Your multitouch update: Apple: "Grr." Palm: "GRR."

That didn't take long: After Apple's cranky comments concerning multitouch and intellectual-property rights on Wednesday, Palm has responded with a tone that suggests that Apple execs might want to invest in asbestos undies if they insist on proceeding along their apparent current path.

During Apple's earnings call on Wednesday, the company was uncharacteristically testy concerning potential competitors to its iPhone -- specifically, to Palm and its hotly anticipated Pre, which uses certain multitouch-style gestures on the touchscreen part of the smartphone's interface. "I don't want to talk about any particular company," said COO Tim Cook at the time. "However, we will not stand for having our IP ripped off. And we will use whatever weapons we have at our disposal."

One of the weapons is talk itself, and Cook's remarks caused a bit of a flutter in Palm's stock price on Thursday. In a e-mail exchange with Reuters' Sinead Carew, Palm spokesperson Lynn Fox said that "Palm has been building its own intellectual property portfolio for 15 years, and we will defend it vigorously, if necessary."

That Palm portfolio includes touch and multitouch-related IP -- as do many portfolios elsewhere in the industry. That rumbling sound you're hearing comes from any number of lawyers (and the many freelance IP-interested folk who watch for patent trolls) vexed to nightmare by sniping over a phone that isn't even out yet. What do you suppose is in store between now and the day the lines start forming outside the Sprint stores?

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