The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has issued a first Office action that declares all of the claims in one of Apple’s multitouch patents invalid. The action isn’t final however and Apple still has a chance to overturn the ruling by the USPTO.
The patent in question, known as the Steve Jobs patent as his name is listed first among the inventors, deals with a “touch screen device, method, and graphical user interface for determining commands by applying heuristics”, or scrolling and otherwise moving inside a document in iOS. Apple has asserted the patent several times, against HTC, Motorola and Samsung, among others.
FOSS Patents – who noted the USPTO ruling first – has pointed out that “…a complete rejection of all claims of a given patent is potentially more devastating than one affecting only some claims.” FOSS Patents also says that losing this patent, while it would be a blow for the company, should not impact too severely on Apple’s library of multitouch patents.
This is the second Apple patent to be provisionally invalidated by the USPTO, the first being the so-called ‘rubber band’ patent which was tentatively ruled invalid in October this year. As before, this is the start of a lengthy appeals process for Apple.
Source: Ars Technica