Apple has been forced to reissue a patent application relating to their 2005 virtual keyboard patent which pertains to multi-touch input systems and methods, and more particularly to a mixture of chord keying, gesture recognition and touch typing techniques.
The USPTO defines a Reissue patent as follows: When the patent is defective in certain respects, the law provides that the patentee may apply for a reissue patent. Following an examination in which the proposed changes correcting any defects in the original patent are evaluated, a reissue patent may be granted to replace the original for the balance of the unexpired term. However, the nature of changes that can be made by means of the reissue are rather limited; new matter cannot be added. Reissue patents are designated by a RE prefix before the patent number, for example, RE 37,514.
Patent: Multi-Touch System and Method for Emulating Modifier Keys via Fingertip Chords
Apple’s patent abstract states that “a multi-touch system is disclosed that recognizes simultaneous touchdown of four fingers on, above, or below the home row of keys as a modifier chord and applies modifiers such as Shift, Ctrl, or Alt to subsequent touch activity until none of the chord fingertips remain touching. Touches by the thumb of the modifier chord hand that occur before any modifiable typing or clicking activity cause the modifier chord to be canceled and reinterpreted as hand resting. The Shift modifier may be released temporarily during thumb keypresses that are intermixed with typing of capitalized characters. Distributing the modifier chord touches across different zones or key rows selects multiple modifiers. In an alternative embodiment, different modifiers can be selected with different arrangements of the fingers relative to one another within the chord, irrespective of absolute hand alignment with the touch surface.
Apple lists Wayne Carl Westerman (San Francisco, CA) and John Greer Elias (Townsend, DE) as the inventors of this patent. For more information on this reissue patent, see RE40,153.
The actual changes that are contained in Apple’s reissued application are unknown at this time.
NOTICE: MacNN presents only a brief summary of patents with associated graphic(s) for journalistic news purposes as each such patent application and/or grant is revealed by the U.S. Patent & Trade Office. Readers are cautioned that the full text of any patent applications and/or grants should be read in its entirety for further details.
Written and researched by Neo.
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