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Patently ridiculous: Google gets patent for multitouch trackpad

Posted: , by Michael H.

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Patently ridiculous: Google gets patent for multitouch trackpad
We've called out the US Patent and Trademark Office before on patents that it granted to Apple (on multiple occasions), and so it is our duty to point out when the USPTO grants a ridiculous patent to Google as well. This time, the patent is for a multitouch trackpad for use with Android. That's right, the USPTO has decided that adding official support for multitouch trackpads is a patentable idea. 

Just to be clear about this, the OG Asus Transformer laptop dock had a trackpad with multitouch support and was released in April of 2011. Apple obviously has had multitouch trackpads in Macbooks before then, but this patent is specific to touchscreen devices (because that's something completely new!) Google filed this patent in Q3 of 2011 and it was granted this month. So, we must applaud the USPTO for another job well done. Prior art be damned, because this patent is very slightly different. 

Anyway, despite Patently Apple's claim that this patent shows that Google is "clearly eyeing the desktop market for Android", the idea behind the patent is much more clearly to add official support for laptop docks like the one with the Transformer (and Transformer Prime, of course). The patent would add support for anyone who may want to put Android onto a laptop or netbook as well, but we would hardly say that is the aim of the patent, as it is far more likely that Google just wants to add support for devices already coming to market. The patent includes options for translating multitouch input into touchscreen actions, but also ways to use the trackpad as a virtual touchscreen. 

It's pretty likely that this patent will be challenged by Apple, since the company does have a few multitouch patents already, but we'll just have to see how those play out when they happen. Either way, it's nice that the USPTO wants to keep handing out patents like this. Just remember the USPTO motto: if it's broke, keep blindly hitting it with a hammer. 

Ugh. 

63 Comments
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posted on 22 Feb 2012, 15:16 18

1. squallz506 (banned) (Posts: 1075; Member since: 19 Oct 2011)


lmao, well done michael. i think you perfectly encapsulated our communal disgust with the USPTO.

posted on 22 Feb 2012, 15:19 7

2. biophone (Posts: 1968; Member since: 15 Jun 2011)


Great job michael another well written expoilt of the flawed patent system.

posted on 22 Feb 2012, 15:21 4

3. clevername (Posts: 1436; Member since: 11 Jul 2008)


This is ridiculous. For all the flack apple catches about stupid patents this is googles equivelant.

posted on 22 Feb 2012, 15:30 31

5. MichaelHeller (Posts: 2705; Member since: 26 May 2011)


And, as always, there is someone who completely misses the point.

1) The problem is not that companies are applying for these patents, but that the USPTO grants them.
2) Apple catches flack for getting these patents, then using them to sue others. As yet, Google has not used any patents to sue anyone, only to defend itself and its hardware partners from lawsuits.

posted on 22 Feb 2012, 15:39 2

8. protozeloz (Posts: 5396; Member since: 16 Sep 2010)


and having their ideas stolen, patented and used against them.....

posted on 22 Feb 2012, 15:55

9. gallitoking (Posts: 4720; Member since: 17 May 2011)


Michael .. when someone steals is a thief.. regardless if it is for pleasure or for necessity... Google is as guilty as charged...

posted on 22 Feb 2012, 15:58 13

11. MichaelHeller (Posts: 2705; Member since: 26 May 2011)


What theft has been made and who was stolen from? Apple didn't invent multitouch, and Apple never patented the use of a multitouch trackpad with a touchscreen device. So, by the ridiculous logic of the USPTO, this is a completely new idea.

posted on 22 Feb 2012, 16:05 10

13. thephoneguy92 (Posts: 191; Member since: 29 Dec 2011)


Michael, don't listen to gallito. He has proven time and again that his logic is flawed beyond belief. He believes that Apple is king of everything, and that anyone who says otherwise is wrong. I enjoyed the article, nice to know that some people can still be unbiased.

posted on 22 Feb 2012, 16:37 13

19. MichaelHeller (Posts: 2705; Member since: 26 May 2011)


Trust me, I know the trolls.

posted on 22 Feb 2012, 22:03 4

43. JC557 (Posts: 1570; Member since: 07 Dec 2011)


shame you can't really remove them.

posted on 23 Feb 2012, 08:54 1

53. remixfa (Posts: 14255; Member since: 19 Dec 2008)


is the dual touch track pad on the iMacs patented? I've always assumed it was.
Could this prevent apple from making a touch screen desktop/laptop with a multitouch enabled pad for input on mouse pad?

