Three and a half years after submitting its application, Apple has been awarded an iPhone patent which experts say could allow the company to bully other smartphone makers out of the market.
Patent number 7,966,578, filed in December 2007, describes ‘a computer-implemented method, for use in conjunction with a portable multifunction device with a touchscreen display, comprises displaying a portion of page content, including a frame displaying a portion of page content and also including other content of the page, on the touchscreen display.’
Technology patenting is a controversial subject, and debate is raging over the exact scope of this particular patent, and how fiercely Apple may be intending to enforce it.
A commentator speaking to ZDNet has suggested the patent lays the ground for Apple to claim Intellectual Property rights over all its competitors who also employ single-finger or multi-touch interfaces.
Others have queried whether the patent could even be extended to other mobile, touch-screen devices, such as tablets.
However, patent experts have hit back at these claims, arguing that it’s too soon to speculate about the strength of the patent. A summary of their arguments can be read here.
Apple has a history of vigorously defending its patent claims, in cases against competitors including Samsung, Motorola and Nokia.
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