January 27, 2009

Apple Awarded "Multi-Touch" Patent -- Hints at Legal Actions

Greetings. I've blogged here a couple of times about Google Android G1 cell phone hacking toward enabling the use of iPhone-like "multi-touch" interactions with the device. In fact, just a few days ago a new user-community-developed software update for the G1 was released that not only provides multi-touch capabilities, but a fully functional multi-touch-enabled version of the Android Web browser as well (I haven't had a chance to try this yet -- but I will).

There's been a lot of speculation concerning why Google chose not to enable multi-touch for the G1. This has ranged from the G1 not really being a "true" multi-touch device (there are some funky, but not particularly restrictive, aspects to multi-touch scanning on the unit), to user interface commonality issues, to patent concerns.

And indeed now comes word that Apple has been granted their multi-touch patent, and suggestions that they're perhaps getting ready to aim their big litigation guns at Palm.

This development in the ongoing patent madness circus will bear watching. My own ("I Am Not A Lawyer") view is that homegrown multi-touch applications (like that noted above for the G1) are not at major risk of attack from Apple's crack legal team. However, given Apple's ability to patent finger gestures, commercial implementations like Palm's are likely much bigger targets.

Now, if we could only patent a particular three-finger gesture ...


Posted by Lauren at January 27, 2009 04:07 PM | Permalink
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