Apple patents hybrid wireless/wired earbuds for iPhone that are magnetically detachable

By Christian Zibreg on Mar 1, 2016

The United States Patent & Trademark Office (USPTO) on Tuesday awarded Apple a patent for magnetically detachable earbuds for an iPhone that could work in both wired and wireless mode. The invention is of particular interest in light of the rumor that the next iPhone will ditch the 3.5mm headphone jack in favor of Lightning-enabled and wireless Bluetooth headphones.

The proposed device would use two cables, one to connect the headphones together in wireless mode (like the connecting cable found on the Beats Solo2 wireless headphones) and the other to connect the headphones to a host device in wired mode. Read More


Apple patent would use Apple Watch to intelligently adjust iPhone alert volume on the fly

By Christian Zibreg on Feb 11, 2016

Apple has been researching software solutions that would tap into a user’s Apple Watch to intelligently adjust an iPhone’s alert volume on the fly, by monitoring and comparing ambient sound samples.

Filed for with the United States Patent & Trademark Office (USPTO) back in 2014 and published on Thursday, the patent application titled “Volume control for mobile device using a wireless device” outlines volume control adjustments by having a Watch’s built-in microphone sample an alert generated on an iPhone to “detect a distinct contribution corresponding to the audible alert.” Read More


Apple exploring panic mode for Touch ID

By Christian Zibreg on Nov 5, 2015

Apple has submitted a new patent application with the United States Patent & Trademark Office (USPTO) Thursday that would make the iPhone more secure by allowing users to place their device in a lock-down mode simply by putting a certain finger on the Touch ID fingerprint sensor.

Titled “fingerprint activation of a panic mode of operation for a mobile device,” it describes unlocking a Touch ID device with a specific finger to activate a special lock-down mode that would make personal data stored on the device inaccessible to the user, or activate different modes of operation based on the particular fingerprints. Read More


USPTO denies Apple’s petitions for review of VirnetX patents

By Christian Zibreg on Feb 18, 2015

The Patent Trial and Appeal Board of the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) today denied five petitions for so-called inter partes review filed by Apple, which sought to challenged the validity of certain claims of three of VirnetX’s U.S. patents at stake.

The patent board has determined that the five petitions were not filed within the time limit imposed by the statute and therefore has declined to institute review of these claims between the parties involved. Read More


Apple researching a Home button that pops up and transforms into a thumb joystick

By Christian Zibreg on Jan 15, 2015

On any given Thursday the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) would publish newly granted patents and patent applications and today was no exception.

We already told you about one invention for a technology that would make it possible to synchronize your fingerprint data between devices through iCloud in a secure manner.

And now, PatentlyApple points us to another Apple patent application describing a Home button that would pop up and transition into a tiny thumb joystick for playing games. Read More


Apple files patent stylus that can capture writing on any surface

By Jake Smith on Dec 30, 2014

Apple has been granted a patent by the USPTO on Tuesday that describes a stylus that will allow a user to write on any surface, and translate it onto their iPhone or iPad. The feature set is similar to the Livescribe 3 Smartpen, that works on Livescribe Dot Paper by using an onboard camera.

However, the technology Apple has applied for sounds more advanced and more seamless. Instead of using a camera and specialized paper, Apple’s stylus uses accelerometers and motion-sensing to activate only when picked up, its nib is pressed to paper, withdrawn from a dock or manually turned on by the user.  Read More


U.S. Patent Office rejects Apple patent Samsung was found to infringe

By Cody Lee on Aug 8, 2014

Apple and Samsung may have called a truce in patent litigation overseas, but here in the United States, they’re still locked in a heated battle. The two firms are wrapping up post-trial hearings from their 2012 meeting, and they’ve just begun post-trial activities for this year’s lawsuit.

