There is some alarm around after the US Patent and Trademark Office decided to award a patent for a multitouch user interface to Apple.
The patent was filed in 2007 and is for a method of interacting with a webpage or other screen element using one or more fingers.
Basically it would mean that if your software used a one finger to scroll and another to pinch or zoom on certain details within that page or element, you will owe Apple some cash.
The worry is that the patent is so broad that you could land a 747 sideways on it and could be used by Jobs’ Mob to stop its smartphone market share being wiped out by Android.
According to PC Magazine, the patent gives Apple ownership of the capacitive multi-touch interface. It warns that Apple will use the patent to bully Android rivals and it is predicting a huge number of patent litigation against Research in Motion, HTC, Samsung, Motorola,Nokia and ” Uncle Joe Cobbly ‘n all”
The patent seems broad enough to cover any mobile device with an interface that incorporates the finger movements so that means all tablet manufacturers may have to write a cheque to Apple.
In the Tame Apple Press, patent experts admitted that the patent may be a bit broad, but companies would have to bend to the will of Steve Jobs and surrender all hopes that Android might do better. Well, they have used words to that effect. Basically, according to MacWorld, wide open patents like this create uncertainty, which generally leads to negotiations and writing of cheques with Steve Jobs’ name on them.