Apple Awarded 3 Multi-Touch Patents -- Including 1 Related to Pinch-to-Zoom

Discussion in 'Apple, Inc and Tech Industry' started by BC2009, Oct 14, 2010.

  1. BC2009 macrumors 68000

    BC2009

    Joined:
    Jul 1, 2009
    #1
    According to Patently Apple, Apple has just been issued 3 patents by the USPTO related to multi-touch. The most interesting of these is related to the "Pinch-to-Zoom" gesture which Google recently added to the Android operating system.

    As noted by Engadget, the pinch-to-zoom patent has some limitations with regards to the use of a "timer".

    The first few claims of US Patent 7812826 read as follows:

    1. A method, comprising: detecting at least two first contacts on a display surface of a multi-touch-sensitive display device; detecting a first motion associated with the at least two first contacts, wherein the first motion corresponds to a multi-touch gesture; adjusting a parameter of a graphical object in accordance with the first motion; detecting a breaking of the at least two first contacts; after detecting the breaking of the at least two first contacts, detecting at least two second contacts on the display surface; detecting a second motion associated with the at least two second contacts, wherein the second motion corresponds to the multi-touch gesture and the at least two second contacts are detected within a pre-determined time interval after the breaking of the at least two first contacts is detected; and continuing to adjust the parameter of the graphical object in accordance with the second motion.

    2. The method of claim 1, wherein adjusting the parameter is a non-linear function of a displacement of the first contacts during the multi-touch gesture.

    3. The method of claim 1, wherein the parameter comprises a magnification of the graphical object.

    4. The method of claim 1, wherein the parameter comprises an orientation of the graphical object.

    5. The method of claim 1, wherein the multi-touch gesture comprises rotation.

    6. The method of claim 1, wherein the multi-touch gesture comprises de-pinching, and wherein de-pinching includes displacing at least two contacts away from one another.


    Notice that claim 1 essentially claims any multi-touch gesture that adjusts some object, but then is discontinued, followed by starting a timer, and then detecting a time interval until the gesture is resumed. I'm not sure what (if anything) Apple can pursue here if their competitors do not employ the use of a timer after breaking the first set of multi-touch contacts. The following dependent claims clearly claim pinch-to-zoom for magnification or two-finger rotation with a timer.

    The invention's description says the use of such a timer might be to automatically remove an object from a canvas if the multi-touch gesture is not removed within a specified time interval. For example, dropping a new object on a canvas, adjusting it, and then abandoning it -- leaving the system to automatically remove the object once abandoned. But a patent is only limited by its claims, not by the described embodiments it may take.

    Very interesting......
     
  2. kdarling macrumors demi-god

    kdarling

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2007
    Location:
    Cabin by a lake
    #2
    Yeah, the examples are ... underwhelming. I'm not sure what its purpose is.

    It also references a ton of other patents, which usually means it's not unusually unique or basic.

    (One of the references is to my personal favorite, Philips Labs' 2002 patent for displaying a web page in its entirety, then zooming in on a section by tapping it. Sound familiar?)
     
  3. BC2009 thread starter macrumors 68000

    BC2009

    Joined:
    Jul 1, 2009
    #3
    The examples tend to revolve around when to "commit" a change that was made by the user. For example, a multi-touch drawing program may display "handles" on an object you are modifying when you start to manipulate it. You may break contact with the screen to discontinue one gesture and then start another one (possibly the same manipulation as before). Eventually you will be done modifying the object (say enlarge, rotate, then move). If the timer exceeds some value then the changes are committed and the "handles" disappear.

    The alternative would of course be to require that the user tap elsewhere (away from the object being edited) to discontinue editing and commit the changes.
     
  4. kdarling macrumors demi-god

    kdarling

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2007
    Location:
    Cabin by a lake
    #4
    Agreed, that was my impression as well.

    Which is why the patent seems so odd to me, because I can't figure out why a related gestural input to do that could get patented.

    I mean, if the whole point is to leave up controls for a timed period after the last manipulation, well that's not an uncommon UI method.

    Or maybe it is: most systems put up the controls upon first touch, not first actual rotate/pinch/etc. So that makes it a subset of a common method.

    Maybe it's before my morning coffee kicks in, but I just don't see how this got patented :)
     

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