Apple's '949 multi-touch patent, more commonly referred to as the "Steve Jobs patent," has been used in many patent lawsuits against various companies. Now it looks like karma may be taking a bite out of Apple, with the United States Patent and Trademark Office stating, tentatively, that it is not valid. As reported by FOSS Patents, the Patent and Trademark Office issued a first Office action, the second one in less than 8 weeks.
This latest first Office action is in reference to U.S. Patent No. 7,479,949, a "touch screen device, method, and graphical user interface for determining commands by applying heuristics." The USPTO has rejected all 20 claims of the patent, filing the action on December 3. This comes after a judge made a preliminary ruling back in late October that deemed the '949 patent valid and Samsung responsible for having infringed upon it.
A re-examination of this patent was requested back in 2010, which the Patent and Trademark Office rejected. This current reexamination is the result of a second request, with its preliminary results being less-than-ideal for Apple. Just because a first Office action has been taken, however, doesn't mean that patent won't carry on in the future.
The first Office action is preliminary, and there is a process that the USPTO will follow in ultimately making its decision. If the decision pans out in the long run, however, companies that Apple has used the patent against will appeal in an effort to invalidate various rulings. For now, it's just a matter of waiting to see which direction the Patent and Trademark Office will go.
[via Android Community]