Dec 21 AT 12:21 PM Anthony Domanico 242 Comments

Apple wins key patent on using apps during phone calls

android-vs-apple Image via: laihiu with Creative Commons

Apple scored a key patent victory yesterday, with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office granting Apple a patent on using applications during a phone call. You probably remember seeing iPhone commercials lauding the fact that they can look up information on the internet, make an appointment, as well as numerous other tasks while on a phone call. Now, Apple owns the patent for that service, which has already made its way to several Android devices.

The patent (number 8,082,523), is another broad patent that covers the following usage scenarios:

  1. During a call on a mobile device with a touch screen, with the phone user interface showing, the users touches either a menu button or an icon.
  2. The device replaces the phone interface with a menu of application icons, including the phone icon.
  3. A user’s finger gesture chooses another app.
  4. The app’s interface comes up, all the while not dropping the call. The interface includes a “switch application icon” only when a phone call is occurring.
  5. The user performs a finger gesture on the switch application icon, taking the user back to the phone interface.

As CBS notes in their analysis, Android handset makers could provide workarounds to this patent that would make it so they are not infringing upon Apple’s newly-minted patent, but any solution would likely be either ugly (list of application names instead of icons) or difficult for the user to accomplish.

Though using an application while on a phone call is something many of us don’t use all that often, being able to quickly switch to the browser to look something up, or to a service such as OpenTable to make reservations while making plans over the phone with someone has come in quite handy on several occasions for me. Not being able to do this will certainly be frustrating, though likely not a major inconvenience.

The burden is now on handset makers to come up with a solution that’s both simple and doesn’t infringe upon Apple’s patented service. Hopefully we’ll like what they come up with. For now, we can be sure that more lawsuits are afoot, and that most Android handset makers (and perhaps some carriers) will be in Apple’s crosshairs in the next few months.

Source: CBS News

Anthony loves all things technology, from hardware to apps and games. You can connect with him via Google+ or Twitter by clicking one of the fancy doo-dads above.

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  • damambt

    We should be spreading love not war.

    • NegativeOne13

      Here is my love, Apple can take all their patents and shove them where the sun doesn’t shine.

      • lxgeorge

        They probably have a patent on that too

        • mr 1338

          this freaks me out.
          how can they get a patent on something that has been around for years on any phone out there???
          its like giving me a patent on driving your car and listening to the auto-radio at the same time….

          • RRR

            I wrote here many times that just one generation from now your kids will explain their mor#nic braind#ad daddy what are patents and why US needs them BADLY.

            I was wrong.

            I though this will happen between 2015-2025 when China GDP will surpass one of US and EU (initially PPP GDP around 2015 and then nominal GDP in 2025)

            Just got the news that ALREADY this year China over-jumped US and Japan on amount of patents. Game over with all you 12 y.o. Apple-haters, prepare to work on soy fields and live under the bridges less then generation from now.

          • Jorge Eslava

            I wouldn’t be surprised if they made a patent that just said “phone”, and the courts say Apple are the only ones allowed to make phones.

          • kungpaodragon

            I am confused on that as well. That is a feature I’ve enjoyed since the early Android. And it did not become available on iOS until later. Did I get the time line wrong? Did I remember wrong? So did they have a patent on it way before Android or iOS? Is that how it works? So now we can just patent some idea without caring ever able to implement it. Let someone else do the work and then sue the hell out of them?

            And to the other reader. I support patent, but it has gone stupid. It’s supposed to foster innovation, now it’s more like protect my profit. Like I said, Apple is the old Microsoft. Their current strategy is Microsoft’s old strategy. It’s funny to see how things change when the situation is reversed. And against countries, that’s another matter. China’s piracy practice just should not be allowed. You need to go preach to those profit driven companies for giving up their design docs to China in order to build cheap supply chains there,

          • fonix232

            kungpaodragon: Nope, you’re right, it was around in the early Nokia S60v3 phones too, and even before. I recall using my Nokia 6650 (S60v3 smartphone released approx 4-5 years ago) with the exact same functions Apple described (except the touchscreen part), way before the release of their iPhone.

          • pebenito

            Agreed. It seems like there would be prior art too.

          • AdamQ

            Yes, I’ve been using this on my Nokia N900 for well over a year…

        • curtis206

          you better bet on it!

      • LukeT32

        I am going to patent walking and talking at the same time. If you are smart enough to do it, You must pay me $1 for every step you make while talking. Might even start a petition for it, to show apple how stupid they are…… don’t worry I will only sue apple exec’s for violating it.

        • damambt

          i wonder if they have apples as RTM?

          • damambt

            Like if i go to the grocer and buy apples for an apple pie, would i have to pay an Apple Tax?

        • AppleSauce

          Get in line. I am already sueing Steve Jobs for clearly violating my patent on stop breathing and having body placed in a hole. It is a bit vague of a patent so that the depth of the hole is not relevant. What else is in the hole with you is also irrelevant. It does cover the “Russian Doll” concept of containers within containers and then the outmost conatiner being placed in the hole. There is a potential loophole there though, I only patent up to 15 container within containers.

        • Michael C.

          I’ll see your walking-n-talking patent, and raise you a chewing-bubble-gum-while-walking-and-talking patent.

      • andy_spoo

        Do you think if Apple wasn’t an American company, they’d get these stupid patents through. I VERY much doubt it.

        It’s Americans looking after corporate America. The American government makes a lot of money from Apple.

        American can stagnate their technology through Apple, we Europeans can just run past you and stick a finger up. See us fly :-P

    • THE STIG

      Not when apple get granted a ridiculous patent that now tells me WHEN I cause my phone! This is so stupid I swear..

  • w9jds

    How does this even warrant a patent?!

    • thechad

      I agree, this patent is the stupidest patent ever! I wonder if Apple also patent turning on a cell phone by holding down a button…in fact I will go check, if not, I will apply for it myself, this could be a big money maker!

      • w9jds

        No they have another stupid patent for unlocking a phone with a slide…

      • lala


      • Ekatomb

        Let’s go O.O.P. and patent the “money making patent”. It would be as dumb as this one, it would patent it self!

    • AppleFUD

      It’s as if they add “mobile device” to the patent somehow that makes it unique.

