specifically, the Microsoft goofs were introducing their multi-touch techno flop the other day and it seems to act exactly the same as what we are all used to with Macbook Air and iPhone / iTouch devices.

Maybe I am an idiot (and let's just assume I am) but I took from King Steve that "And boy have we patented it !" meant ... Just lookey no touchey.

Anybody? Bueller?
 

s8film40

macrumors 6502
Aug 14, 2007
480
41
I always took what he said to be more defensive. The thought the occurred to me were the issues RIM had in the past, where there were fears that due to patent lawsuits the Blacberrys would stop working.
 

s8film40

macrumors 6502
Aug 14, 2007
480
41
I don't know I've never had or wanted a Blackberry. I remember something on the news about the lawsuit and something about how they could stop working depending on the outcome of the lawsuit. I never understood what would make them stop working do they depend on some continuous service or something.
 

PoitNarf

macrumors 65816
May 28, 2007
1,217
7
Northern NJ
There is more than 1 way to program a solution to the same problem. Other companies implementations of multitouch may just be different enough on the technical side of things that they don't infringe upon Apple's patents.
 

Walter P Henson

macrumors member
May 5, 2008
83
0
I'm pretty sure I read somewhere that Microsoft's computer table thing uses a camera underneath the screen to track the touches (hence its size I assume) Given that the Iphone is much smaller and I doubt there is a camera in it I'm assuming that its a totally different method. Now let's think, which one is more applicable and doesn' cost 30,000 dollars a unit....:D
 

bacaramac

macrumors 65816
Dec 29, 2007
1,420
83
This was covered in another forum, but I basically understand that the patent covers how they implemented the multi touch not multi touch itself. Putting a patent on multi touch would be like putting a patent on seat belts for your car or your headlights.
 

SkyBell

macrumors 604
Sep 7, 2006
6,569
144
Texas, unfortunately.
This was covered in another forum, but I basically understand that the patent covers how they implemented the multi touch not multi touch itself. Putting a patent on multi touch would be like putting a patent on seat belts for your car or your headlights.

Yep, you can't really protect a patent on something that so many people use/are going to use, like a keyboard or plastic bottle, plus the examples mentioned by you.
 

lindsayanng

macrumors 68000
May 4, 2008
1,515
1
East Haven, CT
I do a lot of work with patents and ONE thing i can absolutely say is that if you have a good patent lawyer, you can ALWAYS get around an existing patent. Change something here to there or add something else. When it comes to BIG companies, they only say "our patented technology" so they can say WE MADE IT FIRST EVERYONE ELSE IS COPYING.

think of a BANDAIDE. and bandaide is a pantented design, but how many bandages are out there that have the same look and feel of a bandaid?

Patents are a GREAT thing for the small business owner or inventor with a really innovative idea that will not be in the public market for a while. basically, when a little guy comes up with a GREAT idea, he patents the idea and sells that idea to a BIG company. Apply might not have come up with the multitouch screen, but some little guy COULD have and sold the rights to it to apple.

Right now, i am working with a guy who has a patent on a retractable dog leash. Yep, theres LOTS of them out there, but HIS sticks into the ground and turns into a lead. He patented the idea, TRIED to sell it on his own, lost LOTS of money and sold the "idea" to a major pet supplies manufacture who will now be making those things.

the more complex a pantent, the easier it is to make a small change and have a WHOLE new patent.
 

DreamPod

macrumors 65816
Mar 15, 2008
1,243
161
The way I read it, Microsoft figured out a way to get multitouch out of a normal, single-touch touchscreen like you can already buy. That's nothing like the way Apple is doing it, with special technology specifically built for multitouch.

Of course, also note that Microsoft only ever showed two touches at once...
 

needthephone

macrumors 6502a
Apr 4, 2006
813
0
sydney
I also remember this and this came to mind when MS said about their multitouch windows coming in a few years time.

The thing is MS by making a not for sale prototype have not infringed any patents.

IF they launch it and start to profit from it then they could get in trouble.

Apple can patent the concept of multitouch i.e. using two or more gestures or movements. Its not just the technical implementation of how to do it which can be protected. Its the idea which is important here and I can see apple having great protection for it.

I work for a company which rigorously enforces patents and fights anyone who challenges them. Believe me you can protect your intellectual property if your patent is good enough. Its a myth that you can get around ANY patent otehrwise no one would bother getting a patent.
 

Sardukar

macrumors member
Mar 4, 2008
66
0
lol.. Apple didn't invent multitouch, nor have they patented it. All they have done is patent the implementation of it - nothing else.
 

zainjetha

macrumors 6502a
Aug 11, 2007
931
2
apple can only patent applications of multi-touch not the entire concept.. they havent done that. this is the funniest thing i heard all day.
 

t0mat0

macrumors 603
Aug 29, 2006
5,455
279
Home
At least via Fingerworks, Apple will have some touch-pad patents in the bank to start with. Macnn covers some of the patents- is there a central archive website for Apple specific patents? Has anyone actually indexed what those 200 odd patents were for?
 

needthephone

macrumors 6502a
Apr 4, 2006
813
0
sydney

Chaszmyr

macrumors 601
Aug 9, 2002
4,267
85
I imagine that it's not necessarily profitable to battle every last company using your patents. If I were to guess, I'd say that Apple only intends to attempt enforcing their patents if another iPhone-like device becomes a serious threat to iPhone sales.
 

needthephone

macrumors 6502a
Apr 4, 2006
813
0
sydney
IF MS, Nokia etc were to try you can bet they would take them on.

