Apple Threatens Palm Pre with Multi-Touch Patents

The Palm Pre may be one of the most exciting smartphones to come along in a very long time, but Palm could be in for a world of hurt if Steve Jobs has his way. When the Palm Pre was officially announced at the Consumer Electronics Show earlier this month, the company said that they were prepared to face any legal battles that may arise from the phone’s release. Put on your armor, Palm.

As you may or may not know, the development team for the webOS that powers the Palm Pre came, in part, from Apple expatriates. The same people that developed the OS for the iPhone work intensively on the creation of the Pre, so there are some startling similarities. This would be fine if Apple was alright with it, but Cupertino is not pleased.

Without an Apple patent, Palm was on the safer side of the law. However, a range of new patents have been approved for Apple, effectively giving Steve Jobs and his team the right to attack anyone who infringes on these multi-touch patents. Yes, Apple has been granted the patents.

Among the patents are those that call for the “implementation of one or many fingers interacting on the screen in a mobile device, with the most subtle of heuristic interpretations.” The Palm Pre does that. Ruh-roh.

Unless Palm and Apple are able to come to a mutually amicable resolution, I think we’re about to see the fur fly.


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