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Results tagged “Apple” from California Patent Attorney® Blog

Apple's Latest Patent Allows for Voicemail Screening

March 18, 2014,

iphone.jpgCalifornia - Apple was recently assigned a patent, numbered 8,666,034 , which will allow users to listen to a message as it is being left by a caller and then pick up mid-message, if desired. In a time known as "the age of texting" where voicemail is increasingly viewed as outdated, Apple is attempting to modernize this older phone feature by adding it to its next lineup of mobile phones. As many of us recall, with land-line based voice mail machines, one could let an incoming call go to voicemail, listen to the caller leave a message, and depending how important the call was, pick up during the message.

Apple's new patent will allow iPhone users to do exactly this, enabling remote voice message systems to relay the information instantaneously to users. Apple customers will still have the option to have an incoming call sent directly to voicemail, without screening it, but several commentators have already pointed out the irony of Apple's attempt to update voicemail by adding a technology that is widely considered a thing of the past.

Officially termed "Audio call screening for hosted voicemail systems", the patent comes as part of a huge collection of intellectual property originally held by Nortel Networks, until the struggling telecom firm struck a deal with its rivals. Back in 2012, Apple was part of a group of big name tech companies (including Microsoft, Research in Motion, Sony, and Ericsson), dubbed the Rockstar Consortium, that closed a deal to buy Nortel's $4.5 billion patent portfolio. Part of the spoils Apple enjoyed as part of the acquisition, the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) officially recorded the assignment of the voicemail screening patent to reflect Apple, Inc. as its owner earlier this month.

Currently, iPhones allow users to see their voicemails in list form through "visual voicemail," a technology that was added by Apple in 2011 and which was the subject of the much talked about U.S. Patent Number 7,996,792. With visual voicemail, users do not have to call a voicemail line to access voicemails by audio, but can simply press play on the touch screen display to hear a message. With the new addition of the technology set forth in the '034 patent, visual voicemail will be taken one step further as a message will play automatically in real time as it is being left, giving users the option to answer right then, rather than having to wait until the voicemail is complete to listen to it and then return the call.

Apple Unable to Secure Permanent Injunction on Samsung Devices

January 3, 2013,

apple-store.jpgCalifornia - A California federal judge rejected Apple's request for a United States sales ban on a number of smartphones made by Samsung Electronics Co Ltd. that were found to infringe Apple's patents and trade dress.

Just before the holidays U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh said Apple was unable to establish that the patented features in question are features that drive sales of the iPhone, thus Apple was unable to prove the company would suffer irreparable harm because of Samsung's sale of the infringing products.

Apple requested the injunction, which would have removed 26 of Samsung's current and future products from store shelves during the heart of the holiday season, after a California jury ruled in August that Samsung had infringed six utility and design patents which Apple owns.

Apple wanted the injunction in order to force Samsung to overhaul its product lines and to give Apple a piece of the popular Galaxy S II's sales, which would have made the injunction more valuable to Apple than the $1.05 billion it was awarded by the San Francisco jury.

Apple argued that the patents Samsung is infringing cover features of the iPhone design, including its black color, metal edges, reinforced glass and glossiness, which it argued are important to consumers when purchasing a smartphone. However, Judge Koh said the entire design of the phone, not the isolated characteristics Apple pointed out, is what is protected by its patent.

Judge Koh also said it is unclear how much a consumer considers design when making a smartphone purchase. Even if it was clear that design played a large part in a consumer's decision-making, Apple did not provide evidence that the specific design features Samsung was found to have infringed actually influence a consumer's decision to purchase a specific smartphone.

"Apple makes no attempt to prove that any more specific element of the iPhone's design, let alone one covered by one of Apple's design patents, actually drives consumer demand," Judge Koh said.

In addition to denying Apple's bid for a permanent injunction, Judge Koh also denied Samsung's request for a new trial.

Samsung claimed that juror Velvin Hogan withheld information during the voir dire process regarding his involvement in litigation with Seagate Technology PLC, a company Samsung recently invested in. Judge Koh dismissed the request saying Samsung waived its arguments during the voir dire process.

Both Apple and Samsung Argue That $1.05 Billion Patent Infringement Verdict is Unfair

December 11, 2012,

ipad-iphone.jpgCalifornia - After a $1.05 billion verdict was found in favor of Apple in August, both Samsung and Apple are back in court arguing that the ruling is unfair.

The arguments regarding several post-trial motions filed since the August verdict will be heard by U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh in the Northern District Court in San Francisco.
Samsung claims that the $1.05 billion verdict goes too far and is asking for a reduction in the verdict or for the verdict to be overturned all together. On the other hand, Apple wants $535 million more in enhanced damages, based on the jury's finding that Samsung willfully infringed Apple's patents.

