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

Posted:
in General Discussion edited January 2014
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.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 139
    jason98jason98 Posts: 763member
    I wonder if this is a reason why the stock is falling lately...
  • Reply 2 of 139
    Preliminary should be in the headline
  • Reply 3 of 139
    philboogiephilboogie Posts: 7,438member
    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)
  • Reply 4 of 139
    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.
  • Reply 5 of 139
    rot'napplerot'napple Posts: 1,839member


    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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  • Reply 6 of 139
    gustavgustav Posts: 823member

    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?

  • Reply 7 of 139


    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.

  • Reply 8 of 139
    jason98jason98 Posts: 763member
    At the same time amazon is allowed to hold "single click" buy patent and another patent troll is sueing everyone for in-app purchases.
  • Reply 9 of 139


    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...

  • Reply 10 of 139
    19831983 Posts: 1,165member
    This really could potentially screw over Apple. I bet Samsung and others are feeling smug now.
  • Reply 11 of 139
    hill60hill60 Posts: 6,989member


    Yawn, more slowly turning wheels.


     


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


     


    Just another day at city hall.

  • Reply 12 of 139


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

  • Reply 13 of 139


    Originally Posted by Lord Amhran View Post

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


     


    None.

  • Reply 14 of 139
    realisticrealistic Posts: 1,134member

    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.

  • Reply 15 of 139
    sensisensi Posts: 346member
    Confirming if it was needed that the US patent office is a living joke, software 'patents' too...
  • Reply 16 of 139

    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.

  • Reply 17 of 139
    normmnormm Posts: 554member
    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.
  • Reply 18 of 139
    anonymouseanonymouse Posts: 6,570member

    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.

  • Reply 19 of 139
    jason98jason98 Posts: 763member
    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.
  • Reply 20 of 139
    taniwhataniwha Posts: 347member


    Stop the whining: Samsung lost one too: "German court stays Samsung lawsuit against Apple over smiley input method patent" (Florian Müller's FossPatents blog).

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