We just found out on German tech news site Golem that Apple filed a patent back in August 2009 about a touch-sensitive display border; see “Der Bildschirmrahmen als neues Interface”.
The actual patent application is called “HOUSING AS AN I/O DEVICE” and can be found under United States Patent Application Number 20110038114.
As we all know the BlackBerry PlayBook has a black border around the viewable area of its display which is touch-sensitive. That area allows us to control things like: minimizing an application (swipe from bottom border up), switching between applications (from left or right into the center of the screen) or bringing up controls (from top border down). Here is a short quote from the patent application paragraph 1) under “Claims” which Apple filed:
1. An electronic device comprising:a housing wall having at least one exposed surface and an interior surface;one or more sensors positioned proximate to the interior surface of the wall to sense interactions of the wall via the exposed surface and generate electrical signals based on the interactions; anda controller communicatively coupled to the one or more sensors for interpreting the generated electrical signals as input to the electronic device and generating an output signal.
And that goes on and on, like patent applications do.
So does that mean RIM is violating Apple’s patent – in case it gets approved? Do we have to be afraid that RIM is gonna get held off by a court for its PlayBook distribution when that court rules in favor of Apple in case the patent goes to Apple?
What do you think?