Apple Nets Patents For Multi-Touch Screen, Carbon Fiber Housing, More

LawyerCalifornia – Apple Inc. secured over two dozen new patents on Tuesday covering technology that includes a liquid crystal display capable of multi-touch functionality and a process for molding carbon fiber that could lead to future MacBook casings made of the material.

U.S. Patent Number 8,259,078, titled “Touch screen liquid crystal display,” discloses LCD touch screens that integrate the touch sensing elements with the display circuitry.

Touch sensing elements can be completely implemented within the LCD stackup but not between the color filter plate and the array plate, under the patent. Alternatively, some touch sensing elements can be between the color filter and array plates with other touch sensing elements not between the plates.

In another alternative, all touch sensing elements can be between the color filter and array plates, which can encompass both conventional and “in-plane-switching” LCDs. In some forms, one or more display structures can also have a touch sensing function.

Techniques for manufacturing and operating such displays, as well as various devices embodying such displays are also covered by the patent.

The invention is credited to Steve Porter Hotelling of Los Gatos, California, Wei Chen of Palo Alto, California, Christoph Horst Krah of Los Altos, California, John Greer Elias of Townsend, Delaware, Wei Hsin Yao of Fremont, California, John Z. Zhong of Cupertino, California, Andrew Bert Hodge of Palto Alto, California, Brian Richards Land of Redwood City, California and Willem den Boer of Brighton, Michigan. The application for the invention was filed in June 2007.

U.S. Patent Number 8,257,075, meanwhile, titled “Carbon composite mold design,” covers a mold assembly or system that includes a moldbase that holds mold inserts and has embedded fluid lines to facilitate cooling during part formation. The carbon molding technology could be applied to build sturdier housings for Apple’s MacBooks and other computers.

“While many designs and methods of manufacture for providing composite molded parts and components have generally worked well in the past, there is always a desire to provide new and improved designs and processes that result in functional and aesthetically pleasing composite parts that can be mass produced,” the patent description says. “In particular, it is desirable to provide a carbon composite molding apparatus and process that allows for a more automated mass production of consistent carbon composite parts, such as for computer housings and the like.”

Paul Choiniere of Livermore, California, Glenn Aune of Bellingham, Washington, John DiFonzo of Emerald Hills, California, Daniel Hong of Cupertino, California and Kevin Kenney of San Jose, California filed the application for the carbon molding patent in November 2009.




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