Apple get patent to touchscreen phones, which could be disaster for smartphone manufacturers
Uh-oh! Apple have been awarded the patent for something that pretty much all smartphones use. Basically, they've got an iPhone patent that is so broad in reach that they may well be able to bully the rest of the smartphone market into submission.
Apple have been awarded U.S. patent number 7,966,578 for "[a] computer-implemented method, for use in conjunction with a portable multifunction device with a touch screen display, [that] comprises displaying a portion of page content, including a frame displaying a portion of frame content and also including other content of the page, on the touch screen display."
Basically, this means that Apple now own the capacitive multitouch interface which is used on most phones and tablets. Cue the lawsuits against HTC, Samsung, Motorola, Nokia or anyone who makes a device that allows a user to manipulate the display of a web page with finger gestures and the like.
So what happens next? Well, should Apple wish, they could stop people from making touchscreen smartphones, tablets or whatever. However, it is probable that other companies will be asked to pay for use of their technology.
However, a court may well end up scrapping the patent if Apple impose themselves on the market too much because they could be seen as monopolising and acting in a way that isn't in the public interest.
Next week: Apple bag claim for wheel invention.