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GUI Iphone Patents The Courts Apple

Steve Jobs Patent On iPhone Declared Invalid 247

Posted by timothy
from the too-soon dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Apple's most famous multitouch software patents are increasingly coming under invalidation pressure. First the rubber-banding patent and now a patent that Apple's own lawyers planned to introduce to a Chicago jury as 'the Jobs patent.' U.S. Patent No. 7,479,949 covers a method for distinguishing vertical and horizontal gestures from diagonal movements based on an initial angle of movement. For example, everything up to a slant of 27 degrees would be considered vertical or horizontal, and everything else diagonal. The patent office now seems to think that Apple didn't invent the concept of 'heuristics' after all."
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Steve Jobs Patent On iPhone Declared Invalid

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  • by MickyTheIdiot (1032226) on Friday December 07, 2012 @09:14PM (#42222035) Homepage Journal

    Good riddance to this patent. It's yet another example of how the patent office will let just about anything slip by right now.

    If putting ONE widget/idea/whatever on a machine is patentable, then putting multiple "things" on a machine is obvious. "Multitouch" is the same a "touch."

    Another one: If putting wifi on a computer is patentable, then putting wifi on any computer-like device (tablets, phones, anything using a processor) is obvious.

    The trolls are maybe less than half the problem. Letting these companies patent the kitchen sink just because there is a trivial change is a huge part. And they won't pay of examiners that actually know what they are doing because it means a pointy headed administrator will have to be paid less to do it.

    • by Frosty Piss (770223) * on Friday December 07, 2012 @10:25PM (#42222459)

      So, basically, the Patent Office simply "rubber stamps" this kind of thing and says "leave it to the courts"?

      I wonder how these "patent examiners" live with their mediocrity? I'm envisioning Amadeus' Salieri...

      • by TubeSteak (669689) on Friday December 07, 2012 @11:31PM (#42222765) Journal

        I wonder how these "patent examiners" live with their mediocrity? I'm envisioning Amadeus' Salieri...

        In the past, like many government bodies, the Patent and Trademark Office was underfunded/understaffed.
        This meant the Examiners didn't have enough time to do the job expected of them and meet their targets.

        When Obama signed the America Invents Act, he changed the USA from a first-to-invent to a first-to-file system.
        The law also changed how the Patent Office is funded. Previously, Congress got all the patent filing fees, then gave the PTO whatever they felt like.
        Now, the PTO sets its own fees and any fees beyond the Congressional allocation are placed into escrow, instead of the general fund.
        This means that Congress can no longer siphon off the PTO's fees for other projects and the PO can try to get the funds re-allocated later.

        TLDR: The Patent Office was wildly underfunded/understaffed and the situation should improve sooner rather than later.

      • by shentino (1139071)

        While at the same time the courts trust the USPTO to have gotten it right.

        Vicious circle.

        • by Sulphur (1548251)

          While at the same time the courts trust the USPTO to have gotten it right.

          Vicious circle.

          iVicious, iCircle, or just iNvalid.

    • by shentino (1139071)

      They are not letting it slip by.

      They are deliberately turning a blind eye and rubber stamping bullshit on purpose.

  • by jkrise (535370) on Friday December 07, 2012 @09:21PM (#42222087) Journal

    Why those assholes take years to determine 'full' invalidity is beyond me.

    Also, this patent show up Steve Jobs for the sociopath asshole that he was. Patenting a 'complete solution' is okay; patenting a small process or a way of operating a device is a fundamentally flawed approach to granting patents in the first place.

    Meanwhile, millions have been lost fighting this useless patent, and HTC were idiots to settle, etc etc

    • by jkrise (535370) on Friday December 07, 2012 @09:53PM (#42222303) Journal

      Also, the patent office needs to be shut down.

      Also, a complete rejection of all claims of a given patent is potentially more devastating than one affecting only some claims.

      All of 20 claims mentioned in the patent and issued by the USTPO have been rejected. Does this not prove that the issuing office has no right to exist in the first place? Millions have been lost litigating this absurdity.
      -
      Apple would lose two iconic patents, but it would still have thousands of other patents, including hundreds of multitouch patents .

      More evidence that the patent office should suffer the 'thermonuclear' treatment that Steve Jobs spoke about. The two so called iconic patents have been completely rubbished; but hundreds more yet to come. So this Florian scourge is not just happy that millions have already been sunk to the lawyers and courts with 2 patents; he is sitting smug in his seat dreaming about how hundreds more such patents will keep him and so called 'patent-experts' like him, employed for life.

    • by gagol (583737)
      I have the feeling HTC will fight to get their money back plus damages...
    • by Shavano (2541114) on Friday December 07, 2012 @10:06PM (#42222377)

      Why those assholes take years to determine 'full' invalidity is beyond me.

