patents ▪ 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

patents ▪ July 8

itunes

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

patents ▪ May 8

patents ▪ March 4

Maps details

Apple applies for and gets awarded patents for everything under the sun, and patents don’t always translate to shipped features. Disclaimer aside, the iPhone maker was recently awarded a patent for a potentially useful feature that could help you avoid areas with weak cellular coverage when planning your trip with navigation in Maps.

The USPTO awarded Apple with a patent (via Gigaom) to analyze routes between two locations and “employ an algorithm that considers wireless network signal strengths along those routes.”

In other words, because your iPhone can collect and measure cellular signal data and many iPhone users anonymously share travel data with Apple, there’s potential for Maps to know which routes problematically contain dead zones and suggest lengthier routes with better signal. expand full story

patents ▪ January 14

Apple LTE Phil Schiller

In response to Apple taking Ericsson to court over wireless patent licensing, the Swedish telecommunications company has filed a lawsuit in Texas that seeks the court to determine whether its licensing offer to Apple is fair. Ericsson told the court that it has been attempting to reach a new licensing agreement with Apple for over two years, but negotiations have failed to result in a deal. The patents in question are related to wireless LTE technologies that Apple uses in products like the iPhone and iPad. expand full story

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