Flatworld Sues Apple Claiming Touch-based Patent Infringement

Apple has been hit with a lawsuit from a company called Flatworld over claims that the iPhone, iPad and Mac maker is infringing on its touch-based device control patent. Flatworld lists most of Apple’s hardware in its lawsuit including iOS devices, laptops, and pointing devices.

Flatworld says Apple infringed on its touch patentsThe Flatworld lawsuit alleged Apple infringed on Patent RE43,318, according to Patently Apple, and that “Apple’s infringement of the ‘318 patent has been on a massive scale, and has taken place with actual knowledge of the inventions claimed herein.”

Flatworld’s patent describes “A system for manipulating images comprising a screen upon which an image is displayed,” which sounds similar to the basic gestures Apple uses in iOS and for trackpad navigation, although it doesn’t mention multi-touch. Flatworld said it developed and patented its touch-control technology as part of a test tool that let children “directly manipulate or move objects on the screen, and ‘hide’ them behind other objects.”

The company specifically lists the iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, sixth generation iPod nano, MacBook Pro, MacBook Air, the Magic Mouse when used with OS X 10.6.1 or newer, and the Magic Trackpad when used with OS X 10.6.4 or later.

Flatworld filed its case in U.S. District Court in San Francisco. Apple has not commented on the case.