      Shouldn’t we be looking at these as “computing devices” just like we’ve been using and have done these things for years. . . I swear, the patent offices must have some of THE stupidest people running them!

      • Andy_jr

        You are spot on with both of your points.

      • Sam G

        But I can run ‘menus’ and ‘apps’ on my Nokia feature phone from years ago and and last time I checked that was a ‘mobile device’ as well.

        • David

          Nonono, even the palm pdas with phone call did that a long time ago. Mobile device, touchscreen and all ! The screen said there was a phone call and we could either press the button of the phone, on models that had one, or just point with fingers or pen back to the phone icon.

          At least in the abstract and full description, there isnt anything new. However, Apple is clearly locking out any competitor of touchscreen phones. Period. This patent shows that while they have true innovation patents, they are also using stupid and obvious ones (prior art?) to game the system in order to ensure their (potential, hipothetical) monopoly over touch screen phones, which is something they perfected, yes, but didn’t even remotely invented.

          Unless they patent the authorship of the mobile device, of course.

    • Andy_jr

      I could not agree more! Patents are supposed to be NON-obvious.

      Seriously, can we patent multitasking while charging the battery, multitasking while listening to music, multitasking while playing a game?! This is ridiculous!

      • iamXiV92a

        Patent removable batteries – Sorry Motorola Razr!

    • AndroidJunkie

      seriously. how is this basic OS functionality inventive? ooh so it’s on a smaller electronic device, so it’s an entirely new idea! oooh. brilliant! this patent BS is getting ridiculous.

      • WlfHart

        Getting ridiculous? I think it has gone way past ridiculous…

        • Brian

          We have passed ridiculous and moved all the way to Ludicrous! PREPARE THE SHIP…FOR LUDICROUS SPEED!

          • Endersdestiny

            Pretty sure we’ve gone straight to PLAID!

    • redraider133

      Because the patent office will accept pretty much anything if you pay. Just another showing that the patent system needs reformed in the U.S

      • MontyX

        I’m happy to live in the EU, because here the patent law much better, and not allows the same crazy items… the US will close the doors, if they not evolve them patent law…

      • aranea

        Exactly! That’s why there are several patents out there for perpetual motion engines.

      • Jorge Branco

        I knew it was getting ridiculous. But patenting something that’s been around for years before you ‘invented’ it? Surely you can’t just add “touchscreen” to any existing patent and make it new.

        • Mad cow

          Actually, switching to an app while on the phone IS an invention of Apple.

          By the way, I am writing with a 4s. And I just got some popcorns, cheese and I’m enjoying the troll very much.

          Thank you all.

          Oops: merry Christmas and happy new year to all. :)

          • Ed

            I’m glad you’re enjoying trolling very much. Now go do it somewhere else.

          • AppleSauce

            Not really… I had an answering machine in the early 1980′s that could automatically switch from phone to recording device all the while incrementing a counter on a display.

            I’d be NASA and other U.S. government agencies had such capabilities in the 1960′s.

            And of course if you consider that life is just an organic machine… what all does it do?

          • Jaap

            That’s called multi-tasking and If i remember correctly, apple only has that because of android……

          • JoshuaDH

            You are enjoying being a troll very much, aren’t you?

            I recently moved to Android after more than two years with a Palm Pre. Back when I bought the Pre, it’s ability to multi-task set it apart from the iPhone and Android — indeed, there was ample coverage lauding webOS’s implementation of true multi-tasking and how that went beyond what iOS could do. The world obviously caught up, but the fact remains that webOS will be a significant piece of prior art.

            Let us hope that the patent is being misunderstood here. Patents are written in arcane technical and legal terms. If it is not being misunderstood, however, then this is just another instance of the PTO failing in its gatekeeper role. Fortunately, there are avenues to get patents re-examined, and if this patent does indeed become the basis for litigation, the Android handset makers will undoubtedly do that.

    • aranea

      That’s what I’m wondering. Shouldn’t patent be specific, like a specific application or a specific platform?

    • DroidPower

      Yea! “A user’s FINGER GESTURE chooses another app.” Finger gesture? That is way too broad to be included in a patent!

      • Jeremy

        I’ve got a finger gesture for Crapple lol

  • jonaRamone

    Oh man this is completely ridiculous

  • stenzor

    Apple has done it again…

    • Thomas Biard

      Next apple patent: The organization of the numbers on the keypad as seen below..

      1 2 3
      4 5 6
      7 8 9
      * 0 #

      And the use of the alphabet

      • AppleFUD

        “on a ‘mobile device’ with a touch screen”

      • redraider133

        Right after they patent a phone that is white…

  • ranwanimator

    Darn you Apple! Darn you to heck! Does it matter that you can’t do that on a Verizon iPhone even if you wanted to? No data and voice at the same time.

    • Thomas Biard

      I can’t tell if you’re serious or just making a joke. You can CERTAINLY open apps while on phone calls whether on Android or iPhone on Verizon. The only difference is you can’t get 3G data at the same time. You can even send a text message if you want. If you have Wifi turned on then continue to browse as per usual with all the data you want.

  • zyphbear

    This is another one of those vague patents that are basically common sense and common use. They may also have issues trying to prove there was not previous use since Blackberries could do that before as well, they just didn’t have a touchscreen.

    • rocca

      That is a very interesting point re: RIM.

    • AppleFUD

      That’s the thing, it seems the patent office(s) will rubber stamp anything that comes through–”give us the check and it will be approved!”

      They should have some intelligent people working there that know about the type of tech they are giving patents for, but that doesn’t seem to be what the patent office is about–they are about making money for the government–let the attorneys figure it out later in the courts.

      So, it seems apple has them figured out–patent anything and everything you can possibly image–doesn’t matter if it is obvious, has tons of prior art, or copied/stolen from another company/person. . . just make up shit an put it on a patent–it will be approved. Then lawyer up and drag companies into court–doesn’t matter if all the patents are later invalidated, it gives them time to potentially ban products, etc. . . because the laws are so backasswards!

      • booyootoo

        You are completely spot on!
        The patent office does not check for prior art, they just check whether this patent is already patented.

        If it’s not, it’s granted.

