Apple is alleged to have violated a patent for simplified web navigation
US company EMG Technology has filed a patent infringement lawsuit against Apple. According to the complaint Apple is using a technology described in the patent 7,441,196 to display internet content on its iPhone smart phone, without permission. EMG is claiming damages in an amount to be fixed by the court during the action before the Tyler District Court in the state of Texas.
The patent, submitted in March 2006 and granted on 21 October 2008, describes an "apparatus and a method for manipulating a region on a wireless device screen for viewing, zooming and scrolling internet content". It also describes a method for reformatting HTML to XML content for mobile devices. The complaint says that the iPhone is currently setting the standard here. The rights to the patent were assigned to EMG on 19 November, a company established during the same month. According to the Wall Street Journal, EMG has no other business interests.
EMG lawyer Stanley Gibson says that many suppliers are currently developing mobile sister sites for their content. NBC.com, for example, has been specially reformatted as m.NBC.com to deliver content to the iPhone. The patent covers the technology for a simplified interface of reformatted mobile content to provide optimum viewing and navigation with single touches on a small screen. Other technologies used in the iPhone have attracted the attention of patent owners. For example, in August 2007, SP Technologies claimed that the virtual keyboard in the iPhone infringed one of its patents.
Apple launched the first generation of its iPhone in January 2007. The device enables users, with the help of a touch screen and the mobile Safari web browser, to enlarge and reduce areas of web pages and to switch areas using wiping or stroking gestures. Apple's own patent application was lodged with the US Patent Office in July 2004 under the title "Gestures for touch sensitive input devices".