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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: 1893; 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: 1429; 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: 2681; 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: 5378; 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: 4690; 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: 2681; 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: 2681; Member since: 26 May 2011)


Trust me, I know the trolls.

posted on 22 Feb 2012, 22:03 4

43. JC557 (Posts: 1142; Member since: 07 Dec 2011)


shame you can't really remove them.

posted on 23 Feb 2012, 08:54 1

53. remixfa (Posts: 13938; 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: 5378; Member since: 16 Sep 2010)


I spot a troll.... U mad?

posted on 23 Feb 2012, 00:04

50. bayusuputra (Posts: 941; Member since: 12 Feb 2012)


gallito, who said great artists steal?

posted on 22 Feb 2012, 16:02 5

12. andro. (Posts: 1960; Member since: 16 Sep 2011)


Well said Michael

posted on 22 Feb 2012, 15:26 11

4. andro. (Posts: 1960; 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: 647; 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: 1142; 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: 1238; 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: 5378; Member since: 16 Sep 2010)


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

posted on 22 Feb 2012, 22:14

45. JC557 (Posts: 1142; Member since: 07 Dec 2011)


spam 'em

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

posted on 23 Feb 2012, 08:57 1

54. remixfa (Posts: 13938; 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: 4690; 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: 5378; Member since: 16 Sep 2010)


you actually read?

posted on 22 Feb 2012, 16:26 4

17. gallitoking (Posts: 4690; 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: 631; 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: 4690; 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: 2681; 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: 4690; 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: 2358; 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.

posted on 22 Feb 2012, 19:19 7

33. MichaelHeller (Posts: 2681; Member since: 26 May 2011)


You can't just say that Google is no different than Apple without explaining yourself. As I said, Google has never used patents to sue other companies, it has only gotten patents for defense because of the screwed up patent system.

So, please, explain yourself.

posted on 22 Feb 2012, 19:27 1

34. gallitoking (Posts: 4690; Member since: 17 May 2011)


if you applied for dumb patents for either sued or to defend yourself.. it doesnt changes the fact that there still dumb patents.. the USTPO is playing us and playing Apple and all others... and now Google is playing that dumb game that Apple and all other now is playing.. making Apple and Google in the same boat that the USPTO is driving... example.. driving drunk or buzz driving is the same... same here..applying for dumb patents is wrong.. regardless of the intent..

posted on 22 Feb 2012, 19:34 5

35. cellphonator (Posts: 298; Member since: 29 Oct 2011)


Come on Gallito, be nice, USPTO are retarded but there is a substantial difference between defending yourself and attack to be the only one using a feature. This is too easy to understand.

posted on 23 Feb 2012, 08:59 1

55. remixfa (Posts: 13938; Member since: 19 Dec 2008)


gallito, dumb patents or not, the USTPO is part of the game. You can either refuse to play the game and have a-holes like apple gaming the crap out of the system and bullying everyone around.. or you can get in the game so you can defend yourself when those a-holes eventually turn their eyes towards you.
The game is severely flawed, but if you dont play it you are screwing yourself. Google has not turned into apple until they start drawing designs on napkins and trying to sue the life out of anything it considered competition.

posted on 23 Feb 2012, 09:41 2

57. MichaelHeller (Posts: 2681; Member since: 26 May 2011)


The USPTO is broken, but companies are put at a disadvantage if they don't play in the system. If Google didn't apply for these patents, the entire Android ecosystem would be at risk from companies that do play the USPTO's insane game.

I just don't understand your turn of logic though. You admit that the problem lies with the USPTO granting the dumb patents. I just don't understand your logic behind saying that Apple, which plays the game to attack competitors, is the same as Google, which plays the game to defend itself from other dumb patents while openly lobbying against the broken system.

Your argument works perfectly for guns: whether you buy one to defend yourself or attack someone, there is inherent danger in that ownership. But, the same doesn't apply to patents, because there is no inherent danger in owning a patent with the sole intent of defense.

posted on 23 Feb 2012, 11:22

58. gallitoking (Posts: 4690; Member since: 17 May 2011)


thank you Michael for you responds.. I like debating with you as you do answer properly unlike fandroids... what Apple does is wrong.. it slows innovation.. but.... they are just too smart because they figured it out a way to take advantage of the system.. but is not their fault.. is wrong what they do but if we are going to blame is the patent system... not Apple, Moto. HTC or Google... I only defend Apple from people that blames the patents war on Apple.. but for me until the patents systems gets fix.. they all either guilty or innocent...

posted on 23 Feb 2012, 15:31 1

59. MichaelHeller (Posts: 2681; Member since: 26 May 2011)


I understand defending Apple, I've done the same in previous articles for the same reason that you site. Apple may be doing something that we don't like, but it is perfectly allowed, even encouraged by the broken system that the USPTO has put in place.

But still, you haven't explained properly why you would be lumping Google into the same category as Apple. Apple has learned to game the system, and is using that to gain an advantage against competitors. Google is simply arming itself to defend against such attacks. Sure, both companies are playing the game as the USPTO has set it up, but the two strategies are nowhere near analogous.

posted on 23 Feb 2012, 15:33 2

60. MichaelHeller (Posts: 2681; Member since: 26 May 2011)


PS. this is why I engage all the commenters. Reasonable discussion is still possible with anyone as far as I'm concerned. People only get labeled as "fanboys" or "trolls" because no one bothers to have proper conversations anymore.

posted on 23 Feb 2012, 16:19 1

61. gallitoking (Posts: 4690; Member since: 17 May 2011)


ok I see your point of view now.. is hard for me to view Google as the victim.. but your are right.. there are 2 different things.. but if Google starts to using its patents for evil... is open season again

posted on 23 Feb 2012, 04:27

51. thinking (Posts: 130; Member since: 19 Jan 2012)


