“The United States Patent and Trademark Office has good news for Samsung, and Samsung has already shared it with Judge Koh in a late-night filing,” Florian Mueller reports for FOSS Patents. “In a non-final Office action the USPTO has declared all 20 claims of Apple’s rubber-banding patent (U.S. Patent No, 7,469,381 invalid, including claim 19, which Apple successfully asserted against Samsung in the summer trial in California.”

“While this non-final decision is not binding, there is a possibility that Judge Koh will be persuaded by this to grant Samsung’s Rule 50 (‘overrule-the-jury’) motion to the extent it relates to the ’381 patent,” Mueller reports. “Even if Judge Koh is hesitant to overrule the jury on this and skeptical of a non-final action, the reexamination process will continue during the Federal Circuit appellate proceedings, so if the non-final findings concerning claim 19 are affirmed in subsequent Office actions, they will have more weight. And even after the appeals process, a subsequent final rejection of the relevant patent claim would make the patent unenforceable going forward.”

Mueller reports, “In late May, Scott Daniels, the author of the WHDA Reexamination Alert blog, discovered some new anonymous attacks on this patent and another famous Apple patent. I reported and commented on these findings. At the time I already listed the prior art references on which that ex parte reexamination request was based”

For your convenience, I will now again list the two references that resulted in these preliminary rejections:

• “Lira”: PCT Publication No. WO 03/081458 on “controlling content display”, by AOL/Luigi Lira, published on October 2, 2003
• “Ording”: U.S. Patent No. 7,786,975 on a “continuous scrolling list with acceleration”; this is an Apple patent that I’ve never seen asserted in litigation; the named inventors are Bas Ording, Scott Forstall, Greg Christie, Stephen O. Lemay and Imran Chaudhri

Mueller writes, “Apple has many patents in play against Android. It doesn’t matter in a strategic sense if some of them, or even many of them, get invalidated. It just needs to enforce enough of them to ensure product differentiation. The ’381 patent covers a signature element of the iOS touchscreen user interface, and Apple is going to fight hard to keep it alive. But at the end of the day it’s just one of many patents-in-suit.”

Much more in the full article here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader "Fred Mertz" for the heads up.]