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Apple Granted 36 Patents; Includes Proximity Detection

By - Source: Patently Apple | B 20 comments

iPhone maker patents Apple store packaging, a haptics feedback system and more.


Apple has been granted a total of 36 patents, including one pertaining to proximity detection for the iPhone and iPad.

The patents were approved by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and cover a wide range of technologies. The proximity sensor patent that was first filed in 2005 relates to technology detecting one or more touches. It is also able to differentiate whether the touches are light or hard, as well as offering other capabilities.

Apple was also granted a patent pertaining to electronic media devices and future active packaging, which allows power and data to be delivered to one or more electronic devices contained within the packaging. Another patent is a mounted shock sensor that allows an Apple Store Genius or technician to determine whether a damaged device was dropped.

Other patents predominately relate to features such as automatic image cropping, the reconstruction of lists in a document, and a haptics feedback system describing a virtual keyboard. Elsewhere, Apple was recently granted a patent for a 'smart shoe' that alerts you when it's worn down, a camera that automatically selects the best shot, and a network that uses sensors to track everything, including an individual. It also submitted a 122-page document to patent its store design.

Meanwhile, U.S. President Barack Obama has said the government is halfway from where it wants to be with patent reforms. In 2011, the smartphone industry spent $20 billion on patents, leading to -- for the first time in their history -- spending by both Apple and Google, surpassing their spending on research and development of new products. Apple's chief competitor, Samsung, lately emphasized that the iPhone maker's patent battles represents a loss for the industry and innovation.

 

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Top Comments
  • 21 Hide
    echondo , February 21, 2013 6:35 AM
    You have got to be kidding me. Almost ALL of those patents have already been around and are in use for at least 5-10 years.
  • 21 Hide
    neon neophyte , February 21, 2013 6:37 AM
    fantastic, industry is spending more money patenting technologies they didnt even come up with than on actual research and development.

    what a waste of humanity

    china is laughing at us... seriously.
  • 13 Hide
    master_chen , February 21, 2013 6:39 AM
    Goddammit...
Other Comments
  • 21 Hide
    echondo , February 21, 2013 6:35 AM
    You have got to be kidding me. Almost ALL of those patents have already been around and are in use for at least 5-10 years.
  • 21 Hide
    neon neophyte , February 21, 2013 6:37 AM
    fantastic, industry is spending more money patenting technologies they didnt even come up with than on actual research and development.

    what a waste of humanity

    china is laughing at us... seriously.
  • 13 Hide
    master_chen , February 21, 2013 6:39 AM
    Goddammit...
  • 0 Hide
    _Cosmin_ , February 21, 2013 7:32 AM
    Sure it does... it keeps prices HIGH! And that means more profit for them...since manufacturing price is very low since they are all done in Asia and apple just assemble the parts.
  • 13 Hide
    gosseyn , February 21, 2013 7:41 AM
    Next, Apple will be filing patents for "device or feature to be named later."
  • 1 Hide
    abbadon_34 , February 21, 2013 8:57 AM
    Interesting that they need this patent in the first place, no longer can they assume an iphone is in someones pocket, and they need a way to figure that out
  • 10 Hide
    keither5150 , February 21, 2013 10:38 AM
    Too funny. I guess every device with a round audio jack will have to pay Apple.

    Are there any other companies that are acting like this? Google is spending a lot on patents. Are they as big a douche as Apple? I can't see one patent on the list that is new an innovative. Isn't that the point of patents?
    If what Richard parker says is true, that is impressive. How much longer will consumers spend more for less to have an apple logo. I saw a protective iphone case that has a hole cut in it so people can see the logo. I am sorry but that is retarded.

    I guess that I was stupid once too. As a kid, I had to have nike shoes regardless of the cost. Apple could wrap up a turd and it would sell. Then Samsung would make a superior turd for less money.

    It is ironic considering Apple's ad from the 80's
  • 2 Hide
    digiex , February 21, 2013 12:05 PM
    Quote:
    It is also able to differentiate whether the touches are light or hard,

    I still like soft or hard, instead of light and hard, they are not antonyms. Soft-hard, light-heavy.
  • 3 Hide
    mihaimm , February 21, 2013 12:36 PM
    echondoYou have got to be kidding me. Almost ALL of those patents have already been around and are in use for at least 5-10 years.
    Yes, you see... those "patent pending" thing some put next to stuff they do... For proximity sensor the application was in 2005... making it 8 years ago.

    What I find insane is that they spend more on patent related costs than on R&D. This should be illegal. Or taxed massively.
  • 7 Hide
    SinisterSalad , February 21, 2013 1:03 PM
    People should be made to actually invent things before a patent is given, not just think it up.
  • 2 Hide
    john_e , February 21, 2013 3:06 PM
    SinisterSaladPeople should be made to actually invent things before a patent is given, not just think it up.


