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Latest Apple patent covers in-call multitasking - get ready for the lawsuits

Written by Rich Fiscus (Google+) @ 22 Dec 2011 9:37 User comments (20)

Latest Apple patent covers in-call multitasking - get ready for the lawsuits Apple has just been granted another smartphone patent which may be a new low for the iPhone maker.
Their latest US patent, 8,082,523, is for multitasking while using a handset's phone app. Technically there are some additional details, such as using a touch gesture and displaying an icon for switching to another application, but that's really just specifying that it applies to a standard mobile device touch interface.

Here's the abstract from the USPTO (US Patent and Trademark Office):

A portable electronic device displays, on a touch screen display, a user interface for a phone application during a phone call. In response to detecting activation of a menu icon or menu button, the UI for the phone application is replaced with a menu of application icons, while maintaining the phone call. In response to detecting a finger gesture on a non-telephone service application icon, displaying a user interface for the non-telephone service application while continuing to maintain the phone call, the UI for the non-telephone service application including a switch application icon that is not displayed in the UI when there is no ongoing phone call. In response to detecting a finger gesture on the switch application icon, replacing display of the UI for the non-telephone service application with a respective UI for the phone application while continuing to maintain the phone call.


If Apple weren't so obviously serious about using their smartphone patents against other companies, you would almost have to suspect they were trying to point out the ridiculousness of the modern patent system.

And regardless of their intent, that's exactly what patents like this, or another one approved recently for "swipe to unlock," clearly show. The unlock patent, for example, describes a process almost identical to one introduced by another company in 2005, but with the addition of some simple animation.

If there's a silver lining behind this cloud, it's that Apple's lawsuits defending such ridiculous patents may reach the point where even the clueless government officials who set patent policy can no longer defend the status quo.

The reason they have been able to avoid the issue for so long is that most tech patents granted in recent years have been purely defensive. Before Steve Jobs took offense to Android copying iPhone features, lawsuits from actual practicing entities (ie not patent trolls) were the exception, rather than the rule.

However, it was inevitable that would change eventually. The stated purpose of patent laws is to enforce government granted monopolies on inventions. While it is easy to point the finger at Apple for abusing the patent system, it is more accurate to say their actions are exactly what the system was designed for.

The question is how long we can continue on this course before the collateral damage becomes more than the economy can bear.

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20 user comments

122.12.2011 10:30

What's next? Apple patents the color of the moon for the iPhone 9? They've run out of unicorn for the white color.

222.12.2011 11:12

This BS from Apple is hurting the end user really bad. I don't think they have thought of patenting the smartphone itself. APPLE YOU ARE FULL OF BS!!!

322.12.2011 13:29

all apple product is owsome we love it in the holl world

422.12.2011 18:13

Apple can suck it, their iPhone will lose popularity once everyone has had at least one iPhone as their mobile.

I do not appreciate them patenting software that is open source.

522.12.2011 23:35

APPLE is trying to patent MULTITASKING??? They were the last to the table with MultiTasking!!!

I think I will patent calling a phone an "iPhone"...after all, it was the last person to think of it that gets the patent, right?

622.12.2011 23:43

right!!!!

723.12.2011 1:24
llongtheD
Inactive

This is ridiculous and completely anti-consumer. I would ask when our government would wake up to this but they're too well paid.
Next maybe apple can patent placing your hand in front of your face when you sneeze, or leaning to one side when you fart while sitting down.

This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 23 Dec 2011 @ 1:29

823.12.2011 2:24

Maybe they will patent this next:




923.12.2011 2:30

Haha, this is impressive. Am I allowed to hope that whoever developed the idea for this patent meets an untimely death?

I swear, sometimes it must surprise even Apple, what patents they get through.

This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 23 Dec 2011 @ 2:32

1023.12.2011 2:31

Originally posted by Notcow:
Haha, this is impressive. Am I allowed to hope that whoever developed the idea for this patent meets an untimely death?
You are allowed to hope that trolls invade Mars, killing Santa in the process.


1123.12.2011 2:33

Originally posted by KillerBug:
Originally posted by Notcow:
Haha, this is impressive. Am I allowed to hope that whoever developed the idea for this patent meets an untimely death?
You are allowed to hope that trolls invade Mars, killing Santa in the process.
Oh, but last time I hoped out loud it ended with angry mods~
This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 23 Dec 2011 @ 2:49

1223.12.2011 2:35

Originally posted by Notcow:
Originally posted by KillerBug:
Originally posted by Notcow:
Haha, this is impressive. Am I allowed to hope that whoever developed the idea for this patent meets an untimely death?
You are allowed to hope that trolls invade Mars, killing Santa in the process.
Oh, but last time I hoped out loud it ended with angry mods~
Probably better to just hope quietly...like when I hoped that the guy who said, "You are holding it wrong" would die a terrible and slow death.


1323.12.2011 9:19

Originally posted by llongtheD:
This is ridiculous and completely anti-consumer. I would ask when our government would wake up to this but they're too well paid.
Next maybe apple can patent placing your hand in front of your face when you sneeze, or leaning to one side when you fart while sitting down.
AW CRAP. Which side i go right myself ....as long as they patent the left i still good.
Morons How the freak does this crap even get put thru?

If its got tits tires or electronics its gonna give ya problems

1423.12.2011 11:52

This is a very biased article and you guys are clueless.

1523.12.2011 17:34

I think I can run a patent up the chain really fast before the end of the year... it's reliant on the concept of hiccuping, farting, belching & sneezing at the same time. when done properly I have full belief that the space time continuum will stop, the fabric of space will rip & a traversible black hole will open up for at least two people to step through.

The individual that went through the gastrointestinal nightmare won't wear to well, but what the hell, this is science...

Wait a minute... CrApple shot me in the foot already... This is already a form of multi-tasking!


1624.12.2011 1:16
llongtheD
Inactive

Originally posted by robertmro:
This is a very biased article and you guys are clueless.
Please tell us more, I would love to hear your argument. With apple filing lawsuits at every turn, I'd appreciate another viewpoint.

If your fish seems sick, put it back in the water.

1725.12.2011 4:50

Originally posted by KillerBug:
Probably better to just hope quietly...like when I hoped that the guy who said, "You are holding it wrong" would die a terrible and slow death.
Watch out Apple might try to patent "holding it a different way to make it work".

1825.12.2011 5:31

Originally posted by leglessoz:
Originally posted by KillerBug:
Probably better to just hope quietly...like when I hoped that the guy who said, "You are holding it wrong" would die a terrible and slow death.
Watch out Apple might try to patent "holding it a different way to make it work".
...Or, "Insulting your customers to hide the flaws that you intentionally built into your product"


1925.12.2011 9:31

Originally posted by leglessoz:
Originally posted by KillerBug:
Probably better to just hope quietly...like when I hoped that the guy who said, "You are holding it wrong" would die a terrible and slow death.
Watch out Apple might try to patent "holding it a different way to make it work".
holy shit thats funny!

2028.6.2012 12:42
chevee
Unverified new user

Originally posted by robertmro:
This is a very biased article and you guys are clueless.
you idiot, apple was the LAST to the scene in multitasking. They had to copy it from google.

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