This week a significant development has occurred, which could have a major impact in the ongoing fight. The US Patent Office has rejected several claims of one of the patents Apple asserted against Samsung in their most recent infringement trial, saying certain parts aren’t valid… Read More


Massive setback for Android: Apple’s ‘Steve Jobs patent’ reconfirmed for original iPhone

By Ed Sutherland on Oct 18, 2013

In a case of good timing, the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has reconfirmed a multitouch patent credited to Apple’s late co-founder Steve Jobs and the original iPhone design.

On the sixth anniversary of the iconic smartphone, the U.S. government reaffirmed the massive patent that was called into question in 2012.

Jobs was among the more than two-dozen people named in the massive 364-page patent filed in 2006.

The USPTO had issed a preliminary invalidation of the patent package, but now believes all 20 patents are valid… Read More


Apple researching audio hyperlinks technology to control devices from podcasts

By Ed Sutherland on Aug 8, 2013

Remember the hokey demonstrations of hypnotism, where people are given commands to honk like a duck when a bell rings? Substitute podcasts for the hypnotists and a hyperlink for a duck quack and you’ve got Apple’s latest patent application.

The application, published Thursday by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, outlines a way to encode device commands in audio signals. While Apple uses the example of enhanced podcasts which embed commands to visit a webpage or view an image stored on your device, the technology is also seen as a way to include ads in the upcoming iTunes Radio service… Read More


Apple trademarks new green FaceTime logo

By Cody Lee on Jun 30, 2013

Here we are, nearly 3 weeks after Apple took the wraps off of iOS 7, and folks are still talking about the drastic redesign. The overall consensus seems to be that most people like it, but many are hoping that Apple will do some serious fine-tuning before its public release this fall.

In fact, rumor has it that the software isn’t nearly as far along as previous versions have been in their initial betas. So even the folks that are unhappy with iOS 7’s current state are optimistic that it will see big changes. But if this new trademark filing is any indication, it won’t… Read More


New Apple patents granted, covering multitouch, iPhone 5 and Lightning

By Ed Sutherland on Jun 18, 2013

Among the nearly 40 Apple patents granted today by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) are ones covering multi-touch technology, as well as designs for the iPhone 5 and the Lightning connector. The widest-ranging group of patents involves the multi-touch technology for the iPhone 5 and latest iPads and iPods.

Meanwhile, Apple’s Senior Vice President of Design, Jonathan Ive, is given lead credit for designing the iPhone 5… Read More


Obama administration takes aim at patent trolls with legislative changes

By Ed Sutherland on Jun 5, 2013

After spending last week under the hot lights of Congressional investigators about its taxes, Apple hopes to switch gears and ask for government help fighting so-called patent trolls. Among the iPhone maker’s potential allies: U.S. President Obama, who reportedly plans to limit such costly legal nuisance lawsuits.

As part of the proposed plan the White House is expected to unveil, the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) would gain some teeth, requiring patent holders to disclose companies which actually own the technology, reports the Wall Street Journal… Read More


USPTO withdraws its objections to Apple’s ‘iPad mini’ trademark

By Christian Zibreg on Apr 8, 2013

We told you how the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) recently turned down Apple’s trademark application for the iPad mini because its review team deemed the moniker as ”merely describing” the product. They also mentioned that other identities have applied for the ‘iPad’ trademark, meaning there’s a “likelihood of confusion between the marks.”

As it turns out, the USPTO has now withdrawn these two main objections, in turn allowing Apple to keep the ‘iPad mini’ trademark, provided it amends the filing with some interesting fine print. Jump past the fold for full details… Read More


USPTO again invalidates rubber-banding patent, Apple says not to worry

By Christian Zibreg on Apr 2, 2013

Having rejected Apple’s iPad mini trademark application last week, the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has now dealt another major blow to the iPhone maker. For the second time, USPTO has invalidated the key claim of Apple’s so-called rubber-banding patent, an iPhone feature which bounces the user interface when a user scrolls content past the end of a page. USPTO last October ruled the invention invalid. On the other hand, while this “final” decision certainly has more weight than the first, Apple still has a few options left until the ruling becomes truly final… Read More


US Patent Office turns down Apple’s iPad mini trademark application

By Cody Lee on Mar 30, 2013

Apple’s been having some pretty bad luck on the patent and trademark front lately. It recently lost a trademark battle in Mexico for its world-renown ‘iPhone’ moniker, and it’s fighting a similar battle in Brazil.

