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This week Apple was awarded patent U.S No. 7479949. The patent for the mult-touch screen was originally filed back in September of 2007. The patent lists a number of inventors on it, the most famous being, Steve Jobs, Scott Forstall (iPhone software director), and Wayne Westerman (co-founder of FingerWorks, the Company responsible for the inspiration of the iPhone's multi touch.)
The patent is an overview of all the fancy Apple tech that has gone into the iPhone. In the patent, Apple has claimed coverage of the entire way you navigate with it; including gestures that are used for pinch-zoom, and the software the devices runs on. Things such as finger swipe and the two-thumb twist are also mentioned on the patent.
Apple being awarded the patent will make it easier for Tim Cook to come through on this promise to crack down on anyone who "rips off" Apple's intellectual property. This patent will allow Apple to go full charge into legal battles with anyone they see trying to copy them.
There is also mention of possible future features for the iPhone. One is a touch pad for activating and deactivating applications, similar to the feature that Palm is currently marketing for their upcoming Pre handset.