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Apple wins multi-touch patent

Two fingers to opposition
Tue Jan 27 2009, 15:26

TOUCH APPLE'S multi-touch technology, and the fruity toymaker will slap you with the full weight of US patent law.

Apple has apparently just won the American patent (number 7,479,949) for touch-screen control technology, a fact which will have the firm's competitors very worried indeed.

Awarded to "Jobs et al" (Ed- who's Al?), Patent 7,479,949 gives Apple credit for "detecting one or more finger contacts with the touch screen display". Basically, stabbing more than one of your pudgy, nail-bitten digits at a tiny screen to make things happen.

As if that wasn't enough, the incredibly long-winded patent also goes on to claim the Iphone and Ipod touch command system, including finger or thumb swiping or twisting and spreading to enlarge pictures or rotate them.

The patent was apparently issued on January 20th, just a day before the firm gloated over its seemingly recession-proof growing quarterly profits.

Apple can now legally stamp on any rival which tries to use its precious intellectual property without prior consent and lots of money changing hands. Not that Apple would want to crush its competition, oh no. Or at least, that's what the firm's chief operating officer, Tim Cook, told journos in a conference call.

"We think competition is good," said Cook before warning, "We are ready to suit up and go against anyone. However, we will not stand for having our IP ripped off and will use whatever weapons at our disposal."

Cook was particularly careful not to mention the upcoming Palm Pre touch-screen mobile smartphone, but, if we were Palm, we'd watch our backs, because as they say in the wild west of Silicon Valley, "dem's fightin' words". µ


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