      Also, this patent show up Steve Jobs for the sociopath asshole that he was. Patenting a 'complete solution' is okay; patenting a small process or a way of operating a device is a fundamentally flawed approach to granting patents in the first place.

      Meanwhile, millions have been lost fighting this useless patent, and HTC were idiots to settle, etc etc

      Make the holders of invalidated patents pay back their license fees.

      • by shentino (1139071)

        Usually settlement agreements require the bullied party to forfeit all rights to appeal or retry the case later.

        So someone puts a sue-gun to your head, forces you to settle by threatening to bankrupt you if you don't, you are fucked.

  • Too Easy (Score:2, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward

    Re: "...Apple didn't invent the concept of 'heuristics' after all".

    Wrong. Apple not only invented heuristics, they also invented the US Patent Office. Then patented them both!

  • by ilsaloving (1534307) on Friday December 07, 2012 @09:29PM (#42222147)

    As a (up till now) satisfied owner of Apple products, all I can say is: Good.

    Maybe if they lose enough of these stupid patents, they'll start thinking less about suing the world into oblivion and go back to doing what made them the company they are now: Making products that delight their customers.

    From recent events, it's clear that Apple forgot that part somewhere along the line.

    • by erroneus (253617) on Friday December 07, 2012 @09:52PM (#42222299) Homepage

      Agreed.

      I'm no Apple fan at all. But there's no denying that they make/made a kind of irrisistible candy that no one could actually duplicate. It was stupid of them to think anyone else was a threat.

      I see lots of things wrong with Apple's products. It's not free enough for me. It's terrific for other people though and that's more than enough to keep them in business though. The problem is they never seem to be satisfied when they have "enough."

      • Apple will be in business some time yet, the immediate question, how much time do they have left to bask in the glory of being the world's most valuable company? Down $170 since the introduction of the iPhone 5.

    • All I can say is: GREAT! Lets have more of this.

      A patent grants a monopoly on an invention for about 19 years. Steve Jobs not only stole other people's ideas; he applied for and got patents on some of them. And worse, he was using those patents not just as a defense; he wanted to destroy alternate models of computing.

      In the computing world, the WALLED GARDEN, or JAIL approach followed by Apple is a minority. Or atleast it is, in the desktop space. Apple's phenomenal success in the tablet and phone space is

  • by erroneus (253617) on Friday December 07, 2012 @09:48PM (#42222265) Homepage

    Apparently Steve never learned the actual lesson and message behind the movie "War Games." There are no winners in thermonuclear war. The only way to win is not to play.

    I believe Jobs would have halted this as it got more ugly and apparent that Apple would lose. But since he died, there was no halting it and I suspect anyone at Apple who would want to "go against god's... err Jobs's will" would be branded a heretic or a traitor or something like that.

    Apple is already losing the war over the touch screen smart phone. They are losing their intellectual property as well. They are causing harm to everyone in the industry and that includes the consumers whether they use Apple or Android or even something else.

    The sooner this is concluded the better. Samsung needs a new trial. Apple's IP needs to be resolved as to what is valid and what isn't. It needs to be settled.

    • by houghi (78078)

      I believe Jobs would have halted this

      Bullfrog. If he wanted it halted, he would have done so. He wanted the war on Android and was willing to risk it all.

  • by maelfius (592856) on Friday December 07, 2012 @10:26PM (#42222461) Homepage

    This is just a preliminary invalidation, not the end of the road for this patent. Many patents that are in this state survive (partially or wholly). This simply is the start of a process within the USPTO.

    (Relevant Post taken from Mac Rumors discussion on this, this is not my post, but relevant for this discussion): http://forums.macrumors.com/showpost.php?p=16445804&postcount=39 [macrumors.com]

    Folks -- a preliminary invalidation is a non-event. Every patent you apply for is almost always initially rejected. It is the way the patent examiner pushes the burden back on the inventor. They reject, you appeal, they reject, you appeal, patent issues.

    Typically the findings for an initial patent application are really weak and easy to overcome.

    The re-examination process is the same way. The patent examiner places himself in the position of the person trying to shoot the patent down. That is because the other party to communicate with is the original inventor and obviously they are going to push for maintaining the application. So in order to do proper due diligence, the examiner needs to find reasons to refute the patent, and then there is an appeal, and then possibly another invalidation, and another appeal and then the patent likely holds in some form.

    In short... nothing to see here... move along.

    I don't know the actual percentage, but I'd bet 99.9% of all patents for which a reexamination was requested receive a preliminary invalidation. And I don't think the patent office can refuse to do a reexamination on a patent.

    Full Discussion here: http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=1503872&page=1 [macrumors.com]

  • Perhaps the could be called iPirateThings?
  • Don't invest in lawyers to clean the shit, ignore particular patent cases, invest in legislative patent reforms [ffii.org] and pressure your representatives [unitary-patent.eu]. There is no point in seperating the wheat from the crap because it smells so bad.

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