Apple targeted by patent troll on every touch product
We're used to seeing Apple engaged in patent lawsuits, often as the plaintiff, although occasionally as the target. However, this time FlatWorld Interactives has targeted Apple, and targeted the company in a big way. And, of course this has to happen just after Tim Cook goes on record saying that he hates litigation.
FlatWorld Interactives holds a patent related to touch-based interactive museum displays, and it is claiming that all of Apple's touch devices - iPhone, iPad, and Macs using a Magic Mouse or Magic Trackpad - infringe on that patent. Apparently, the patent was granted back in 2005 and FlatWorld has only used the system described twice. The patent describes a system where you can "throw" objects off a screen when the "velocity of the touch exceeds a predetermined threshold," and describes certain gestures, although supposedly none of the gestures matches those used in any Apple device.
Adding to the suspicious nature of the claim is that even though the patent was granted in 2005, FlatWorld wasn't even incorporated until a couple of weeks after the iPhone was announced, and the patent request was reissued in July of 2007 with a few modifications. Overall, it doesn't seem like this is much of a threat to Apple, but if Tim Cook says he prefers settling, it's likely that more of these types of suits may come Apple's way.
source: Ars Technica