This just in this morning.
Apple just sued HTC for infringing on 20 patents “related to the iPhone’s user interface, underlying architecture and hardware.
They go on to describe the actual patents in question, including this nugget.
The ‘849 Patent, entitled “Unlocking A Device By Performing Gestures On An Unlock Image,” was duly and legally issued on February 2, 2010 by the United States Patent and Trademark Office. A copy of the ‘849 Patent is attached hereto as Exhibit C.
For those of you that might not know, one of my specialities is Point of Sale systems. Every system that I have ever used since ’95 has had the ability to ‘unlock a device by performing gestures on an unlock image’, in this case in particular, rendered Windows bitmaps in the form of keypad that the user is required to touch to unlock the terminal.
(That’s me trying to be fancy by saying the login screen on most POS terminals do this, and have for many years).
Apple did not invent touch screen tech, they only brought it to the masses in a form factor that fits in your pocket. While I can appreciate the fact that they need to protect their intellectual property and technological advances, I think for this particular patent they are wrong.
There is also this one.
The ‘949 Patent, entitled “Touch Screen Device, Method, And Graphical User Interface For Determining Commands By Applying Heuristics,” was duly and legally issued on January 20, 2009 by the United States Patent and Trademark Office. A copy of the ‘949 Patent is attached hereto as Exhibit B.
I’m not sure, but I think the old HSI Profit Series system used to do this, and it was user programmable. Touch here, it does this unless you touch there, which causes a different action. Sure the heuristics weren’t applied automatically, but this is still pretty close.
Finally, for the record; Re: touchscreen technology.
Touchscreens emerged from academic and corporate research labs in the second half of the 1960s. One of the first places where they gained some visibility was in the terminal of a computer-assisted learning terminal that came out in 1972 as part of the PLATO project. They have subsequently become familiar in kiosk systems, such as in retail and tourist settings, on point of sale systems, on ATMs and on PDAs where a stylus is sometimes used to manipulate the GUI and to enter data. The popularity of smart phones, PDAs, portable game consoles and many types of information appliances is driving the demand for, and the acceptance of, touchscreens.
Like I said before, Apple did not invent touch screen technology. It’s been around since almost forever. I wish them luck with HTC, but think they might have trouble with these 2 patents.