Patents for multi-touch, iPad dock and MacBook Air awarded to Apple

Apple has been awarded several patents by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, one of which could be valuable ammunition in the flood of intellectual property lawsuits that has been swirling around the company lately.

PatentlyApple is reporting that Apple now holds the patents for one of the primary elements of multi-touch; two or more controllers operating in a master/slave configuration. Apple's patent appears to indicate that the company could be interested in licensing the technology (found in most multi-touch devices made by Apple, including the iPad, iPod touch, iPhone, and possibly the Magic Mouse and Magic Trackpad) to others, as they state that it can be used in ATMs, point of sale systems, e-ticket terminals, and so on.

Apple also received a patent for the hinged I/O port and housing that was found on the original MacBook Air models. Even though that hinged port is not on the most recent MacBook Airs, it could be used in future products.

The company now has design patents on the iPad dock, on the Universal Dock and Dock Insert, and that slick armband that the company sells for the fifth-generation iPod nano.