In the mobile patent wars, the giant of the ecosystem has one big bludgeon it is using to bully everyone else into subservience. It is a patent known as ’647, and it is Apple’s biggest weapon in fighting off the Android hordes, including Motorola, HTC and Samsung. But what exactly is the ’647 patent, and how is Apple using it in court?
What is ’647?
’647 is short for patent No. 5,946,647, which was filed by Apple in February 1996. It has four listed inventors: James R. Miller (now with Miramontes), Bonnie Nardi (an anthropologist and author who teaches at University of California – Irvine), Tom Bonura (now with Imprivata) and David Wright. The broad scope of the patent is that it is a “system and method for performing an action on a structure in computer-generated data.”
If you are not tech-savvy, that description means almost nothing to you. Even if you are tech-savvy, the patent’s broad scope could mean almost anything. Remember, this patent was granted in 1996, so the inventors likely never envisioned what it could mean for a mobile device such as the iPhone.