Apple won a slew of new patents today, although only three of them directly impact mobile devices, and of those, two seem to be blatantly a part of the "bogus patents" that Google sounded off about recently. We've already covered how the U.S. patent system needs an overhaul
, so with this news we'll try not to get too deep into how absurd the new Apple patents are, but we will count this as the first part of an ongoing series covering the ridiculous patents granted by the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). The new patents related to mobile that Apple has won include patents on: integrated touchscreens, pre-loading data on startup, and visual voicemail.
The patent for integrated touchscreens isn't necessarily for mobile devices, but currently only mobile Apple devices have touchscreen displays. The patent covers a process of stacking together touch-sensitive circuitry into an LCD display to decrease the number of parts and steps in the manufacturing process, as well as making a display that is "thinner, brighter, and require[s] less power." Apple first applied for this patent in September of 2009.
The next two patents are the ones that could easily fall into the "bogus" category which Google seems to want to be rid of. First, Apple won a patent for loading startup applications influenced by users. This is a fancy way to say multiple user accounts may soon be coming to iPhones, iPods and iPads, because this process allows for loading up certain data (perhaps contacts, calendar, messages, etc) based on user input. This system could also be applied to having different profiles on a mobile device, so certain data would be preloaded for work, home, etc. when booting the device.
The craziest patent won by Apple is for their visual voicemail system, which Apple applied for the day before the OG iPhone launched back in 2007. What is most ridiculous is that the visual voicemail patent covers selection and playback of voicemail, and Apple was sued for infringing basically the same patent (and remember, patents are meant to represent original ideas,) held by Klausner Technologies. The case was settled, and Klausner is actually cited as a reference in this patent.