Its easy to say that say the pinch gesture is obvious but its an inventive step and good on apple to protect it.

Ideas are everything.
 

72930

Retired
May 16, 2006
9,060
4
IF MS, Nokia etc were to try you can bet they would take them on.

Its easy to say that say the pinch gesture is obvious but its an inventive step and good on apple to protect it.

Ideas are everything.

Well Apple didn't invent pinching pictures like that.
 

t0mat0

macrumors 603
Aug 29, 2006
5,455
279
Home
Well Apple didn't invent pinching pictures like that.

They did however snatch up Fingerworks, and also have a lot of patents out there. They have been thinking hard about problems raised now e.g. here regarding multi-touch pads for typing (one of it's primary weaknesses, with or without haptics). Mechanical overlays, physical dynamic underlays are both possible
Article entitled "Can Apple Patent the Pinch? Experts Say It's Possible" by Wired is here

Yet it appears that the company is not trying to patent the entire multitouch concept, but rather trying to protect certain uses of it -- specifically the methods to interpret gestures, and in some cases, the gestures themselves. Whether Apple succeeds in that attempt is still uncertain.

Chords and the gesture dictionary? See engadget and macrumors prior articles. We'll find out in a fortnight.

They were putting in patents come 2004, with Fingerworks patent portfolio there prior to Apple's work. It's not like they're not trying to patent such things

http://forums.appleinsider.com/showthread.php?s=&threadid=84581

On the other side, Synaptics were showing off their wares at Google's I/O via an Android phone here and painfully here (Pinch, momentum, chiral motion)

We wanna do fun stuff with gestures..

I imagine that it's not necessarily profitable to battle every last company using your patents. If I were to guess, I'd say that Apple only intends to attempt enforcing their patents if another iPhone-like device becomes a serious threat to iPhone sales.
True, as a company, patents, IP strengthens Apple.
 

kdarling

macrumors P6
Remember the January 2007 iPhone announcement when King Steve was talking about multi-touch technology. He really went out of his way to indicate that the technology was patented.

Unfortunately, people do not have time to do any research on their own. So they must depend on news bloggers, who write breathless headlines to bring people to their advertisement-driven websites.

Jobs is a salesman, not an engineer. Do you believe everything salespeople say to you? Of course not. He depends on the naive misinterpreting his carefully chosen phrases. The paragraph you're talking about went exactly like this:

"And we have invented a new technology called multi-touch, which is phenomenal." - New to Apple, that is.

"It works like magic." - Uh, no. Just seems like that to non-programmers.

"You don’t need a stylus." - You can't use most stylii with it.

"It’s far more accurate than any touch display that’s ever been shipped." - More accurate than anything Apple has ever shipped.

"It ignores unintended touches, it’s super-smart." - As anyone here knows, it does not ignore unintended touches. What he meant was, if you touch, hold and scroll, it cancels the initial click.

"You can do multi-finger gestures on it." - True.

"And boy, have we patented it." - By "it", he mostly means the phone, and probably mainly design patents. They did apply for some software patents, which are for a very, very specific way of interpreting touch.

Now it seems to be showing up all over the place?

Multi-touch has been around for 25 years. Gestures, ditto. Many companies, such as Microsoft, have R&D projects that do all sorts of cool things that don't see the light unless marketing sees an opportunity.

I have been doing touchscreens for well over fifteen years. Engineers like me are not swayed by simple special effects that anyone can do. We've also seen and done so many dog and pony shows ourselves, that we're not so gullible.
 

needthephone

macrumors 6502a
Apr 4, 2006
813
0
sydney
So who did a multi touch display with pinching first then?

I'm not saying I know but as far as I know the iphone was the first multitouch display with pinching.

Does anyone know if it's been done before then??? Where ??? Don't say fingerworks as apple brought them and ALL their IP.

Its easy to say its simple, its obvious but the simple ideas are the purest and the hardest to find.
 

kdarling

macrumors P6
So who did a multi touch display with pinching first then?

Here's a popular history link by Microsoft's principal researcher, Bill Buxton:

Multi-touch systems I've known

And more to the pinch, an iPhone UI review by the famous Bruce Tognazzini:

Ex-Apple designer's viewpoint

Tog not only notes that he did the pinch at Sun Microsystems, but that Buxton was a big proponent of multi-touch, decades ago.

As for simple stuff like fingertip page-flipping and scrolling, even I did that back around 1982 on touchpads. There's rarely anything new, except to consumers.
 
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