Apple clearly stated last week that they do not want anybody to rip off their ideas by stating “We like competition as long as they don’t rip off our IP. And if they do, we will go after anyone who does”. On January 20, 2009 the US Patent Office awarded Apple the patent titled “Touch screen device, method, and graphical user interface for determining commands by applying heuristics”, otherwise know as patent number 7,479,949.
I’m curious what this will mean for Palm as they are just about to launch the Pre which is their multi-touch enabled device. Well, let the legal battles start.
The patent was officially filed on April 11, 2008 and basically covers multi-touch and all associated gestures such as pinch, swipe and rotation, window scrolling (vertical and horizontal and vertical) and 2 thumb rotation.
The patent abstract is as follows:
“A computer-implemented method for use in conjunction with a computing device with a touch screen display comprises: detecting one or more finger contacts with the touch screen display, applying one or more heuristics to the one or more finger contacts to determine a command for the device, and processing the command. The one or more heuristics comprise: a heuristic for determining that the one or more finger contacts correspond to a one-dimensional vertical screen scrolling command, a heuristic for determining that the one or more finger contacts correspond to a two-dimensional screen translation command, and a heuristic for determining that the one or more finger contacts correspond to a command to transition from displaying a respective item in a set of items to displaying a next item in the set of items.”