Apple Inc. v. Int'l Trade Comm'n, No. 12-1338 (Fed. Cir. 2013)Annotate this Case
Apple’s patents disclose a smartphone touch panel with a transparent capacitive sensing medium that can detect multiple touches at once by employing a matrix of electrodes connected to circuits that measure the change in charge that occurs when pressure is applied to the screen. The pressure-induced change occurs because electrode rows are in a different layer than electrode columns. When a user touches the screen, the pressure applied at each intersection point causes charge to flow between the electrodes at that node. Measuring circuits connected to the electrodes scan the matrix and measure the displaced charge at each node. By detecting these changes, the panel can determine if and where a user has touched the screen. The patent also discloses how to make the touchscreen transparent. The International Trade Commission found asserted claims of one patent invalid and that Motorola did not infringe asserted claims of the other. The Federal Circuit vacated the ITC decision that Motorola does not infringe and remanded to allow the ITC to consider whether the accused products infringe under the correct construction of “mathematically fitting an ellipse.” The court also vacated a finding of obviousness as to one claim, but affirmed a finding that a claim was not anticipated.