Adding A Second Touchscreen Is Patentable?

from the in-what-world? dept

It really has become somewhat ridiculous when you look at what some companies figure is patentable these days. Engadget points us to a newly published patent application from Apple for a "Hand held electronic device with multiple touch sensing devices." While plenty of sites scour these types of patents to get a better feel for new Apple products, this really looks like a ridiculous patent. The "innovation" in the application is simply the idea that you would add a second touch sensor to a handheld device, rather than just a single sensor. Yes, that seems to be the grand total of the invention, and it's designed to cover any such device that happens to include a second touch sensor -- because, clearly, without this patent, no one would ever independently think of adding a second touch sensor to a device. Again, since it's just an application, we can hope it's rejected. But, the ease of getting patents these days encourages companies to apply for such patents on ridiculously obvious ideas.
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  • identicon
    Chuck Norris' Enemy (deceased), 8 Sep 2006 @ 12:53pm

    In fact...

    They only got the patent for two sensing devices because I already have the patent for 3, 4, and 5 of the said devices. I just thought 2 was ridiculous!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    AJ, 8 Sep 2006 @ 12:57pm

    when

    I would like to see an article one day explaining that the patent office has realized how stupid their system is and see them post a detailed plan restoring said system to actually accomplish what it was designed to do. I know I may be dreaming, but eventually, with enough bashing, they've got to come to their senses. Or am I dreaming?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Pope Ratzo, 8 Sep 2006 @ 1:43pm

      Re: when

      Why don't we patent the idea of a complete overhaul of the patent system? Then we can all get rich. Or wait... I'm stupid!

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      thisGuy, 8 Sep 2006 @ 2:01pm

      Re: when

      This is a government office, asking them to think is too much. The war on drugs hasn't ever worked but they're still fighting "the good fight". I hate to say it, but our government can be much like a spoiled stuborn child, resistent to change.

      PS. Are we getting out of Iraq soon? Oh no, the government still thinks it was the right thing to do.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 8 Sep 2006 @ 2:06pm

        Re: Re: when

        PS. Are we getting out of Iraq soon? Oh no, the government still thinks it was the right thing to do

        Nononono, noone in the gov't thinks it was the right thing to do. Every one of them is well aware it was the perfectly wrong thing to do.

        But they can't actually admit that. Think of the worldwide repurcussions from that. People might actually respect us. We can't have that. We MUST continue to say that it was a good idea, but just "harder than we thought it would be".

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      tom, 10 Sep 2006 @ 12:06pm

      Re: when

      Seriously, that's all you hear now a days. Someone patents this, and the legal battles that are spawned because of it.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    O yeah, 8 Sep 2006 @ 12:59pm

    ?

    Mike, do you ever give these guys a chance to comment before running a story? I would love to see some comments from these guys when confronted with this crap, would make for some interesting reading..

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 8 Sep 2006 @ 1:11pm

    I DID IT!

    I added a "Fix Bluescreen" key to the keyboard (ssshhhshshshsh! Its just a wire to the reset switch), where's my patent?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Mawt, 8 Sep 2006 @ 8:43pm

      Re: I DID IT!

      I LOLed. I'd buy that in a heartbeat. Just for props.

      But yeah, might as well just patent the idea of having ideas.
      You'll probably have to be extremely specific or completely left field thinking to make anything that -doesn't- go against patents. e_e

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Marc, 8 Sep 2006 @ 1:11pm

    One word: BULLSHIT.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Alan, 8 Sep 2006 @ 1:12pm

    re: when

    Don't blame the patent office. Someone patented common sense years ago and they just don't have the budget to license a copy.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 8 Sep 2006 @ 1:22pm

      Re: re: when

      Common sense might not be patentable.. BUT

      "A team of indivuals evaluating submitted ideas for uniqueness with the aid of a computer system" is.