        Someone has to prove that there is prior art, in court! There is no other way. Then the patent will be declared invalid or something like that.

        So the patent office is indeed only about making money and not really about protecting intellectual property.

    • Lewis McGeary

      I used to browse the web during calls on my touchscreen symbian Nokia 5800, though I haven’t checked against dates and specifics of this patent.

  • ramenchef

    Seriously, this is getting old and fast. Tell me again why the Patent office is allowed to award patents when they only review each case for only about 15 minutes? This is ridiculous.

    • faun

      Awarding patents is one thing – the office needs to do that to finance itself. Actually having those patents stand up in a court is another entirely. There is very very little chance this patent will ever actually be used against someone as it’s so weak.

  • taketheleap

    So much for a patent being given for “unique and non-obvious” ideas.


    Wow this is getting ridiculous. Soon you wont be able to make a Call

    • iamXiV92a

      Insert AppleFUD’s earlier comment: “on a ‘mobile device’ with a touch screen”

  • AsakuraZero

    we should appeal this shit, its wayy to random or do a signature collection to point out the abusive attitude of apple, this is geting stupid

  • mojomoney

    I just don’t understand how Apple can be patenting a feature that has been available on Android since its introduction; at a time when the iPhone couldn’t possibly do this. How flawed is our patent system that a company can patent what is essentially the state of the art? What will they patent next, devices that hold voice conversations over wireless networks?

  • mclarensr

    Perfect example of a flawed patent system.

  • Deafhamster

    I don’t really understand how this is possible when you could multitask on an Android device long before you could on any Apple device.

    • Andy in Indy

      iPhone could do that with core apps from it’s first release, but I could do that on my Palm OS Treo 600 before that. I thought LG and Samsung had feature phones that did that, too (not sure about touch screen though).

      • Tarwinia

        Actually, you could also do this on Windows Mobile with touchscreens (the one before Windows Phone) and I’m pretty sure I could do this on my old Motorola e680i (also touchscreen and Linux-based from 2005). It’s just idiotic to grant patents on tech that was not only known about our conceptualized years before the patent application but also commercially available (not to mention on various devices)years before.

  • Peter Dowling

    I don’t see how something this general can be patented. The system is in need of a fix. What if we just got rid of patents, and if someone copied your idea, you have to deal with it, out perform or out produce them, or buy them up.

    • bruce080

      That would screw over the little guy

  • redxeth

    I would hope the CyanogenMod ignores these so-called patent infringements.

  • Thorpeland

    Such crap. Why doesn’t apple just patent “phone”? If i recall, the ability to see a list of apps and device screen while on the phone was capable on the early Windows CE phones as well. BEFORE the iphone.

  • redxeth

    Seriously the USPTO website uses QuickTime? I call foul!

  • bruce080

    So we can’t have rectangular black cell phones with rounded corners that can use apps during phone calls?

    Are we allowed to make phone calls while we are using apps?

  • Hall Lo

    Yea Apple. So original. What about the things you ripped off from Android and WP7?

  • Toonshorty

    This is stupid, but it shouldn’t affect android.

    To use other apps while on the phone you don’t press any buttons or icons on the screen (which this patent seems to suggest) – you just press the home button.

    Either way, this shouldn’t be granted.

    How come Samsung and Moto are told all their patents have to be FRAND while Apple get away with suing everyone for anything?

    • Andy in Indy

      Honeycomb and ICS use on screen buttons for Home and Back.

      • iamXiV92a

        What then of capacitive buttons? Not technically on-screen buttons… is that the loophole?

      • booyootoo

        Still when pressing home, you are not directly taken to a list of apps. You see your homescreen and from there you can open your app drawer.

        So like Toonshorty, I don’t think this patent will affect android.

        • Futureboy

          Even if, as a long shot, it does affect android, there are plenty of elegant ways that it can be done differently.

    • Tarwinia

      HTC Sense 3.0 uses a home button long-press to activate an icon based task switcher/recent apps and ICE also has a button activated task switcher. Would a task switcher count or does it have to be a full list of apps?

      Also, how Androidandme present it the button is only apparent during phone calls. Does that mean that if the button can always be used that it doesn’t violate the patent?

  • Rob Vermeij

    I bet Apple gave the patent office some nice Christmast presents to accomplish this….

  • n25philly

    I’m going to see if I can get a patent on exhaling. You will all be able to breathe in, but you better not let anything out. Why not, it makes as much sense of this.

  • oddball

    I’m a bit cinfused. I thought Android had this first. I guess it’s first to ask for a patent now? I think if Android can prove the development began before apple tried to develop this functionality the patent will be invalidated but as usual only the lawyers will win

  • jaxidian

    I’m with you all – this is getting VERY tiresome. However, you can only blame Apple so much. They didn’t create our patent system, they simply play by its (incredibly screwed up) rules. Now if they’ve been lobbying our patent system to be this way, then perhaps you can blame them more. But fact of the matter is that our patent system is what is screwing up innovation. Apple might be litigating rather than innovating, but that’s what our society has forced it to do. It’s far cheaper and more profitable to litigate than it is to innovate.

    I mean, look at Microsoft. They make like $5 per Android phone that’s released and we’re at 700,000 activations per day. Microsoft could spend millions of dollars on a fairly high-risk R&D project, or they can spend much less and make millions of dollars per day by doing nothing other than getting some contracts signed. One is much lower risk and more profitable than the other. Again, they don’t make the rules. They just play by them.

    If we want this ridiculousness to stop, we need to fix the problem. The problem isn’t people who play by the rules, it’s the rules themselves. And our political system has gotten so screwed up that we’re not even considering this because lobbyists are pushing our politicians to focus on much more important stuff, like SOPA! (/sarcasm)

    Fact of the matter is, we need to attack our patent system as a nation to get this bullshit to stop. Period.

  • redxeth

    I don’t see how this was granted– this is basic multi-tasking where it’s specifically applied to the use of the phone ‘application’.

    I’ve been involved with ‘stupid patents’ before– and it’s how the system works. You can patent almost any idea without any real effort to show it works or is even being used.

    I just think that it ultimately means the consumer will suffer.

    It’s actually too bad Android is doing so well– at some point I would expect the FTC to step in with Apply anti-trust issues as they did Microsoft way back.