Samsung claims that Apple has not shown it suffered any damages the jury did not account for and so it is not entitled to enhanced damages.

Beyond that argument, Samsung claims that a reasonable jury would not have found that it infringed Apple's patents and that the jury's findings and damage calculations are faulty and inconsistent, thus Apple is not entitled to the $1.05 billion in damages the jury awarded.

Samsung also claims that the jury foreman, Velvin Hogan, was biased against the company. Samsung bases this claim on the fact that Hogan sued Seagate Technology in 1993, a company Samsung recently invested in. Based on this alleged bias, Samsung is asking for a new trial due to jury misconduct.

Samsung also claims that the judge's constraints on jury time, exhibits, and witnesses prevented it from making a full and fair case against Apple's claims. Apple counters that Samsung's jury misconduct claim is based on speculation and it has not given sufficient cause to require a new trial.

In addition to greater monetary damages, Apple is asking for a permanent injunction on Samsung's allegedly infringing smartphones and tablets. It wants the injunction to ban all technology that is "not more than colorably different," which could ban Samsung products that had nothing to do with the trial.

Samsung claims that the injunction Apple wants is vague and overbroad, which could hinder competition and limit consumer choice. Samsung also claims that Apple has not shown it will suffer irreparable harm or that monetary remedies are not sufficient.
Samsung's argument also pointed out Apple's recent settlement with HTC Corp., which concerned some of the same patents at issue in the Samsung case, as confirmation that Apple's competitors can sell products containing Apple's patents through licensing without damaging the company.

Regardless of Koh's ruling on the case and the decisions on appeals that are sure to follow, Apple and Samsung's legal battles are far from over. The companies will be back in Judge Koh's courtroom in 2014 battling over patent infringement in newer smartphones and tablets.

Apple v. HTC Patent Infringement Battle Finally Over

November 12, 2012,

cell phone closeup-offset.jpgCalifornia - After a daunting thirty-two month patent infringement lawsuit between Apple Inc. and HTC, the two tech giants announced a confidential 10-year licensing agreement that will cover both current and future patents held by both companies. The companies also dismissed all pending lawsuits against each other.

The patent infringement dispute arose in March 2010 when Apple filed a complaint against HTC for infringing ten patents related to user interface design. The International Trade Commission determined that HTC was indeed in violation of one patent, which caused a delay in launch dates of the HTC One X and other products due to an import ban.

HTC is not the only Android hardware manufacturer that Apple is embroiled with in messy patent battles. The late CEO Steve Jobs had declared a "thermonuclear war" against the Android operating system, which he called a "stolen product." The company has gone toe to toe with both Samsung and Motorola over claims of patent infringement involving hardware design, core operating system functionalities, and elements of user interface.

The outcome of these current patent battles could affect the design and functionality of smartphones as well as their cost and availability when licensing fees and ITC bans take place.

"HTC is pleased to have resolved its dispute with Apple, so HTC can focus on innovation instead of litigation," said Peter Chou, Chief Executive Officer of the Taiwan-based HTC.

Tim Cook, who replaced Jobs as the CEO of Apple, made a similar statement indicating that the company intends on staying "laser focused on product innovation." Unlike Jobs' war mantra of dragging these claims out in court for years and years, Cook has taken a less hostile approach. He appears to be more willing to work out deals with the Android makers to avoid the courts. The company struck a deal with handset-maker Nokia, which included money from Apple.

Regardless of Cook's diplomatic approach to the patent wars, Apple failed to strike a settlement agreement with Samsung earlier this year. Apple won the case in court with the jury awarding it $1 billion in damages, a decision which Samsung says it will appeal.

ITC Rules Samsung Infringes Four Apple Smartphone, Tablet Patents

October 25, 2012,

iphone-ipad.jpgCalifornia - An U.S. International Trade Commission administrative law judge made an initial finding on Wednesday that Samsung Electronics Co. infringed four Apple inc. patents for smartphone and tablet technology.

Though the ALJ did not find in favor of Apple on all of the patents it asserted, such as a component of the iPhone's design, he did find Samsung infringed patents relating to headphone connectors and touch screen technology.

The ITC's finding could pave the way for exclusion and cease and desist orders blocking imports of some Samsung devices into the U.S.

The ruling is the latest blow for Samsung, which recently became the target of a U.S. Department of Justice investigation into potential antitrust violations connected to its licensing of standard-essential patents, according to a filing Apple made in another case before the ITC on Monday.

Earlier this year a California federal jury handed down a $1 billion verdict against Samsung on Apple's smartphone and tablet patent infringement claims, which Samsung has been fighting tooth and nail, alleging juror misconduct in post-trial motions.

