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USPTO invalidates all claims of 'Steve Jobs' multi-touch patent

post #1 of 132
Thread Starter 
A decision published by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office on Monday saw an Apple patent, co-invented by late Apple cofounder Steve Jobs, covering multi-touch functionality have all 20 of its claims invalidated after the property was reexamined.

Office Action
Source: FOSS Patents


The USPTO's review of Apple U.S. Patent No. 7,479,949 for a "Touch screen device, method, and graphical user interface for determining commands by applying heuristics" was completed earlier this week, with the preliminary invalidation filing first discovered by FOSS Patents. The first Office action is not final, however, and can later be overturned following an appeal.

Dubbed the "Steve Jobs" patent by a number of people, including Apple's lawyers, the '949 patent is a broad, sweeping property covering the general functionality of multi-touch screens like those used in the iPhone and iPad. Leveraged against Samsung in the landmark Apple v. Samsung jury trial, as well as an ITC dispute with Motorola, the IP is thought to be one the most famous of Jobs' software patents.

Patent Illustration
Illustration from the '949 patent. | Source: USPTO


Filed for in April 2008 and granted in January 2009, the '949 patent lists Jobs first among 25 co-inventors including former iOS chief Scott Forstall and engineer Bas Ording.

From the '949 patent'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 the one or more finger contacts to determine a command for the device, and processing the command.


The '949 patent decision comes a little over one month after Apple's '381 "rubber-banding" or "bounce-back" patent was also invalidated in a similar preliminary action. Both properties faced multiple reexamination requests challenging their validity, the most recent being an ex parte, or anonymous, challenge in in May.
post #2 of 132
I wonder if this is a reason why the stock is falling lately...
post #3 of 132
Preliminary should be in the headline
post #4 of 132
Truly pathetic. First grant a patent, then revoke it. And not just any patents, plural, actually, but the heart and soul of the way 400M devices are used around the world. I think we are all better of if a patent is granted it should remain that way. (And the stock has zilch to do with it)
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post #5 of 132
This is a good reason not to bring any production back to the US. Why support the same government that pulls this kind of stuff. Sounds like the US is out to support Korean companies (who shall go un-named) not US companies.
post #6 of 132

Apple should quit innovating and actually making something, but rather just become a patent troll and make out like a banshee!

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post #7 of 132
Quote:
Originally Posted by jason98 View Post

I wonder if this is a reason why the stock is falling lately...

 

Lately? That would imply that investors knew about this already.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by PhilBoogie View Post

Truly pathetic. First grant a patent, then revoke it. And not just any patents, plural, actually, but the heart and soul of the way 400M devices are used around the world. I think we are all better of if a patent is granted it should remain that way. (And the stock has zilch to do with it)

 

Better? These are stupid patents, as are most software and ui-related patents. Remain that way? Please. This is a good start. While it sucks to see it happen to Apple, there needs to be a huge review of everyone's software and ui-related patents. There's a whole lot more that should be invalidated.

 

What if some no-name company invented multitouch years ago and started suing Apple over it. Who would be the first to call them a troll?

post #8 of 132
Originally Posted by PhilBoogie View Post
I think we are all better of if a patent is granted it should remain that way. (And the stock has zilch to do with it)

 

How does that work when Samsung makes a patent identical to Apple's and gets it granted?


Originally Posted by Landcruiser View Post
This is a good reason not to bring any production back to the US. Why support the same government that pulls this kind of stuff. Sounds like the US is out to support Korean companies (who shall go un-named) not US companies.

 

Take off the molybdenum-foil hat.


Originally Posted by Gustav View Post
These are stupid patents…

 

—One of the integral patents for modern touchscreen devices 

—Stupid

 

Pick one.


What if some no-name company invented multitouch years ago and started suing Apple over it. Who would be the first to call them a troll?

 

Patents cover implementations, not ideas.

 

You can't patent an airplane, you can patent the design of an airplane.

post #9 of 132
At the same time amazon is allowed to hold "single click" buy patent and another patent troll is sueing everyone for in-app purchases.
post #10 of 132

There needs to be a major investigation.

 

There are too many shenangians going on now.

 

Someone is being paid off.

 

The whole point in waiting for a patent is that it was examined AT THE TIME and proven relevant.  There was NOTHING LIKE IT when Jobs and co. applied.

 

If this is not a case of backroom deals, it could be a case of someone trying to think they know what's best "for the industry" while doing what's inherently wrong.

 

Never good.

 

Steve Jobs wasn't kidding when he said Apple had world class enemies...

post #11 of 132
This really could potentially screw over Apple. I bet Samsung and others are feeling smug now.
post #12 of 132

Yawn, more slowly turning wheels.

 

Apple has two months to show why this should be overruled.

 

Just another day at city hall.