  • AG

    apple’s next patent to be awarded to them will be: if you touch your screen with any of your 10 fingers, you will be infringing on a protect patent.

    God Apple, really, I understand protect your ideas and such, but why not just come out to the world and tell the people on this Earth aren’t allow to use any cell phone if it’s not an apple.

  • BigGoogleFan

    I don’t know who is more ridiculous… Apple or the Trademark or Patent Office.

  • aykutb

    Stupidest patent ever.Who would even give a patent like this?

  • 4n1m4l

    Overturn the patent for covering too broad of ground and hindering progress

  • Craig Mogi

    Apple really needs to get off their high horse. This is getting ridiculous, how can they patent something like this? Our patent system in the US needs some major work because this is bull, and apple needs an attitude adjustment. This, among other things, is why I’m starting to hate Apple and their products.

  • hurric

    this is really starting to piss me off.

  • Carlos Moreno

    Isn’t android itself prior art of this? I really just want a world without apple to happen in my lifetime.

    • Rovex

      Android? Even Minmo could do that, and probably symbian. Clearly somewhat at the patent office and the ITC have an iPhone lodged up their butt on vibrate.

  • protozeloz

    How the hell they got this? GSM phones have allowed this since quite some time dont they ?

  • Anthony E

    Call me crazy, but i was able to run programs in the background while using my windows mobile phone YEARS before the iPhone came into existence.

    • seven2k

      Yeah i know right…but not according to Apple

  • auronblue

    This is total B.S.

  • seven2k

    I think its time to Release the Moto Patent Hounds!

  • gee

    I think I was able to do this on my Symbian S60 phones for ages…

  • redxeth

    So if Apply infringes on an Android feature what recourse is there? Can the Open Handset Alliance sue back? What protection does Android have against Apple stealing its ideas?

  • ArticulateFool

    Who is up for some patent reform?

    I know I am!

  • Kevin Amundson

    How can they patent going to your apps from your phone by using a menu button or icon? That’s just bizarre…

  • Shazam

    What BS…. they got a patent on doing more than one thing at a time… seriously?

  • fatspirit

    Apple cannot hold the whole world’s patents! Android should strike back.

  • sap 26

    So is this going to be what makes a company successful? Who’s got the better lawyers? It just seems like Apple’s down and it will take down anybody in anyway it can just to be an annoyance to others. Hey, Apple… Screw you and have a Merry Christmas.

    • Steve Barry

      Not really lawyers, but who has the biggest patent portfolio. Why do you think Google bought part of Motorola? Patents. They’ve seen this coming for a while now, and they went after Motorola so they would have some artillery in their shed too. Hopefully they just end this pissing match, but Jobs did say he wanted Apple to basically rule the world, and to do so would require the elimination of Android, which it appears is exactly what they’re trying to do.

  • Martin

    I’m thinking that Androids multitasking should protect the OS here. The patent more or less says that you open a menue and pick programs/apps from here. Android is running the “phone” as a seperate app and this app you can run in the background. With the app running in the background, you can utilize the OS as normal.

    A small difference, but a difference no less!

  • spookytay

    I think a lot of people are over looking this. I don’t think Android does what Apple just patented.

    Yes we can switch apps while on a phone call, but we don’t have a dedicated “on screen” button that brings up a menu of apps, which is what Apple is patenting here.

    With android, we just hit the home button and we can multitask as we please.

    • Tarwinia

      Actually it just says “with the phone user interface showing, the users touches either a menu button or an icon.” Not that it has to be on-screen. But it does mention a switch all button appearing in the apps while the phone is in use (and ONLY when the phone is in use) this might be a key differentiator.

  • Marc’us H.

    I’m pretty sure most GSM smartphones could do this before Apple made that dumb commercial. Where’s Palm and Blackberry when you need them to stand up?

  • Krynn

    Let’s see…

    PalmOS was able to do this back in 2005, although it wasn’t really a full multitasking operating system. Just hit the home key and there’s your list of apps.

    Even before that, Windows Mobile was able to do this starting back in what, 2003? Just fire up the task manager and pick which one you want.

    The iPhone wasn’t unveiled until 2007, and it didn’t get multitasking until the middle of 2010… So why were they awarded a patent?!? The most cursory of searches on the net show that this has been a common feature on smartphones for almost a decade!!!

    • nevetsg

      I could easily load any app installed on my Windows Mobile phone whilst still on the phone. I used to speaker phone whilst taking notes all the time.

  • Chuck

    Meh. Can’t blame ‘em for trying, given the patent office’s willingness to give out patents for any ol’ thing. But presumably if they use it to sue, it’ll be easy for whoever’s sued to show prior art.

    Disclaimer: I am not a lawyer, know little about patents, and am completely talking out of my ass.

  • romy134

    I’m surprised they haven’t patented a power button…

  • redxeth

    BTW, these patent wars are a common thing in the semiconductor industry already. Maybe only now in the consumer smartphone market is it becoming more visible.

    It’s just a matter of who holds more patents and it impacts any bans or royalties. So long as Google is able to fight back with their patents (not just the Motorola ones) then products don’t get banned and users benefit.

    I don’t understand why Apple doesn’t follow the Microsoft model and simply license instead of banning– MS is making more from Android than WP7!

  • chris

    Android, iPhone, win mo & BB will not be around forever, other companies will grow in power and try to fill the market gap. But with patents being awarded left right and center for basic vague tasks these start ups won’t have a leg to stand on as everything to do with the operating system will have to be licenced from someone else

  • dadnkad

    This is stupid! I kinda see a positive side to this. It can help android advance more and leave apple further behind choking on the dust.

  • TruFactz

    Man this is total BS, they minus well have sued Sammy because i was doin that on a damn Behold, a Motorola V600, and other FEATURE PHONES. That just shows that this is way bigger than stupid patents, this is Total Brand war, they are trying to eliminate Android and its counterparts, Period.

  • sunrise

    “USPTO Announces New Exhibit Highlighting the Patents and Trademarks of Steve Jobs”

    USPTO really seems to love Apple so much, they have an exhibit to practically honor him. Google it and you can see pictures.

    In my opinion the USPTO is in bed with Apple, there needs to be an investigation.

