October 19, 2013
USPTO Approves Apple’s Steve Jobs Patent
Michael Harper for redOrbit.com - Your Universe Online
The US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has reversed its decision and upheld an Apple multi-touch patent, often called the “Steve Jobs Patent.” The agency reversed the patent last month, but blogger Florian Mueller recently discovered the paperwork detailing the reversal.
The late Apple cofounder applied for the patent in 2008 and the USPTO awarded it less than a year later. In the filing Steve Jobs’ name is listed with 24 other Apple engineers. Last December the USPTO rejected the patent after a legal fight with an anonymous rival, but this reversal is expected to give Apple even more ammo in any future litigation. One of Apple’s main detractors, Samsung, must now restructure its legal arguments against the iPhone maker in order to avoid having their devices banned in the United States.
In their official ruling, the USPTO wrote: "No amendments have been made to the patent. As a result of the re-examination, it has been determined that: The patentability of claims 1-20 is confirmed."
Last October the International Trade Commission found Samsung guilty for infringing on this patent, leading to a ban on some of their older devices from entering US shores. Though Samsung appealed this decision, the White House upheld the ban earlier this month. Though the ban does not cover Samsung’s latest flagship devices, such as the Galaxy S4 and Galaxy Note 3, it does ban some of their older devices. While this isn’t expected to hurt their bottom line, Apple’s legal team could use this latest decision to extend the ban to newer devices.
According to Mueller, Motorola must also reconfigure their strategies to avoid a similar ban.
“The situation on the patent front is becoming increasingly uncomfortable for Google, Samsung, and the Android ecosystem at large,” writes Mueller.
Samsung also recently told the European Commission they’d stop taking their rivals to court over patent disputes. Though this was seen as a way for the Korean company to avoid paying hefty fines, this new USPTO decision could further hurt Samsung’s legal battles in the US.