Apple awarded multi-touch patent

Tue, Jan 27, 2009


Apple was recently awarded a patent on its application for a “Touch screen device, method, and graphical user interface for determining commands by applying heuristics.”

The patent application, as a whole, stretches back to 2006 and covers a wide variety of multi-touch implementations on the iPhone.  With the granting of this patent, which comes in at well over 350 pages, it will be interesting to see what happens with Apple and Palm.  As has been noted here before, many took Tim Cook’s comments at Apple’s earnings conference call to mean that Apple was keen on suing Palm over the Palm Pre’s implementation of multitouch.  Soon thereafter, critics were jumping out of their seats exclaiming, “How can Apple have a patent on Multitouch!?!”

The truth is that multitouch technology has been around for decades, and the technology itself is not what Apple is patenting.  Instead, Apple applied for, and was granted, a patent on the implementation of that technology, namely gestures such as pinching to zoom in and out etc.

Interestingly, Steve Jobs is listed first in a long list of inventors for the patent.


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