US Patent Office Validates All ‘Steve Jobs Patents’, Sends Blow to Samsung, Google

Steve Jobs patent reexamination certificate

Apple has scored a major strategic win against Samsung and Google: after re-examining the preliminarily invalidated massive “Steve Jobs” patent, the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has ruled that all 20 claims of the patent are patentable.

The massive U.S. Patent No. 7,479,949 for a “touch screen device, method, and graphical user interface for determining commands for applying heuristics”, is often referred as the Steve Jobs patent, because Apple’s co-founder is listed as the first of the long list of inventors on the patent.

The Steve Jobs patent was preliminarily invalidated last December, when, presumably, one of Apple’s competitors challenged it. But as Florian Müller of Foss Patents points out:

As we speak, the Steve Jobs patent is even stronger than it was before someone (presumably Samsung and Google) challenged it anonymously. On September 4, 2013, the USPTO issued a reexamination certificate confirming the patentability of all 20 claims because the prior art neither anticipated this invention nor renders it obvious.

Now that the USPTO has ruled that all 20 claims of the 364-page patent are patentable, Samsung has to put its creative mind to work, because this patent is one of those which needs to be worked around in order to avoid a US import ban ordered in August. The ban wasn’t vetoed by the Obama administration.

This has not been the only patent challenged for re-examination by Apple’s competitors in the past. Apple successfully fended off a re-examination threat to another key patent, the so-called rubber-banding patent. In the end, three of its claims were confirmed by the USPTO, including the one Apple successfully asserted against its main competitor Samsung.