Thursday, October 17, 2013

USPTO Confirms Validity All Claims of Steve Jobs Patent in Reexamination

Today, FOSS reports U.S. Patent Office confirmed all 20 claims of the Steve Jobs patent: bad for Samsung, Google.

U.S. Patent No. 7,479,949 to Steve Jobs et al. addresses the "need for touch-screen-display electronic devices with more transparent and intuitive user interfaces for translating imprecise user gestures into precise, intended commands that are easy to use, configure, and/or adapt ... in mobile computing devices."

Not only are all claims confirmed as patentable, the ex parte reexamination certificate states "no amendments have been made to the patent." Thus, an infringer cannot argue they obtained intervening rights. Of course, this allows damages up to six years before filing the patent infringement action. Further, this patent does not appear to be a standard essential patent (SEP) in any sense of the word and de facto SEPs has not caught on. So Apple may not only get damages, it may seek injunctions. Sure people are getting smarter about designing around, but tinkering with the UI risks annoying users into switching to an iPhone. I guess losing every aspect of an ex parte reexamination although rare has some not so fun implications. It may not bar validity challenges in court, but it may convince some courts that a validity challenge on similar literature should fail.

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