      If the patent holder refuses to license this "technology" to the patent office, then they can't use computers. Or at least, in the world according to the patent legislation.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Levi, 8 Sep 2006 @ 1:20pm

    So Apple's patented the Nintendo DS?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Nobody, 8 Sep 2006 @ 2:00pm

      Re: Levi

      Uh, the DS has one touch sensing device, the bottom screen. The top screen is just a plain old screen.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Me, 8 Sep 2006 @ 2:01pm

      Re: Levi's comment

      by Levi on Sep 8th, 2006 @ 1:20pm

      So Apple's patented the Nintendo DS?

      This was my thought exactly, now Nintendo is going to have to license this technology from Apple, and change the name to the iDS.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    mark, 8 Sep 2006 @ 1:25pm

    It isn't that nobody else would think of it. It is to generate royalties from those that want to produce such an arrangement, or to dominate the market for such a device for as long as the patent runs. Not dumb at all, and something Mr. Gates understands all too well.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 8 Sep 2006 @ 1:44pm

      Re: No, Mark, your comment is invalid

      Sorry, but Mr. Gates (or microsoft) has never sued anyone for absurd patent infringement. Mr. Gates and his Mike-Rowe Soft (just a joke, not a valid reference) have a tonne of absurd patents so they dont get sued for absurd violations of absurd patents.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 8 Sep 2006 @ 1:27pm

    They finally want to make mice with more than one button?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    A non-mouse Crowd, 8 Sep 2006 @ 1:27pm

    The DS only has one touchscreen - the bottom one, and top only functions as a display screen. That's why Apple can patent the two touchscreen approach. Either way, it's bull. Also, there must be some device that has two touch sensors out there by now. Any takers on prior art???

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Bubba, 8 Sep 2006 @ 1:45pm

    My gf has two touchscreens on her "dashboard"! They are identical, perfect, and I utilize them daily!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Cantalwayswin, 8 Sep 2006 @ 1:49pm

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    me, 8 Sep 2006 @ 1:52pm

    I have 2 17" touchscreens on my desk at work. Does that mean im getting sued by Apple

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 8 Sep 2006 @ 1:59pm

    Apparently, people only read the title of a patent

    Have people actualy read the patent? The claim is not "has two touch screens". It rests a large part in identifying the user and configuring the device based on the user (see claim #34). It identifies which hand the user is using, which user it is and the settings for that user.

    Once again, this is not simply "two touch screens" being patented.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    GW, 8 Sep 2006 @ 2:07pm

    It WAS the right thing to do!

    Fight them their - or fight them here - you decide which in November.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    sean, 8 Sep 2006 @ 2:15pm

    "Hand held electronic device with multiple touch sensing devices." When you press a button dose it no sense that it was touched? If it did not then It would not work. So there any device is hand held and has two or more buttons would fall under this patent.

    I can think of about 1000 things that will fall into this category.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 8 Sep 2006 @ 2:22pm

    Crap...so I guess my wireless Mouse it going to become an iMouse? or an iKeyboard? Crap....what about iLife? Is that going to be patented next?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Proxy318, 8 Sep 2006 @ 2:26pm

    Mice

    Apple makes mice with more than one button. Sort of. The "mighty mouse", which is just an un-ergonomic as their previous mice, has right and left sensors that can be configured to right and left click (though by default they're both configured for left click. You know, so as not to confuse people). And it only costs 3x what a normal 2 button + scroll wheel mouse costs.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Susheel M. Daswani, 8 Sep 2006 @ 2:29pm

    Read the Patent

    Neither Mike nor the "Anonymous Coward" above gives whole story. One of the claims (#1) is for a device with two touchscreens, whereas another (#34) claims determing users based on how the two screens are touched. The first claim is definitely too broad - expect it to get rejected. I am not sure about the second claim though - I'd need to look at the disclosure more fully to get a better idea of its legitimacy.