Apple has suffered setbacks of its own in the past week with regard to its patent portfolio. Also on Wednesday, a Dutch court reaffirmed its previous finding that Samsung has not infringed an Apple touch event model patent, in line with recent court decisions in the U.K. and Germany.

On Monday, meanwhile, Samsung revealed in a filing with the California federal court that the U.S. Patent and Trademark office has reexamined and invalidated a key Apple patent at the heart of the trial, covering its iPhone and iPad "rubber banding" display bounce-back feature.

The rubber banding patent, entitled "List scrolling and document translation, scaling and rotation on a touch-screen display," covers a method of detecting movement on a touch screen and rolling the display forward or backward when the end of the available display is reached.

The European Patent Office is already pursuing its own review of the European equivalent of the U.S. rubber banding patent, at the request of Samsung and others.

PTO Shoots Down Apple Bounce-Back Patent At Heart Of Samsung Case

October 23, 2012,

iphone-apps.jpg California - The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has preliminarily invalidated Apple Inc.'s patent for its iPhone "rubber banding" feature, a key factor in the $1 billion patent infringement jury verdict against Samsung Electronics Co. earlier this year.

The PTO declared all 20 claims of U.S. Patent No, 7,469,381 to be invalid, according to a copy of the reexamination decision Samsung gave to the Northern District of California court overseeing the case late on Monday.

The office relied primarily on two pieces of prior art, including a previous Apple patent for "continuous scrolling list with acceleration."

The rubber banding patent, entitled "List scrolling and document translation, scaling and rotation on a touch-screen display," covers a method of detecting movement on a touch screen and rolling the display forward or backward when the end of the available display is reached.

The European Patent Office is already pursuing its own review of the European equivalent of the U.S. rubber banding patent, at the request of Samsung and others. Apple won a sales injunction against Google Inc.'s Motorola Mobility LLC in a German court earlier this year on the basis of the European patent.

The PTO's decision is not final or binding, but could provide the impetus for Judge Lucy Koh in the Northern District of California to at least partially grant Samsung's motion to set aside the jury verdict.

Samsung filed motions for judgment as a matter of law and a new trial earlier in October, and the companies sparred last week over whether such relief was warranted due to Samsung's allegations of juror misconduct.

Samsung has accused jury foreman Velvin Hogan of lying about his past involvement in litigation and past ties to Samsung's law firm, saying he failed to answer truthfully during the voir dire portion of jury selection.

"Samsung fails to meet the high bar to obtain judgment or new trial on any claim," Apple said Friday. "Samsung also falls far short of showing the 'grossly excessive or monstrous' damages 'clearly not supported by the evidence, or based only on speculation or guesswork' required to disturb the jury's award."

ITC Says It Will Take Up VirnetX Patent Complaint V. Apple

October 16, 2012,

iphone.jpg California - The U.S. International Trade Commission announced Tuesday that it will pursue an investigation into whether Apple Inc. is importing electronic devices into the U.S. that infringe a VirnetX Inc. patent.

The ITC's action comes in response to a complaint VirnetX and Science Applications International Corp. filed in September alleging Apple is violating Section 337 of the Tariff Act of 1930 by importing devices with secure communications applications. The accused products include the latest iPhones, iPads, iPods, and Macintosh computers.

VirnetX has asked the ITC to institute an investigation into Apple's allegedly infringing imports and ultimately issue an exclusion order to bar importation of those Apple products. The company is also seeking a cease and desist order to stop further sales and other domestic commercial activities of infringing Apple products that have already been imported.

"The USITC has not yet made any decision on the merits of the case," the commission said.

After having a previous ITC complaint against Apple dismissed, VirnetX is now bringing the complaint jointly with SAIC, which sold VirnetX part of its patent portfolio in 2006. SAIC had to be included to remove a procedural standing issue that was identified as the reason for dismissal of VirnetX's previous complaint.

"We feel confident that our re-filing satisfies all previous ITC issues," VirnetX CEO and President Kendall Larsen said in a statement. "We now look forward to our case schedule and assignment of an Administrative Law Judge. We believe the merits of our complaint are strong and substantial."

VirnetX's U.S. Patent Number 8,051,181, which issued on November 1, 2011, is titled "Method for establishing secure communication link between computers of virtual private network."

Initially, a secure communication mode of communication is enabled at a first computer without a user entering any cryptographic information for establishing the secure communication mode of communication, according to the patent abstract. Then, a secure communication link is established between the first computer and a second computer over a computer network based on the enabled secure communication mode of communication.

