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Apple targeted by patent troll on every touch product

Posted: , by Michael H.

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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

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posted on 24 Apr 2012, 23:13 7

1. RaKithAPeiRiZ (Posts: 1385; Member since: 29 Dec 2011)


the final assault has begun

posted on 24 Apr 2012, 23:15 2

2. eaxvac (Posts: 328; Member since: 15 Jan 2012)


At least they have their own patent, unlike Google who stole it and distribute them to Android manufacturers as if its their own.

posted on 25 Apr 2012, 01:33 8

7. chadrick0814 (Posts: 208; Member since: 23 Nov 2011)


I think you actually mean "slide to unlock.". You know, that thing that was invented and used well before Apple patented it as if it was their own and started suing everyone over it.

posted on 25 Apr 2012, 01:47 9

11. wumberpeb (Posts: 445; Member since: 14 Mar 2011)


Don't feed the trolls...they're never full

posted on 25 Apr 2012, 04:26 1

15. NaRFL (Posts: 25; Member since: 09 Apr 2012)


bitch pleae!

posted on 24 Apr 2012, 23:18 7

3. wumberpeb (Posts: 445; Member since: 14 Mar 2011)


This is ridiculous, as this would affect every modern smartphone, and likely tablets, if I'm not mistaken...

Trolling at it's finest, or worst if you wanna look at it that way

posted on 24 Apr 2012, 23:27 3

4. wumberpeb (Posts: 445; Member since: 14 Mar 2011)


Scratch that part about EVERY smartphone or tablet, not sure what a Magic Mouse or Magic Trackpad is...still dumb that companies and their lawyers think they can feed off of Apple (or any company) in the hopes for some out of court settlement. Rambus anyone?

posted on 25 Apr 2012, 01:46 2

10. Leo_MC (Posts: 601; Member since: 02 Dec 2011)


No, the only thing ridiculous is US patent system.
Come on, how can a company get a patent that is already used in another device? Make a f* database, US and stop wasting everyone's money.

posted on 25 Apr 2012, 01:48 1

12. wumberpeb (Posts: 445; Member since: 14 Mar 2011)


Its still ridiculous, but you're right as well. Doesn't take away from my original point

posted on 25 Apr 2012, 07:04

16. Leo_MC (Posts: 601; Member since: 02 Dec 2011)


In EU Apple's patent claims almost never got answered because of a different system, in Asia is the same thing; the only problem is in US market.
So this will affect only the smartphones sold in US because FCC - if I'm not mistaking - does a lousy job.

posted on 25 Apr 2012, 22:05 1

22. Forsaken77 (Posts: 552; Member since: 09 Jun 2011)


As I recall, the patent war started in Germany between Apple and Samsung, then travelled around the world. The U.S. was the last stop on their global tour. So it seems the international patent system has some work to do. And you can make any product you want. It's the responsibility of the original patent holder to realize you're using their ideas.

posted on 25 Apr 2012, 07:57

17. tedkord (Posts: 5302; Member since: 17 Jun 2009)


It is overly broad. They should only sue for valid issues, like rectangle shapes and black bezels.

posted on 24 Apr 2012, 23:33 4

5. Lucas777 (Posts: 2137; Member since: 06 Jan 2011)


how can you patent a gesture… maybe if it was the technology that read the gesture, but a gesture in itself is ridiculous..

and ps michael h, this started before the earnings call this morning-- not an important detail but just wanted to let u know

posted on 25 Apr 2012, 01:43 2

9. JC557 (Posts: 1164; Member since: 07 Dec 2011)


Our friend from Xerox was ahead of the curve:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S8lCetZ_57g

Not to mention the other companies that put that idea to fruition and expanded upon it.

posted on 25 Apr 2012, 08:04

18. tedkord (Posts: 5302; Member since: 17 Jun 2009)


I was really beginning to think this video was barely related to the topic, when the fellow opened a book on the desktop, used a multitouch gesture to highlight a paragraph in the book, and dragged and dropped it in his presentation.

Apple ripped alot more than the GUI off Xerox. Looks like Xerox were the real geniuses.

posted on 25 Apr 2012, 01:15 7

6. darktranquillity (Posts: 284; Member since: 28 Feb 2012)


Dear apple, you started it and it'll take you to your end:)

posted on 25 Apr 2012, 01:33 3

8. Bluesky02 (Posts: 1439; Member since: 05 Dec 2011)


Sue them to hell

posted on 25 Apr 2012, 10:45

20. gwuhua1984 (Posts: 1237; Member since: 06 Mar 2012)


Patent "using the middle finger to do the screen unlock"!

posted on 25 Apr 2012, 17:14

21. jmoita2 (Posts: 930; Member since: 23 Dec 2011)


And here is a gem I just saw on Phonescoop...

"Apple iPhone Violates Motorola Wi-Fi Patent"

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