U of Arts Professor's startup sues Apple over touch screen technology patent

Tom Paine

FlatWorld Interactives LLC, a Villanova-based company founded by Dr. Slavko Milekic, a Professor of Cognitive Science & Digital Design at the University of the Arts ( see his U of Arts profile), has filed suit against Apple, claiming it violated at least one patent he was awarded related to touch screen technology.

FlatWorld alleges that Apple infringed its patent, US RE 43,318, originally awarded to Milekic but now the property of FlatWorld. The Apple products that the suit claims infringed this patent include the iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch, iPad Nano (sixth generation), MacBook Pro, MacBook Air, Magic Mouse, and Magic Trackpad. The patent "includes claims to touch screen based systems that allow users to manipulate images using gestures, such as selecting an image by touching it, and flicking images off of the screen", according to Flatworld's law firm, Hagens Berman.

I have not been able to find a website for FlatWorld, although I did come across this article from 2008 about the company by Peter Key in the Philadelphia Business Journal. Milekic's partner at FlatWorld is Jennifer Wilson McAleese, a Villanova graduate whose previous experience includes Institutional Equity Research sales positions with Citigroup and other firms. FlatWorld has developed interactive displays for museums and other exhibits, and is now developing a product it calls "ShowMe Tools".

I was going to look the patent up on Google Patents, but then remembered that product has just been discontinued.

FlatWorld seeks an injunction and damages. The lawsuit was filed on April 19. The case number is 3:12-cv-01956-JSC, filed in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.


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