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post #13 of 132

I wonder what effect this'll have on the recent Samsung judgement.

post #14 of 132
Originally Posted by Lord Amhran View Post
I wonder what effect this'll have on the recent Samsung judgement.

 

None.

post #15 of 132
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lord Amhran View Post

I wonder what effect this'll have on the recent Samsung judgement.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

 

None.

I hope you are right TS.

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post #16 of 132
Confirming if it was needed that the US patent office is a living joke, software 'patents' too...
post #17 of 132
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

 

None.


I certainly hope not but my understanding was that a lot of what was in the Samsung judgement was based on this patent. I could be very wrong however and I certainly hope I am.

post #18 of 132
Almost every examination of a valid patent starts like this. The examiner comes up with some prior art that resembles the independent claim and rejects all the claims. Then the respondent argues a bit, and maybe narrows the independent claim a little, and after some back-and-forth like this all the claims are granted.
post #19 of 132
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

... Both properties faced multiple reexamination requests challenging their validity, the most recent being an ex parte, or anonymous, challenge in in May.

 

I don't think there's any doubt that this is Google using their muscle on the PTO from the shadows.

post #20 of 132
IMO Apple made a mistake by not going after holders of every multi touch related patent in attempt to buy them before the original iPhone release, when no one had a clue.
post #21 of 132
Thank God the patent office is coming to its senses......

These so called patents are ridiculous....
post #22 of 132

The real question is, or should be: on what basis was the patent invalidated? Prior art, obviousness, what? Without that information there's not much useful discussion to be had.

post #23 of 132

Everyone seems to be reading the AI story and not the truth: PRELIMINARY.

 

Originally Posted by sranger View Post
These so called patents are ridiculous....

 

And your so-called reasons for that would be what?


Originally Posted by NeilM View Post
The real question is, or should be: on what basis was the patent invalidated? Prior art, obviousness, what? Without that information there's not much useful discussion to be had.

 

And if invalid now, why wasn't it invalid when it was granted? Because that's not how this works.

post #24 of 132
Quote:
Originally Posted by PhilBoogie View Post

Truly pathetic. First grant a patent, then revoke it. And not just any patents, plural, actually, but the heart and soul of the way 400M devices are used around the world. I think we are all better of if a patent is granted it should remain that way. (And the stock has zilch to do with it)

BS. If a patent shouldn't have been granted (not saying this is the case with these patents) then there should be a way to have it reversed. You're knee-jerk reaction is unnecessary.
post #25 of 132
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

Everyone seems to be reading the AI story and not the truth: PRELIMINARY.

 

 

And your so-called reasons for that would be what?

 

And if invalid now, why wasn't it invalid when it was granted? Because that's not how this works.

Obvious and plenty of prior art....

post #26 of 132
Originally Posted by sranger View Post
Obvious and plenty of prior art....

 

And it was granted… why?

post #27 of 132
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

And it was granted… why?

Because the patent office is ridiculous.

Do you know someone holds a patent on toast?

A majority of patents that come up in lawsuits get invalidated due to prior art or not passing the threshold of a patent test.

Why do you think most patent cases get settled? Because there is as much if not more of a chance a patent gets invalidated or decided not to infringe.

A Patent by the patent office means NOTHING!!! When ever a patent gets granted I always yawn, the true test of patent validity in the U.S is not being granted a patent by the USTPO; who passes them out like candy. You know a patent is valid after someone gets sued over it and wins and then face examination.

Apple is learning, that just because you have a piece a paper from one of the most inept departments of our government doesn't mean you own multi-touch.
post #28 of 132
Quote:
Originally Posted by 1983 View Post

This really could potentially screw over Apple. I bet Samsung and others are feeling smug now.

By "and others" you must mean the kids who troll on these forums. Yup, they'll be here to proclaim how Apple never invented anything, as soon as their detention is over. Plus it's Friday and AppleInsider's gotta prime the pump to keep "site engagement" up through the slow weekend.

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post #29 of 132
Quote:
Originally Posted by Techstalker View Post

A majority of patents that come up in lawsuits get invalidated due to prior art or not passing the threshold of a patent test.

 

Interesting.  What's your source for this tidbit?

post #30 of 132
Originally Posted by Techstalker View Post
Do you know someone holds a patent on toast?

 

Again, the concept thereof, or a method for creating?


A majority of patents that come up in lawsuits get invalidated due to prior art or not passing the threshold of a patent test.

 

Then why where they validated in the first place?


You know a patent is valid after someone gets sued over it and wins…

 

Apple sued. Apple won. Sounds done, then.


…and then face examination.

 

Then the tens of millions spent in the lawsuit are wasted and the entire judicial system is completely and utterly worthless in every respect. All failed lawsuits are as valid as all won lawsuits.

 

But, see, that doesn't work. Murderers don't get off because they're found guilty and then given time to forge new evidence, overturning that.