    But Mike is right - the PTO has not done a good job with patent quality, so inventors will try to claim as broadly as possible in order to get a strong property right. Then again, it is the job of any good patent prosecutor to try to claim as much as possible for their client.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 8 Sep 2006 @ 2:37pm

    leave offtopic out

    you guys (namely 20 + 21) could we leave the "no iraq" crap outta this? whether you are for or against it, can we for once keep to the topic on hand (apple dual SENSOR (not screen) touch device patent)???

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Patent Happy, 8 Sep 2006 @ 3:34pm

    touch sensors

    I have th patent for ten sensors, one for each finger.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Jacob Buck, 8 Sep 2006 @ 3:35pm

    I'm going to patent the patent office

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Colin Lemahieu, 8 Sep 2006 @ 4:00pm

    Oh please.

    Don't try to insult our intelligence by reading the patent abstract to us and claiming it's obvious.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Mark Hopkins, 8 Sep 2006 @ 4:05pm

    I'm not sure, but it is hard...

    I'm not sure if it's patentable, but it is extremely difficult to do with off the shelf os's and hardware.

    I recently designed a handheld last year designed to work with mutiple touch-sensors and touch screens, and it was a PAIN IN THE ASS getting them to work with any OS at all.

    If it had been my idea, and didn't belong to the company I contracted for, I might have been inclined to patent my technique. It's not an obvious thing to be able to do. It requires a good deal of engineering. Trust me.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Brad, 8 Sep 2006 @ 5:22pm

      Re: I'm not sure, but it is hard...

      This isn't that hard to do. Windows handles it just fine.

      I can run up to 8 seporate monitors (with suitable graphics cards and multiplexers) and the standard touchkit software package supports each independantly, or with a slight tweak they can be used in conjunction.

      I outfitted a car with two computers and six monitors, four of which were touch screens. The drivers had absolutely no difficulty understanding the multiple screens.

      Doing it on a small, embedded device is different, but some of the images in that patent seem downright laptop sized.

      As an aside: I agree with the request to keep mild political gripes (and off-topic jabs at unrealted companies) off the boards. We're talking about Apple and it's use (and enforcement) of absurd patents. What's that got to do with Bill Gates, who runs neither MS nor it's patent arm? Learn first, speak second.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    kwanbis, 8 Sep 2006 @ 4:33pm

    i'm sure they learned from creative ...

    i think now companies would try to patent anything, so they don't get in 5 years sued, cause somebody patented something as stupid as a nested-menu, as creative did

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Fallen, 8 Sep 2006 @ 5:00pm

    Arrggg Defending Apple

    As Much as i hate to do it apple is not patenting two touch screens i believe the original plan as it was layed out about a year ago was to have access on a touch screen say a tablet PC so you could touch one point and then move another by touching another spot at the same much like the desk in the movie "the Island" where he moves stuff around at two points on the desk at the same time.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    bpruett, 8 Sep 2006 @ 5:06pm

    Ever Heard of an iPAQ

    The iPAQ hx4700 has a mouse like touch pad and a touch screen. Can you say prior art.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Ensign Pike, 8 Sep 2006 @ 6:54pm

    First Strike

    The problem here is that if Apple didn't do this, then they are risking that someone else will before they get their product out. Cheaper to get the patent first (if it's gettable, if not it doesn't matter)

    This is a failure of the PO, not APPL.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    bc, 8 Sep 2006 @ 11:11pm

    forced to patent the ridiculous

    I agree with the first strike, If you don't patent everthing and anything then some bozo will and try to sue you for it. Apple is a big target for patent trolls. I have yet to hear of them sueing over a baseless patent, But they have gotten bit in the arse a few times by them!
    A Stupid system!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 9 Sep 2006 @ 10:18am

    #37 and #39 are what I was thinking. Just look at how many times apple has been sued for the iPod and the ammount of times they settled on other bad patents. Apple probably has to make sure every new concept is patetened by them, so thier continues sucess does not continue to be the 'backup buisness plan' of failing buisnesses with broad patents.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    DrinkySmurf, 10 Sep 2006 @ 5:36pm

    My revolutionary idea!

    A disposable razor with 7 blades!
    Brilliant!!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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