A post on Foss Patents blog has 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 “touch screen 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.”

Samsung gets some relief

20 Apple patent claims dismissed

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 is 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. 

This bit of information is probably among the latest to come. US District Judge Lucy Koh reportedly is urging the two warring smartphone giants to settle their differences. She, in fact said that 'she will issue rulings aimed at resolving a multifaceted legal battle between Apple Inc. and Samsung Electronics.'

A Dutch court recently ruled that the South Korean giant's Galaxy smartphones and tablets infringe an Apple patent. Samsung has been ordered to pay damages to Apple — how much will be decided upon based on the profit the company amassed from the sales.

The Dutch court went on to add that the patent battle pertains to the Android OS versions 2.2.1 and 3.0 used on the company's Galaxy line of tablets and smartphones. The Dutch court judgment is the latest to come in the long standing patent battle between the two technology giants.

Apple sought the inclusion of the Samsung Galaxy Note II to the list of devices, which allegedly infringes on Apple's patents, the Sydney Morning Herald reported recently. This development marks the continuation of the attempts of the warring companies to get sales bans implemented on each other’s products, which they believe infringe their respective patents. As per the filings at the San Jose federal court in California, not only does Apple want Samsung’s Jelly Bean-running devices included in the list, but also those running the Ice Cream Sandwich version.

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