Federal Circuit Overturns Samsung Sales Ban In Apple Patent Case

October 11, 2012,

samsung.jpgCalifornia - The Federal Circuit ruled on Thursday that a California federal judge abused her discretion in handing down an injunction barring Samsung Electronics Co. from selling its Galaxy Nexus smartphone in the U.S. in Apple Inc.'s epic iPhone and iPad infringement lawsuit.

Judge Lucy Koh issued the sales injunction in June, and the Federal Circuit previously granted Samsung's motion for a temporary stay of the injunction while it considered Samsung's appeal.

As the party seeking emergency relief, Apple is obligated to make a clear showing that it is at risk of irreparable harm, which entails showing a likelihood of substantial and immediate irreparable injury, according to the appeals court. A patent holder like Apple must also establish that the harm is sufficiently related to the infringement, it said.

Samsung argued on appeal that Judge Koh abused her discretion by finding that Apple will be irreparably harmed without the injunction and that Apple sufficiently established a nexus between the harm alleged and the infringing conduct.

Apple's evidence of a causal nexus, based primarily on the popularity of the iPhone 4S's Siri voice assistant and search feature, is limited, the Federal Circuit said. To the extent the district court endorsed Apple's articulation of the causal nexus test, it erred as a matter of law, it said.

To establish a sufficiently strong causal nexus, Apple had to show that consumers buy the Galaxy Nexus because it is equipped with the apparatus claimed in the patent -- not because it can search in general, and not even because it has a unified search feature, the Federal Circuit ruled.

"At best, the district court's findings indicate that some consumers who buy the iPhone 4S like Siri because, among other things, its search results are comprehensive," the court's opinion said. "That does not sufficiently suggest, however, that consumers would buy the Galaxy Nexus because of its improved comprehensiveness in search."

Apple's massive patent case against Samsung and Samsung's own counterclaims have drawn widespread public attention, in large part due to the $1 billion verdict a jury in the California court handed down in August against Samsung.

Apple Seeks To Patent Detachable Wireless Headphones

October 5, 2012,

headphones2.jpgCalifornia - A new patent application unveiled by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office on Thursday shows Apple Inc. is hoping to obtain patent protection for a listening device for a media player that could instantly and seamlessly switch from being plugged in to operating wirelessly.

The patent application, titled "Detachable Wireless Listening Device" and filed in March 2011 by Jorge S. Fino, describes a media apparatus that can be used in conjunction with a host device to provide a user a pleasurable listening experience, especially during periods of physical activity.

In the described embodiments, the host device can take the form of a portable media player, and the media apparatus can include a listening device.

The media apparatus in one embodiment includes at least one listening device, a corded portion in communication with a host device arranged to provide an audio signal, and a detachable connector having a first part and a second part. The detachable connector would be arranged to couple the listening device at the first part to the corded portion at the second part.

When the listening device is attached to the corded portion by way of the connector, the listening device receives the audio signal from the host device by way of the corded portion. When the listening device is detached from the cord, a wireless signal that includes the audio signal is transmitted from the second part of the corded portion for reception at the first part of the listening device.

The listening device could contain a set of rechargeable batteries that would store energy when the cord is attached to the media player. When detached, stereo audio could potentially be provided by giving a unique wireless address to each of the left and right speakers in the listening device, according to the patent description.

Consumers are looking for improved techniques for listening to audio provided by a personal media player during physical activity, according to Apple.

"As simple and efficient as the cord may be in transmitting the audio signal, the cord is susceptible to becoming entangled while the end user is participating in physical activity," the patent description says.

"This is particularly nettlesome since the cord connected to the personal media player used while exercising or worn on the body requires frequent adjustment to avoid entanglement which can prove distracting or in some cases present a hazard to the end user," it says.

The patent could pave the way for upgrades to Apple's earbud products on the market, especially now that the company offers Bluetooth 4.0 functionality across all of its devices.

Motorola Calls Off ITC Apple iPad, iPhone Patent Infringement Action

October 2, 2012,

apple-logo-gray.jpgCalifornia - Motorola Mobility LLC said this week it will no longer pursue its Section 337 case in the U.S. International Trade Commission seeking to block Apple Inc.'s importation and sale of wireless electronics devices like iPods and iPhones that allegedly infringe the Google Inc. subsidiary's patents.

Motorola also filed a stipulation of dismissal in a related case pending in Delaware federal court. The decision to drop the cases comes just a few weeks after the ITC said it would take up Motorola's complaint and launched an investigation.

Motorola's complaint against Apple alleged violations of Section 337 of the Tariff Act of 1930 in the importation into the United States and sale of certain wireless communication devices, portable music and data processing devices, computers, and components that infringe Motorola's asserted patents. The company requested that the ITC issue an exclusion order and a cease and desist order.

