First off, don’t get me wrong. I don’t hate Apple. They do have the ability to get well-designed products out and do it quick. Their marketing guys are geniuses, in ways that lure unsuspecting tech junkies into faithful worshipers. On January 20, 2009, as CNet reported in this article, Apple was awarded several patents related to its multi-touch technology as implemented on its iPhone and iPod Touch. The same article points out that Apple’s COO Tim Cook said Apple “will not stand for having our (intellectual property) ripped off, and we’ll use whatever weapons that we have at our disposal.”
This development reminds me of Amazon’s ill-conceived “One-Click” patent in the late 90’s that was subsequently criticized by many, including the EFF, who then called for a boycott against the online retailer. The fact that the USPTO awarded Apple these patents is troubling. Apple is trying to stifle competition by scaring others into NOT implementing “concepts”. I am not a patent attorney (yet), but it appears to me that the US legal system has been abused again, and is at least partially responsible for Google’s decision not to implement multi-touch in their G1.
As pointed on in this article from Gizmodo, I don’t think Apple will have a rightful and lasting hold onto those patents.