Print 46 comment(s) - last by BifurcatedBoat.. on Dec 11 at 4:18 PM

  (Source: AllThingsD)
USPTO finds patent invalid after review

Not long after the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) hit gadget-maker Apple, Inc. (AAPL) with a painful preliminary invalidation of its "rubber-band" animation patent, the USPTO has moved another crucial Apple patent to the chopping block.

FOSS Patents on Friday announced that the USPTO had issued a preliminary ruling of invalidity regarding U.S. Patent No. 7,479,949, which covers "touch screen device, method, and graphical user interface for determining commands by applying heuristics".

Awarded in 2009, Apple's lawyers had affectionately referred to it as "the Steve Jobs patent" and argued it was a key pillar of Apple's argument that the USPTO had granted it exclusive rights to produce modern smartphones.

Back in 2010, a complaint was filed regarding the patent, requesting a re-review, but the request was denied.  But Apple began to face scrutiny this last year and a half when U.S. District Court, Northern District of Illinois (Chicago) Judge Richard A. Posner, a Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals judge who was moonlighting for the important case between Apple and Google Inc. (GOOG) subsidiary Motorola, banned Apple's lawyers from calling the patent "the Steve Jobs patent".  Subsequently Judge Posner rejected Apple's request to ban Motorola handsets, rejecting the case twice with prejudice.

Steve Jobs iPad
The late Steve Jobs's prized multi-touch patent was just invalidated. [Image Source: Reuters]
The rejection, like that of the rubber-band patent is only preliminary, not final.  Steve Jobs is listed as the first author of the multi-touch patent, which was filed in April 2008.

Apple has hundreds of touch-related patents covering hardware, software, and GUI animations, much of which it in part purchased from startups.  In 2006 it brought in TPK Holding Comp., Ltd. (TPE:3673) and Optera (a small U.S. display firm) to supply the multi-touch hardware for a secret project in 2006 [Sources: 12] -- which would later be revealed as the iPhone.  To supply the software, it in 2005 bought a company called FingerWorks, which had implemented and slightly expanded on some of the multi-touch gestures published by Bill Buxton back in the 1980s.

However, the rejected patent was considered among Apple's most crucial.

Apple can at least take comfort that the USPTO has recently approved some of its other questionable filings, such as a patent on animating turning pages.

Source: FOSS Patents

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RE: Don't you mean "to the trash can" not from it?
By Peter898 on 12/10/2012 11:26:13 AM , Rating: -1
Anyhow, here's a very interesting tidbit about that patent, and shows that maybe the patent system isn't that broken as I thought: "The application by Apple that eventually became patent 8,086,604

Anything after 'application' is irrelevant off-topic lawyer-talk .
Writing an 'application' (It's real name is 'PROGRAM')
is NOT an 'invention', just like writing a book or composing a symphony is NOT AN INVENTION !!

In the case of programs, EVERYTHING is dictated by the architecture and the programming-language .
Programs are 'derived works' and any program ever created is 'foreseeable' by anyone who understands the underlying logic . And that would not include the so-called 'US'-patent office, it's a private corporation and the paying customer is :
Whoever is 'applying' for the 'patent' .

This is beyond 'broken', it's RICO-act material !!

By Peter898 on 12/10/2012 11:47:58 AM , Rating: 2
"Anything after 'application' is irrelevant, off-topic, lawyer-talk ."

Should have been :
Is irrelevant, off-topic, Shyster-schnack

By Kyuu on 12/10/2012 12:43:40 PM , Rating: 5
Erm, correct me if I'm wrong but I believe the word application was not used to refer to a computer program. It was referring to a written request for something, i.e., an application for employment, an application for admission to a university, or, in this case, an application for the approval of a patent.

RE: Don't you mean "to the trash can" not from it?
By Any14Tee on 12/10/2012 6:29:18 PM , Rating: 2
...."is NOT an 'invention', just like writing a book or composing a symphony is NOT AN INVENTION".

I think you're on to something, in the same way you compose a symphony, or write a book, create a film, shouldn't the same copyright rules apply to software (they do in games).

You make a valid point, I fail to understand why creative software that's derived from a predefined architecture could be placed in the same realm as invention?

By BifurcatedBoat on 12/11/2012 4:18:50 PM , Rating: 2
Copyright rules *do* apply to all software. That wasn't good enough for some companies that wanted to be able to prevent others from even making anything similar to what they'd made.

"If you look at the last five years, if you look at what major innovations have occurred in computing technology, every single one of them came from AMD. Not a single innovation came from Intel." -- AMD CEO Hector Ruiz in 2007

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