The products at issue include the iPod Touch, iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, iPhone 4S, iPad 2 and the new iPad, as well as the Mac Pro, iMac, Mac mini, MacBook Pro and MacBook Air. Allegedly infringing features include the iPhone's Siri voice assistant feature, location reminders, video players and email notifications.

The specific patents Motorola cites in the complaint include U.S. Patent Numbers 5,883,580, 5,922,047, 6,425,002, 6,983,370, 6,493,673, 7,007,064 and 7,383,983.
The '580 patent generally relates to messaging devices, the '047 patent relates to communication and control systems for multimedia, the '002 patent and '673 patent relate to communication devices, and the '370 patent relates to communications systems for messaging clients. The '064 patent relates to wireless communications systems providing content to wireless communication devices, while the '983 patent relates to managing content between devices.

"We would like to settle these patent matters, but Apple's unwillingness to work out a license leaves us little choice but to defend ourselves and our engineers' innovations," a Motorola representative said at the time the company filed its Section 337 complaint in August.

Another earlier-filed Section 337 case Motorola is asserting against Apple remains pending before the ITC.

Apple Wants Extra $707M On Top Of $1B Samsung Patent Verdict

September 24, 2012,

iphone-ipad.jpgCalifornia -- Apple Inc. asked a California federal judge Friday to grant it an additional $707 million in enhanced and supplemental damages and interest in the iPad and iPhone patent infringement case that recently yielded a $1 billion verdict against Samsung Electronics Co.

Samsung infringed Apple's patents willfully, tried to conceal its misconduct and did not act in good faith, Apple told Judge Lucy Koh of the Northern District of California in a motion for a permanent injunction and damage enhancements that requested $535 million in enhanced damages under the Lanham Act and Patent Act.
Apple also separately asked for another $172 million in a motion for judgment as a matter of law and amended judgment Friday.

"Samsung made a calculated business decision to copy the industrial designs, graphical user interfaces, and touchscreen navigation technology of the iPhone and iPad," Apple's motion for enhanced damages said. "Samsung has reaped extraordinary rewards from its wrongful sale of iPhone and iPad clones by taking market share, revenues, and profits from Apple."

In the first six months of 2012 alone, Samsung received over $1.5 billion in revenue from the 26 products that the jury found infringed or diluted Apple's patents and trade dresses, according to Apple.

"Samsung's misuse of Apple's intellectual property has caused severe, long-term and irreparable harm to Apple in a market where customer loyalty is critical and at a time when many consumers are making their first smartphone purchases," the motion says.
Samsung has engaged in its wrongful conduct willfully, ignoring repeated warnings from Apple, the California federal court and the Federal Circuit regarding the validity and infringement of Apple's patents and the dilution of its trade dresses, as well as from the press and various carriers that pointed out Samsung's obvious copying, Apple says.
"Samsung bet that the benefits of using Apple's intellectual property would far outweigh any damage award that might result from litigation," the motion says "Even the substantial damages awarded by the jury are dwarfed by the profits Samsung has reaped and will continue to reap from its unlawful conduct. This court can and should take further action."

ITC Says It Will Act On Motorola's Patent Infringement Complaint V. Apple

September 18, 2012,

iphone-apps.jpg California - The U.S. International Trade Commission on Tuesday decided to institute an investigation of Apple Inc.'s iPhones, iPods, iPads and Apple personal computers for potential patent infringement in response to a Section 337 complaint Motorola Mobility LLC filed with the agency a month earlier.

Motorola's complaint against Apple alleges violations of Section 337 of the Tariff Act of 1930 in the importation into the United States and sale of certain wireless communication devices, portable music and data processing devices, computers, and components that infringe Motorola's asserted patents. The company is requesting that the ITC issue an exclusion order and a cease and desist order.

"By instituting this investigation, the USITC has not yet made any decision on the merits of the case," the ITC said Tuesday. The Commission's Chief Administrative Law Judge will assign the case to one of the ITC's six administrative law judges, who will schedule and hold an evidentiary hearing.

The ALJ will make an initial determination as to whether there is a violation of section 337, which is then subject to the Commission's review.

"The USITC will make a final determination in the investigation at the earliest practicable time," the Commission said. A target date will be set for completing the investigation within 45 days after the investigation's institution, it said.

The products at issue include the iPod Touch, iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, iPhone 4S, iPad 2 and the new iPad, as well as the Mac Pro, iMac, Mac mini, MacBook Pro and MacBook Air.

