"And boy have we patented it ! "

Discussion in 'iPhone' started by MacDryCleaner, May 28, 2008.

  1. MacDryCleaner macrumors regular

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    #1
    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?
     
  2. mr.stinki macrumors 6502

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    #2
    It seems to me that apple doesn't defend it's patents as good as it should...
     
  3. s8film40 macrumors 6502

    s8film40

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    #3
    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.
     
  4. SFStateStudent macrumors 604

    SFStateStudent

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    #4
    Well don't the Blackberries stop working at least a few hours every year? :p
     
  5. s8film40 macrumors 6502

    s8film40

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    #5
    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.
     
  6. PoitNarf macrumors 65816

    PoitNarf

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    #6
    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.
     
  7. Walter P Henson macrumors member

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    #7
    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
     
  8. bacaramac macrumors 65816

    bacaramac

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    #8
    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.
     
  9. SkyBell macrumors 604

    SkyBell

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    #9
    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.
     
  10. lindsayanng macrumors 68000

    lindsayanng

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    #10
    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.
     
  11. DreamPod macrumors 65816

    DreamPod

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    #11
    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...
     
  12. needthephone macrumors 6502a

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    #12
    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.
     
  13. Sardukar macrumors member

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    #13
    lol.. Apple didn't invent multitouch, nor have they patented it. All they have done is patent the implementation of it - nothing else.
     
  14. zainjetha macrumors 6502a

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    #14
    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.
     
  15. t0mat0 macrumors 603

    t0mat0

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    #15
    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?
     
  16. needthephone macrumors 6502a

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    #16
  17. Chaszmyr macrumors 601

    Chaszmyr

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    #17
    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.
     
  18. needthephone macrumors 6502a

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    #18
    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.
     
  19. psychofreak Retired

    psychofreak

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    #19
    Well Apple didn't invent pinching pictures like that.
     
  20. arkitect macrumors 601

    arkitect

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    #20
    I always took what he (SJ) said with a large pinch of salt…

    :eek:
     
  21. t0mat0 macrumors 603

    t0mat0

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    #21
    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

    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..

    True, as a company, patents, IP strengthens Apple.
     
  22. kdarling macrumors demi-god

    kdarling

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    #22
    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.

    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.
     
  23. needthephone macrumors 6502a

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    #23
    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.
     
  24. kdarling macrumors demi-god

    kdarling

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    #24
    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.
     
  25. needthephone macrumors 6502a

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    #25
    Great link. The patent lawyers are going to get rich then...
     

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