Apple Obtains Touch ID-Related Patents From Biometric Security Firm Privaris
Apple has been working to acquire the intellectual property assets of Charlottesville, Virginia-based biometric security firm Privaris, according to CNN. Privaris recently transferred 26 of its 31 patents to the iPhone maker, including 4 patents in December 2012 and dozens more in October 2014.
The patents are primarily related to fingerprint and touchscreen technology that could lead to Touch ID improvements on future devices. Last February, well-informed KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo told investors that the next iPhone will have an improved Touch ID with reduced errors.
"For example, one of Privaris' patents covers the ability to use a touchscreen and fingerprint reader at the same time. Another invention of Privaris' could allow you to open a door with your iPhone by scanning your fingerprint and holding your phone up to a reader, similar to how you pay for items with Apple Pay."
While the transferred patents have fueled acquisition rumors, the Privaris website has not been updated since 2010 and seemingly none of the company's senior executives or other employees have updated their LinkedIn profiles with positions at Apple.
Accordingly, it is more likely that Privaris has scaled down or went out of business and Apple has acquired the company's patent portfolio and other intellectual property. However, the possibility of an acquisition cannot be entirely ruled out.
Privaris, which reportedly raised $29 million in funding, developed a lineup of PlusID personal biometric devices to access computers, networks, websites, software, VPNs, secured printers and online apps.
The company has also offered several other products and services related to access control systems, fingerprint authentication, biometric computer security, biometric security software and access cards, all technologies that fall within the realm of Touch ID.
Update: MacRumors has heard Privaris essentially shut down roughly five years ago, so this certainly appears to be a patent portfolio purchase rather than a full acquisition of Privaris by Apple.