Apple Being Sued for iPhone Screen Rendering Acceleration

Another week, another iPhone lawsuit or three. If it isn't American's complaining about AT&T's 3G "network" (so bad, it's made (Giga)Om Malik abandon his iPhone), it's owners of white iPhones complaining about cracks in their plastic casings (which is effecting other, non-iPhones as well, making us suspect someone spike a plastic factory somewhere in China). This time, however, it's a patent dispute, and it's not Apple going after Palm, but Picsel Technologies taking it to Apple. According to Apple Insider:

By using particular techniques to speed up panning and zooming for images and other documents, Apple is effectively borrowing Picsel's own acceleration to make the iPhone work as smoothly as it does, the complaint reads. [..]Unlike many of these suits, the plaintiff already has major customers for its software that primarily include Japanese firms like KDDI and Sharp but also include American phone manufacturers such as Motorola and Palm.

So even though Apple now owns multi-touch(ish), they may not be allowed to show it working on screen? Gotta love patent poker...

Have something to say about this story? Leave a comment! Need help with something else? Ask in our forums!

Rene Ritchie

EiC of iMore, EP of Mobile Nations, Apple analyst, co-host of Debug, Iterate, Vector, Review, and MacBreak Weekly podcasts. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter and Google+.

More Posts



← Previously

Apple Owns 51% of Mobile Web... And Growing!

Next up →

Around SPE for February 15, 2009

Reader comments

Apple Being Sued for iPhone Screen Rendering Acceleration


This has nothing to do with multitouch. It is all about algorithms used to enhance the perceived speed of the device. I suspect that the way the iphone delays rendering until the screen has stopped scrolling may have something to do with it.

white iPhone owners complaining about cracks in their plastic casings
This might have been phrased less ambiguously. ;-)

If the article/press release is to be believed, this suit would seem to have far more basis than Apple's pursuit of Palm, as Piscel claims a specific method of acceleration is infringing, not an entire concept of mulitouch.

Lmao I had to read it a couple times also myself!!!!
I thought he he was referring to the users...Not thier fones

Rene, Now that someone sues apple you think the patent system is out of order? Remember big cat vs rodent? Apple = big cat. Everyone else = rodent. Gotta love this guy!

@anthema: And if it was a green iPhone owner? Then what? :p Dis-ambiguous-ized
@Mr. Jobs: Ah, love on valentine's day, how sweet :) In exchange I give you small enlightenment: These posts have nothing to do with my personal opinion of patent law, and everything to do with the funny things CEOs say, and the US legal system allows.

Hurry and update to the latest firmware. Apple will be removing the ability to make the text so clear so quickly when you finger flick expand a website.

US patent law confuses me. Can you just patent anything, regardless whether any product or prototype exists? I'm sure here you have to demonstrate the idea.

You are obligated, however to list related existting technologies and patents ("prior art") when you apply, and indicate how and why your idea is different enoigh to merit a new patent. Failure to do so is one of the surest ways to get your patent invalidated.

True, but that's always been the case. Models have not been required for quite some time.

What makes US patent law a bit different from the rest of the world is that it allows patents of simple algorithms. No matter how you realize the implementation of the algorithm, or for what purpose, if someone has patented the algorithm you're in trouble. Which is stupid on the virge of insanity as a proven algorithm is like a natural law - it can't be invented it can only be discovered.