The release of the new iPhone 5 today is not the end for Apple. Apple’s patent portfolio is extremely extensive. Since the iPhone’s initial release in 2007, more than 1,200 patent applications have been filed by Apple. (As a side note, Samsung which is Apple’s biggest competition has filed 4,000 patents since its release of its smartphone).
Apple has filed 416 smartphone-related patents since 2007. In addition, 279 have been filed for mobile camera patents, 232 for user interface technologies, 149 for image display, 88 for battery/power control, 75 for Antenna, 31 for calendar purposes, 15 for contact management, and 5 for voice control technology.
Some patents that have been filed in previous years may still rear their head in future versions of the iPhone. These patents are key indicators of what future smartphone design may hold. For example one patent for a fuel cell system would allow a portable device to stay charged for days or weeks. Another example is an educational content display feature that would allow a person to interact with text to see images of what the word(s) mean.
Intellectual property litigation has also increased significantly. The increase in Apple’s IP litigation activity shows how valuable intellectual property can be to an organization. It shows that companies are going to great lengths to defend an invention that may or may not be used in future technologies. Since 2007, there have been 479 lawsuits that Apple has been involved in.
Patents are not the only realm of intellectual property that Apple is pursuing. On September 12, 2012, the US Patent and Trademark Office published Apple’s logo as an official registered trademark for social networking under number 5,206,562. Apple updated their trademark to support their social networking service Ping that debuted in September 2010, the service is to end when the next version of iTunes is released. Now, Apple is abandoning their social service Ping and using its partnerships with Twitter and Facebook to make its software and service offerings social in a way that consumers actually care about.” Whether Apple has another social networking project in the wings is unknown at this time.
Apple continues to innovate and is a leader in the intellectual property field. Who knows what we will see in the future from Apple – but I am sure each reveal will be even more groundbreaking than the next.