Avid watchers of tech know that Apple is almost as good at requesting patents
(though, its record of defending them is somewhat less impressive
) as it is at actually creating compelling products. Three years after initially filing for the design of a "portable multifunction device" with a multitouch interface, the USPTO has awarded the Cupertino crew a patent that's sure to raise few eyebrows amongst its competitors. At a glance, the language seems to cover practically any device that allows touch input to control content in a frame on a webpage independent of controlling the rest of the page -- which we're sure Jobs and co. are excited to add to their growing stockpile of claims to gestures
and capacitive displays
. Of course, a rival would have to infringe on all
elements of a patent's independent claims before it'd need to fear the courtroom, so it's probably best not to get too
hot and bothered here. For those looking to pore over the specifics, that source link is a good place to head.