The U.S. patent system is severely broken, as most fans of technology will agree. Patents are issued with alarming frequency for technology that is obvious and at times even pre-existed the patent application.
Many see this as the case with the patent that was granted to Apple this week covering multi-touch and gesture control for its iPhone and computing devices. The problem for some technology fans is that multi-touch and gesture control were hardly pioneered by Apple in many eyes.
When I first heard Apple was granted a patent I immediately had visions of a mass legal crusade by Apple to get other tech firms to stop using multi-touch or else pay licensing fees to fatten the fruity coffers.
If you look at it multi-touch is everywhere already, many computer makers like ASUS have multi-touch track pads. Microsoft has been showing multi-touch in its Surface design for years and other firms use the technology currently as well.
One of the technology firms that is placing a lot on multi-touch is Palm with its Pre handset that debuted at CES 2009. The potential issue for Palm is that the Pre uses both multi-touch and gesture control. Laptop Magazine talked to a Palm spokesperson Lynn Fox to get insights on what Palm thinks about the Apple patent.
Fox told Laptop, "Palm has a long history of innovation that’s reflective in our products and our robust patent portfolio, and we’ve been long recognized for those fundamental patents in the mobile space. If we are faced with legal action we are confident that we have the tools necessary to defend ourselves."
Fox also says that Palm has no plans to delay the launch of the Pre based on the patent being issued.