Patent Stories May 23

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Patent Stories May 19

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A patent published today suggests that Apple may have plans to allow the Apple Pencil to be used with Mac trackpads as well as the two iPad Pro models.

The patent was originally filed in 2014, when Apple referred to the Apple Pencil as ‘the stylus.’ Much of the text focuses on use of the stylus with a ‘touch screen display’ (aka an iPad), but several of the drawings show what appear to be a trackpad and iMac …

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Patent Stories May 18

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Concept image: Martin Hajek for Computer Bild
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Concept designers have been creating renderings of bezel-free iPhones – where the display extends all the way to the edges of the phone – for years now. One major barrier to realizing this vision has, of course, been the Home button with its embedded Touch ID sensor.

Third-party companies have already developed transparent fingerprint sensors capable of being embedded into a smartphone display, and an Apple patent filed in March of last year but only published yesterday describes the exact same approach …

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9to5toys 

Patent Stories May 12

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A recent patent filed by Apple and discovered by PatentlyApple hints at ways in which Apple is planning to make its HomeKit platform smarter. The patent, published today by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, is for an “automated environment” in which HomeKit would be able to track the routines of users and implement automated behaviors based on those habits.

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Patent Stories April 20

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Apple has agreed to pay $24.9M to settle a long-running lawsuit alleging that Siri violated a patent owned by a New York institute and exclusively licensed to a company in Dallas. The patent predates the launch of Siri by four years.

The Albany Business Review notes that Apple was sued not by the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, which holds the patent, but by Dallas-based Dynamic Advances, which licensed it. The company reportedly receives $5M now, and the balance after meeting unspecified conditions. In return, Apple gets a license to use the patented technology for three years.

The settlement means that the patent trial, due to take place in New York next month, will no longer proceed. However, that may not be the end of it …

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Patent Stories April 1

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A patent application spotted by Patently Apple suggests that the Apple Watch turning on its display as you raise your wrist could be just the first of many supported gestures. Pointing, waving and even extending pinky and thumb in a ‘phone me’ gesture could all be used to initiate actions on either the Watch itself or a paired iPhone.

While voice and touch input can be an effective way to control a device, there may be situations where the user’s ability to speak the verbal command or perform the touch gesture may be limited.

This [patent] relates to a device that detects a user’s motion and gesture input through the movement of one or more of the user’s hand, arm, wrist, and fingers, for example, to provide commands to the device or to other devices […] The device can interpret the gesture as an input command, and the device can perform an operation.

Apple gives a number of illustrative examples of such gestures …

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