The specific patents Motorola cites in the complaint include U.S. Patent Numbers 5,883,580, 5,922,047, 6,425,002, 6,983,370, 6,493,673, 7,007,064 and 7,383,983.

The '580 patent generally relates to messaging devices, the '047 patent relates to communication and control systems for multimedia, the '002 patent and '673 patent relate to communication devices, and the '370 patent relates to communications systems for messaging clients. The '064 patent relates to wireless communications systems providing content to wireless communication devices, while the '983 patent relates to managing content between devices.

ITC Rules For Apple In Samsung IPhone, IPad Patent Challenge

September 14, 2012,

samsung.jpg California -- Apple Inc.'s iPhones and iPads do not infringe on any Samsung Electronics Co. patents, a U.S. International Trade Commission judge said Friday, marking another win for Apple in its global patent war with its South Korean rival.

Samsung initiated the Section 337 investigation with the ITC last year, alleging Apple has been importing into the U.S. electronic devices including wireless communication devices, portable music and data devices and tablet computers, namely the iPhone and iPad, that infringe Samsung's patents.

ITC Administrative Law Judge James Gildea's initial determination in the case found no violations of Section 337 in the importation of Apple's devices as they relate to any of Samsung's asserted patents, U.S. Patent Numbers 7,706,348, 7,486,644, 6,771,980 and 7,450,114.

The ruling places one more victory in Apple's column in its battle with Samsung. In the biggest salvo of that battle yet, a $1 billion jury verdict handed down in August against Samsung in the Northern District of California sent shockwaves through the smartphone industry and the greater technology sector at large.

Samsung has also scored several wins for itself in other countries, though, including recent favorable court decisions in Japan and its home of South Korea.

Samsung's Galaxy S III phone and 20 other products came under attack from Apple Inc. in a new amended complaint filed in California federal court earlier in September.

Apple Nets Patents For Multi-Touch Screen, Carbon Fiber Housing, More

September 4, 2012,

iPad.jpgCalifornia - Apple Inc. secured over two dozen new patents on Tuesday covering technology that includes a liquid crystal display capable of multi-touch functionality and a process for molding carbon fiber that could lead to future MacBook casings made of the material.

U.S. Patent Number 8,259,078, titled "Touch screen liquid crystal display," discloses LCD touch screens that integrate the touch sensing elements with the display circuitry.

Touch sensing elements can be completely implemented within the LCD stackup but not between the color filter plate and the array plate, under the patent. 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, which can encompass both conventional and "in-plane-switching" 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 covered by the patent.

The invention is credited to Steve Porter Hotelling of Los Gatos, California, Wei Chen of Palo Alto, California, Christoph Horst Krah of Los Altos, California, John Greer Elias of Townsend, Delaware, Wei Hsin Yao of Fremont, California, John Z. Zhong of Cupertino, California, Andrew Bert Hodge of Palto Alto, California, Brian Richards Land of Redwood City, California and Willem den Boer of Brighton, Michigan. The application for the invention was filed in June 2007.

U.S. Patent Number 8,257,075, meanwhile, titled "Carbon composite mold design," covers a mold assembly or system that includes a moldbase that holds mold inserts and has embedded fluid lines to facilitate cooling during part formation. The carbon molding technology could be applied to build sturdier housings for Apple's MacBooks and other computers.

"While many designs and methods of manufacture for providing composite molded parts and components have generally worked well in the past, there is always a desire to provide new and improved designs and processes that result in functional and aesthetically pleasing composite parts that can be mass produced," the patent description says. "In particular, it is desirable to provide a carbon composite molding apparatus and process that allows for a more automated mass production of consistent carbon composite parts, such as for computer housings and the like."

Paul Choiniere of Livermore, California, Glenn Aune of Bellingham, Washington, John DiFonzo of Emerald Hills, California, Daniel Hong of Cupertino, California and Kevin Kenney of San Jose, California filed the application for the carbon molding patent in November 2009.

Apple Applies For Patent On iPad Smart Cover

August 13, 2012,

iPad.jpgCalifornia - Apple announced last week that it has applied for a patent to protect its slick new iPad cover. The application lists the patent as "Cover Attachment with Flexible Display". The new technology offers such useful additions as a keyboard, an extra row of apps, and the option of having special notifications appear on the cover space.

Undoubtedly, iPad users have reason to be excited at the possibility of a new Apple issued accessory for the iPad. Some of the cool new features possibly offered will be an ambient power collector, a keyboard and touch screen integrated into the cover flap, a rear display with controls in the back of the iPad, and additional alerts that could be displayed on the cover such as calendar notifications. Many iPad users end up purchasing separate keyboards for use with their iPad, so the keyboard option could prove to be a useful addition when the user folds the cover back. In addition, ambient power has become a popular new option for consumers who would prefer to use solar power to boost displays, particularly when using the iPad outdoors. The cover alert portion of the patent would allow users to display calendar events, notifications and alerts on the cover. The rear display function seems like the least likely of the options to actually come to pass. Industry experts say that locating controls on the back of the product would be impractical since the user would constantly have to turn the product around to see what buttons they were pushing.

