Apple Hit with Gesture-Based Patent Lawsuit

Touchscreen Gestures filed a lawsuit this week against Apple and RIM alleging the companies are infringing on patents it owns related to common touch-based gestures used to navigate interfaces and edit documents.

Touchscreen Gestures targets Apple in touch-based patent lawsuitTouchscreen Gestures targets Apple in touch-based patent lawsuit

The lawsuit targeted gestures iPhone, iPad and iPod touch users are familiar with such as tap and drag, swipe, and double tap. The patents in question include:

  • US  Patent 7190356 “A method of identifying double tap gesture”
  • US Patent 7180506 “A method for identifying a movement of single tap 7180506
  • US Patent 7184031 “A method identifying a drag gesture”
  • US Patent 7,319,457 “Method of Scrolling Window Screen by Means of Controlling Electronic Device”

The patents were originally issued to Taiwan-based Sentelic. The company’s trackpads have found their way into some PC laptops. Exactly how Touchscreen Gestures is related to Sentelic isn’t clear yet.

Touchscreen Gestures happens to be a Texas-based company, and it filed the lawsuit in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas, Tyler Division — a court that’s commonly used by patent trolls. Since Touchscreen Gestures doesn’t seem to manufacture any products, the company most likely purchased the patents from Sentelic and is using the intellectual property to target companies such as Apple and RIM with lawsuits.

Apple hasn’t commented on the Touchscreen Gestures lawsuit.

[Thanks to paidContent for the heads up.]