Apple has been awarded a patent filed in 2007 regarding the iPhone’s multi-touch user interface. As reported by PCMag, this patent is so broad that it could give Apple unprecedented ability to pressure other smartphone makers in the U.S.

This patent outlines the multi-touch technology Apple employs in iOS. Theoretically, this patent gives Apple the rights to almost all of the multi-touch gestures and interface designs that currently exist in other devices on the market.

“Apple’s patent essentially gives it ownership of the capacitive multitouch interface the company pioneered with its iPhone, said one source who has been involved in intellectual property litigation on similar matters. That’s likely to produce a new round of lawsuits over the now-ubiquitous multitouch interfaces used in smartphones made by the likes of HTC, Samsung, Motorola, Research in Motion, Nokia, and others that run operating systems similar in nature to Apple’s iOS, like Google’s Android, said the source, who asked not to be named.

What’s more, the patent seems broad enough in scope to cover virtually any mobile device with an interface that incorporates the finger movements used to operate Apple’s touchscreen devices, the source said.”

The patent is for a “computer-implemented method, for use in conjunction with a portable multifunction device with a touch screen display, [that] comprises displaying a portion of page content, including a frame displaying a portion of frame content and also including other content of the page, on the touch screen display.

This includes very basic gestures, such as, panning around the screen, two-finger scrolling, etc.

Apple could end up playing hardball with this patent, which could result in a majority of other smartphone makers needing to pay hefty royalties.

“Apple could conceivably restrict makers of touchscreen smartphones, tablets, and other mobile devices from selling their products in the U.S. More likely is that Apple would reach a settlement with such competitors and start licensing its patented technology for a tidy new income stream.”

This patent is a huge playing card for Apple. It’s unclear as to what the implications of this patent will be, but companies like Samsung probably don’t stand a chance.

What do you think about this new patent? Does Apple have too much power?


  • Burge

    This is now getting out of hand…whats next ? Apple patent for the world…and any picture of a apple ..?

    • Joe

      Well they were the first to do it. Just like rim as a patent on gsm.

    • Apple wasn’t the first to use multi-touch. It’s been demonstrated at TED and in movies long before Apple released the iPhone.

      As for patenting any use of the Apple.. well Apple has sued over that. Just google Apple vs NYC recyling program, or I can make it easy for you:

      All the tech companies are becoming major patent trolls.

      • Taba

        I think you misunderstood what apple has a patent on…
        This patent gives Apple the rights to ALMOST all of the multi-touch GESTURES and INTERFACE DESIGNS that currently EXISTS in OTHER DEVICES on the market.
        That’s what’s written- It’s all business…smart business and everyones doing it. I don’t see a problem.

  • saleh

    now steve can be an ass legally

  • Jon Garrett

    just one more reason why I hate apple as a company and look forward to the day with steve jobs no longer runs the company.

    all this will do is encourage apple to hamper competition with its bullshit. this is NOT good for consumers who benefit the most by having a choice., we can choose what phone we want, and what OS we want to use. we dont want nor do we need one company that dominates the market….especially through bullying.

    • Joe

      Shut up your stupid. It’s just bussniess apple created a captive touch screen ui while everyone was using resistance, and they filed a pile for their creation. Just like rim has patents on gsm. It’s all fair. Stop being a clueless fanboy.

      • Lankanthug

        Clearly u dnt no wht fanboy is

  • Fabio Rodrigues

    does that means that the first company who create a touchscreen device can claim that kind of tecnology patent and charges apple for that??

    It would be soo nice to see that!

    off course that we don’t understand what goes behind the curtains about lawsuit worlds, but apple looks like a monster that don’t want any other companie to do their investiment in development, but their are kind of dictating something bad!, just my 2cents…

  • omakad

    Wow what’s with all the haters today? Why wouldn’t Apple protect themselves? They came up with the technology, why would they let others copy it and make money off of it? Customers will still have a choice. You can go with Apple that has smart technology or you can “choose” to go with the company that will not have multi touch and gestures. Still a choice. You can’t blame uncle Steve.

    • iDonJulio

      there are some haters on here… but sorry to burst your bubble, apple didnt create multi-touch,
      but it was smart to get the patent for it..

      • omakad

        You totally did burst my bubble :). Well than they have better business sense than others. I don’t feel like researching now, but I’m wondering how did they get the patent if they didn’t have anything to do with inventing it?

    • EM240

      I agree. Too many haters. No offense to the girls out there but most of these guys sound like a bunch of bitching little girls. Apple is being suid by companies as we speak and you don’t see them crying. Grab a tissue It’s business, don’t take it personal my friends.

      • I will pass my tissue box back to you. In case you aren’t keeping up with current events, Apple is suing just as many companies as there are companies suing it. It’s nothing but trolls trolling trolls over patent trolls and that’s the side business, Apple, Google, Microsoft, Motorola, RIM etc are involved in. They spend more on lawyers in one day than most of us probably make in an entire year.

  • steve

    Don’t hate the player, hate the (patent) game. I haven’t read the patent, but I imagine it goes into technical specifics even the coverage is apparently broad. If there is prior implementations of multitouch that Apple tried to cover in their patent, the USPTO would not grant the patent.

    Intellectual property aside, Apple did an absolutely stunning job with the overall design and implementation of the iPhone screen and interface. I’m not surprised they were able to secure many patents on different aspects of the design, I haven’t read the multitouch patent(s) so not sure what to think of those.

  • ME

    Apple FTW

  • Look at it this way… Everybody was taking cracks at the big player but now its payback time… Only seems fair to me, however it doesnt mean other companies wont use it they will just be licensees for the patent like apple is for nokia
    means more money = more R&D = better products 🙂

  • AnotherBrian

    Why should Apple let someone else patent it, that’s what would have happened. Also didn’t Apple just fork over a ton of Money to Nokia for some crap patents and they have to pay for every handset they make. I’m sure Apple pays many companies for their patents, just to sell a cell phone.

  • Eldaria

    So how does a patent in this case ensure inovation?
    The patent system is so broken it is scary.

  • Luis

    its easy to copy, its hard to design, so i support it…

    • Yes, it’s probably very hard to design and much easier to copy.

      And that was a year before the iPhone came out, so it must have been real easy for Apple to copy things like pinch to zoom.

  • siralsmooth

    Apple is getting outta hand. Who wants to bet that they’ll try to patent all the features they copied and implemented into the upcoming ios5. The more I see crap like this the happier I am not using an apple product anymore. The patent office shouldn’t allow patents for gestures or phrases. Just wait, soon enough anyone who flips the bird and yells f**k you will be eligible to get sued. Apples actions are almost comical at this point.

  • Braulio

    Well if patenting is the game they wanna play the jailbreak community should get in it as well for their apps and tweaks they create so that apple has to pay them for the hard work… Just saying so that people don’t complain about apple bringing the same features to iOS5.