    Totally agree with you. must have functional prototype or else no patent period.
  • -4 Hide
    robochump , February 21, 2013 4:05 PM
    Shocking, iHaters flocking to Apple articles and acting like Apple is the only company to patent!?!
  • 1 Hide
    robochump , February 21, 2013 4:11 PM
    john_eTotally agree with you. must have functional prototype or else no patent period.


    There are upcoming patent reform talks within the US Govt so we'll see. All companies patent ideas and I thought back in the day you had to have a working device in order to patent it and somewhere in the last 30 years you can patent ideas. As if you are granted a patent if you can pay for it and have a rough draft...lol.

    Top patent companies all do this! Either way China will steal everything!
  • 4 Hide
    davewolfgang , February 21, 2013 4:19 PM
    Quote:
    Shocking, iHaters flocking to Apple articles and acting like Apple is the only company to patent!?!


    No, iCrapple is the only company that patents OBVIOUS and ALREADY EXISTING things - and yet they somehow keep getting "approved".
  • -4 Hide
    ericburnby , February 21, 2013 4:26 PM
    Nothing like an Apple article to help identify all the idiots on Tom's based on their comments.

    To the idiot claiming "those ideas have been around" - do you know anything about patents? Obviously not. Do you know how many patents there are for light bulbs or hammers? If you come up with a new way of doing something that's different than previous methods then you are allowed to patent it.
  • -5 Hide
    robochump , February 21, 2013 4:58 PM
    davewolfgangNo, iCrapple is the only company that patents OBVIOUS and ALREADY EXISTING things - and yet they somehow keep getting "approved".

    Well being that you are obviously a iHater and obviously know little about the patent process and would praise your company of choice if they did the same. Many of you overlook the fact that companies like Apple can patent ideas that improve existing technology. Of course the improvement must be substantial and meet specific criteria to be accepted as a patent.

    Apple is far from only company to patent improvements to existing tech and just because something exists doesnt mean companies cannot patent ideas to make them better?!? Intel patents new CPUs annually. Do CPUs exist before? YES! But the new processes and applications to improve CPUs must be patented in order to be protected.

  • 0 Hide
    f-14 , February 21, 2013 5:21 PM
    Quote:
    including one pertaining to proximity detection for the iPhone and iPad.


    i am pretty sure this has already been patented and apple is breaching this patent just by making their own patent, this proximity detection has been tested and used in the land warrior system for over 10 years as well as in Vtech toys that i know of, not sure what other things have proximity detection being used in them today, i do recall a web app that did this and i believe it's google or has been using it for a couple years now?
  • 3 Hide
    keither5150 , February 21, 2013 7:47 PM
    @ Robochump..... with your logic, Apple's lawsuits against Samsung should be null and void. Samsung took existing tech (which they manufacturer) and made it better. I really do understand your point. Why doesn't Apple sue Google, since the Android OS is what really made Apple's panties bunch up?

    What reason would Apple have to patent "Jacks with cylindrical contacts" ? I realize that if they make improvements it is worth patenting. The jack patent, is kind of like trying to reinvent the wheel. Round transportation device with center shaft. Some of Apple's patents are just plain asinine. Rectangles with rounded corners, Round jacks, really? Their Apple store patents are laughable as well. What is truly entertaining is how some people defend such antics.

    If Google or Microsoft acted like Apple, I would clown on them as well. If they do, please give an example. Microsoft is stupid for totally different reasons.

    Who would dare try to invent anything in today's world with the army of patent trolls out there. You would need deep pockets to survive the lawsuits.

    This is funny and sad at the same time.
  • 0 Hide
    tobalaz , February 23, 2013 5:25 AM
    I honestly believe we need to line up and shoot the current staff in the patent office, re-staff the office with people capable of spelling their own names that actually know about current electronics, then re-evaluate all patents from the last 20 years.
    I did mention shoot the current staff right?
    Then we need to check ALL of their accounts for mysterious income, trace those back and levy hefty fines against offending companies that bribed said former patent clerks, former, because we shot them.
    Then can we shoot the CEOs that bribed said former clerks as well?
  • 0 Hide
    jigawatt , February 24, 2013 1:42 PM
    I really hope this is a joke: "patent 8,376,789 - Jack assemblies with circular contacts." Seriously?

    This is honestly maddening. Not just that particular patent, but the fact that Apple is getting approved patents for things that they didn't invent.

    Please, include a picture of an example of a "jack assembly with circular contacts". This is vague. This can't pertain to audio jacks and power jacks, as many of their contacts aren't "circular"(or at least it better not pertain to this).