Apple reaches settlement, licensing agreement with Immersion following iPhone haptic feedb...

Posted:
in iPhone
Immersion has announced it has made a deal with Apple, entering into a settlement with the iPhone producer as well as setting up licensing agreements for its haptic feedback technology, an arrangement that is extremely likely to halt all of Immersion's current patent infringement lawsuits against Apple.




The brief statement from Immersion released on Monday confirms an agreement between it and Apple, described as a "Global Settlement" that will affect the two companies' relationship around the world. As the terms of the arrangement are kept confidential, it is unknown what level of financial impact it will have for each firm.

The confidential nature also means there are no details surrounding what Apple has gained from its licensing agreement. While Immersion touts itself as having more than 2,600 issued or pending patents, it is impossible to tell if Apple licensed all, a portion, or a few specific patents from Immersion's IP catalog.

Before the settlement and licensing agreement deal, Immersion was going after Apple and AT&T over the use of its haptic feedback IP in mobile devices. In a U.S. International Trade Commission complaint and a lawsuit filed in a Delaware district court in February 2016, Immersion alleged Apple's iPhone 6, iPhone 6s, and Apple Watch product lines infringed on three of its haptic feedback patents.

In May of the same year, a second lawsuit in the same District of Delaware court made the claim Apple had knowingly infringed on four patents in the iPhone 6s and models of the MacBook and MacBook Pro lines. In June, the ITC confirmed it would launch an investigation into Immersion's claims.

Depending on Apple's licensing with Immersion, it is highly probable that all legal action between the companies over the patents will end in the near future, including the ITC complaint.

The lawsuits are likely to have been triggered by the expanded use of haptic feedback in the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus, with the introduction of 3D Touch in 2015. Using a force-sensitive display and the Taptic Engine linear vibratory motor, Apple had created a new type of GUI layer in iOS, with 3D Touch providing z-axis gestures such as Peek and Pop, Quick Actions, and cross-app content previews, all with contextual vibration-based feedback.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 9
    Frankly, these gimmicky features could disappear tomorrow and I wouldn’t miss them. As long as my phone vibrates instead of ringing when I mute it, that’s enough. 
    MplsP
  • Reply 2 of 9
    rob53rob53 Posts: 2,105member
    Frankly, these gimmicky features could disappear tomorrow and I wouldn’t miss them. As long as my phone vibrates instead of ringing when I mute it, that’s enough. 
    The vibrating patent doesn't belong to Apple, even though a vibrator is obvious to everyone, so Apple would still have to pay someone so your phone vibrates instead of ringing. That's the problem with the patent system, absolutely every tiny thing gets patented even when there's no reason for it.
  • Reply 3 of 9
    SoliSoli Posts: 9,388member
    Frankly, these gimmicky features could disappear tomorrow and I wouldn’t miss them. As long as my phone vibrates instead of ringing when I mute it, that’s enough. 
    I don't see how making pressing a virtual button feel like a physical button is gimmicky. This also goes to Accessibility since haptics can be used for those who are visually impaired, not to mentioned that it makes for a better HW to not have the MBP trackpad be a hinged panel that wears out or gets crumbs under it.
    netmagephone-ui-guyStrangeDaysjony0
  • Reply 4 of 9
    rob53 said:
    Frankly, these gimmicky features could disappear tomorrow and I wouldn’t miss them. As long as my phone vibrates instead of ringing when I mute it, that’s enough. 
    The vibrating patent doesn't belong to Apple, even though a vibrator is obvious to everyone, so Apple would still have to pay someone so your phone vibrates instead of ringing. That's the problem with the patent system, absolutely every tiny thing gets patented even when there's no reason for it.
    The haptic feedback on the non-mechanical "buttons" is kind of important.  I wonder if someone has the patent on phones ringing?  :#
    Soli
  • Reply 5 of 9
    tjwolftjwolf Posts: 307member
    Soli said:
    Frankly, these gimmicky features could disappear tomorrow and I wouldn’t miss them. As long as my phone vibrates instead of ringing when I mute it, that’s enough. 
    I don't see how making pressing a virtual button feel like a physical button is gimmicky. This also goes to Accessibility since haptics can be used for those who are visually impaired, not to mentioned that it makes for a better HW to not have the MBP trackpad be a hinged panel that wears out or gets crumbs under it.
    The lawsuit isn't about making a virtual button feel like a physical one by using haptics.  The article says that the patent likely has to do with 3D-Touch because the suit covers 6s and beyond.  3D Touch, as currently implemented by Apple, stinks.  Not the feature itself - that is really cool/useful - but the problem is that hardly anyone ever uses it because (a) Apple hasn't seen it fit to identify the UI elements that have 3D Touch capability and (b) 3D Touch still isn't available across all its iOS devices.

