In what has come as a blow to Apple’s ambitions, a US judge has rejected its permanent injunction request against rival Samsung Electronics. According to latest reports, Apple approached US District Judge Lucy Koh in San Jose, California in an attempt to have two pretrial sales bans against Samsung products – Galaxy Tab 10.1 and Galaxy Nexus phone. Further, Apple asked Koh to impose a permanent sales ban against 26 Samsung phones.
Permanent injunction bid against Samsung refused
It is in her latest ruling that Judge Koh ruled that Apple has not presented enough evidence to prove that its patented features pushed consumer demand for the iPhone. She wrote, “The phones at issue in this case contain a broad range of features, only a small fraction of which are covered by Apple's patents. Though Apple does have some interest in retaining certain features as exclusive to Apple. It does not follow that entire products must be forever banned from the market because they incorporate, among their myriad features, a few narrow protected functions.”
Recently, a post on Foss Patents blog revealed that the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has issued a first Office action, asserting that a crucial Apple multitouch patent is invalid. In fact, the decision comes for the second time within two months. It was in late October that a first Office action asserted that all the 20 claims of Apple's rubber-banding patent are invalid.
The first Office action now in essence puts aside all the 20 claims of U.S. Patent No. 7,479,949 on a “touchscreen device, method and graphical user interface for determining commands by applying heuristics”. Interestingly, the patent was also being referred to as the “Steve Jobs patent”. The post goes on to add, “Once again, a first Office action tentatively invalidating a patent comes shortly after an infringement finding against Samsung: in late October a preliminary ruling by an ITC judge deemed this patent valid and held Samsung to infringe it (as well as three other patents). The ITC staff supports the judge's initial determination.”
Interestingly, the patent in question had been in discussion sometime back, when it had been brought up against Motorola. At the time, according to this post, Judge Posner asserted that major chunks of the patent were invalid and added that there was only some 'minor potential infringement on Motorola's part'. Apple, in fact, had been directed by Judge Posner to stop referring the '949 patent as “the [Steve] Jobs patent”. It has been known that the late Apple founder was the first of many inventors of this patent. Over 300 of his patents are design patents, but the '949 patent is the most famous one among his software patents.