The U.S. patent office has preliminarily invalidated the famous 'Steve Jobs Patent' on the iPhone, which is also known as the touch screen patent.
The patent, which was granted in January 2009, incorporated many other patents dating back to 2006, before Apple even announced the iPhone. FOSS patents reports that "the USPTO issued a first Office action rejecting all 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."
This patent was also incorporated into the Apple v Samsung lawsuit. But as FOSS patents notes, Apple still has thousands of patents to backup their claim.
Should the first Office actions tentatively invalidating the rubber-banding and the touchscreen heuristics patents be affirmed at the end of the proceedings (after all appeals have been exhausted), Apple would lose two iconic patents, but it would still have thousands of other patents, including hundreds of multitouch patents.
It is important to note that this decision is not final, and there are still steps following the patent's office's decision:
Office actions and other non-final Office actions are just preliminary. Many patent claims that are rejected at this stage do ultimately survive. There are many steps inside the USPTO, followed by a potential appeal to the Federal Circuit (and in a few cases even the Supreme Court).
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