    I mean, come on, Apple!  UI Design 101 here!  Do you expect people to "deep press" everything on the screen to try and figure out what has that feature???
    randominternetpersonjony0
  • Reply 6 of 9
    MplsPMplsP Posts: 1,733member
    tjwolf said:
    Soli said:
    Frankly, these gimmicky features could disappear tomorrow and I wouldn’t miss them. As long as my phone vibrates instead of ringing when I mute it, that’s enough. 
    I don't see how making pressing a virtual button feel like a physical button is gimmicky. This also goes to Accessibility since haptics can be used for those who are visually impaired, not to mentioned that it makes for a better HW to not have the MBP trackpad be a hinged panel that wears out or gets crumbs under it.
    The lawsuit isn't about making a virtual button feel like a physical one by using haptics.  The article says that the patent likely has to do with 3D-Touch because the suit covers 6s and beyond.  3D Touch, as currently implemented by Apple, stinks.  Not the feature itself - that is really cool/useful - but the problem is that hardly anyone ever uses it because (a) Apple hasn't seen it fit to identify the UI elements that have 3D Touch capability and (b) 3D Touch still isn't available across all its iOS devices.

    I mean, come on, Apple!  UI Design 101 here!  Do you expect people to "deep press" everything on the screen to try and figure out what has that feature???
    But the 3D Touch feature does use haptic feedback, so that could still be it. It would be nice if the article actually clarified what patent(s) were being cited and what features infringed on them. 
  • Reply 7 of 9
    tjwolf said:
    Soli said:
    Frankly, these gimmicky features could disappear tomorrow and I wouldn’t miss them. As long as my phone vibrates instead of ringing when I mute it, that’s enough. 
    I don't see how making pressing a virtual button feel like a physical button is gimmicky. This also goes to Accessibility since haptics can be used for those who are visually impaired, not to mentioned that it makes for a better HW to not have the MBP trackpad be a hinged panel that wears out or gets crumbs under it.
    The lawsuit isn't about making a virtual button feel like a physical one by using haptics.  The article says that the patent likely has to do with 3D-Touch because the suit covers 6s and beyond.  3D Touch, as currently implemented by Apple, stinks.  Not the feature itself - that is really cool/useful - but the problem is that hardly anyone ever uses it because (a) Apple hasn't seen it fit to identify the UI elements that have 3D Touch capability and (b) 3D Touch still isn't available across all its iOS devices.

    I mean, come on, Apple!  UI Design 101 here!  Do you expect people to "deep press" everything on the screen to try and figure out what has that feature???
    Yes. Having a visual indicator of 3D Touch capability would be silly. 

    Right-clicking also requires discovery and also isn't a big deal.
  • Reply 8 of 9
    tjwolf said:
    Soli said:
    Frankly, these gimmicky features could disappear tomorrow and I wouldn’t miss them. As long as my phone vibrates instead of ringing when I mute it, that’s enough. 
    I don't see how making pressing a virtual button feel like a physical button is gimmicky. This also goes to Accessibility since haptics can be used for those who are visually impaired, not to mentioned that it makes for a better HW to not have the MBP trackpad be a hinged panel that wears out or gets crumbs under it.
    The lawsuit isn't about making a virtual button feel like a physical one by using haptics.  The article says that the patent likely has to do with 3D-Touch because the suit covers 6s and beyond.  3D Touch, as currently implemented by Apple, stinks.  Not the feature itself - that is really cool/useful - but the problem is that hardly anyone ever uses it because (a) Apple hasn't seen it fit to identify the UI elements that have 3D Touch capability and (b) 3D Touch still isn't available across all its iOS devices.

    I mean, come on, Apple!  UI Design 101 here!  Do you expect people to "deep press" everything on the screen to try and figure out what has that feature???
    Yes. Having a visual indicator of 3D Touch capability would be silly. 

    Right-clicking also requires discovery and also isn't a big deal.
    I agree with tjwolf (somewhat) on this one.  I expect that a huge proportion of iOS users don't even realize 3D touch even exists, and that's a shame.  UIs in a mouse-less, all-touch world are tricky, but I wish the geniuses at Apple had some way to readily reveal 3D-touch enabled options.  One of the clever UI features of the very first Mac OS was showing the keyboard shortcuts in menus, so people would learn through osmosis (if they cared to) what shortcuts were available.  I don't know how they could do something similar with 3D touch, but it would be very welcome.
  • Reply 9 of 9
    Does this mean we will finally be able to use haptics in our apps? Will there be a HapticsKit? That would be nice. Haptics can be used for all sorts of things like simulating the feel of rough surfaces when you move your finger over the screen. It would be excellent for use with accessibility or just to help you find the buttons to press (with pressure sensitivity) when you can't look at the screen. Imaging a remote control with various buttons. Move your finger until you feel the right one and then push it without ever taking your eyes off the screen.
    jony0
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