The US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) yesterday awarded Apple a patent number 7,966,578 covering multi touch technology. The patent, originally filed for in 2007 -- and is specifically aimed at Apple's iOS user interface and its multi touch gesture based navigation.
Per original patent filing:
A computer-implemented method, for use in conjunction with a portable multifunction device with a touch screen display, comprises displaying a portion of page content, including a frame displaying a portion of frame content and also including other content of the page, on the touch screen display
What's interesting is that the wording is so broad, it may give Apple the ability to sue rival manufacturers for their own user interfaces if they can prove that there exists a decent enough likeness. In recent lawsuits, Apple claims that Samsung copied the iOS interface for its own smartphones, so this idea is not out of the realm of possibility.
Patent number 7,966,578 may give Apple the fuel it needs bring lawsuits against manufacturers like HTC, LG, and others for the same reason. The effects of this, in addition to other patents, could have far reaching effects on other manufacturers.
Reference: Patent 7,966,578