The timing of the patent is interesting considering the recently unveiled Microsoft Surface tablet which will be sold with a cover that includes a kick stand and keyboard. The Apple patent could result in a single cover for the iPad, or several smart covers with different feature options. The new iPad smart cover should come out in time for the 2012 Christmas shopping season. The manager of product design at Apple, Fletcher Rothkopf, is listed as the inventor.

California Based Apple Granted Patent Dubbed "The Mother of All Smartphone Patents"

July 26, 2012,

iphone.jpgCalifornia - Apple had a busy week recently with the United States Patent and Trademark Office in which it was issued a whopping 25 patents for various new inventions. Within the last several months, Apple has been on somewhat of a patent spree with filings for everything from hardware, to software, to accessories.

Some would argue that the most important of these newly granted patents is one that applies to a "portable electronic device, method and graphical user interface for displaying electronic lists and documents". In particular, patent number 8,223,134 covers the graphical interface that Apple designed for use with telephones, email, cameras, video players, calendars and numerous other multi-touch applications. Filed in March 2012, experts are calling the patent extremely important and have dubbed it "the mother of all smartphone software patents". Additionally, Apple's newest smartphone patent is expected to provide significant competition for its main adversary Google Android.

In the years since the smartphone burst into the cell phone market, mobile phone technology has increased at such a rapid rate that consumers can hardly keep up. But savvy smartphone users have likely noticed a variety of similarities between the top products.

Before iPhone hit the market, smartphones used actual physical buttons and keys that had to be pushed to direct actions. However, the iPhone ushered in a period of new technology that advanced multi-touch graphical user interfaces that are a trademark of the iPhone today. Smartphone manufacturers have not hesitated to copy that design to the extent possible with new products in the marketplace today. Historically, Apple has taken drastic steps to protect its intellectual property, including extensive patent applications and numerous patent infringement lawsuits. Undoubtedly, the newest patent granted to Apple will play a part in ongoing litigation with companies such as Samsung, Motorola and HTC, who have chosen to battle it out in court with Apple over patent infringement.

California Based Apple Awarded Patent For Head-Mounted Display Device

July 12, 2012,

apple-store.jpgCalifornia - Head-mounted wearable computers are the hottest new trend electronics. Consequently, industry experts anticipate mainstream use of such devices will explode within the next five years.

In an effort to capitalize on this new trend and compete with Google's recently released similar device, Apple announced this week that it was awarded a patent for its own head-mounted display device. Patent number 8,212,859 covers technology that projects an image in front of the viewer's eyes and is designed to enhance a user's viewing experience. The user then has an augmented view of reality with a see-through image imposed on top of the real-world image. According to the patent description, Apple's device could have several small CRT, LCD or OLED displays embedded in a wearable headset incorporated into a helmet, pair of glasses, or a visor.

To capture an even larger market share for head-mounted display devices, Apple is planning on adding sophisticated app development, a possible second display, processor memory and advanced user interfaces. Originally filed back in 2006, the patent for the new technology could also possibly be utilized by heath-care professionals in day-to-day procedures. Developers claim that surgeons could use the product to display information while they operate, such as MRI imaging, CAT scans or other radiographic data. Additionally, Apple anticipates potential use for military, police and firefighters, who could use the new product to display tactical information. The headset could provide an invaluable tool for viewing maps and thermal imaging information, as well as for traditional uses like gaming or internet entertainment applications.

Much like the Apple device, Google recently developed Google Glass, a highly anticipated product utilizing computerized glasses technology. The Android-based glasses have a GPS sensor, cameras, speakers, a microphone and a processor memory. However, unlike the new Apple product, the Google Glass sits slightly above the viewer's eyes, so as to not interfere with vision. Gamers and technology experts anxiously await the introduction of both products into stores and will likely provide multiple reviews within the coming months. Samples of the products are set to be released in 2013 with mass production scheduled for 2014.

Apple Applies for Stylus Patent

May 25, 2012,

apple-logo.jpgCalifornia - When the iPhone was first introduced by Apple, Steve Jobs insisted that patenting the stylus was a bad idea and not worth the time and effort involved. However, despite the idea previously being shunned by the internal creative powers at Apple, it has been confirmed that Apple has filed a patent application with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office for an Optical Stylus.

