Apple granted 36 patents, including for proximity detection

The electronics giant's granted U.S. patents also include future active Apple Store packaging and a haptics feedback system.

Apple was granted a patent for proximity detection. U.S. Patent and Trademark Office
Apple was granted 36 patents today, including one for a proximity sensor for the iPhone and iPad and another for haptic feedback to create a sort of virtual keyboard.

The patents, approved by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, cover a wide range of technologies, as earlier reported by Patently Apple. The proximity sensor patent, first filed in 2005, covers technology related to detecting one or more touches and differentiating whether the touches are light or hard, among other capabilities.

Another patent relates to electronic media devices and future active packaging that allows power and data to be supplied to one or more electronic devices housed within the packaging. And Apple also was granted a patent for a mounted shock sensor that allows an Apple Store Genius or technician to figure out whether a damaged device was dropped.

The other patents largely cover components and functions like automatic image cropping, reconstruction of lists in a document, and providing information to a caller based on a called mobile terminal's temporary directory number.

In the world of mobile, patents have become a key focus area and battleground. Apple, Samsung, and others have sued each other repeatedly, accusing each other of ripping off designs and other elements. Apple won a big battle against Samsung in August, with a jury finding Samsung infringed on Apple patents and ordering it to pay Apple $1 billion. Among the victories in that case, the jury found Samsung infringed on design patents for some products, and it upheld certain Apple utility and design patents.

Apple continues to build its patent arsenal. Today's awards follow several dozen the company has won in the past several months.

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