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Print 35 comment(s) - last by Silver2k7.. on Sep 29 at 4:18 AM

USPTO again closes the door on Apple's multi-touch trademark application

Apple has been winning quite a few battles when it comes to infringements on its patents by Android device makers. Samsung has taken the brunt of the blows from Apple, but device manufacturers like HTC have also felt the wrath of Apple

Today, however, the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) brought Apple back down to earth. Apple originally filed to trademark "multi-touch" on January 9, 2007, but was shutdown by the USPTO. Apple appealed, and the result was again another rejection for Apple [Scribd].

The decision was uncovered by the folks over at Mac Rumors

The USPTO determined that multi-touch is indeed a generic term used by numerous companies like Microsoft, HP/Palm (RIP), and various Android device makers. It goes on to describe that Apple has not proven that multi-touch "has become distinctive of applicant's services." In addition, Apple could not prove that multi-touch is a defining attribute of its products, or one that is specifically sought out by consumers: 

The record contains little direct or circumstantial evidence that purchasers of applicant’s goods view MULTI-TOUCH as a distinctive source indicator for applicant’s goods. Clearly, MULTI-TOUCH is not the primary mark for applicant’s goods, and it is not apparent from the material submitted by applicant to what extent MULTI-TOUCH has made an impression on purchasers as a source indicator for applicant’s goods. 

The USPTO then summarizes its ruling, slamming the door on Apple by stating, "Simply because the applied-for term has been used in association with a highly successful product does not mean the term has acquired distinctiveness."



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Hey Apple, multi-touch THIS
By ProZach on 9/26/2011 8:54:08 PM , Rating: 5
Seems like a logical verdict. I am guessing multi-touch is all those gestures like pinch-zoom and other things that I heard of but never tried due to never having bought a smartphone.

Patent the finger next, why don't you? Sorry, Farnsworth beat you to the fing-longer.




RE: Hey Apple, multi-touch THIS
By Solandri on 9/26/2011 10:23:34 PM , Rating: 5
Yes, it refers to the display being able to recognize multiple areas being touched simultaneously, as opposed to just one. This trademark application basically amounts to a grab at a chunk of the English language. If it had been approved, I don't know what you would call multi-touch. More-than-one touch? Many touch? Simultaneous touch?

It's been said before, compound words or abbreviations comprised of several words commonly used together in the industry or even English should never be trademarkable. Personal computer, disk drive, point and click, garbage collection, clock speed, etc. could all be trademarked otherwise. Compete based on the merits of your product, not by preventing your competition's marketing department from using common English words and phrases.


RE: Hey Apple, multi-touch THIS
By slugmandrew on 9/27/2011 5:27:32 AM , Rating: 4
Fantastic comment. Never thought about the compound statement thing before but it makes total sense. Thanks.

Can't touch this.


RE: Hey Apple, multi-touch THIS
By protosv on 9/27/2011 11:34:08 AM , Rating: 4
Aaaah!!! The shiny jacket! The baggy pants! The lame sideways shuffle thingy! It huuuurts!!!

/Hammertime


RE: Hey Apple, multi-touch THIS
By VahnTitrio on 9/27/2011 10:36:02 AM , Rating: 3
Isn't "multi-touch" just the industry term for these kind of surfaces? Wouldn't it have been used since the creation of such devices in the 80's? Working at 3M I believe touch systems has been using that term much longer than the iPhone has been out.


RE: Hey Apple, multi-touch THIS
By axeman1957 on 9/27/2011 12:24:59 PM , Rating: 2
Multi-touch refers to recognizing more than one point at a time, like pinch zoom. Relatively new on touch devices, but android, apple and windows 7 all use it.


RE: Hey Apple, multi-touch THIS
By Silver2k7 on 9/29/2011 4:18:28 AM , Rating: 2
Im pretty sure that Neonode had multitouch but it was implemented in a different way they called it zForce.

Neonode N1 was shown on Cebit 2002 but started selling in 2004.

Wikipedia states:
"..but Apple did give multi-touch wider exposure through its association with their new product and were the first to introduce multi-touch on a mobile device."
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Multi-touch

Im thinking this is quite possible wrong with Swedish Neonode beeing the first to have multitouch on a mobilephone. :-)


RE: Hey Apple, multi-touch THIS
By kleinma on 9/26/2011 10:44:01 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Sorry, Farnsworth beat you to the fing-longer.


Well, technically not yet he didn't...


By BugblatterIII on 9/27/2011 3:43:30 AM , Rating: 2
But a man can dream...


RE: Hey Apple, multi-touch THIS
By ProZach on 9/27/2011 4:03:41 PM , Rating: 2
"I know a paradox when I see one!" ;)

btw, great post Solandri, totally agree that word conglomerates don't automatically equal patentable ideas. Apple should have gone the route of a new 'tech-friendly' term such as "iFidget- Human Consecutive Serial/Parallel Apparatus Sensing Interface Technology."


I just came here to say
By phatboye on 9/27/2011 1:41:23 AM , Rating: 5
FUCK APPLE.

