Apple’s Latest Patent Victory: In-Call Multitasking

By , Dec 21, 2011

Apple is having quite the week, especially considering we are just a few short days away from Christmas. First, the lawyers Apple keeps in a Cupertino basement successfully got the ITC to ban HTC’s handsets due to a patent infringement, and now the company has been granted yet another patent to beat the competition with.

The patent awarded is for a ”portable electronic device with graphical user interface supporting application switching.” That may sound extremely wide-reaching, but we are told that things get a little more specific than that, should Apple actually decide to wield this particular club.

What the patent boils down to is the ability to multitask during a call, something the iPhone was praised for back in the day…

We are currently taking bets on how long it is before Apple finds an Android skin or overlay which comes close to at least pretending to behave the same as this patent. After all, that’s what patents are for anyway, isn’t it?

It almost seems like Apple is more interested in gaining patents and using them against the competition than anything else at the moment. If that is how the game has to be played, then so be it, but we would still rather everyone just got along nicely.

We’ve included the whole patent description below, mainly because it is possibly the longest sentence we have ever seen, and thus, is a thing of beauty.

Enjoy!

“A method, comprising: at a portable electronic device with a touch screen display: displaying on the touch screen display a first user interface for a phone application during a phone call; detecting activation of a menu icon or menu button during the phone call, in response to detecting activation of the menu icon or menu button, replacing the first user interface for the phone application with a menu of application icons including an icon for the phone application and an icon for a non-telephone application; maintaining the phone call while displaying the menu of application icons on the touch screen display; detecting a finger gesture on an application icon in the menu of application icons other than the phone application icon; in response to detecting the finger gesture on the application icon other than the phone application icon, displaying a corresponding application user interface on the touch screen display while continuing to maintain the phone call and modifying the corresponding application user interface to include a switch application icon that is not displayed in the corresponding application user interface when there is no ongoing phone call; detecting a finger gesture on the touch screen display on the switch application icon; and in response to detecting the finger gesture on the switch application icon, replacing display of the corresponding application user interface with the first user interface for the phone application while continuing to maintain the phone call.”

We told you!

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  • http://www.facebook.com/soto619 David Soto

    Looks like Apple is going to drop a nuke on android.

    • Anonymous

      They _have_ been for a while. They’ve already gotten injunctions against HTC and Samsung in various markets to block their Android products.

  • http://www.facebook.com/soto619 David Soto

    Looks like Apple is going to drop a nuke on android.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Trevor-Peterson/561615314 Trevor Peterson

    What’s next? Apple wins patent that no one can make a phone call with a touch screen phone?

    I’ve had an iPhone for 3 1/2 years but these patents are getting ridiculous. I don’t understand or see how any of this is good for innovation.

    Soon enough Apple is gonna be the only smart phone provider that can do anything a smart phone is suppose to.

  • keon lumsden

    Steve jobs told cook if anything happened to him to sue the pants android for any and everything it could…..even the dumb stuff

  • http://twitter.com/x_rus_x Vitaliy Anonymous

    Okay, my shitty blackberry can do that. While I am talking, I can check my contacts, or messages.

    • Anonymous

      Even my Nokia dumbphone can do that!

      • Anonymous

        This is why the patent system is borked, what Apple did was add “Touch Based Device”, otherwise everything they describes has massive amount of Prior Art, I mean my old Windows Mobile could do this, but it used a stylus.
        Software patents should be thrown out, how can you patent math formulas?

  • Jhonneri Munoz

    WoW that’s all I can say

  • http://profiles.google.com/tom.andersen Tom Andersen

    Patents are no longer something that adds value to society.

    Without patents goods would be higher quality, as makers would ‘perfect’ the item before shipping, instead of shipping alpha quality crap. They need to ship fast now for prior art reasons.

    Without patents real innovation can take place in secret – much as it does today. Places like China will surge ahead based on the lack of this sort of crap.

  • http://twitter.com/lmscientist Lazy Mad Scientist

    I would gladly shoot this patent down. Its not helping any innovation, rather its making it utterly IMPOSSIBLE to create a program without bumping against 2-3 different patents. Patents are made to counter-attack replica’s, to claim “I am the first”.

    These kind of software patents are only valid in America. In other countries, there must be hardware or interaction with devices for the patent to be valid. In other words, if it is part of the hardware, it can be patented. If the “hardware” is a computer or logical device, it cannot. Example: If you use software to define an ASIC (type of programmable chip) it is hardware. If you make a program that can run on that same chip, but it doesnt alter the physical state of that chip, then its software.

    I heard rumours about Android not being capable of using multi-touch in america, this is why: Software patents.

  • Anonymous

    Even though I prefer using a Mac for years and enjoying an iPhone there is only one thing left to say to Apple: F* you! This is so ridiculous! Even my Siemens S55 dumbphone from 2002 had full Menu/App (yes even the Java Apps were accessible) access during a call.
    Ok the S55 wasn’t equipped with a touch screen but Skype could be used on any Windows tablet for years while running or using other programs. That’s the same or am I wrong here?
    Isn’t that prior art? In my opinion this is lacking inventive level and non-obviousness.