Apple patent details AirDrop-like sharing for Apple Watch using handshake/hugging gestures

Apple-watch-handshake-patent

In a new patent application, Apple details an idea it’s experimenting with that would have Apple Watch users shake hands to exchange data (via PatentlyApple). The idea is simple. The patent application imagines two Apple Watch wearers exchanging data, such as contact information, for example, by performing common gestures like a handshake or a hug: Read more

US appeals court partly reverses Apple’s $930M patent win against Samsung, may reduce award to $548M

apple-samsung

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit has partially reversed the $930M verdict Apple won against Samsung in the long-running iPhone patent case, reports Reuters.

Apple was originally awarded $1B in damages, before $450M of that was vacated and a retrial ordered to determine a revised sum. The retrial awarded Apple $290M instead for that element of the case, giving Apple a revised total award of $930M.

Samsung appealed, and has today been partially successful, making it a near-certainty that the $930M award will be reduced by up to $382M …  Read more

Apple granted five patents covering the overall design of the Apple Watch

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As spotted by Patently Apple, Apple was today granted five patents covering the form factor and overall design of the Apple Watch. The patent images show the near-invisible bezel, Digital Crown, contacts button, rear sensors and strap attachment slots.

The company was last month granted patents on three of its watch bands – the Sport Band, Classic Buckle and Link Bracelet – and we’re likely to see many more watch-related patents granted in the coming months …  Read more

Apple patent application shows how Force Touch could in future simulate more than just clicks

Apple's existing Force Touch mechanism

Apple’s existing Force Touch mechanism

An Apple patent application published today shows that the Force Touch trackpad used in the 12-inch MacBook and latest 13-inch MacBook Pro could get more sophisticated in future versions. The patent describes how a mix of vibration and temperature could fool your finger into ‘feeling’ different surfaces, such as metal and wood.

For example, a glass surface may be controlled to have the temperature of a relatively cooler metal material and/or a relatively warmer wood material […]

In some cases, the temperature may be varied over time, such as in response to one or more touches detected using one or more touch sensors. For example, a metal material may increase in temperature while touched in response to heat from a user’s finger.

The patent describes how vibrations could be used to simulate a textured surface, such as the grain of a wooden surface …  Read more

Apple camera patent would allow high-resolution photos without sacrificing image quality

camera

If you were wondering why Apple has ignored the megapixel race and stuck to a modest 8MP camera in its latest iPhones when almost every other manufacturer is cramming in as many pixels as physically possible, it’s all about image quality. While more pixels allow you to blow up photos to larger sizes, that comes at a cost. Squeezing more pixels into a tiny sensor means more noise, reducing quality, especially in low-light situations like bars and parties.

A clever patent granted today could allow future iPhones to have the best of both worlds, allowing higher-resolution photos without squeezing more pixels into the sensor …  Read more

Ericsson asks ITC to block iPhones from U.S. market in patent negotiating tactic

iphones

Ericsson, an early pioneer in cellphone technology, has upped the ante in a patent dispute with Apple by asking the U.S. International Trade Commission to block the import of iPhones into the country.

Ericsson owns patents to a number of fundamental technologies used in all cellphones, including LTE, and Apple had been paying royalties for these up until mid-January when the license fell due for renewal, reports Bloomberg …  Read more

Apple ordered to pay out $532.9 million for gaming-related patent infringement

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A Texas jury has ordered Apple to pay out just under $533 million in a patent infringement case brought by Smartflash LLC regarding technology that the company said iTunes used without permission. Apple had attempted to argue that the patents were invalid. The court ruled in Smartflash’s favor, but chose not to award the entire $852 million the software maker was seeking.

The patents in question were related to “data storage and managing access through payment systems,” according to Bloomberg. Several game developers who took advantage of the tech settled out of court last year, leaving Apple to stand against Smartflash alone.

Read more

Samsung appeal against Apple’s $930M award for patent infringement begins today

Men are silhouetted against a video screen with Apple and Samsung logos as he poses with Samsung S3 and Samsung S4 smartphones in this photo illustration taken in the central Bosnian town of Zenica

The latest court battle between Apple and Samsung begins today, with Samsung appealing against the $930M it was ordered to pay Apple for patent infringement in the first trial between the two companies. Samsung is arguing that the amount awarded was “excessive and unwarranted.”

It’s of course not the first time that the sum awarded has been disputed. Apple was initially awarded $1B in damages, with $450M of that later cut and a retrial required to determine a revised sum. The retrial awarded Apple $290M instead for that element of the case, giving Apple a revised total award of $930M …  Read more

MIT looks back at Steve Jobs patents, including the 141 approved since his death

SteveJobsCloseUp

Steve Jobs may have passed away more than three years ago, but he is still having patents awarded today as applications work their way through the system and old patents are renewed with updates. MIT Technology Review notes that of the 458 patents credited to Jobs, almost a third of them have been awarded since his death in October 2011.

Since his death in 2011 from pancreatic cancer, the former Apple CEO has won 141 patents. That’s more than most inventors win during their lifetimes.

His patent documents act as a record of Apple’s history, says the site …  Read more

Google reaches agreement to settle patent litigation with Apple-backed consortium Rockstar

google

Google, according to a report out of Reuters, has agreed to settle all of its patent litigation with the Rockstar consortium, which consists of a variety of tech companies including Apple, Sony, BlackBerry and Microsoft. The Rockstar consortium paid $4.5 billion for Nortel Network Corporation’s huge patent portfolio in 2011, outbidding Google at the time. The Rockstar consortium originally sued Google and a handful of Android manufacturers in October of 2013, claiming that the companies infringed on seven Nortel patents.

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Apple patents smoke detectors in iDevices that can call 911, activate sprinklers and locate building occupants

apple-smoke-detector

The Nest smoke detector may look decidedly old-fashioned if one Apple patent ever makes it into production. Apple has patented the idea of embedding smoke detectors into “electronic devices” and using those devices to provide a comprehensive response to a fire.

In response to detecting smoke with the smoke detector, the electronic device may issue an alert or take other suitable action. The electronic device may transmit alerts to nearby electronic devices and to remote electronic devices such as electronic devices at emergency services facilities. Alerts may contain maps and graphical representations of buildings in which smoke has been detected. Motion detectors and other sensors and circuitry may be used in determining whether electronic devices are being used by users and may be used in determining where the electronic devices are located. Alerts may contain information on the location of detected smoke and building occupants.

In other words, your Apple Watch, iPhone, iPad or Mac could detect smoke, alert you, alert other devices within range, activate sprinklers, call emergency services and use the fact that an iDevice is moving or in use to tell fire crews where in the building you and your family members are …  Read more