Apple is learning, that just because you have a piece a paper from one of the most inept departments of our government doesn't mean you own multi-touch.

 

At no point was that the contention.

post #31 of 132
Quote:
Originally Posted by anonymouse View Post

I don't think there's any doubt that this is Google using their muscle on the PTO from the shadows.

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post #32 of 132

I guess the government decided they can make more money taxing lots of companies who use multitouch instead of just taxing the one who created/owned it. We would think the government wouldn't make a decision based on them making more tax revenue if multitouch wasn't patent protected, but when a huge industry is now dependent on it, they will.

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post #33 of 132
Quote:
Originally Posted by jason98 View Post

At the same time amazon is allowed to hold "single click" buy patent and another patent troll is sueing everyone for in-app purchases.

Yeah what's with that!

post #34 of 132
Quote:
Originally Posted by sranger View Post

Obvious and plenty of prior art....

 

Let me guess, you just discovered Bill Buxton's history of multitouch webpage and now you're an expert?  *golf clap*

 

Now read a little more closely on how Fingerworks was pretty much the first company to actually create a commercial product using multitouch technology, and how Apple purchased the company in 2005 (in the midst of developing the iPhone).

 

Perhaps Jobs et al don't deserve a patent in their names given all of the prior research which had occurred, but Apple did play by the rules as far as development of a commercial product using multitouch technology goes (spent money on a company which had expertise in the field plus put a lot of their own R&D into perfecting it).  What did Samsung or Google ever contribute to the field other than see others put the hard work and money in to pioneer and refine the idea into a commercial success, and then copy them without any compensation?

 
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post #35 of 132

What's the difference? Everyone's been infringing on Apple's work in one way or the other already, with total impunity. 

 

Let em. Even after several years, nothing even comes close to the iOS + Apple hardware User Experience. Apple has ruled Consumer Satisfaction with iOS devices since their introduction. 

 

The only concern is that others are making a massive profit (mostly Samsung) from Apple's work.

 

Apple policy has always been to patent as much as they can and then protect what they can, aggressively. Not everything will stick. 

 

What's really interesting, though, is that the patent WAS ALREADY GRANTED, and the entire patent - all of it - was invalidated, which is very rare. Is the USPTO bowing (unduly or under compulsion) to some external pressure here?

post #36 of 132
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

Again, the concept thereof, or a method for creating?

Then why where they validated in the first place?

Apple sued. Apple won. Sounds done, then.

Then the tens of millions spent in the lawsuit are wasted and the entire judicial system is completely and utterly worthless in every respect. All failed lawsuits are as valid as all won lawsuits.

But, see, that doesn't work. Murderers don't get off because they're found guilty and then given time to forge new evidence, overturning that.

At no point was that the contention.

You don't get the point.

Patent office is under funded.
Patents come in at a rapid pace
not everyone that examines say a software related patent has a background in software related patents.

The problem remains that, a lot of patents that get granted by the USTPO are trash and should not be granted, but due to they way the filling system functions, lack of resources and time, crap patents get put through. This is not just Apple patents but many patents of other companies.

Now a recent law that was passed allows companies to challenge patents by are in the approval process, so that means if Google files a broad patent that overreaches, Apple can challenge it during the approval process; that will help in the cutting down of crap patents.

Funding, categories of patents ect.. are needed to help fix the problem that we have in the U.S today. Which is over filling and granting of too many patents. Its gotten to a point where the Patent offices job of determining validity of a patent has been pushed unto the courts.
post #37 of 132
As I understand it, it is not up to the patent office to research a patent's validity until it comes under question. They just decide if it is patent-able in the sense that it is eligible to be patented. There is no conspiracy. Apple just patented things that already existed.
post #38 of 132
Quote:
Originally Posted by monstrosity View Post

Yeah what's with that!

That patent means nothing until amazon sues someone over it and gets reexamine.

The patent office is so dysfunctional that them granting a patent means nothing.

Samsung did not care that Apple sued it, Samsung and Google have been saying all along, we will go after Apple's patents one by one because we believe they are too broad or have prior art.

Apple is fighting through the courts

Android is fighting through reexamination.

All this headache because the Patent office has lost all respect and authority.
post #39 of 132

The people at the patent office must be idiots

post #40 of 132
Originally Posted by Techstalker View Post
You don't get the point. Patent office is under funded. Patents come in at a rapid pace

 

Oh, I get the point; you're claiming the entire system is a fraud, invalidating every single patent since [insert arbitrary date here], forcing every single lawsuit since [date] to be invalidated on the grounds that every single patent since [date] is false.

 

That doesn't work.


Its gotten to a point where the Patent offices job of determining validity of a patent has been pushed unto the courts.

 

And guess what. There was a lawsuit that involved this patent. It… *drumroll* …was upheld. End of story.

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