Latest shot fired in Apple patent wars

Apple has won a broad patent for its touch screen functionality on portable devices. Naturally, not everyone is happy about it.

Apple is already embroiled in patent lawsuits with Nokia and Samsung, and now they've scored a win by receiving a patent on touch screen functionality for portable devices from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. Apple filed the application in 2007, and if you're up for all the technical details, you can view it here.

As CNET's Don Reisinger puts it:

Exactly how Apple's touch-screen patent will play into its current litigation remains to be seen. But as noted, it's a far-reaching patent, and many portable-device makers have products that allow for multitouch gestures that control software on the display.

The rather heated discussion regarding this development involves the key issues of whether Apple should have been given such a broad patent in the first place, who really innovated touch screen functionality first, and whether even more lawsuits and challenges will pile up as the competitors fight it out. Do you think Apple has won this one fair and square, or do you think others will be able to mount a strong enough challenge to have the patent invalidated?

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Apple's next big innovation: The iMac Touch?