USPTO Moves "Steve Jobs" Multitouch Patent a Step Away from the Trash Can
December 10, 2012 10:26 AM
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USPTO finds patent invalid after review
Not long after the
U.S. Patent and Trademark Office
(USPTO) hit gadget-maker Apple, Inc. (
) with a painful preliminary invalidation of its
"rubber-band" animation patent
, the USPTO has moved another crucial Apple patent to the chopping block.
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
Judge Richard A. Posner
Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals
judge who was moonlighting for the important case between Apple and Google Inc. (GOOG)
, 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
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. (
) and Optera (a small U.S. display firm) to supply the multi-touch hardware for a secret project in 2006 [Sources:
] -- 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
This article is over a month old, voting and posting comments is disabled
RE: Apple needs to start worrying about their Maps app
12/10/2012 8:33:02 PM
Yeah, I never get that about people not actually looking at where they are going. But then again, everytime, and without fail, I've seen a traffic problem - slow down, nuisance of some kind, it has always been the fault of someone talking on their cellphone. I shit you not, just the other day I saw a whole wagon train of vehicles stuck behind a Mexican woman chatting on her cellphone and going 15MPH below the speed limit. When I finally got past her, she didn't even notice anyone around her and was totally oblivious to the world and conditions around her.
I can see how these mega-idiots, these darwin dead-ends can go off a cliff. They probably never look at the road and rely solely on the voice guidance of the nav app.
"Google fired a shot heard 'round the world, and now a second American company has answered the call to defend the rights of the Chinese people." -- Rep. Christopher H. Smith (R-N.J.)
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