November 5

AAPL: 120.92

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The USPTO has today published a patent application by Apple to allow a specific fingerprint to activate a ‘panic mode’ on an iPhone, designed for use when the owner feels threatened, is in danger or is being forced to unlock their phone.

In its most basic form, placing a specific finger on the Touch ID button would place the iPhone into a special locked-down mode, blocking access to personal data store on the phone – perhaps simulating a brand new phone. In that way, if a street robber forced you to unlock your phone before handing it over, your data would be safe.

But the patent application goes far beyond this …  expand full story

October 28

AAPL: 119.27

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A patent troll is currently suing Apple, Samsung and half the automotive industry – as well as other companies – over the use of a vague, decade old patent that covers operating certain functions of a vehicle, like starting the engine and locking/unlocking doors, through a “watch” – now known as a “smartwatch”.

Intellectual Capital Consulting (LCC), the plaintiff in the lawsuit (which we embed below), claims that the defendants are using patented technology in smartwatch products and software that they are selling or contributing to sell. expand full story

October 16

AAPL: 111.04

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Earlier this week, Apple was found guilty in an ongoing patent lawsuit initiated by the University of Wisconsin-Madison. At the time, Apple was said to potentially owe the university’s patent licensing arm $862 million in damages. Today, however, Reuters reports that the jury in the case, after much deliberation, has ordered Apple to pay $234 million in damages.

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October 13

AAPL: 111.79

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A jury today in Madison, Wisconsin has found Apple guilty of using technology owned by the University of Wisconsin without permission. According to a report from Reuters, Apple used chip technology owned by the university in its A7, A8, and A8X processors, which are found in the iPhone 5s, iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, and several iPad variants.

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While Apple may have waited for the iPhone 5s before it introduced Touch ID, it’s been working on the technology since shortly after the launch of the original iPhone. A patent first filed in 2007 was finally granted today, and includes the use of a fingerprint sensor in laptops – though the drawing Apple used to illustrate the concept seemingly dates back even further than 2007!

A finger sensing apparatus may include a finger sensor including an integrated circuit (IC) substrate, an array of finger sensing elements on the IC substrate, and match circuitry on the IC substrate for performing final finger matching. […] FIG. 1 is a perspective view of an electronic device in the form of a laptop computer including a finger sensor and enhanced security in accordance with the present invention.

The patent also covers use in desktop computers, aka the iMac today, embedding the sensor into the keyboard …  expand full story

September 22

AAPL: 113.40

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September 7

AAPL: 109.27

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Our exclusive report that the Force Touch feature in the new iPhones will be a more advanced form of the technology than used in the Apple Watch has been supported by what may be the patent behind it.

Prompted by our report, Patently Apple revisited a patent published in Europe in July and found references which point to the ability to measure three levels of force. While the technology used in the Apple Watch can measure varying levels of pressure (as can be seen in the animation if you slowly increase pressure, for example on the notifications screen), the measurement is translated into just two levels: a touch or a press. 3D Force Touch adds a third level of sensitivity …  expand full story

September 3

AAPL: 110.37

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The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has today published a patent application from Apple for a fuel cell system designed to allow a MacBook to operate without external power “for days or even weeks.” The patent was published shortly after a British company rumored to be working with Apple managed to fit a fuel cell battery into an iPhone 6, powering it for a week at a time. We first reported on that project last summer.

While the patent refers only to a ‘portable computing device,’ both the text and diagrams specifically reference MagSafe, giving a clear indication that a MacBook is the device in question (even if Apple may be moving away from the system) …  expand full story


September 2

AAPL: 112.34

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A rough date has been set for round five of the battle over Samsung’s infringements of Apple patents in five of its products. The Recorder reports that U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh has said that the revised damages will be determined by a jury trial in March or April 2016.