    • sunrise

      Is there a way to edit comments? I meant they appear to Love Apple so much they are practically honoring Steve Jobs through this exhibit.

  • Oscar Rivas

    I remember when those commercials were aired! I also being able to do that with my Original MyTouch! Android was able to do this before Apple, and Apple gets the Patent?!?

    • Oscar Rivas

      Remember *

    • sunrise

      I think the issue is that Apple actually filed the patent back in 2007/2008 before the birth of Android.

  • vid500

    Ok, somewhere this nonsence has to stop. Somewhere is the line. Sory, but not everithing shuld be alowed to be patented, there are things that become comon sence when the technology developes.

  • XEOD

    We should start a petition against the US Patent Office with approving “common sense” patents to corporations such as this…. Unless a product or technology is developed and IS NOT in current use with more than one manufacture an request should be denied! This whole patent thing has gone way to far!

  • Numbertwo

    It all started with an apple; the downfall of humans, snow white, and now the mobile industry..whats next?

  • jsweetser2

    I wonder who’ll patent “Right handed phone holding to right ear”? Make all of use use our left hands, no?

  • Pete

    I am almost positive Palm had this on their Treo smartphones which were around way before the iphone.

  • RevSpaminator

    So Apple just got a patent on multitasking? I’d better hurry up with my patent on 1s and 0s.

    • cnu4u

      I agree…. lets file the patent.

  • cnu4u

    This patent is ridiculous…. I will get a patent for the software/application built using a computer, palm, mac, linux and so on….. :)

    Definitely everyone are favoring Apple for no reason… One day it becomes monopoly and people/system who granted all these will collapse….

    I use to like apple a lot but not now after seeing all these b…s…t cheap tactics….

  • Kaote

    Bullshit patent,
    Can apple really patent multitasking?
    This isn’t an idea more than it is a natural process. This patent should never have been issued.

    • KPeter0314

      Too true!

      Then again I thought the same thing reading through the some of the silly patents that the company I used to work for had posted in the hallway on plaques. Somebody got an award for each of them and the company got another possible way to be litigious.

      • Kaote

        First hand knowledge on how screwed the patent system is. Want to share a few stories about the some of the silly patents? I know I’d love to hear about it.

  • iamXiV92a

    Why doesn’t HTC, Samsung, Motorola, and LG (count Nokia in too) join forces and come down on Apple. Surely the lawyering power between these companies is MORE than enough to kick Apple off their pedestal and bring justice to the grossly flawed patent system.

  • jamal adam

    The US Patent Office needs to stop giving out patents for everything including things that are obviously used/will be used by all touchscreen phones. This is getting out of hand.

    • RevSpaminator

      You should not be able to patent software.

  • sunrise

    ANDROIDANDME can you team up with other sites like Phandroid, Androidguys, etc…and start a petition for a call of action to have the patents awards by the USPTO to Apple be investigated? Or maybe a petition to reform the patent system and how the USPTO awards them.

    This type of Petition supported by sites like yourself would gain lots of momentum and media attention, and maybe reform will actually happen.

    If Apple continues to be awarded all these patents, soon Android will be too expensive for phone manufactures to support. Trust me Android is not too big to die quickly. This hurts everyone.. hurts competition, hurts consumers, and even hurts these Android blog sites if Android dies.

    Or is someone out there willing to start a petition?

  • JIW

    Just because a patent is granted doesn’t mean it will hold up in court during a lawsuit…. and they can be revoked.

  • GeauxLSU

    Better let my boss know that Apple won’t let me multitask anymore.

  • Oskar Wismierski

    Apple has to do something to stay in the game.. can’t beat them fairly? play dirty.. bastards..

  • Chris

    Someone really needs to do an investigation to see if Apple is ‘compensating’ people at the patent office. It seems impossible that this even fits the criteria of something patentable.

    Funny enough, Apple’s blatant and high profile ridiculous patents may be the thing that brings about change with the patent system. Most patent trolls make it far cheaper to pay them off rather than fight it, but Apple’s unwillingness to license their overreaching patents fairly means companies are forced to look for other solutions. I just hope they don’t go the other direction and make it so almost nothing is patentable, but at this point even that might be an improvement.

  • Matt

    next year iphone with brand new memory card .. “first on a mobile device” . . . . and then they start to sueing other manufacturer for “copying” their “NEW” “idea” . . . zzzzzzzz

    hope motorola and other android manufacturer sueing apple at once ! and samsung stop making processor for apple . . . no more A5 or should i say “exynos” for apple . . .

  • KenE

    Quick, patent the idea of a small computing device that also makes phone calls…

  • KenE

    Quick, patent the idea of a small touchscreen computing device that also makes phone calls…

  • Billy

    Another absurd and broad patent …. I was multi-tasking on my BB years ago .. when did they apply for this patent.

  • Phil

    Funny….seems I was doing this on my Palm years before the iPhone came along. Anyway what annoys me almost as much is how the iFools try to give credit to the patent by saying something stupid like….”its for a touchscreen” as if there were no touchscreens before the iPhone. Well for them there weren’t because they were too stupid to use them but for the rest of us this is stupid.

  • HogFan77

    All these phone companies suing each other over this and that is so childish. In the end they only hurt us the consumer, by wasting money and driving up the cost of their products. Just my 2 cents.

  • Phil

    The other thing I don’t understand is why folks immediately jump to figuring this proves to be a problem for Android. I don’t see it. Maybe some phones do it but stock requires you to go home before you can go to apps I believe. Thats not going to an app menu. I think you’d have to interpret this in an extremely general manner to trap Android.

  • inviolable

    But Android has a back button. As stupid as this patent is, doesn’t Android already have a ‘workaround?’ Unless I’m not understanding correctly, the button press on the iPhone brings up the app switch window, their primitive version of multitasking. When you press back while on a call on Android, it brings you back to the home screen or the last thing you were doing, leaving you free to multitask whatever you want. Yes, it’s not a ‘quick switch,’ but isn’t this sufficient? Someone want to chime in?

  • George

    I own the patent for peeing while standing up.
    Tough luck, other dudes.

    • redraider133

      What if i lean to the left or right while peeing standing up? Am i in the clear then?

