It took more than five years, but Apple has finally won a key patent related to the way lists and documents are displayed in a mobile operating system.
The company yesterday was granted Patent no. 8,223,134 for "Portable electronic device, method, and graphical user interface for displaying electronic lists and documents." According to the patent's description, the technology relies upon a touch-screen display and includes both the function for displaying lists and documents, and how they look on a mobile product.
Given the current state of mobile patent litigation, it's possible that the patent could find its way into the many battles Apple is waging against Samsung. Other operating systems, of course, display both documents and lists, potentially putting them into Apple's firing range.
That said, it's not immediately clear how broad the patent is and whether Apple might actually include it any future litigation. The company files for and receives tons of patents, and many of them are never utilized. This patent, however, seems to be rather important, given the sheer number of ways in which it can be implemented.
"In some embodiments, the functions may include telephoning, video conferencing, e-mailing, instant messaging, blogging, digital photographing, digital videoing, web browsing, digital music playing, and/or digital video playing," Apple writes in its patent. "Instructions for performing these functions may be included in a computer program product configured for execution by one or more processors."
Apple's granted patent comes just a day before its archrival, Samsung, announced plans to acquire 21 patents in a $310 million deal it inked with semiconductor company CSR. Those patents relate to handset connectivity and mobile location technologies.
This story has been updated throughout the morning.