The US Patent and Trademark Office officially published a series of 54 newly granted utility patents for Apple Inc. today. In this particular report we focus on a series of important touch and multitouch patents that were originally filed for between 2007 and 2010. The patents cover everything from the original iPod clickwheel through to touch displays using LTPS which is a class of display Apple wishes to use for the next generation of Retina displays. Touch and multitouch displays are cornerstone technologies behind the mobile device revolution that Apple reinvented in 2007 with the introduction of the iPhone. Our report concludes with four new design patent wins for Apple and a full list of the remaining patents that were granted to Apple today.
A Huge Day for Touch Display Related Patents
Apple has been granted a series of major multitouch related patents today. The first invention relates to an "Integrated display and touch screen." While the patent covers "In Plain Switching" or IPS, it also covers LTPS. LTPS, to a certain degree, is used in the manufacturing of IGZO displays, a class of display that will be able to push pixels past 400ppi for full HD. This is now being considered for the third generation iPad mini.
Technically, 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. 6 illustrates a simplified model of an LTPS as viewed from the top and side. LTPS is used in IGZO displays that can produce full HD displays.
Apple credits Steve Hotelling, Wei Chen, Christoph Horst, John Elias, Wei Yao, John Zhong, Andrew Hodge, Brian Land and Willem den Boer as the inventors of this granted patent which was originally filed in Q2 2007 and published today by the US Patent and Trademark Office. To review today's 71 granted patent claims, details and more than 100 patent figures, see Apple's patent.
Apple was granted a second multi-touch related patent titled "Simultaneous sensing arrangement." Apple's 2010 multi-touch patent covers touch displays for "a desktop, tablet, notebook, and handheld computers, personal digital assistants, media players, and mobile telephones."
Apple was also granted a third touch related patent today titled "Front-end signal compensation," that's a technical one that generally relates to iDevice displays that are capable of generating a dynamic output signal.
Apple was also granted a fourth touch related patent titled "Touch pad for handheld device" which relates to the original iPod and its clickwheel. On September 27, a Japanese Court Ruled that Apple's Click Wheel had infringed upon a Japanese Patent.
And lastly on this front, Apple was granted a fifth touch related patent titled "Control selection approximation," which generally relates to user interface processing, including but not limited to, apparatuses and methods for recognizing touch inputs.
Apple's granted patent FIG. 3 illustrates an exemplary view hierarchy.
Apple Granted Four Design Patents Today
Apple was granted four design patents today covering the iPhone 4S, the fifth generation iPod nano, the MacBook's MagSafe Port and display hinge.
The Remaining Patents granted to Apple Today
A Note about Utility Patents: In United States patent law, utility is a patentability requirement as provided by 35 U.S.C. § 101, an invention is "useful" if it provides some identifiable benefit and is capable of use. European patent law does not consider utility as a patentability criterion. Instead, it requires that to be patentable an invention must have industrial applicability. This is why some of Apple's patents are challenged more in Europe by their competitors rather than in the US.
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.
New on Patent Bolt this Week