The US Patent and Trademark Office officially published a series of twenty-nine newly granted patents for Apple Inc. today. In our fourth granted patent report of the day we focus on two patents relating to Apple's original 2007 multi-touch technology. The patents go into great detail about display technology that even includes In-Plane Switching that is used in Apple's current iMac. Just last week Apple gained another granted patent related to multi-touch technology – and so it's beginning to appear that the hard work that Apple's engineers put into the revolutionary iPhone and iDevice revolution in general are beginning to pay off. And finally, our report closes out with a listing of seventeen utility patents covering such things as the face recognition feature found on iDevice cameras, the button assembly for the iPhone as well as the electronic sighting compass for iDevices and much more. All in all, today has been a granted patent bonanza for Apple.
Apple Granted Two Original 2007 Multi-Touch Patents
Apple has been granted two original 2007 multi-touch patents. The first is titled "Touch screen liquid crystal display" and lists a whopping 85 patent claims.
The first granted patent's abstract reads as follows:
Apple's invention relates to "liquid-crystal display (LCD) touch screens that integrate the touch sensing elements with the display circuitry. The integration may take a variety of forms. Touch sensing elements can be completely implemented within the LCD stackup but outside the not between the color filter plate and the array plate. Alternatively, some touch sensing elements can be between the color filter and array plates with other touch sensing elements not between the plates. In another alternative, all touch sensing elements can be between the color filter and array plates. The latter alternative can include both conventional and in-plane-switching (IPS) LCDs. In some forms, one or more display structures can also have a touch sensing function. Techniques for manufacturing and operating such displays, as well as various devices embodying such displays are also disclosed.
Apple's patent FIG. 102 shown below illustrates an application of a multi-touch screen LCD; FIG. 94 illustrates a touch screen LCD device assembly; FIG. 50 illustrates further aspects of touch screen integration for the embodiment of FIG. 47.
Apple's second granted patent titled "Multi-touch input discrimination." Apple's patent abstract reads as follows:
"Techniques for identifying and discriminating between different types of contacts to a multi-touch touch-screen device are described. Illustrative contact types include fingertips, thumbs, palms and cheeks. By way of example, thumb contacts may be distinguished from fingertip contacts using a patch eccentricity parameter. In addition, by non-linearly deemphasizing pixels in a touch-surface image, a reliable means of distinguishing between large objects (e.g., palms) from smaller objects (e.g., fingertips, thumbs and a stylus) is described."
Another site is claiming that Apple's original 2007 patents relate to In-Cell technology. We disagree. The complexity of Apple's LCD technology which is shown below in patent FIG. 6 juxtaposed with a graphic of a simpler next generation process involving In-Cell technology just don't mesh at all. One of the technologies that Apple's patent in fact touches on is that of in-plane-switching (IPS), which is used in Apple's current iMac.
Apple credits Hotelling; Steve Porter (San Jose, CA), Chen; Wei (Palo Alto, CA), Krah; Christoph Horst (Los Altos, CA), Elias; John Greer (Townsend, DE), Yao; Wei Hsin (Freemont, CA), Zhong; John Z. (Cupertino, CA), Hodge; Andrew Bert (Palo Alto, CA), Land; Brian Richards (Redwood City, CA) and Boer; Willem den (Brighton, MI) as the inventors of this patent which was originally filed in Q2 2007 (just prior to the iPhone's launch) and published by the US Patent and Trademark Office today.
Final Patent Round-Up
In addition to the granted patents that were specifically reported on above, we present you with links to series of other granted patents in our Final Patent Round-Up as follows:
8,245,152 Method and apparatus to accelerate scrolling for buffered windows
8,245,147 System and method for reordering a user interface
8,245,092 Method for efficient control signaling of two codeword to one codeword transmission
8,244,981 Combined transparent/non-transparent cache
8,244,712 Localized viewing of file system names
8,244,687 Persistent state database for operating system services
8,244,600 Presentation of information or representations pertaining to digital products available for digital distribution
8,243,905 Multi-participant conference setup
8,244,004 and 8,244,003 covers "Image preprocessing." Apple's patents relate to a system for preprocessing images for applications such as skin tone detection and face detection (see bottom image below).
8,243,429 Cold worked metal housing for a portable electronic device (is about Apple's stainless steel body for the 2008 iPhone. See the middle graphic below).
8,243,442 Integrated button assembly (see top patent figure noted in the graphic above.)
8,243,426 Reducing optical effects in a display
8,243,097 Electronic sighting compass
8,244,296 Dynamic thermal control for wireless transceivers
8,243,894 Telecommunication and multimedia management method and apparatus
8,243,857 Cordic based complex tuner with exact frequency resolution
8,243,636 Messaging system and service
8,243,626 Estimating user device location in a wireless network
8,243,617 Automatic detection of channel bandwidth
8,244,171 Identifying radio stations of interest based on preference information
Patently Apple presents only a brief summary of granted patents with associated graphics for journalistic news purposes as each Granted Patent is revealed by the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office. Readers are cautioned that the full text of any Granted Patent should be read in its entirety for full details. About Comments: Patently Apple reserves the right to post, dismiss or edit comments.
Apple Sites Supporting our Original Report
MacSurfer, Twitter, Facebook, Apple Investor News, Google Reader, Macnews, iPhone World Canada, MacTechNews Germany, and more.