Apple Caught Red-Handed!

Is it any surprise that folks are coming out of the woodwork and threatening to sue Apple over the iPhone? At least this one might have some validity…maybe. Quantum Research is already suing Apple for allegedly stealing touch-screen technology for the iPod’s clickwheel and now they’re prepared to fight over possible patent infringements linked to the iPhone. Duncan Bryan, licensing director at Quantum Research, says:

“The description of the iPhone suggests it uses a rear-surface touch screen and has proximity sensing, which can tell if it is held up to the ear. That’s a QR capability.”

QR also goes on to say that Apple is infringing on a patented technology called “charge transfer technology,” which gives the iPhone those aforementioned abilities. Motorola and STM electronics are currently the only manufacturers licensed to use this capacitive touch sensing technology.

The article then goes on to say that of all the other capacitive touch sensing techniques readily available, the charge transfer technology is the most relevant to the iPods. Apple already tried to patent wheel-based sensors, but failed miserably, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise, right? Right?

Well this is where it gets a little strange. QR has already been selling chips to Apple that are currently used in Apple products. It isn’t clear what these chips are or where they are being used, but I’ll assume they are charge transfer chips. Is this a clear-cut sign that Apple was caught with their hands in the cookie jar? It could very well be, the two companies are currently in negotiations over the iPod nano wheel lawsuit. Confused much? Me too!

Apple Ganks Some More [via The Inquirer]