While Apple, Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) and Samsung Corporation engage in their mammoth patent lawsuit over the iPhone - which included the woman who created the "smiling computer" icon on old Macintosh computers in the 1980s and 1990s - the tech innovator has established some new ammunition against those companies who are in or about to enter the tablet and smartphone markets.
This is where Google, Inc. (NASDAQ:GOOG) and Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) might need to pay attention.
Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) revealed that it had secured a patent for a set of touch-and-gesture interfaces from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. These patents are essentially the interface foudation for the iPhone, ahnd iPad and the iPod Touch. The patent, numbered 8,239,784, includes fundamental interfaces like pinch-and-zoon, page turns and virtual scroll wheels that are used on these devices. This does not only describe the gestures, but it also describes the physical hardware and software elements that allow the interface with the device and the device to respond accordingly.
And now, Apple, Inc. (NADAQ:AAPL) will seem to have the footing to go after competitors that creat smartphones which require similar gestures to interface with them. There is no telling whether this new patent will ever enter the Apple vs. Samsung patent trial proceedings, but it is possible that it could be material if it is determined that Samsung's smartphones are similar to iPhones in ways other than just their look or feel.
As this patent encompasses the very basics of touch computing, this could be the patent that sets Apple, Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) out in front as the controlling brand in technology. Google, Inc. (NASDAQ:GOOG) and Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) will be severely challenged in keeping up or getting ahead of Apple if this patent stands - though one should expect some legal fights over this as well, with the argument that this patent is "industry-standard" and thus cannot be proprietary.