In case you need a refresher, the story so far is this. In round 1, the first jury trial, Apple was awarded $1B in damages. In round 2, Judge Koh vacated $450M of that award and ordered a retrial to determine a revised sum. Round 3 was that jury trial, with Apple awarded a lower sum of $290M – making a revised total of $930M. In round 4, the US appeals court ruled that while Samsung did indeed copy iOS features, it should not have been penalised for copying the general look of the iPhone, and therefore the damages should be reduced. The new trial, to revise those damages, will be round 5.

Unless, that is, the Supreme Court intervenes …  expand full story

September 1

AAPL: 107.72

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Apple could be considering not just a return to glass-backed iPhones, but even replacing the aluminum backs of iMacs and monitors with glass at some stage, reveals a newly-granted patent published today. One of the illustrations appears to show an iMac-style device, while others show something looking like an iPhone (below) …  expand full story

August 25

AAPL: 103.74

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Germany’s top civil court today has ruled against Apple in a case pertaining to the company’s swipe-to-unlock input method. Judges in the case explained that swipe-to-unlock is not sophisticated enough to be awarded patent protection. This ruling falls in line with a similar ruling that favored Motorola back in 2013 (via Bloomberg).

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August 19

AAPL: 115.01

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Following a request for a rehearing of its battle with Apple earlier this summer, Samsung last week had its plea denied by the U.S. Federal Circuit Court of Appeals, putting the case on its last leg. Samsung was hoping that the federal appeals court would reconsider the U.S Federal Circuit Court’s decision to uphold damages from a 2012 ruling. Following last week’s rejections, Samsung’s final option would be to appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court, and now it appears that the company is doing just that.

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August 17

AAPL: 117.16

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Earlier this month, the United States Patent Office made a non-final ruling that one of Apple’s design patents for the original iPhone is invalid within Apple’s long-running lawsuit against Samsung, according to a report from FOSS Patents. This particular patent, as seen in the drawings above, references the overall design of the original iPhone launched in 2007. It is known as the “D’677” patent in court proceedings and legal documents. FOSS explains the reasoning behind the invalidation:

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August 13

AAPL: 115.15

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In its seemingly never-ending legal battle between Apple, Samsung earlier this summer asked a federal appeals court to reconsider the U.S Federal Circuit Court’s decision to uphold damages from a 2012 ruling. Today, San Jose Mercury News reports that the U.S. Federal Circuit Court of Appeals has rejected Samsung’s request to have its case reheard.

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August 4

AAPL: 114.64

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July 23

July 21

In the latest news in the patent case that feels like it will never end, a number of tech giants have taken Samsung’s side in its appeal against the damages it was ordered to pay for infringing Apple’s patents.

It’s almost three years since Apple was awarded $1B in damages after a jury found that Samsung infringed five of its patents. $450M of that award was later vacated and a retrial ordered to determine a revised sum, with Apple awarded a lower sum of $290M – for a revised total of $930M. The US appeals court later ruled that while Samsung did indeed copy iOS features, it should not have been penalised for copying the general look of the iPhone. The court now needs to once again revise the amount awarded.

The amount awarded in part reflected the profits Samsung was deemed to have made by infringing the patents, and it is this aspect that Google, Facebook, Dell, HP, eBay and other tech companies say is unreasonable …  expand full story

July 16

Solar cell touch surface patent

Apple tends to patent every one of its inventions that could possibly be used in a future product, so it can be difficult to read the tea leaves on which ones will eventually translate to product features. A new patent from Apple highlighted by PatentlyApple today, though, describes a technology that would be a very welcome remedy to battery life issues. The patent covers applying solar cells to a touch display surface like a trackpad or iPhone to store power for the device: expand full story


July 8

A federal judge has overturned the $529.9M damages awarded against Apple for infringing on three SmartFlash patents in its iTunes software, reports Reuters. The judge said that while February’s verdict stood, the jury instructions may have “skewed” the jurors’ understanding of the appropriate level of damages.

SmartFlash, a patent troll which had originally sought $852M in damages for patents relating to methods of storing data and managing payment systems, subsequently went back to court to make the same claims against the iPhone 6/Plus and iPad Air 2 – products released after the award …  expand full story

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