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Essential ‘Steve Jobs Patent’ Invalidated by US Patent Office

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Foss Patents reports that Apple’s US Patent No. 7,479,949, a key multitouch patent usually referred to as “the Steve Jobs patent”, was tentatively declared invalid by the United States Patent and Trademark Office and will be the subject of a reexamination process.

Steve Jobs patent
The ‘949 patent was successfully asserted against Samsung during the summer trial, but this week, the UPSTO issued a first Office action rejecting all 20 claims of the patent.

UPSTO granted “the Steve Jobs patent” back in 2009, and it is for “a touch screen device, method, and graphical user interface for determining commands by applying heuristics”. Considering that the legal fight between Apple and Samsung is far from over and none of the parties want to put their weapons down — as asked by Judge Lucy Koh. A permanent invalidation of the patent could be fatal for Apple, as it successfully asserted it in many of its patent fights.

Florian Müller, however, cools down the spirits:

Some people say that first Office actions are partial because they are based only on submissions made by those challenging the patent, and many examiners like to take a tough position early on in order to enable and require the patentee to present the strongest arguments in favor of validity. But it would be a mistake to underestimate the significance of a first Office action. Also, a complete rejection of all claims of a given patent is potentially more devastating than one affecting only some claims.

This is the second time in less than 60 days the US Patent and Trademark Office issued first Office actions pushing essential Apple patents into the reexamination process.

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  • fujobs

    These patents are BS anyways. Only those that blindly defend the power mongers like apple would defend this. Apple is drunk with power hence their arrogance that will lead to their failures

  • Appleforlife

    And let me guess Samsung is not drunk with power and only wanting to get to the level that apple has achieved ? The only way Samsung could do so is to rely on bs moves like this

  • ????Dennis

    I kind of agree with you, but you have to understand Apple’s side… They took a risk in 2007, when everyone else was staying the norm with shitty ass software. Remember when we used to have phones with Rogers software. The carriers ran the show. Thank goodness for Apple and the risk they took putting all that money into R&D. It paid off and now they just want others to come up with their own ideas. Can you really blame them?

    The iPad is another example. Everyone and their neighbour was making a mockery of the iPad. “it’s just a big iPhone”. Now everyone wants to copy their product. They do the labour and others ride their coat tails. They could have hopped on the netbook craze but they took a risk.

    Can’t blame them for wanting to stick it to everyone now. On the other side of it I’m glad though that google is in the mix. I can’t stand the shitty boring ass iOS anymore. Only competition will force Apple to innovate

  • bobbycanuck

    I hope Apple dies. I hate Apple. They exploit 12, 13, 14, and 15 year old children in China. 70 cents an hour for 16 hours a day. Anybody that supports Apple…supports child abuse. You all make me sick. Apple sucks !!!!!! Samsung rules !!!!!!

  • ChrisSteves

    I read the Patent. I know a bit about patent law. The claims are quite weak. Most of the description talks about the use of this patent within a very specific context and rather obvious within that context. For example, the idea that the user may not exactly be scrolling from left to right (there is some up/down jitter) is something that was dealt with the mouse. I do believe there is some novelty to the way it was applied to the touch screen and hope it’s not completely invalidated. Also, I still like Apple, but I hope they realize most people in the US are rooting against them (for the wrong reasons IMO).

    PS: Samsung also have a bunch of patents that are weak. They also buy many patents from others who have nothing to do with Samsung. Their top level devices aren’t much cheaper/stronger/faster than Apple’s. They use offshore manufacturing too. They don’t employ anywhere nearly as many Americans as Apple (seeing as how they are a Korean company). They do have some better software features than iOS atm, since iOS has been lagging behind it’s competition and people want something new. The hardware is about equal, though Apple’s is thin and light. Google did directly copy a lot of the UI features from iOS (the question is whether those should have been exclusively Apples). Apple is an American company that started from nothing and is now a huge breadwinner for the US and employs many Americans through innovation, not exploiting land or pushing around numbers on wall street.

    The point is you should know why your rooting for Samsung over Apple if you’ve decided to join their cause. I’m not American, but if I were, I’d be rooting for Apple (in fact, I still am). That said, patent law needs reform.

  • dugi

    Yoy people don’t understand patents. For example Nokia owns patents for call display, voicemail etc. Every phone has them Volvo has patents on srs airbag, abs breaks, seat belt and every car has them. Have you thought how much money silently they get from all those patents? Their producs are small fraction of income And let’s mention Blackberry 😉

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