If the answer is no to the 2nd question, it seems like a really big future bargaining chip between the 2 companies. The patent seems silly to me, but it could be part of their mounted defense of their android system by trying to find the "patent holes" in apple's armor.
thoughts on that?

posted on 22 Feb 2012, 16:06 1

15. protozeloz (Posts: 5396; Member since: 16 Sep 2010)


I spot a troll.... U mad?

posted on 23 Feb 2012, 00:04

50. bayusuputra (Posts: 963; Member since: 12 Feb 2012)


gallito, who said great artists steal?

posted on 22 Feb 2012, 16:02 5

12. andro. (Posts: 1999; Member since: 16 Sep 2011)


Well said Michael

posted on 22 Feb 2012, 15:26 11

4. andro. (Posts: 1999; Member since: 16 Sep 2011)


Its all getting ridiculous now indeed with patents being issued

While Im not quite defending Google for applying for this patent its understandable to see Google or top android manufacturers now have to apply for such patents simply as a pre defense because of the fact that if they dont then apple will no doubt scrutinise and future patent the ideas as 'their invention' with view to sueing for millions or banning all android products to stop competition

posted on 22 Feb 2012, 15:32 10

6. theBankRobber (Posts: 681; Member since: 22 Sep 2011)


I find it ridiculous that this patents was filed in quarter 3, 2011 and was awarded when the patent for androids notification bar was filed in 2009 and still has YET been granted. Its BS to the fullest .

posted on 22 Feb 2012, 22:14

44. JC557 (Posts: 1570; Member since: 07 Dec 2011)


NeoNode may have a patent on slide to unlock but not sure

They has Twitter!
http://twitter.com/#!/uspto

Flame 'em on!

posted on 22 Feb 2012, 23:50 3

49. sprockkets (Posts: 1611; Member since: 16 Jan 2012)


The patent was filed in q3 of 2011 and *published* this month, NOT granted.

Btw, this patent describes basically new methods to map what you do on a touchpad to what it would do on the touchscreen, NOT what the article said about patenting the touchpad in general.

New? Seems to be. Novel? Yes? Done in software? Yes. Should be granted? No.

Better they have it instead of apple.

posted on 22 Feb 2012, 15:35 7

7. protozeloz (Posts: 5396; Member since: 16 Sep 2010)


willing to RAID the USPTO..... anyone with me?

posted on 22 Feb 2012, 22:14

45. JC557 (Posts: 1570; Member since: 07 Dec 2011)


spam 'em

http://twitter.com/#!/uspto

posted on 23 Feb 2012, 08:57 1

54. remixfa (Posts: 14255; Member since: 19 Dec 2008)


I say we go in there, and get rid of any patent that seems like its too... common or unspecific and burn em. Certain things should just have to be shared like those 3g radio patents so people cant get a lock on the system. Same with "slide to unlock" and a dozen other stupid patents.

posted on 23 Feb 2012, 17:51 1

62. LoneShaolin (Posts: 307; Member since: 14 Jan 2012)


I'm in.

posted on 22 Feb 2012, 15:58 1

10. gallitoking (Posts: 4720; Member since: 17 May 2011)


not surprise at all that fandroids using "is to defend themselves".... the USTPO is the one to blame since day one... just happy to see Google joining the dance...

posted on 22 Feb 2012, 16:05 6

14. protozeloz (Posts: 5396; Member since: 16 Sep 2010)


you actually read?

posted on 22 Feb 2012, 16:26 4

17. gallitoking (Posts: 4720; Member since: 17 May 2011)


I dont I get all this in audio tapes

posted on 22 Feb 2012, 16:14 7

16. MorePhonesThanNeeded (Posts: 645; Member since: 23 Oct 2011)


Yawn, shut up! Google is just doing as Apple does, exploiting the incredibly flawed and apparently fundamentally retarded individuals at the USPTO. Only difference Google doesn't go around trying to sue everyone and everything in existence because of said patent, they just like to have ammunition to defend themselves if need be. Google likes to play barter and we both can make money. Unless of course you are some tiny upstart, then they'll crush you like a tank on a sand castle.

posted on 22 Feb 2012, 16:28

18. gallitoking (Posts: 4720; Member since: 17 May 2011)


great article ..informative as always.. but now is clear which side you are on

posted on 22 Feb 2012, 16:41 16

20. MichaelHeller (Posts: 2705; Member since: 26 May 2011)


Yep, the side that's against software patents and the never-ending lawsuits that follow.

posted on 22 Feb 2012, 16:56

21. gallitoking (Posts: 4720; Member since: 17 May 2011)


even though you went dark side. love your work... but now Google is no different than Apple... now... different reasons.. though

posted on 22 Feb 2012, 18:31 7

30. downphoenix (Posts: 3165; Member since: 19 Jun 2010)


maybe google made the patent just to defend itself from Apple and isnt intending on using it to bully competitors out of the market.

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