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Discussion Starter #1
The patent application describes a method of detecting one or more contacts on a multi-touch-sensitive display and performing a corresponding operation. Multi-touch gestures listed include "magnifying, zooming, expanding, minimizing, resizing, rotating, sliding, opening, closing, focusing, flipping, reordering, activating, deactivating and any other operation that can be performed on a graphical object."
http://patft.uspto.gov/netacgi/nph-Parser?Sect1=PTO2&Sect2=HITOFF&p=1&u=/netahtml/PTO/search-adv.htm&r=17&f=G&l=50&d=PTXT&S1=(20101012.PD.+AND+apple.ASNM.)&OS=isd/10/12/2010+and+an/apple&RS=(ISD/20101012+AND+AN/apple)

This patent really locks in key Apple features introduced with the first iPhone, including pinch-to-zoom and other navigation and selection gestures. So what happens now with Android, WP7 and Blackberry OS?

Protracted legal battle or hefty license fees?
 

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Does that mean i have to stop pinching to zoom on my desire? :)
 

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Considering they wouldn't have applied for a patent, then no.

It's definitely going to be interesting to see how this plays out. I really can't see Apple being the only one allowed to use pinch-to-zoom and such, since virtually every touch-screen phone does it now. If Apple were to take all these companies to court, it probably would take quite a bit of time and probably wouldn't be worth it for Apple in the long run.
 

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It's definitely going to be interesting to see how this plays out. I really can't see Apple being the only one allowed to use pinch-to-zoom and such, since virtually every touch-screen phone does it now. If Apple were to take all these companies to court, it probably would take quite a bit of time and probably wouldn't be worth it for Apple in the long run.
You obviously haven't followed many patent lawsuits. Very lucrative if time consuming. But as long as the ultimate award or licensing agreement is more than the lawyer and court fees, it's a winning strategy. Apple has no interest in being the only one allowed to use multi-touch techniques, they just want everyone else to pay for using it.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Exactly. Apple wants their technology to be the de facto standard. That's how they will command royalties.
 

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Software patents should be illegal. What started out as a measure to protect commercial applications from piracy has turned into turf war with lawyers staking out corporate interests to develop a new revenue stream.
 

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I'm not an expert in patent law by any means, but wouldn't the fact that other companies already use it preclude a patent from being granted. Doesn't it have to be something unique? Or won't existing users(companies) still be allowed to use them?

Anyone know for sure?
 

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Prior art is grounds for denying a patent application. However, if other companies start making products that violate the patent after the patent application, they are liable. Patents can also be denied for being obvious solutions to a process or procedure. However, what is obvious to someone in a particular industry may not be to the patent office worker who grants the patent. IMHO, things like hand gestures should not be patented. The mechanisms that underlie the operations, such as the software and hardware that makes the implementation possible should. MS probably stands to lose from this since they are planning on breaking into the tablet market and already have desktop products that use this technology.

Apple pulled this same stunt with drop down menus. MS responded by moving their menu bar to the bottom of the screen. There was a flurry of similar "look and feel" patents in the 1990s that stifled innovation, fragmented the market and prevented attempts at standardization. But that's what companies like Apple want. They see Android and MS products as threats to their "god given right" to charge high prices, make huge profits and dominate the market. I doubt MS is going to give them much competition but Android will and Apple wants to extend their market lead by generating as much FUD as possible.
 

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I'm not an expert in patent law by any means, but wouldn't the fact that other companies already use it preclude a patent from being granted. Doesn't it have to be something unique?
Generally in order for a patent to be granted the invention has to be new, inventive and useful. It appears Apple has met those tests and got a patent. I haven't looked at the prosecution file history so I don't know what kind of a fight they had with the USPTO examiner.

A third party could certainly request re-examination of the Apple patent if they present prior art that should have been considered by the patent examiner and wasn't. It's an expensive process and the success rate isn't high but it is an option.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Software patents should be illegal. What started out as a measure to protect commercial applications from piracy has turned into turf war with lawyers staking out corporate interests to develop a new revenue stream.
I think software patents are legit, but where it gets stupid is when an "inventor" doesn't even have to actually invent something in order to get a patent. Just because I can describe an idea and sketch a picture of it doesn't mean I invented it...but that seems to be all it takes.

If I sketch a picture of a Star Trek transporter and describe a technology, even though I have no idea of how to realize it, should I become the "inventor"?

At least in this case, Apple has a working product in the field.
 

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^^^^
One point. All software can be shown to be nothing more than mathematics and math is not patentable. However, a device that uses software to provide a new invention is. In this case, it's the device as a whole, not the software alone, that's being patented.
 

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Software itself is protected by copyright. BUT - processes can also be patented whether realized in software, hardware or a combination thereof.
 
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