U.S. Patent office tentatively invalidates Apple’s rubber-banding patent used in Samsung trial

“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.]

20 Comments

  1. Why spend time and money to invent anything when our patent and courts systems will allow the competition to simply rip us off? Welcome back to the world of the beige box and “good enough”.

    1. Totally agree, came on US government, you already let thousand of work opportunities to go and now you are going to get rid of the US people’s creativity go too?
      How else is the government traying to screw this country?

  2. This is devastating news. How the **** can this happen? Grant patents and take them away on a whim, with a billion dollar lawsuit hanging in the balance. I’m disgusted.

  3. Why bother to patent anything if it can be invalidated later? American companies innovate only to let our great (sarcasm) legal system give it away for free to foreign thieves. This country is getting so illogical it defies any normal logical thought process to wonder how this shit happens.

    1. I certainly agree with you there, something smells fishy and corrupt. Perhaps there should be a court case against the patent office. That would be some trial, all those lawyers would be drooling over it.

    2. Yes, as well as whichever legislation or ruling that allowed software patents in the first place.

      In case no one’s noticed, they aren’t benefiting Apple, they’re not benefiting Samsung or Google, they’re only benefiting the goddamn intellectual property lawyers and patent trolls!

  4. APPLE should start hiring crooked lawyers, smart decent intelligent lawyers don’t cut it with these lawsuits against thieves. Mr. Tim Cook
    please reasses your legal dept., seems so………………………

  5. The only way to stay ahead is to continue innovating. Don’t forget this succeeded with the iPod. Only problem is that the mobile market is huge and encourages companies to copy since they can make so much money.
    Apple is doing the right thing by cutting Samsung and google off. It’s a shame the legal route has not worked. Maybe better to cut their losses.

  6. If somebody has some good insight into this, I would like to hear it. Let me get this straight, somebody or entity files an application for a patent with the Patent Office which can take months if not years before one is finally granted. Then if there’s a request for a review, the same Patent Office can turn around and essentially say sorry, remember that patent we awarded you, April Fools, we were just kidding, it’s invalid. ?????

    Who does the initial evaluation and granting of the patent in the first place, Mickey Mouse?

    1. Funny you should mention the Mouse.

      With the influence that Disney has on Congress to keep fudging with copyright laws, it wouldn’t be surprised to find out they have their fingers in the patent system as well.

  7. It’s apples fault, they moved jobs to china or Japan and gave them trade secrets.. Samsung wouldn’t have the slightes clue on how to do what they did if they didn’t already have apples he prints… Bring the jobs back home apple!!

  8. Hey Apple,
    The solution is…Move to Canada. We will protect you and hey, you are close enough to the US so you won’t get homesick although I am pretty sure you are getting pissed at your Motherland for selling you out.

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