In response to Apple's disclosure of Intellectual Property, the Touch Events PAG concluded that the claims in US Patent 7,812,828: Ellipse fitting for multi-touch surfaces (hereinafter also called 'the 828 patent') doesn’t read on the 15 December 2011 Touch Events version 1 Candidate Recommendation Specification (hereinafter 'Touch Events Specification').
The Touch Events PAG has reached the following conclusions:
Consequently, the Touch Events PAG does not believe that changes are necessary to the Touch Events Specification with regards to the disclosures, and recommends that work on the Touch Events Specification should be continued.
The W3C Web Events Working Group is chartered to create specifications that provide methods to enable the use of multi-touch and pen-tablet input on devices of all types. Apple Inc. does not participate in the Web Events Working Group.
The goal of the W3C Patent Policy is to assure that Recommendations produced under this policy can be implemented on a Royalty-Free (RF) basis. Patent Advisory Groups are formed when patent claims are asserted against or expressly excluded from royalty-free implementations of W3C Recommendations. That happened here when Apple excluded certain of its patents and patent applications for the Touch Events Specification.
This report concludes the activities of the Touch Events PAG.
This section traces the necessary procedural steps followed by the patent exclusion and the creation of the Patent Advisory Group.
The Web Events Working Group is chartered until 30 September 2012. Part of its charter is to produce the Touch Events Specification. The Touch Events Specification had its First Public Working Draft published on 05 May 2011. This triggers a period of 150 days for exclusions, which ran until Tuesday 4 October 2011. There were no exclusions.
Apple Inc. is not a Member of the Web Events Working Group. It has not made any patent commitments regarding the Touch Events Specification. On Friday 16 November 2011 Apple Inc. disclosed US Published Patent No. 7,812,828 and US Published Patent Applications 13/163,624 and 13/163,626; on this same date, Apple Inc. also disclosed the existence of at least 1 unpublished pending patent application. On Saturday 14 April 2012, Apple Inc. additionally disclosed US Published Patent Applications 13/221,827, 13/221,836, and 13/221,837; on this same date, Apple Inc. also disclosed the existence of at least 1 unpublished pending patent application. The relationship, if any, of these unpublished pending patent applications with regards to subsequent published pending patent applications was not stated.
The Web Events Working Group was correctly chartered. The First Public Working Draft of the Touch Events Specification was correctly announced and triggered the above exclusion opportunity. Apple, as a Member of the W3C, was entitled to a disclosure statement. Apple's disclosure statement as well as the complementary information was issued in time and is valid.
The Touch Events Patent Advisory Group was validly set up on 30 January 2012 according to the rules set forth in Section 7 of the Patent Policy and in conformance with the rules set forth in the Procedures for Launching and Operating a Patent Advisory Group. Apple did not attend any of the PAG's calls, and provided no additional information for resolving the PAG.
In the meantime, the Application No. 11/620,727, from which Application No. 13/221,836 and Application No. 13/221,837 derive their priority, was finally rejected by the USPTO on 2012-03-02, and a request for continued examination was filed 2012-06-14. Consequently, the PAG determined that the status of the Patent Applications was not sufficiently clear to evaluate until more information is available from the USPTO.
The PAG did not issue a call for prior art.
In conclusion: Apple made a valid disclosure and the PAG was created following the relevant rules. There were no issues with the procedure.
The Touch Events PAG believes that the technology described in US Patent 7,812,828: Ellipse fitting for multi-touch surfaces does not apply to the Touch Events Specification.
The '828 Patent consists of 35 claims, of which 3 claims are independent, and 32 claims are dependent, describing specific methods and devices of the 3 independent claims. The 3 independent claims of the '828 patent are claim 1, claim 10, and claim 24, which all couch essentially the same invention in separate ways. Since none of the 3 independent claims is applicable to the Touch Events Specification, none of the dependent claims of the '828 Patent are applicable to the Touch Events Specification.
The '828 Patent claims do not read on the Touch Events Specification and here is why:
|Claims of the '828 Patent||Evaluation against the Touch Events Specification|
Claim 1. A method of processing input from a touch-sensitive surface, the method comprising:
Claim 10. A touch-sensing device comprising:
24. A touch-sensing device comprising:
Apple's disclosures included five published patent applications. All of these applications are continuations of earlier applications that were rejected by the USPTO. They were all filed last year and the USPTO has not yet published examiner's results for them.
The PAG believes it is too early to analyze the claims in these applications, because we do not know which if any of the claims will be accepted by the USPTO examiners or how the claims will change during the examination process. Rather than make any recommendation to the working group now, we believe that a new PAG should be convened if and when any patents are issued based on these applications.
For reference, the five published patent applications disclosed by Apple, and their parent cases, are:
On Friday 16 November 2011 and Saturday 14 April 2012, Apple disclosed that it has unpublished pending patent applications per the W3C Patent Policy. Despite diligent efforts, the PAG is unable to determine anything about these unpublished pending patent applications or their possible relevance to the Touch Events Specification.
Taking into account the information made available to the PAG, the following recommendations are given:
Although portions of this PAG analysis were drafted by attorneys following review of the facts, none of the authors is your attorney. No part of this report is intended as legal advice either to W3C or to its members. It is intended merely as a summary of what the PAG has learned to date. Rely on this report entirely at your own risk. However, nothing should prevent even an attorney from expressing his or her personal opinions, and so this analysis includes the personal opinions of the authors.
With respect to W3C, the publication of the Touch Events Specification Candidate Recommendation would not, by itself, be patent infringement of any patents owned by Apple or anyone else. Implementers and distributors of software products, though, are encouraged to read the analysis below, consult with their own attorneys, and form their own conclusions.
THESE RECOMMENDATIONS OF THE TOUCH EVENTS PATENT ADVISORY GROUP ARE NOT LEGAL ADVICE. NEITHER W3C NOR ANY OF THE PARTICIPANTS OF THIS PATENT ADVISORY GROUP OR THEIR RESPECTIVE EMPLOYERS TAKES ANY RESPONSIBILITY FOR THE ACCURACY, LEGAL CORRECTNESS OR OTHER FITNESS FOR ANY PURPOSE OF THE INFORMATION PROVIDED IN THIS REPORT. ESPECIALLY, NEITHER W3C NOR ANY OF THE PARTICIPANTS OF THIS PATENT ADVISORY GROUP OR ANY OF THEIR RESPECTIVE EMPLOYERS MAKE ANY REPRESENTATION THAT FOLLOWING THE RECOMMENDATIONS HERE WILL AVOID AN INFRINGEMENT OF THE US PATENT NR. 7,812,828 OR ANY OTHER PATENTS AND/OR PATENT APPLICATIONS MENTIONED IN THE REPORT.Contact: Rigo Wenning, Touch Events PAG Chair; last updated $Id: pagreport.html,v 1.3 2012/07/02 20:58:11 schepers Exp $