    • inviolable

      I own the patent for peeing while standing on one foot. If anyone else wants too look like a clown, they’ll be paying royalties to ME


    No more multi-tasking at work… Apple owns that Patent too!!!

  • Skis03

    Once again, I cannot stand these broad patents that cover everything you can do on a phone. Android will just have to come up with an intuitive workaround for this that makes it better than Apple!

  • Dr.Carpy

    To read this is frustrating! There needs to be a law against nuisance patents. Patent law is being abused, and the time is here for reform. No sane, rational, clear thinking individual would think a patent like this serves to protect. This is a blatant attempt to circumvent innovation and good sense. Shame on the patent office for allowing this farce to continue.

  • cxandroid

    This is for a specific method of switching to app usage while on a phone call.

    A portable electronic device displays, on a touch screen display, a user interface for a phone application during a phone call. In response to detecting activation of a menu icon or menu button, the UI for the phone application is replaced with a menu of application icons, while maintaining the phone call. In response to detecting a finger gesture on a non-telephone service application icon, displaying a user interface for the non-telephone service application while continuing to maintain the phone call, the UI for the non-telephone service application including a switch application icon that is not displayed in the UI when there is no ongoing phone call. In response to detecting a finger gesture on the switch application icon, replacing display of the UI for the non-telephone service application with a respective UI for the phone application while continuing to maintain the phone call.

    via reddit

  • Zer0-9

    This isn’t a real concern for Android. The specific inclusion that the new app also features a dedicated icon to switch back to the call is something Android has never done.

    If Apple tries to push this patent in court it is a very simple thing to point out, and additionally point out the hosts of other phones that employ multi tasking like blackberry, and palmos devices whose release dates predate Apples patent application.

    What is most disturbing about this patent is that Apple actually makes it sound like multitasking (not just on a touch screen phone) is a revolutionary thing.

  • eyesparky

    Meanwhile, way before iOS could do any multi tasking mimicking, everyone else was already doing this. Who in their right mind grants a patent for something like this which was already in common use before it was even a twinkle in the eye of the patent applicant?

  • smeghead68

    Can they do that? what happens to all the phones out there already.

    • redraider133

      Prior art. It will just affect upcoming phones and even those can probably be said prior art/use.

  • McLovin

    This whole “software patent” business needs to be re-evaluated.

    * Where the boundary between patentable and non-patentable software should lie;
    * Whether the inventive step and non-obviousness requirement is applied too loosely to software; and
    * Whether patents covering software discourage, rather than encourage, innovation.


  • Robert Whittaker

    Most ridiculous ruling ever, especially given Android had multitasking before apple. Wait maybe they should patent that and then apple wouldn’t be able to use this great feature.

  • RRR

    Do not worry, kids, 10-20 years from now almost everything will be patented by Chinese companies.

  • ndub21

    Here comes another round of Apple sueing every other company. Man, they really suck.

  • Derek

    When your on a call w/ android, they should just make it so you can like flip and roate the screen horizantally 180 degrees and your at the home screen of the phone, hit the volume to go to speaker, and do what you gotta do… Drag down the menu to go back to the phone screen or end the call..

    • Derek


  • Ben Traves
    • zerosix

      … and Rage Against the Machine – Killing in the Name of in my earphones.

  • eadred

    US patent system is really fucked up. Ten year ago I was already being able to browse anything on my nokia phone during a call.. How come Apple can patent such a straightforward thing years later. Come on guys, reform this shit, it is unbearable!

  • Lox

    How can any sensed person or organization can accept a patent for such a widely used feature? About every single phone I know can do that since a long time, before the iPhone for sure. And it is used a lot, haven’t you been always able to go to ur contacts list to search a phone number to give it to the person calling you? Even my mother can do that with her simple Nokia.

    Americans are stupid.

  • coryteague


  • Prime

    Wait, did they patent the use of a speaker phone yet? If not im going to be rich!!!!!

  • BigCiX

    These judges that award apple this lawsuits oviously is an iphony user!

  • Counsel

    Couldn’t the Treo line do this in 2005?

  • E

    Way to show your fear Apple patent the hole world instead of finding ways to stay in the game but I guess they started to realized they lost the torch and can’t get it back at all

  • tim blane

    Strange, I’m sure my nokia communicator did this years ago. I`ll fire it up to double check, but I’m certain it functioned exactly as this patent describes.

  • Adryan maldonado

    OMG these patents are soooo stupid. I guess its like a quote i heard from aladdin or somewhere. “He who owns the patents owns everything else”. that appears to be apples case due to these stupid patents. I mean how can you own that kind of stuff. Its just plain stupid

  • laosgurllynn

    Android should put a patent on the drop down menu. Since Apple wants to play stupid. Everyone wants money!

  • Marcus

    How should something as ridiculous as that even be considered a patent? Apple is getting on my last nerve with all this crap…

  • Ilyse Rose

    I don’t understand how these patents are being allowed. Someone needs to slap the patent office in the back of the head and say “You’re only hurting the consumer”

  • humidity

    What protects TVs and cars from these patent wars?

    • donger

      good question, i’m curious

  • Adam

    I don’t think this is a problem at all, as long as it doesn’t take you straight to the app drawer it should be fine. As the patent states “The device replaces the phone interface with a menu of application icons, including the phone icon”
    Therefore, since android has widgets instead of just a “menu of application icons” it’s exempt.
    Granted, I still foresee Apple trying to use this on an offensive against Android OEMs, I think it will be quickly thrown out…

  • JamTheMan

    This is just, as many already pointed out, lame. My old normal phones could all do this. I know they did not have a touch screen, but anyways. I recently was in the process of getting a patent myself (which I ended up not doing for other reasons), and every patent-agent I ever was in contact with clearly stated that any invention had to be new and not something anyone would take for granted…

    But well, as Adam also points out, our guys (all others than Apple) should be able to work around it. This line also makes for a good get-around “The interface includes a “switch application icon” only when a phone call is occurring.” – No Android app interface need that, as we have the clever little notification bar that Apple also stole and will probably try to patent soon enough…

    The guys at Cupertino are getting desperate……

  • Mr_Armageddon

    Prior Art anyone? Really making it easy for me to hate Apple.

