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U.S. Patent Office Preliminarily Invalidates Apple's 'Steve Jobs Patent' on the iPhone

FOSS Patents reports that the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has issued a notice preliminarily ruling that Apple's massive iPhone patent popularly referred to as "the Steve Jobs patent" invalid in its entirety upon reexamination.


The patent, issued as Patent No. 7,479,949, had been granted in January 2009 and incorporated several prior patent applications dating back to September 2006 before the company publicly unveiled the device. Steve Jobs is listed as the first inventor on the patent, and FOSS Patents notes that it is probably the most famous of the over 300 patents credited at least in part to Jobs.
Some people say that first Office actions are partial because they are based only on submissions made by those challenging the patent, and many examiners like to take a tough position early on in order to enable and require the patentee to present the strongest arguments in favor of validity. But it would be a mistake to underestimate the significance of a first Office action. Also, a complete rejection of all claims of a given patent is potentially more devastating than one affecting only some claims.
Apple has asserted the patent against a number of its competitors, including Samsung and Motorola, and an ultimate finding of invalidity in the reexamination process would substantially weaken Apple's cases against those companies, although it is far from the only weapon in Apple's patent arsenal.

Related roundup: iPhone 6

Top Rated Comments

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27 months ago

Next on the list should be:

- rounded corners
- flat glass surfaces
- bounce back effect


Why the "bounce back effect" (elastic scrolling)? That is an ingenious part of the iOS user interface. Any app that doesn't implement it feels like it's broken.
Rating: 44 Votes
27 months ago
I'm so sick of this crap. How can they grant a patent, and then nullify it years later? Whats the point of getting the patent in the first place? No one out there should invent anything because people will just steal it from you. Talk about stifling innovation.
Rating: 43 Votes
27 months ago
Next on the list should be:

- rounded corners
- flat glass surfaces
- bounce back effect
Rating: 41 Votes
27 months ago
Now this is something Steve Jobs really wouldn't have allowed.
Rating: 26 Votes
27 months ago
I find this amazing. How can you retract a patent? The decision process to award it in the first place would be pretty involved, and once awarded that is that! You can't just change your mind as the rest of the world catches up!

Fight this Apple. This is wrong.:mad:
Rating: 23 Votes
27 months ago

I'm so sick of this crap. How can they grant a patent, and then nullify it years later? Whats the point of getting the patent in the first place? No one out there should invent anything because people will just steal it from you. Talk about stifling innovation.


The problem is that patent officers have so much patents to review and too little time to review them, hence sometimes they miss details. It's only when opposition pops up and digs up prior art or claims obviousness that the reviews go ahead and sometimes, patents are invalidated after being granted.

If the USPTO had more examiners, they could be more torough in the reviews. But then again, even after many rejections and amendments by the submitter, it becomes tedious and grants go through.
Rating: 22 Votes
27 months ago

Next on the list should be:

- rounded corners
- flat glass surfaces
- bounce back effect


And then every other design in any other product. Everyone should be able to copy everyone. Sounds like a great idea! :rolleyes:
Rating: 22 Votes
27 months ago

I find this amazing. How can you retract a patent? The decision process to award it in the first place would be pretty involved, and once awarded that is that! You can't just change your mind as the rest of the world catches up!

Fight this Apple. This is wrong.:mad:


There are 2 grounds to invalidation :

- Prior art
- Obviousness.

Obviousness should be detected during the initial patent review by the examiner. The problem is that obviousness is for someone trained in the art. All patent examiners aren't electronics engineers or software developers. So when a patent holder asserts their patent against a competitor, obviousness can be argued by actual experts trained in the art with supporting evidence, things the examiners might not have considered.

For prior art, well obviously, it came before the patent, so the patent was not novell and should never have been granted. So really, it's not that the world caught up, it's that the world had the invention granted in the patent before the patent was filed! It should not have been granted either. But then again, some prior art can be pretty obscure and it doesn't surface until someone really does his research, as when a patent holder asserts the patent against a competitor.

So really, it's great that patents can be invalidated this way, so that if they were granted in error, no foul is done and the patent holder suddenly can't monopolize something that was available to someone else before.
Rating: 20 Votes
27 months ago

Why the "bounce back effect" (elastic scrolling)? That is an ingenious part of the iOS user interface. Any app that doesn't implement it feels like it's broken.


And it has already been invalidated based on prior art. It's "ingenious", but Apple didn't come up with it :

http://news.cnet.com/8301-13579_3-57537912-37/uspto-nixes-apple-patent-used-in-victory-over-samsung/
Rating: 19 Votes
27 months ago
Apple finally getting what it deserves :rolleyes::D:o
Rating: 17 Votes

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