The US Patent and Trademark Office officially published a series of 14 newly granted patents for Apple Inc. today. In our second granted patent report of the day, we mainly cover four patents. The first one relates to a pre-iPhone patent that details the usage of a click wheel for text entry. The second patent covers a plug mechanism for devices like the iPod and perhaps more importantly, miniature devices like Apple's latest iPod nano. The third patent topic actually covers two related patents covering Apple's OS X Dashboard feature. The fourth and last patent of the day is perhaps the most important of the lot. This all important patent covers both touch and gesturing on touch based products like Apple's iPhone and iPad. This adds another Power-Arrow for Apple's legal quiver.
Granted Patent: Dashboard
Apple has won their second patent relating to Dashboard this year. The first was covered in our July 2010 report titled "Apple Wins Patents for Dashboard & Future iPad Feature." Today's granted patent covers a user-activatable dashboard (also referred to as a unified interest layer). The patent states that the dashboard could contain any number of user interface elements, referred to as "widgets," for quick access by a user. In response to a command from a user, the dashboard is invoked and the widgets are shown on the screen. In one aspect of the invention, the user could activate the dashboard at any time, causing the dashboard to temporarily replace or overlay the existing user interface display on the user's screen.
Once the dashboard has been activated, the user could interact with any or all of the widgets, and could configure the dashboard by adding, deleting, moving, or configuring individual widgets as desired. When the user wishes to return to the normal user interface, the user issues a command causing the dashboard to be dismissed. Once the dashboard has been dismissed, the previous user interface state is restored, allowing the user to resume normal interactions with the operating system.
Apple credits Imran Chaudhri, John Louch, Andrew Grignon and Gregory Christie as the inventors of the granted patent titled "Unified Interest Layer for User Interface," originally filed in Q1 2006. Apple's second Dashboard related granted patent today and third for the year is titled "User interface element with auxiliary function." The inventors are the same.
Granted Patent: Major Touch Patent
Apple's patent abstract states that "a graphical user interface in an electronic device includes one or more user-interface objects associated with a second user-interface state. While the device is in a first user-interface state, the one or more objects transition in optical intensity to indicate progress towards satisfaction of a user input condition needed to transition to the second user-interface state."
Apple's major touch related patent covers the following key areas of tech technology: User Interface States, Unlocking a Device via Gestures, Indication of Progress towards Satisfaction of a User Input Condition and User Interface Active States Corresponding to Events or Applications.
Apple credits Freddy Anzures, Bas Ording, Imran Chaudhri, Marcel Van Os, Greg Christie and Scott Forstall as the inventors of Granted Patent titled "Indication of progress towards satisfaction of a user input condition," originally filed in Q4 2008.
Granted Patent: Plug Detection Mechanisms for Handhelds
Apple's granted patent covers plug detection mechanisms for detecting when a plug of an accessory component is present within a jack of an electronic device. A detect contact and a jack contact may be positioned within a receptacle of the jack such that a signal path may be created through the plug and between the detect contact and the jack contact when the plug is present within the receptacle of the jack. The detect contact may be biased to exert a retention force on the plug. The detect contact may be positioned to contact the plug within an indent of the plug.
Apple's granted patent relates to the iPod, iPhone and miniature products, as outlined below. It's very likely that Apple's 2010 iPod nano's miniaturizing has utilized technologies from this patent and/or another recent patent disclosure covered in our report titled "Apple Reveals Technology Required for Future Miniature Products."
Miniature personal electronic devices may have a form factor that is smaller than that of hand-held personal electronic devices, such as an iPod. Illustrative miniature personal electronic devices could be integrated into various objects that include, but are not limited to, watches, rings, necklaces, belts, accessories for belts, headsets, accessories for shoes, virtual reality devices, other wearable electronics, accessories for sporting equipment, accessories for fitness equipment, key chains, or any combination thereof. Alternatively, electronic devices of the invention that include a jack capable of receiving and detecting a plug of an accessory device may not be portable at all.
Apple credits Hugo Fiennes as the sole inventor of Granted Patent 7,789,697, originally filed in Q2 2008.
Granted Patent: Method, System, and Graphical User Interface for Text Entry with Partial Word Display
Apple's granted patent relates to a Pre-iPhone design for entering text using Apple's iPod-style Click Wheel. Any competitor following Apple's patents at that time would have been thrown off course with such a method for entering text on a future Apple cell phone.
Apple's patent abstract states that a computer-implemented method for text entry includes receiving entered text from a user, selecting a set of candidate sequences for completing or continuing the sequence, and presenting the candidate sequences to the user, wherein the candidate sequences include partial words. The candidate sequences are identified based on usage frequency weights stored in a tree data structure. A graphical user interface for text entry includes displaying a current input sequence of characters and the identified partial words.
Apple credits Philip Mansfield and Michael Levy as the inventors of Granted Patent 7,793,228 originally filed in Q4 2006.
Other Granted Patents (GP) Published Today
Notice: Patently Apple presents only a brief summary of patents with associated graphic(s) for journalistic news purposes as each such patent application and/or Granted Patent is revealed by the U.S. Patent & Trade Office. Readers are cautioned that the full text of any patent application and/or Issued Patent should be read in its entirety for further details. For additional information on any granted patent noted above that is not directly linked, simply feed the individual patent number(s) provided, minus the "GP" suffix (if present) into this search engine. About Comments: Patently Apple reserves the right to post, dismiss or edit comments.