Patent number 7,966,578 could change the face of the mobile device market. The newly approved iPhone patent filed by Apple over three-years ago is for "[a] computer-implemented method, for use in conjunction with a portable multifunction device with a touch screen display, [that] comprises displaying a portion of page content, including a frame displaying a portion of frame content and also including other content of the page, on the touch screen display."
Depending on how the patent is interpreted, it could give Apple control over all capacitive screen and multitouch interface devices. Several patent experts warned that if it's not invalidated, it could allow Apple to bully other smartphone manufacturers such as HTC, Samsung and Motorolo.
“Unless this patent is invalidated or at least narrowed, it will be a potential impediment to innovation until December 2027,” patent expert Florian Muller told Macworld. “I don’t see any innovative achievement disclosed in that patent document that would justify a monopoly of that breadth and duration. Apple could use it in various ways throughout that period, including some that would be highly undesirable.”The most likely "undesirable" method would be demanding high licensing fees from competitors.
Muller said Apple doesn't play nice in the smartphone world, and "no other company seeks to drive competitors out of business the way Apple does."
Matt Schruers, the vice president for law and policy with the non-profit Computer and Communications Industry Association also told Macworld that the patent in very "broad," which could make it difficult for other touchscreen device manufacturers to find different technological approaches to get around it.
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An anonymous expert for PCMag said that Apple's intellectual property rights could be restricted to just the "iPhone interface's interaction with Web pages." However, that could still cause problems for Apple's competitors who make iPhone-like devices like the Android.
Apple is no stranger to lawsuits, they recently sued Samsung, claiming they copied the iPad.