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Apple Wins Major iPhone and iOS Interface Patent

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Since Apple changed the smartphone game, back in 2007, all the other smartphone manufacturers have been trying to catch up, often putting out products that are very similar to Apple’s iPhone and iOS. This often results in copyright and patent disputes. Today, Patently Apple published an article reporting that Apple was just granted another patent, pertaining to the iPhone and iOS. In fact they were recently granted 25 new patents, but the one that caught Patently Apple’s eye was a patent for iOS’s GUI for displaying lists and documents.

As I interpret this one patent, it seems to cover a lot of different aspects of today multi-touch interface smartphones, and could help Apple in numerous on going lawsuits. Here are the notes, as Patently Apple published:

A method, comprising: at a portable multifunction device with a touch screen display: displaying a portion of an electronic document on the touch screen display, wherein the displayed portion of the electronic document has a vertical position in the electronic document; displaying a vertical bar on top of the displayed portion of the electronic document, the vertical bar displayed proximate to a vertical edge of the displayed portion of the electronic document, wherein: the vertical bar has a vertical position on top of the displayed portion of the electronic document that corresponds to the vertical position in the electronic document of the displayed portion of the electronic document; and the vertical bar is not a scroll bar; detecting a movement of an object in a direction on the displayed portion of the electronic document; in response to detecting the movement: scrolling the electronic document displayed on the touch screen display in the direction of movement of the object so that a new portion of the electronic document is displayed, moving the vertical bar to a new vertical position such that the new vertical position corresponds to the vertical position in the electronic document of the displayed new portion of the electronic document, and maintaining the vertical bar proximate to the vertical edge of the displayed portion of the electronic document; and in response to a predetermined condition being met, ceasing to display the vertical bar while continuing to display the displayed portion of the electronic document, wherein the displayed portion of the electronic document has a vertical extent that is less than a vertical extent of the electronic document.

Who knows how this may effect the current lawsuits regarding multi-touch interface, but this seems like a win for Apple. It is widely known that the the introduction of the iPhone changed the smartphone market forever. This new patent helps solidify Apple’s claim that that have revolutionized this market.

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  • So, basically, they got a patent for the disappearing scroll position indicator.

    I don’t use any other touch-screen devices, so I’m not sure… does anyone know if Android or Blackberry phones use such a feature? I’m curious if this is something that competitors are doing that Apple can claim a patent on.

  • S2556

    Yes android uses it. At least on some devices including the new galaxy s3. These patents are getting ridiculous though. Imagine if someone patented the deadbolt lock, or shoes that use a lace system to securely attach to ones feet. This is how simple some of these software patents are. It is hindering innovation and holding the whole industry back. Software patents are a broken system that are only being used to stop competition. We need a new system.

  • JMCD23

    Absolutely. Imagine if Henry Ford patented 4 wheels on a chasis and sued everyone else. Cars would be terrible. iOS has taken things from Android, yet you don’t see the lawsuits going the other way. It’s not like such a small feature is even important or would hinder/aid sales.

  • Nate

    Henry Ford didn’t invent the Automobile, He invented the Assembly line.

  • draz

    Funny how they got this patent and a lot of people are complaining about how ‘stale’ the iOS interface looks.

  • …and imagine if he had patented THAT!

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