United States Patent Stories May 3, 2012

Yes, Apple is still working on haptics for touch devices

We already know Apple is working on haptic technologies for mobile devices from patents in the past (here, here, and here). We also know that last-minute rumors of Finnish company Senseg’s technology being included in the third-generation iPad never came true. Another patent surfaced today giving us a look at Apple’s work with an advanced multi-tiered haptics system for iOS devices. PatentlyApple has all the details:

…today’s surprise invention packs a punch with a wildly intelligent multi-tiered haptics system. The system will actually allow an iDevice display to deform so that it could provide the user with a button, an arrow or even a geological map to physically pop right out of the screen to give it 3D depth. If that wasn’t cool enough, Apple’s patent discusses a flexible OLED display that could be used for video glasses.

United States Patent Stories September 26, 2011

As noted by MacRumors, Apple has been denied the tradmark for multi-touch, which they applied for on January 9, 2007 after the first iPhone was introduced. Once the decision was reached by the the Board, Apple then filed for an appeal which was then again shot-down. Excerpt from the decision that is embedded after the break:

Again, simply because the applied-for term has been used in association with a highly successful product does not mean the term has acquired distinctiveness. Decision: The examining attorney’s finding that the Section 2(f) showing is insufficient is affirmed.

Apple was denied the trademark simply because it is too broad, and lacks distinctiveness to Apple alone.  As a reference, NYU’s Jeff Han has multiple mentions of Multi-Touch as a generic term in papers from 2005 and before.  Here’s his multi-touch video demonstration more than a year before Apple filed for ‘Multi-Touch’ or released the iPhone.

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