“On Wednesday, Samsung informed a federal court — and the Wall Street Journal dutifully reported — that the U.S. Patent Office had ‘rejected’ all claims of an Apple (AAPL) patent (the so-called ‘pinch to zoom’ patent, or ‘915) that the Journal described as ‘a cornerstone of its case against Samsung,'” Philip Elmer-DeWitt reports for Fortune. “In October, the Patent and Trademark Office tentatively concluded that all 20 claims of another Apple patent (‘381) — the so-called ‘rubber-banding’ (or over-scroll bounce) patent — were invalid.”

“Two weeks ago, the office tentatively invalidated the broader ‘touchscreen heuristics’ patent (‘949, A.K.A. the Steve Jobs patent),” P.E.D. reports. “From the headlines, you’d think that the foundations on which a jury awarded Apple $1.05 billion last August were crumbling.”

“The truth is a little more complicated,” P.E.D. reports. “All three rulings flow from changes in U.S. patent law that Congress passed last year as part of the Leahy-Smith American Invents Act… Key provisions of that act make it substantially easier to challenge a patent after it has been approved. For a filing fee of $17,750, anybody can anonymously demand that the Patent Office initiate a post-grant review on any invalidity ground.”

Read more in the full article here.

Related article:
USPTO tentatively – and likely temporarily – declares Apple’s ‘pinch-to-zoom’ patent invalid – December 20, 2012