  • Auxiliary

    Does anyone know which phones we can use in the loo? Has Apple patented that too?

    I was an Apple fan before, but they actually managed to lose a fan by all these stupid patents. I wonder how many other fans they lost.

  • ToonPanda

    Wait whaaaat? How is this even a patent?

  • jimtravis

    Thanks to Apple, we unfortunately have reached the point where Google, and the various phone manufacturers have to patent everything no matter how simple, and natural it may seem since if they don’t, Apple will probably patent it later, and then claim it as original. Find it a bit hypocritical that Apple basically ripped of the Android notification system in iOS 5 while they have attempted to patent almost everything that involves touching a screen. In most cases, they may have polished it up a bit, but it is seem to be basically a process that has been in use for years.

    Come on Google etal, develop a smooth, elegant work around for this patent, immediately patent it yourself, and then sue Apple when then invariably incorporate it in a future version of iOS while claiming it is magical, and innovative.

    Apple products are too limited for my needs, but I do purchase them because I am a gadget addict. These ridiculous patents / lawsuits will result in my not purchasing future Apple products. In one way I am negatively impacting myself since I do have Apple stock, but as a stockholder, I do not like Apple’s approach to using (abusing?) the patent system while borrowing the best of the competition for their products.

  • jbennie

    these moves are desperate … Apple is dying, they are leaderless,loosing talent by the hour and have resorted to begging people to upgrade in there recent mail shots so soon even the customers will be saying “why do i want apple? when i can have this instead?”. Jobs will be turning in his grave and this flurry of patent war will be over by late spring when everyone realises that the money tree has already burnt down. … ps looking forward to Nokia being back on top form:) shame that its going to be a windows platform. and the new intel phones will be a new benchmark.

  • Alex Belko

    This is insane with all that patents.. I remember using apps while in call on my old nokia. Apple is clearly trying their last chances against Android, but no way rotting fruit gonna stop it

  • _Diego

    This is getting ridiculous! How can they get a patent on something that has been around for quite some time now and they clearly are not the only ones doing this??
    Should Google patent 3G tethering and face-unlock then? Or beaming apps and other NFC-practices?

  • fatigue

    ja tomu celemu nechapem. vsak ten apple si dal alebo si da patentovat vsetko. a ak sa dobre pametam, tak oni boli proti velkemu zlemu obrovi IBM ktory diktoval co mozes a co nie robit s pocitacom. ale tieto komentare su dobre iba na dve veci ……. ludia, ktori stoja za takymi velkymi firmami ako Apple, Microsoft, IBM atd dobre vedia, ze vy ktori tu pisete s tym nespravite nic. ludska pamet je slaba, ludia zabudaju rychlo. a preto ich taki behemoti dokazu ovladat. vedia, ze im nic nehrozi. vsak ako Policajti xi xi xi uzite si sviatky a vsetkym Merry xmass

    • MRbig

      WTF you are talking about? What kind of odd language are you using? LoL

      • fatigue

        Nepochopis xi xi xi lebo ako prve co si mal spravit, bolo ze by si si to dal do a nechal automaticky rozpoznat jazyk a prelozit cha cha cha fakt cool ked uz piseme kto aky jazyk pouziva. ja pouzivat ten svoj a to ze ty ho nepoznas, tak to z tebe nerobi velkeho inteligenta xi xi xi jaj, kde su tie casy ked ludia pouzivajuci PC/personal computer boli elitou??? Teraz kazdy pouziva vsetko na vsetko. Ale to dobre, aspon sa rozsiruje celkove povedomie ludi na zemeguli xi xi xi informacie pre vsetkych, a co este vsetko pre vsetkych xi xi xi to radsej ani nenapisem, lebo by ma sudili a bla bla bla bla ludia pouzivaju rozne nicky rozne mena. preco si vsetci myslia ze internet, s prepracenim komunikacia, by mala byt ta ista ako v realnom svete? vsak ani v realnom svete sa nespravam ku vsetkym rovnako. mam svoje preferencie. mam svojich favoritov. ale na nete nepoznam nikoho a nechcem poznat nikoho. s ludmi pisem na nete kvoli informaciam, nie kvoli kamaratstvu. kaslime na to. civilizacia sa hrnie dopredu atd. kde su vlastne ty zo skupiny anonymus a rozny iny ktory sa snazili napravit to co vlady pokazili? strateny xi xi xi a nie vo virtualnom svete, ale v realnom xi xi xi xi myslime si, ze virtualita z nas spravi inych ludi. ale nie. spytajte sa cyberpsychologov xi xi ak take nieco nie je, tak zavolajte do Apple a oni hned na druhy den pridu s patentom xi xi xi

  • golfpedaler

    Sounds like desperation move…they are losing market share and panicking. iPhones are good for people who want high priced simple and like being told what that is, but they are not for everyone…

  • GF1 Fanatic

    Since when are patents issued for the obvious?

    Why didn’t Android patent folders, the notification bar, voice search, removable batteries,larger screen size, etc?

    When is this insanity going to stop?

  • Thomas MacDougall

    next apple is going to say they patented something like, choice?

  • alexanderharri3

    In other news, Apple patents apples. Must buy all apples from Apple store. No longer sold in supermarkets.

  • KoroshiyaNo1

    Apple: The Thomas Edison of the modern era. And not in the good way.

  • Joshua

    How will this affect a company like Thrutu?

  • halo0

    Is this a joke? The US Patent office needs to be shut down if this is the kind of ridiculously broad patents it allows.

  • AZZiDO

    Merry xmas to all. I’m a newbie here so I’ll probably have no chance of winning but hey its worth a shot x

  • Shawn Clark

    Apple just jealous

  • ibnturab

    How can apple have on multitasking ? Who cares about the touchscreen aspect of it. Nokia had multi-tasking on their phones for years before anyone even heard of the iPhone. If anything, it should be Nokia suing everyone else.

  • MrSub

    This is just another thing apple is trying to do to get on top. Just gives them another reason to sue samsung. I think apple is realizing that they are on a downward spiral. Android is better and still getting better everyday with all the developers being able to customize there phones and tablets.

