Apple nabs 16 more patents for multi-touch, solar power, iWork

Apple nabs 16 more patents for multi-touch, solar power, iWork

Summary: Apple has won more than a dozen new patents all on its own. We could soon see the results on iOS mobile devices and the iWork software suite.

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As the patent battles and bubbles continue to grow, Apple has secured the rights to several more patents of its own.

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office published a series of 16 patents now owned by the Cupertino, Calif.-based company, according to Patently Apple.

Here's a rundown on some of the patents that stand out and where we could see them implemented with in the Apple empire:

  • A multi-touch related patent designed to reduce the manufacturing cost and performance of these types of displays (Likely for the iPhone, iPad and iPod touch collection, but possibly for a new Mac desktop series too?)
  • A patent for Numbers, the spreadsheet app within the iWork productivity software suite
  • A patent for "Methods and systems for providing sensory information to devices and peripherals" (Possibly for iPhone/Mac accessories such as wireless keyboards and headphones)
  • An iOS camera-related patent about rotating the display orientation of a captured image
  • A patent for a solar powered tracking apparatus that includes a voltage converter and a controller coupled to the voltage converter
  • A patent for a 3D video viewer for iMovie
  • Patents for docking station peripherals in automobiles

Some of these have taken awhile to get approved. A few seem rather useless at this point (an iPhone 3G dock?), although they still prevent other companies from using elements of the technology for other devices down the line. We all know how popular that kind of lawsuit is.

It's questionable whether or not any of these will help Apple in any current legal battles over patents, but it could stave off some competition in the future.

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Topics: Legal, Apple, Collaboration, Hardware, Software, Telcos

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13 comments
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  • RE: Apple nabs 16 more patents for multi-touch, solar power, iWork

    Two ways these patents could be used by Apple:

    1. Defend itself from other companies who attempt to claim _they_ invented these things and want to force Apple to pay.

    2. Attack (large) competitors who do anything remotely similar, and attempt to drive them out of the market.

    Anyone wanna place odds on which one Apple does?
    spark555
    • I would bet it depends I'm sure both happen

      @spark555 ... to a certant extent almost daily but for most news outlets actual attacks get far more press than defensive moves:)

      Pagan jim
      James Quinn
    • RE: Apple nabs 16 more patents for multi-touch, solar power, iWork

      @spark555
      I bet on the second !
      timiteh
    • RE: Apple nabs 16 more patents for multi-touch, solar power, iWork

      @spark555 I vote for option number three: use patent in new, or updated, devices and software.
      Rick_Kl
      • RE: Apple nabs 16 more patents for multi-touch, solar power, iWork

        @Rick_Kl Given that lots of devices including both iPhones, and other smartphones already have things like spreadsheets, rotating camera displays, wireless accessories and car docking stations.... option 3 seems a little late to the party.
        spark555
    • RE: Apple nabs 16 more patents for multi-touch, solar power, iWork

      @spark555 Oh crap, Apple's gone and invented the spreadsheet, sensors, image rotation, solar power, and possibly the Sun itself now. Unless and until my patent on patent trolling comes through, we're all screwed.
      jgm@...
    • Option 3:

      @spark555

      Actually use them to make new and interesting products and expect others to do their own R&D.
      Bruizer
      • RE: Apple nabs 16 more patents for multi-touch, solar power, iWork

        @Bruizer As pointed out above, pretty much everything in these patents has long since been in use by both Apple, and a wide variety of competitors many of whom did it before Apple.
        spark555
      • RE: Apple nabs 16 more patents for multi-touch, solar power, iWork

        @Bruizer Trivial example: I had an ancient motorola StarTak which (oh my gawd how inventive!) docked to my car a decade ago. But somehow today Apple invents the car-dock and prepares to sue anyone who make one?
        spark555
  • RE: Apple nabs 16 more patents for multi-touch, solar power, iWork

    this is a joke, are they going to patent the wheel now? Patent the gui os( f u xerox)? Seriously software patents and the approval corruption allows for the vaguest things to be locked. This is pure hell for anyone without 2 mill(any young inventor) to fight. Whatever happened to not being able to patent stuff in public domain?
    Willtur
    • That's the low bar

      @Willtur

      If Apple is the one suing you, don't expect the legal fees to be less than $30 million. That's assuming you win decisively, probably because Apple's complaint is thrown out with prejudice before a real trial because it's so spurious. If you go to court, again, assuming you're right and the court agrees, expect it to be more.
      tkejlboom
  • RE: Apple nabs 16 more patents for multi-touch, solar power, iWork

    One could reasonably assume that there are more specifics to each of these patents than the one-line summaries provided here. Did Apple invent the in-car dock? No. But if its patent somehow improves upon the general in-car dock concept, then it's potentially patentable.

    I'm not sure, however, how some such "innovations" are considered to be "non-obvious", when they certainly seem pretty obvious. For example, "an in-car dock utilizing Apple's iPhone/iPod/iPad xx-pin dock connector" is specific, but since in-car docks have existed for years, one for iPhones/iPods/iPads seems like an obvious accessory, and therefore un-patentable.

    Unfortunately, issuance of patents isn't controlled by those of us who at least think we have a pretty good grasp on reality and exercise sound common sense. They're issued by overworked, under-staffed patent clerks who -- understandably so -- probably don't understand half of what they're reviewing, since some of this stuff is pretty technical and splits some mighty fine hairs.
    jscott69
    • RE: Apple nabs 16 more patents for multi-touch, solar power, iWork

      @jscott69 I am not going to claim that I know anything about the process but how long ago did they apply for these? That would be a factor in at least of it I would think depending on how long it takes.

      A good portion of those complaining need to be honest with themselves and the rest of the readers. Their primary, and possibly only, issue with these patents being awarded is that they were awarded to Apple. If they went to their company of choice or many anybody but Apple they would not be complaining.
      non-biased