Thank you for your time




RE: I just came here to say
By Kiffberet on 9/27/11, Rating: -1
RE: I just came here to say
By Swampthing on 9/27/2011 9:15:51 AM , Rating: 5
Apple is the one american company i'm cheering to fail. Could care less what country they are from, they are litigious overpriced scumbags that do more overall harm in the marketplace than good.


RE: I just came here to say
By sprockkets on 9/27/2011 10:03:23 AM , Rating: 5
Uh huh, let me know when apple moves its manufacturing to the US instead of its slave labor of Foxconn, which even there, is worse than the other parts of Foxconn production.

Until then, that $100 billion they made last year was from the blood of the Chinese people.


RE: I just came here to say
By priusone on 9/27/2011 1:25:26 PM , Rating: 4
If God made everything, does he live somewhere in China?


RE: I just came here to say
By theapparition on 9/27/2011 11:16:50 AM , Rating: 3
An American company with all of it's products made in......China.


RE: I just came here to say
By xenol on 9/27/2011 11:30:21 AM , Rating: 2
"Designed by Apple in California. Made in China."

Shure fine All American product there.


RE: I just came here to say
By johnsmith9875 on 9/28/2011 2:14:05 PM , Rating: 2
Probably designed by a Chinese guy in California.


Wait a minute!
By mostyle on 9/27/2011 12:03:28 AM , Rating: 5
quote:
"Simply because the applied-for term has been used in association with a highly successful product does not mean the term has acquired distinctiveness."


Does this mean that someone in the federal government... is... thinking rationally?

Cue the flying pigs...




RE: Wait a minute!
By FaaR on 9/27/11, Rating: 0
RE: Wait a minute!
By Gondor on 9/27/2011 3:40:17 AM , Rating: 5
The article mentionstrademark application rather than patent application. They apparently weren't trying to patent the concept of wheel, they were trying to trademark "the wheel".

Either way I'm glad this got shut down. Apple does need a big chunk of humility pie and they just got served some.


RE: Wait a minute!
By robinthakur on 9/27/2011 5:08:03 AM , Rating: 2
Does this cover things like 'pinch to zoom', 'finger-scroll with momentum' etc? I ask because I recall the first iPhone being the first consumer device which implemented those successfully, so seems it odd that Apple bizarrely haven't got the patent. Multi touch is far more general a concept though and shouldn't be patented.


RE: Wait a minute!
By Camikazi on 9/27/2011 9:21:17 AM , Rating: 5
It's a trademark not a patent, they wee trying to get exclusive use of the word "Multi-touch". Basically they wanted to stop every other phone, tablet, laptop, touchscreen maker from using the word.


RE: Wait a minute!
By Omega215D on 9/27/2011 9:52:26 AM , Rating: 2
guess again. it's been a concept long before

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S8lCetZ_57g


HAHAHAHAHHA
By Cheesew1z69 on 9/26/2011 8:17:24 PM , Rating: 5
HAHAHAHAHAHAHA




RE: HAHAHAHAHHA
By CK804 on 9/26/2011 11:07:42 PM , Rating: 5
Best. Comment. Ever.


.
By sprockkets on 9/26/2011 9:28:26 PM , Rating: 5
quote:
The USPSTO then summarizes its ruling, slamming the door on Apple by stating, "Simply because the applied-for term has been used in association with a highly successful product does not mean the term has acquired distinctiveness."



Apparently the person who wrote this had a brain, vs. the other idiot who allowed "App Store" to be trademarked.




RE: .
By ct760ster on 9/26/2011 10:24:39 PM , Rating: 2
Or could be the one who did it indeed was an "Ape" and felt shame if it were an "Ape Store". (^o^)


RE: .
By wifiwolf on 9/27/2011 12:21:19 AM , Rating: 2
Not so fast, Apple will sue the judge.


I Love Apple
By bmied831 on 9/27/2011 12:46:11 AM , Rating: 2
I love apple however this multitouch patent is ridiculous




RE: I Love Apple
By Brandon Hill (blog) on 9/27/2011 6:29:59 AM , Rating: 5
1) This was a trademark application, not a patent application
2) Apple already has a patent for its implementation of multi-touch


This is why I will never buy an Apple product.
By slugmandrew on 9/27/2011 5:24:15 AM , Rating: 2
You can't patent the idea of touching a screen twice at the same time. It's the equivalent of trying to patent pressing two keys on a keyboard at once. If you're so great at innovating (which you are) then just keep innovating and find the next thing. You can't 'own' everything.




By Brandon Hill (blog) on 9/27/2011 6:29:21 AM , Rating: 4
1) This was a trademark application, not a patent application
2) Apple already has a patent for its implementation of multi-touch


By masamasa on 9/27/2011 11:03:12 AM , Rating: 3
We have white tablets and phones so the color should be ours to license as we see fit! Apple's greed will be their demise.




Apple, show us on this ipad app
By 325hhee on 9/27/2011 5:34:34 PM , Rating: 2
Where you've been multitouched by the big bad man.




"It looks like the iPhone 4 might be their Vista, and I'm okay with that." -- Microsoft COO Kevin Turner














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