The current idea being patented is conceptually different from the stylus that most consumers would get with a tablet purchased in the marketplace today. Most stylus products currently being sold are simple optical devices with a pressure sensor that can capture an image using a built in camera. When the stylus touches the prescribed surface, the camera captures the image and relays it to the computer's internal parts, which in turn tells the computer what to do. But today's consumers are more technically savvy than ever and expect more from their products than what a simple stylus has traditionally done. To that end, Apple's newest stylus patent could possibly include several different high-tech variations, including but not limited to: accelerometers, gyroscopes, haptic feedback and/or multiple orientation determining sensors.

It should be noted that the patent application does not mean that Apple plans to market the next iPad with a stylus. However, Apple has traditionally been a creative leader in the computer field and the new stylus ideas are no exception. Furthermore, it is highly unlikely that the creative design teams would spend so much time and energy on new stylus ideas if there weren't some products being planned that would incorporate the new stylus ideas in some iteration or another.

This is not to say that the designers at Apple have surmounted the convenience problems that most consumers have with a stylus. Jobs himself famously complained that a stylus was inconvenient and easy to lose. Consequently, even with a convenient space to store the stylus, many consumers end up misplacing the smaller part sooner or later. But with new and creative concepts constantly being bandied about at Apple, it is likely that the creative teams will market the new products and stylus ideas with some interesting new storage ideas.

California Based Apple Sued for Patent Infringement Over Touch Technology

April 24, 2012,

apple-logo-gray.jpgCalifornia - FlatWorld Interactives is suing Apple for patent infringement alleging that Apple's touch technology infringes one of FlatWorld's patents. The company out of Pennsylvania is seeking a permanent injunction from the infringement and for compensatory damages as well.

According to the complaint filed with the United States District Court for the Northern California District of California, FlatWorld is accusing Apple of knowingly infringing its patents with products such as its iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch, MacBook Pro, MacBook Air, Magic Mouse and Magic Trackpad. FlatWorld is a designer of touchscreen systems used in museum displays.

In addition to seeking a jury trial, FlatWorld is requesting an immediate injunction to ban Apple from the alleged infringement. Patent attorneys representing FlatWorld claim that Apple's infringement has been on such a large scale that it has caused the company irreparable harm. Flatworld is seeking monetary damages appropriate to the level of infringement, however the amount was not specified.

The FlatWorld patent at issue involves technology that allows users to manipulate images using gestures such as flicking images off the screen and selecting the image by touching it. The goal of the gesture recognition technique is for children to have an easier and more intuitive way of interacting with computers.

FlatWorld Interactive was founded in January 2007 by cognitive science and digital design professor Slavko Milekic. Ten years earlier in 1997, Milekic had filed a provisional patent application with the United States Patent and Trademark Office for the technology, claiming priority of use from that date. He was then granted U.S. Patent No. 6,920,619 in July 2005. After creating FlatWorld in 2007, Milekic assigned the patent to the company.

The companies are scheduled to appear in a case management conference later this year to discuss the important issues in the case to avoid an unnecessary and demanding discovery process when preparing for trial.

No comment was available from Apple on the pending litigation.

Apple's iWallet Patent Approved

March 12, 2012,

apple-logo.jpgCalifornia - Patently Apple announced Wednesday, March 7, 2012, that Apple's patent for iWallet has been approved by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. Patently Apple reports, "Today, Apple has been granted a major iWallet patent and it's one that has never been reported on before. Apple's patent reviews credit card transaction rules and shows us that the credit card companies will be sending statements directly to your iTunes account." The iWallet patent, which first appeared in May 2010, will allow users to purchase items, set spending limits, receive credit card statements, and much more all through iTunes.

iWallet will also contain a restriction feature which will allow parents or employers to set restriction controls such as blocking certain retailers and would decline a transaction and send an email alert when such a transaction has been attempted. If a minor used the iWallet, a parent could set restrictions similar to the television or internet. For example, using iTunes a parent could block alcohol or tobacco retailers and if their child attempted to purchase an item at the blocked retailer, the parent would be sent an email notification and the purchase would be declined. This feature would also benefit an employer and employee, allowing an employer to view purchases and allow set spending limits at retailer stores such as gas stations.

The iWallet patent figures include images consisting of an iPhone screen with an application referred to as "Card Profile", where the user could go to customize their settings and input their credit card information, set billing alerts, add or remove credit cards users, etc. The iWallet feature would be located in the iTunes application under "Services".

With this exciting news, Patently Apple stated in their report "Who knows, perhaps one day Apple's iWallet will rule the world: the financial world that is." This statement may have some truth to it when it comes to ruling the world, the World Wide Web that is.