  • MyMilan

    It’s really very simple. Apple is, and always has been, a technology based company. I’ve seen some patents for the next gen iPad that are mind boggling. In order for a company to keep their patent they need to enforce them. That’s all Apples doing. It’s just common sense law that everyone here would be doing to protect ‘their’ patent if they had one to protect. If google is as smart as they think they are, then they will develop a work around to this feature. Otherwise, get used to a vanilla android OS on a boring, outdated phone…

  • CrCross

    The countdown for apple to be awarded a pantent on the way you wipe your @$$ starts now meaning you will not be able to do it unless you it with something that an apple logo…

  • CrCross

    unless you do it with something that has an apple logo. Sorry the wife was talking to me at the of the previous post…

  • http://XDA canadianrider

    This is bullshit.. makes me want to go back to the old cell phone days. Why can’t we all just play nice.

  • milos

    They have patented monotasking, how come they get to even use this?

  • ultraman

    Freaking ridiculous Apple

  • foreverabum

    I’m not knowledgeable in this field but isn’t this just limited to the US? It just says US patent at the top of the document.

  • Anthony Massingham

    This patent war is getting ridiculous. Even more and more so every day.

    Morally I don’t understand how people can go about doing this. But I guess that’s why I’m not a businessman.

  • moik

    Why the fart did this patent war start? It wasn’t because of protecting intellectual property because Apple would of brought this up long time ago. Apple is just afraid of the competitions success and this is their response: “if you can beat ‘em, find a way to make money off ‘em.”

  • insued

    Apple have began filling the niche left by IBM for control and uniformity in technology.
    It is pretty sad when the patent system set in place to promote development of technology works in reverse due to lack of check or foresight of such occurrence. I believe the legal battle between manufacturers’ will be a major setback for consumers’ hoping to optimize their life with technology. Rather, we are now forced to make priorities of which features we cannot live without and settle.

  • seeklerhun

    All right. I think everyone has the right to be upset. Even my S40 Nokia phone can do that, maybe with the exception of Java apps. The patent system really is only about money really and the more influence the company has, the more patents it gets. This self repeating pattern creates monopoly, no competition. If these mammoth companies have this much power today, what will happen in 50 years? I don’t want to live on this planet anymore.

  • tigervyh

    Funny thing, this patent issue… we just wanna make phone calls…

  • Mykhaylo Tkachuk

    That’s ridiculous – patents don’t protect inventors no more – they’re just for corporations and their lawsuits. Whole patent thing has to be destroyed! Freedom for software and devices, freedom for inventions! Che © :)

  • ashley1969

    I think that fruit growers should patent the word apple. Then sue the pants off of the company called “apple”

  • yankeesusa

    This just enforces my dislike for apple and the boycott for buying anything called iphone from apple. I mean, yes their phone is great and it changed the world but this is just insane. They see that competition is now on par or even better than theirs so instead of coming out with something that beats the competition they keep the same old phone and just prevent others from making their phones better.
    My question is, how can this be patented? If I want to launch an app while I’m on a call why can’t I do that? It took apple years to introduce multitasking and now this? C’mon!

  • Brian Horstmann

    Apple makes very nice products, but they are turning into patent trolls like Micro$oft. The only difference is that microsoft just wants money for every android phone sold…not to block them from being sold.

  • staryoshi

    I would have been on the side of “it’s fine to use patents to protect your business’s livelihood” about a hundred lawsuits or legal proceedings ago… but this is out of hand. I’d rather hear about new products and exciting applications than which company is being sued or who’s product is being blocked by Apple every day.

  • yvonneay

    It’s out of control :/

  • Alexis Hernandez

    If they won this patent, then they sure as hell make this available to verizon users. who surely cannot use the feature due to cdma network. This is bogus, if anyone should get props for this it should be the GSM networks, not apple.

  • timmothey james

    why doesn’t apple patent using your phone while your on the toilet if you do this with an android google has to pay apple 10 dollars

  • renn9420

    This is a ridiculous patent lawsuit. If thats the case the Apple should be sued for multitasking on smart phones. Not to mention the whole notification bar.
    But whatever floats their boat I guess. Thats Apple’s way of trying to stop progress and trying to monopolize users to buy their crap. Excuse me iCrap!!!

  • Curt Tweedle

    Seriously? This is worthy of a patent? What is the patent office doing approving things that are not worthy of a patent. Patents should be reserved for something unique. Who owns the patent on multi-tasking? They should just pull the rug out from everyone as a threat for everyone to play nicely since it is an underpinning technology.

    Other mobile developers should just do use the same feature. When Apple complains, they can respond that we are not infringing the idea of using apps while using the phone, we are just patented the idea of apps that can’t be interrupted by a phone call or a patent on apps that can’t be turned off by another app (the phone just being an app). It’s completely different, you see, because we described from a different point of view.

    That would probably work in this stupid patent world

  • It’s obvious example of multitasking.

    Apple again inserted mobile phone term in an existing concept. On a PC using Skype to do a phone call while doing something else is a good enough example of a prior art. If it is laptop, it’s mobile, and if you are doing calls it’s a phone.
    So it’s worthless except for wasting ITC’s time and a lot of money (from either side).

  • Jon Garrett

    I wish I had an in depth understanding of how these patents work so that I don’t get so upset every time I read them.

    It always seems like these apple patents are patents on ideas as opposed to a precise line of code or something substantial.

    Its like having a patent on adding 1+1 and getting 2 as the answer. there is NO other way to add 1+1 and get an answer of 2.

  • vbvbvbvbvbvbvbvb

    This is really stupid from apple… but not the first time…. What ever apple patents android has been able to over come… and this shouldnt be a problem..

  • Barry Shizzler

    I just filed a patent application for “breathing while walking”. Beware everyone. I will sue if you infringe! The USPTO better get its act together! How can an examiner approve an application for the basic idea of multitasking on a GUI? Based on this patent you could apply for a patent for switching away from any specific function. Should Google be allowed to patent the basic idea of “switching away from a map app to the home menu”? Should Zynga be allowed to patent the basic idea of “switching away from a game app to the home menu”? So what if there is phone call connected in the background? Should iHeartRadio, Pandora or any of the other streaming radio apps be granted a patent for “switching away from a streaming radio app to the home menu while the music is playing”? This patent should be invalidated!