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Apple patent win puts question mark over smartphone map apps

Apple patent win puts question mark over smartphone map apps
Is round 83 of the patent wars ahead?

Apple has been granted the patent on navigating maps using your fingers on a touchscreen interface.

Apple may not have had much luck with its own iOS 6 Maps App but it obviously has some cartographical smarts; it filed for the patent back in 2008 just before the Google-powered maps app made its debut on the iPhone 3GS.

The US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) awarded the patent, known as Patent No. 8,302,033 for a "touch screen device, method and graphical user interface for providing maps, directions, and location-based information".

Tap nav

This basically covers the way users slide their fingers around the screen to control the maps, as well as bookmarking locations by long-pressing the appropriate area of the screen and other design elements of the map interface.

By awarding Apple the patent, the USPTO may have chucked a sizable spanner into the works of Google's upcoming iOS Google Maps App replacement, not to mention all other touchscreen mapping apps on Android, Windows Phone and other platforms.

Does this patent win mean we're we in for another round of patent-based litigation over map apps? Boy, we hope not.

From Apple Insider via Gizmodo UK