News: Qualcomm Sues Apple Over iPhone X Gestures

Qualcomm Sues Apple Over iPhone X Gestures

Apple is no stranger to lawsuits. They were in a decade-long battle with Samsung that finally came to an end last month, and they've been duking it out in the courtroom with Qualcomm since last year. The more recent case has seen both companies file suits and counter-suits, but now, Qualcomm is claiming that Apple's new iPhone X infringes on patents from a long-deceased mobile operating system.

One of Qualcomm's latest motions alleges that Apple is infringing upon patents associated with webOS, the software that powered early smartphones made by Palm. The OS has retroactively garnered acclaim for being ahead of its time, as it introduced features such as true multitasking and a gesture-based interface. After Palm went belly-up and had a fire sale (including a $1.2 billion acquisition from HP), webOS is largely gone, with only a partial version existing on LG televisions today.

Some of webOS's many gestures on the Palm Pre. Image by TechnoBuffalo/YouTube

When Apple introduced the iPhone X, many tech enthusiasts recognized that Apple's new gesture-based navigation system was clearly inspired by the former OS. Qualcomm shares this sentiment and is claiming that patents it acquired in 2014 related to webOS's user interactions were violated by Apple. If Qualcomm has its way, the San Diego-based company would be compensated and sales of the iPhone X would be banned in the US.

How this plays out is anyone's guess, but as history shows, a conclusion to this legal exchange shouldn't be expected in the near future. However, with the striking similarity between webOS and the iPhone X's gestures, Apple might be forced to either pony up or introduce a new way to interact with the iPhone X. What do you think about Qualcomm's new allegations? Do you hope any side wins? Let us know in the comments below.

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Cover image via Wikimedia Commons

1 Comment

The two biggest patent trolls in mobile going head to head? I hope both sides lose somehow.

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