Apple granted patents for iOS’s virtual keyboard and 5 icons

Ian Hardy

August 30, 2011 10:05 pm


These days, patents are king. It seems that every week there is a fresh new patent infringement lawsuit. There’s billions at stake and the lawyers must be loving the payout. Over the last several weeks/month we’ve seen a couple high profile acquisitions, Nortel sold their 6,000+ patent for $4.5 billion to Apple, EMC, Ericsson, Microsoft, RIM and Sony. Then a couple weeks ago Google bought Motorola Mobility for $12.5 billion and boldly stated that “Our acquisition of Motorola will increase competition by strengthening Google’s patent portfolio”. This is all about being competitive and keeping their intellectual property protected. Apple and Samsung are suing each other, so are Motorola and Apple and Microsoft and Motorola… the list goes on. Every patent counts these days.

Today, Apple was granted a few patents by the US Patent and Trademark Office that consist of iOS’s Virtual keyboard, patent number D644,238, was originally filed in November 2009 and the inventor credit was given to Bas Ording. This gives Apple protection on how the keyboard looks and operates. The other key patent, again related to design, is patent number D644239. Apple can now claim ownership to five related icons covering Camera, Podcasts, Photos, Artists and Featured.

Now no manufacturer can copy the design of the virtual keyboard, nor their pretty icons. Regardless of how many patents are granted, the feuds will continue.

Source: PatentlyApple

  • Brayden

    Can’t everyone just get along?

  • mark

    lol. So now we are patenting looks instead of methods and implementations. Cool. Mankind keeps dropping to lower and lower levels each day.

  • brandon atkinson

    Pure apple grreed..

    • tolan

      Greed? All about big business. Look at MS – %5 to $15 for every android sold among other manufacturers. They are not getting any piece of the Apple pie…

  • Jimmy J Jackson

    I smell another lawsuit coming.. Apple goes to court “The samsung galaxy s keyboard looks just like iOS’ keyboard. Please tell Samsung they must now change from a QWERTY keyboard with the letters that pop out when you click them to a BJHTF keyboard that the letters zap you when you click them”

    Pure stupidity. Apple and their patents. Boohoo…soon Canada will become like the States where Android dominates Apple (yes!). Goodnight.

  • jmmm

    The order of the letters are the same on samsungs keyboard they are doomed Apple will ban every single of their products

  • Skrutor

    I think it’s time to round up the angry mob and head down to the patent office. Every software business will soon see that their viability in the American market is almost gone, and they will move overseas to sell where these patents don’t apply. Which is funny because the Americans are runnin around right now upset about losing their manufacturing industry but for now consoling themselves with “at least we can still make great software!”. Hah.

  • andy c

    Checks keyboard on Samsung focus.

    Looks like Microsoft did there homework, they are in the clear

  • WirelessEmpireCAN

    Okay, this is just messed up. Can Samsung not equally argue that almost all their fast-selling phones run on Android and that will be taking out the competition and technically patents are based on innovated ideas not on the way thinks look. Technically this office is agreeing to the idea that I have grounds to sue someone because they look like me? WTF to that! As well everyone knows how android is taking the market by storm and to make consumer transition from a iPhone to Samsung device user friendly the keyboards must be roughly the same after all the very same principle can be applied to why desktops will still be around in the age of tablets, laptops and high powered phones; it is because they provide users with really powerful specs and the FULL keyboard and mouse experience that one can never compare to any of the devices mentioned above.

  • Albert

    Apple can suck my ****.

  • Mark

    I hear that next Apple will be filing patents for ‘square’, ‘rectangle’, ‘triangle’, and ‘circle’ to prevent competitors from unlawfully duplicating any products the shape of apple intellectual property.

    Fanboy response to the new patents has been positive. One unemployed gentleman camping outside an apple store for the 2013 iphone says that with these new shapes apple has changed everything. Again.

    • JustMeAndMe

      … and also colors black and white

  • TeknoBug

    The icons are understandable, but the keyboard??? HAHAHA, Apple’s getting desperate with the patent wars.

    • JustMeAndMe

      I would say opposite: keyboard with magnified letters are OK, but were they really granted a patent for icons like “multiple sheets with a note on the top”???

  • Carmine

    @TeknoBug

    They’re not getting desperate, they’re preparing for the war…

    • TeknoBug

      I don’t know if you have noticed but in the past couple years Apple has been pending lawsuits against just about everyone and has yet to win one, from patenting the keyboard, looks like they want to get a win. :)

  • Kenypowa

    Next thing you know, Apple will patent the word “magical”, “revolutionary” and “beautiful”.

  • Kenypowa

    While they are at it, might as well as patent the power button and volume rocker.

  • JJ

    Might as well patent blue jeans and black long sleeve t-shirt while they are at it

  • jim

    No touch screen is smoother to type on then an Apple touch screen. To deny that just makes you an i***t. Then again that’s why they are called androtards.

    • ToniCipriani

      And no touch screen is better to type than a physical keyboard.

      That’s why we call you iPricks.

    • Tristelune

      I dunno. Since i have switch from my Iphone 3G to the Galaxy S II, I get so use to Swype. Use the Iphone4 the other day to sent a text message, seems like it’s taking forever.

    • Jimmy J Jackson

      youre absolutely right..typing on a 3.5 inch touch screen is alot easier and “smoother” than using swype (or even typing) on a 4+ inch touch screen. lol. thats why theyre called iDiots..because you dont have to change the word to make it an iProduct.

  • Terry

    I’ve been saying the patent system needs to change YEARS ago, yet why is it no one else on the planet seems to care.

  • Salem Al Akabar

    They have to do this otherwise RIM who is in death throes will try and copy them

  • TeknoBug

    I personally prefer physical keyboard over touch keyboard, however SlideIT on Android (and older Swype) changes your mind and almost the best thing since sliced bread or icebox.

  • Eli

    D644,238 is the new l33t way to say “crap.”