USPTO Invalidates Steve Job’s Multi-touch Patent Claims

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Last week, US Patent and Trademark Office published their decision, which invalidates all Apple patents that were co-invented by late CEO Steve Jobs. Dubbed as “Steve Jobs Patent”, it covers 20 multi-touch functionalities that were invalidated after the property was reexamined.

Preliminary Invalidation on US Patent No. 7,479,949

Also known as US Patent No. 7,479,949, the filing entitled as “Touch screen device, method, and graphical user interface for determining commands by applying heuristics” is considered as one of the most famous Steve Jobs patent.

Review of the said intellectual property was completed earlier this week, and received preliminary invalidation. However, the Office’s action is not yet final, and can be overturned later after an appeal.

The news came after it was reported that Apple secured patent ownership for iPhone and iPad designs. As AMOG reported last week, the secured patent ownership has something to do with the iPhone 4’s covering, the L-shape MagSafe connector, and the iPad Smart Cover. Moreover, the patent designs were credited to Steve Jobs and Jony Ive.

Aside from securing patent designs for the iPhone and iPad, the Cupertino-based company has also filed a patent application on wireless charging technology using magnetic resonance. However, industry pundits pointed out that the said technology has been around for a long time now.

More About the Steve Jobs Patent

The Steve Jobs Patent is a broad, sweeping property that covers the general functionality of multi-touch screens—the same technology that is used on iPad and iPhone. It was even leveraged against Samsung during the landmark Apple vs. Samsung jury trial, as well as in an ITC dispute against Motorola.

It was first filed in April 2008, and was granted in January of the following year. As posted on the patent application’s abstract:

A computer-implemented method for use in conjunction with a computing device with a touch screen display comprises: Detecting one or more finger contacts with the touch screen display, applying one or more heuristics to one or more finger contacts to determine a command for the device, and processing the demand.

The invalidation of patent ‘949 was ruled more than a month after Apple’s ‘381 rubber-banding or bounce-back patent. However, the latter was also invalidated is a similar preliminary action. Both properties are facing multiple reexamination requests that challenge their validity, the most recent being an ex parte or an anonymous challenge that was filed last May.

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