Apple applied for a patent back in 2007 which focused on people using their fingers to interact with a touchscreen, and software reacting to the gesture. Now 4 years later, the USPTO has awarded the patent to Apple.
This patent seemingly would give Apple the power to halt sales and production of competiting touchscreen tablets and smartphones. Apple will likely require the competiton to pay a patent licensing fee for touchscreen devices sold in the United States.
This will likely only stir the pot between Samsung and Apple regarding their similar devices.
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