Until they actually use it on anyone other than apple, they ARE still different from apple.

posted on 22 Feb 2012, 17:22 2

24. RazaAsad (Posts: 100; Member since: 24 Nov 2011)


Well said.

posted on 22 Feb 2012, 17:26 7

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


I'm sure you've seen many of my comments stating how ridiculous I think people are that claim their life to defend a certain OS. The fact that you just used the phrase "now is clear which side you are on" like he just committed a mortal sin and you are out to get him is a very scary sight. This is not braveheart here gallito, relax.

posted on 22 Feb 2012, 19:11

32. gallitoking (Posts: 4690; Member since: 17 May 2011)


Hey i love Michael's work... and always enjoy everyone of his articles... but we have to keep him on check... jk... Braveheart?.... dont like Mel Gibson... only in Lethal Weapon...

posted on 22 Feb 2012, 16:57 3

22. Whateverman (Posts: 3225; Member since: 17 May 2009)


First, this is a ridiculous patent.
Second, good job Google on finally fighting fire with fire.

My bet is, the team in charge of developing Mac desktops and Mac Books are pissed right about now! No matter if Google plans on going into desktops or not, this might be bad news for Apple.

posted on 22 Feb 2012, 17:33 1

26. iBeliever (banned) (Posts: 33; Member since: 21 Feb 2012)


And fandroids are in support of this. Shocker

posted on 22 Feb 2012, 18:19 7

28. Whateverman (Posts: 3225; Member since: 17 May 2009)


Someone with a name like "iBeliever" who thinks Google doing the same exact thing Apple has been doing for years is wrong...even bigger shocker!

posted on 22 Feb 2012, 17:20 4

23. taz89 (Posts: 2014; Member since: 03 May 2011)


good to know apple are not the only one being granted stupid patents.

posted on 22 Feb 2012, 18:17

27. Drafty (Posts: 11; Member since: 03 Jun 2010)


Go Go Power Rangers oops I mean Google!

posted on 22 Feb 2012, 18:30 1

29. iBeliever (banned) (Posts: 33; Member since: 21 Feb 2012)


Did Michael Heller take a wrong turn somewhere. Shouldn't he be writing for phandroidcentral.com?

posted on 22 Feb 2012, 19:08 7

31. protozeloz (Posts: 5378; Member since: 16 Sep 2010)


Here comes another idiot, do you read ENGLISH? Can you understand what he is talking about?

he technically says

1. the patent is dumb
2. the patent system is broken
3. this patent is a load of !@#$%^&* because we already have it from asus and on laptops so why is it getting granted just because of the touchscreen?

and you come with the androidcentral pos? if you don't like his 'BS' or the fandroids Go herehttp://appleinsider.com/ all your lame jokes will me more than welcome.

no wonder your IQ is low with that music taste of yours.....

posted on 22 Feb 2012, 20:35

37. iBeliever (banned) (Posts: 33; Member since: 21 Feb 2012)


You fandroids are funny. Such a tight knit group lol.

posted on 22 Feb 2012, 20:45 3

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


Ugh, can phone arena get a few moderators?

These trolls are getting out of control.

posted on 22 Feb 2012, 20:56 3

40. protozeloz (Posts: 5378; Member since: 16 Sep 2010)


He is not a troll, He is just mentally challenged. He mistook this post for a 4chan post and it ringing on the random hate :) you should pity such things.

edit: and about that "androidcentral" thing the only nut head that used to say that is no one more that Taco50 XD are they related maybe? or is taco's new account? either way that's deserves even more pity

posted on 23 Feb 2012, 09:01 3

56. remixfa (Posts: 13938; Member since: 19 Dec 2008)


im pretty sure its tacos new account.. because the one he made a few weeks ago got banned. hopefully he will continually get banned. you just have to report him as taco50 whenever he appears and.. poof... he's gone.

posted on 22 Feb 2012, 20:52

39. protozeloz (Posts: 5378; Member since: 16 Sep 2010)


can your comments get any more lame? My lil cousin can come back with a better line than that... LAME and boring, NEXT

posted on 22 Feb 2012, 22:01

42. jroc74 (Posts: 4966; Member since: 30 Dec 2010)


Great break down for the reading comprehension challenged...lol

posted on 22 Feb 2012, 23:02 3

47. blazee (Posts: 284; Member since: 02 Jan 2012)


I actually clicked on the apple insider to check it out for the hell of it and one of their most recent articles was "New Beatles ringtones are exclusive to Apple's iTunes Store" lmao!

I thought buying a fragment of a song($1.29) for a full retail price of the song was a thing of the past lol i guess not for iphone users smh...

posted on 22 Feb 2012, 23:39 2

48. Whateverman (Posts: 3225; Member since: 17 May 2009)


Yeah, that is kinda weird thinking that in this day and age, people are still actually paying for ringtones. My old LG feature phones were able to send and receive free ringtones via SMS and Bluetooth.

posted on 22 Feb 2012, 20:33 3

36. 14545 (Posts: 1122; Member since: 22 Nov 2011)


What's to say they didn't patent it to make sure they don't get sued for using such a device in the future? If they didn't, I'm sure someone else would have.

posted on 22 Feb 2012, 21:58 3

41. jroc74 (Posts: 4966; Member since: 30 Dec 2010)


Like some Pro Apple folks have said over the past 2 years...

Dont hate the playa ...hate the game...

This is kinda funny tho...lol. Google is trying to beat Apple at their own game. Apple might sue just for that alone. "Copying patent strategies"

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