John Paczkowski

Recent Posts by John Paczkowski

Don’t Forget the Multi-Touch Prior Art in Minority Report

Is Apple’s so-called iPhone patent a hammer with which to brain Palm and smash its new Pre handset into oblivion? Not an easy question to answer. There are lots of issues at play here. After all, the multi-touch realm extends well beyond Apple and Palm. It certainly includes Microsoft (MSFT) and Hewlett-Packard (HPQ)–both of which have intellectual property considerations around touch and gesture UI. It includes a few academic institutions as well. So at the outset, we are dealing in a very murky area. With that as caveat, Engadget’s fascinating analysis of the situation and some of the patents that might come into play if a legal battle between Apple (AAPL) and Palm (PALM) were to occur is well worth a read. It’s conclusion:

You’ve got two large companies, each loaded up with tons of patents and pending patents…and plenty of reasons to fight this one out: not only is Apple historically protective of its IP, it’s got the massively popular iPhone to defend, while Palm’s more or less staking its survival on the success of the Pre. It’s going to be a bloodbath, right? Well, maybe, maybe not–while we’re not going to say that the attorneys on each side aren’t mentally picking out colors for their new BMWs, it’s important to realize that both sides stand to lose an awful lot in a potential lawsuit as well….Still, we doubt this will all settle quietly in the night. More likely it’s going to come down to whoever decides to blink first–and unless Palm decides to go out in a blaze of glory, files a declaratory judgment action and tries to preemptively invalidate Apple’s patents, we’d say the first shot’s going to come from Cupertino. After that, it’s anyone’s guess as to what might happen.”