Apple`s "Multi-touch patent" known as the Steve Jobs patent ruled as invalid by US patent office.

WorldWide Tech & Science. Francisco De Jesùs.

Apple`s "Multi-touch patent"  known as the  Steve Jobs patent  ruled as invalid by US patent office.

The United States patent office has issued a tentative ruling invalidating Apple’s multi-touch patent, known as the “Steve Jobs patent.”

The ruling came two days after U.S. Federal Judge Lucy Koh hinted that she would reduce the $1.05 billion in damages a jury awarded to the American company in its battle against Samsung Electronics in August.

According to German blog Foss Patents, Saturday, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office took the first tentative action on Dec. 3 rejecting 20 claims of U.S Patent No. 7,479,949, the so-called “Steve Jobs patent.”

It was among over 300 filed by Jobs for a “touch screen device, method, and graphical user interface for determining commands by applying heuristics.” It covers several key multi-touch features at the heart of Apple’s iOS.

The rejection is not final as the iPhone maker can appeal within two months.

The United States International Trade Commission, a separate agency that can impose import bans on infringing products, in October issued a preliminary ruling in favor of Apple against Samsung over the aforementioned software patent and three others. In November, it said it supported the judge that made the initial decision.

The patent office’s actions came less than two month after it tentatively invalidated Apple’s claims of U.S. patent No 7,469,381 for scrolling on a touch-screen.

Both patents were found valid by the jury in the patent infringement case between Samsung Electronics and its American counterpart in August.

The Korean technology giant immediately informed Koh, who is overseeing the landmark case in San Jose, Calif., of the patent office’s decision in October. The most recent invalidation could help Samsung in the California case.

Though both steps are just preliminary and non-final, blog overseer Florian Mueller wrote, “It would be a mistake to underestimate the significance of a first office action. Also, a complete rejections of all claims of a given patent is potentially more devastating than one affecting only some claims.”

In the Dec. 6 hearing on the August verdict, Koh hinted at a possible adjustment of the high damages saying “If there is a basis to uphold the damages award, by the record, then I am going to uphold it. But I think it is appropriate to do analysis by product.” She denied Apple’s request not to conduct a device-by-device analysis.

Samsung also questioned the jury’s soundness in calculating the damages.

Koh said she would review the damages and issue a series of rulings over the next several weeks. The judge urged “global peace” adding that it would be good for both consumers and the industry.

The world’s two biggest smartphone makers by both revenue and market share are embroiled in court battles in over 10 countries across worldwide.

The iPhone maker is seeking up to $500 million more from Samsung and a permanent ban on its rival’s products in the United States. The Korean firm is demanding the verdict be thrown out and a retrial.

The Suwon-based company’s main argument centers on jury foreman Velvin Hogan, who was sued by Seagate Technology in 1993, a firm which Samsung invested in heavily.

Hogan conducted interviews following the August verdict that showed his lack of understanding of patents as well as a bias for Apple, according to Samsung.

The Galaxy maker has also rejected it “willfully” infringed on Apple patents.
Source: Foss Patents
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