And that bad luck continues this week with reports claiming that the United States Patent and Trademark Office has turned down the Cupertino company’s trademark application for its just-launched iPad mini… Read More


Apple is researching iPhone technology that could anticipate your actions

By Ed Sutherland on Feb 26, 2013

Wouldn’t it be great if your iPhone could learn your behavior, noting you hold your handset with both hands when texting and always use a 45-degree angle when making calls?

That’s essentially the purpose of a newly-discovered Apple patent covering an “intuitive portable electronic device.”

The patent, filed in 2011, polls an array of sensors onboard your smartphone, permitting an iPhone to adjust its behavior without you making the adjustments. Imagine your usually annoying ringtone changing to a bit of Brahms when the phone detects your bedroom’s lower light levels… Read More


Apple wins patent for improved haptic feedback

By Ed Sutherland on Feb 19, 2013

The use of haptic feedback in smartphones is increasingly commonplace, however until now Apple has shied away from using the technology in its multitouch devices, such as the iPhone and iPad. However, the prospect is now open for a multitouch keyboard that provides consumers a tactile response, according to an Apple patent grant by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

Apple first applied a filing for the invention back in 2009 to solve the problem of multiple haptic signals interfering with each other, thereby confusing users. Apple outlined a way to localize the haptic feedback by using secondary sensors which cancel-out the confusing signals. In this way, when an iPhone owner hits the ‘L’ key, he won’t also receive a vibration under the ‘K’ key of a virtual keyboard… Read More


Apple patent focuses on ending blurry iPhone photos

By Ed Sutherland on Feb 14, 2013

Don’t you wish you could avoid the usual routine after taking photos with your iPhone: sifting through shots to eliminate the ones where your thumb is perfectly exposed – but your special someone is blurred beyond recognition. Your worries may be over, as a new patent reveals Apple wants to make you a better camera phone photographer. The camera Apple outlined in the filing is designed to continuously capture and store images in a buffer until you release the shutter.

Your mobile device takes from there to automatically scan the buffer, rate the pictures just taken using a number of parameters and present you with the best image… Read More


Forget the iWatch, Apple is researching iHuman – a wearable computer

By Ed Sutherland on Feb 12, 2013

Have you followed the talk of a possible iWatch from Apple, an all-glass iOS device supposedly putting a smartphone on your wrist? That would be small potatoes compared to a whole network of sensors turning your body into a walking, talking Apple device.

In an 84-page filing with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, the iPhone and iPad maker describes what it calls a “Personal items network.” Covering you head-to-toe, sensors would detect movement, temperature – even track how fast your heart beat when watching certain television shows, according to a Tuesday report… Read More


Apple won more than a thousand patents in 2012, Samsung 4x as many

By Christian Zibreg on Jan 14, 2013

Ah, the patent mess. Nothing gets faboys and haters more worked up than Apple’s inventions (or ‘inventions’, depending on your point of view). This is especially true for the submissions that cover the most obvious of ideas, like the rectangular iPad design Apple successfully asserted against rivals.

According to data from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) and published last Thursday by IFI Claims, Apple has been awarded a total of 1,135 patents in 2012. This ranked the company 21st among all of the observed companies worldwide, a 68 percent increase. In 2011, Apple ranked 39th with 676 patents.

This notable rise probably means Apple’s ‘lifelong skier’ and chief lawyer Bruce Sewell and his team have been submitting patents at a more rapid clip in order to protect Apple’s business. Another take: patent offices around the world could have simply granted more Apple patents in 2012 (not all submissions get greenlit) than in 2011… Read More

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